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'Gentleman's Guide' Leads The Tony Nominations

The Tony nominations are out, and it was a good year to be playing eight people at the same time.

The musical A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder (from the same novel about murder and inheritance that inspired the Alec Guinness film Kind Hearts And Coronets) leads the nominations with 10. In addition to its Best Musical nomination and nominations for its book and score, Gentleman's Guide drew nominations for actors Jefferson Mays (who plays those eight roles), Bryce Pinkham and Laura Worsham, along with its direction, orchestrations, and scenic and costume design.

The other Best Musical nominees are After Midnight, a Jazz Age revue headed up by Wynton Marsalis; Aladdin, adapted from the Disney musical; and Beautiful — The Carole King Musical (perhaps self-explanatory). So much of the action in musicals these days takes place in the land of revivals that it's perhaps not surprising that some of the revivals are better known than some of the originals: nominated musical revivals include the Neil Patrick Harris-led Hedwig And The Angry Inch; a 25th anniversary staging of Les Miserables; and Violet, starring Broadway veteran Sutton Foster, who's already won two Tonys and been nominated for three others.

Outside the musical realm, Best Play nominees include Act One, based on the memoir of playwright Moss Hart; All The Way, starring Bryan Cranston as Lyndon B. Johnson; Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina; Terrence McNally's Mothers And Sons; and Outside Mullingar, a romantic comedy from John Patrick Shanley, who wrote Doubt, among other works.

For folks not fortunate enough to be able to drink in the Broadway theater scene for reasons geographical, financial or both, there's often a curiosity factor in the nominations, seeing which actors they might know from TV and movies have landed Tony Award nominations. We are here for you. (Please note: These people are not better or more important than the theater regulars. They're just more familiar to more people. Indulge us briefly.)

Yes, Neil Patrick Harris is nominated for Hedwig. And Bryan Cranston for All The Way. Tony "Monk" Shalhoub is nominated for Act One, and Tyne Daly for Mothers and Sons. Notably, while the well-reviewed The Cripple Of Inishmaan is nominated for Best Revival of a Play, Radcliffe himself is not. Nor is Denzel Washington for A Raisin In The Sun.

Chris O'Dowd, on the other hand, is nominated for Of Mice And Men, only a couple of years post-Bridesmaids, so that guy is getting around. Estelle Parsons, who old sitcom viewers will remember as Roseanne's mother Bev, is nominated for her performance in the play The Velocity Of Autumn, and as we mentioned this morning in an interview that you should definitely read, Audra McDonald is nominated for playing Billie Holiday in Lady Day At Emerson's Bar And Grill. Those who enjoy Twitter might be pleased to hear that Stephen Fry is nominated for his work in Twelfth Night. Anika Noni Rose is nominated for A Raisin In The Sun, and Mare Winningham for Casa Valentina.

And of course — OF COURSE — we cannot fail to mention that none other than Idina Menzel, known to Oscar watchers as Adele Dazeem, is nominated for the musical If/Then.

The awards, which are pretty much always the best awards of the year to watch whether you know anything about the nominees or not, will happen Sunday night, June 8. Last year, we got this. So the pressure is on, host Hugh Jackman.

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Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

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