By Mark Kennedy
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The Cyndi Lauper-scored "Kinky Boots" has earned a leading 13 Tony Award nominations, with the British import "Matilda: The Musical" close behind with 12. Tom Hanks, making his Broadway debut, earned a nod as leading man in a play.
"Kinky Boots" is based on the 2005 British movie about a real-life shoe factory that struggles until it finds new life in fetish footwear. Lauper's songs and a story by Harvey Fierstein have made it a crowd-pleaser.
"I walked my dog early this morning so I'd be back in time to listen to the announcement. It's so great. It's so great. I'm done crying a little bit. But I'm still thrilled and a little stunned," said Lauper, who is making her Broadway debut as a musical writer.
The "Kinky Boots" haul did not match the record number of nominations for a musical, which is 15, set by "The Producers" in 2001 and "Billy Elliot" in 2009. "The Book of Mormon" nabbed 14 Tony nods in 2011.
"Lucky Guy," Nora Ephron's portrait of Mike McAlary, a gutsy New York City newspaper columnist who won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing that a Haitian immigrant had been sodomized by police officers in 1997, got six nominations, including one for Hanks as McAlary.
"This makes me both giddy and nervous, and it could not be more special," Hanks said. "Before this began, I thought I knew what it would be like. "But you can't imagine what it is. There's the muscle and the brain, but also the spirit and the heart. And it's fun, if fun also incorporates a huge amount of fear."
Courtney B. Vance earned a best featured actor nomination playing an editor in "Lucky Guy." He and Hanks were among the few actors in the production to work with Ephron on it before her death last year. "She'd be ecstatic. She'd be grinning ear to ear. And she is, right now."
In addition to Hanks, the leading actor in a play nominees are Nathan Lane for "The Nance," Tracy Letts from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", David Hyde Pierce from "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" and Tom Sturridge from "Orphans."
"Matilda: The Musical" is a witty musical adaptation of the novel by Roald Dahl and is true to his bleak vision of childhood as a savage battleground.
Both "Kinky Boots" and "Matilda" will compete for the best musical prize with the acrobatic "Bring It On: The Musical" and "A Christmas Story, The Musical," adapted from the beloved holiday movie.
Among the flurry of nominations, "Kinky Boots" also earned Fierstein a nod for best book, David Rockwell got one for sets, Jerry Mitchell for both directing and for choreography, and nominations for its two leading men, Billy Porter and Stark Sands. Annaleigh Ashford earned a featured role nomination.
"Matilda" earned nominations for choreography, Matthew Warchus' directing, Chris Nightingale's orchestrations, best book by Dennis Kelly, Tim Minchin for lyrics and songs, and Bertie Carvel for best leading role in a musical.
Carvel, who played the same evil headmistress role in London, said he is enjoying his time in New York, although he did admit to being nervous about how Americans would react. "I feel like I've landed on happy shores," he said. "The show is in great shape. People are loving it."
For his part, Minchin wasn't going to get crazy following the nomination: "I'm going to have a coffee with my agent today. That's about as crazy as I'm going to get. We're a low-key bunch of people. We all just get on with it," he said.
Some big names snubbed this year were Jessica Chastain, Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Katie Holmes, Bette Midler, Sigourney Weaver, Paul Rudd and Scarlett Johansson. Emilia Clarke of HBO's "Game of Thrones" didn't get a nomination for "Breakfast at Tiffany's," but the show came up empty Tuesday.
The best musical revival candidates are "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella," ''Annie," ''The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and "Pippin," which nabbed 10 nominations.
Patina Miller, last on Broadway as the heroine of "Sister Act," stepped into the Ben Vereen role of Leading Player in "Pippin" and earned her second straight nomination.
The first time, she said, "I was so nervous about saying and doing the right things. This time, I've enjoyed it, I've been given a great opportunity and I want to keep enjoying it. Not a lot of people get to experience something like this."
The producers of "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella" saw both their Cinderella — Laura Osnes — and her prince — Santino Fontana — nominated for leading roles in a musical.
"I'm floating on air! I think I am over the tears now," said Osnes. "I started crying when Santino's name was called. So I was already crying when they called mine. I am just so thrilled, so excited."
Kenneth Posner had a great morning. The lighting designer got three nominations — for "Kinky Boots," ''Pippin" and "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella." He will face off against Hugh Vanstone, the lighting designer for "Matilda: The Musical."
The best play nominees are Richard Greenberg's "The Assembled Parties," Ephron's "Lucky Guy," Colm Toibin's "The Testament of Mary" and Christopher Durang's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike."
Durang's play earned Billy Magnussen a best featured actor nomination. He plays a somewhat dim boy toy in the play about a pair of depressive middle-aged siblings whose movie-star sister threatens to upend their quiet life.
Asked how he felt, Magnussen purred: "Like warm buttah." It's his second Broadway part and Magnussen soon had to get off the phone. When he returned, he said: "That was my mom. She was saying, 'What am I going to wear?'"
The best actress in a leading role in a play includes Laurie Metcalf of "The Other Place," Amy Morton in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Kristine Nielsen of "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," Holland Taylor in her one-woman show, "Ann," and Cicely Tyson in "The Trip to Bountiful." With such talent on show, notably squeezed out were Fiona Shaw of "The Testament of Mary" and Jessica Hecht in "The Assembled Parties."
Durang, the playwright of "Vanya and Sonia," wrote parts in it for both Nielsen and Weaver. "We're both really lucky to have someone of his caliber that would even think of putting words in our mouth," Nielsen said. "I wish he were here to put words in my mouth today!"
The revival of Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy," a play about a young man torn between his natural talent as a violinist and the fast money and fame of being a boxer, earned eight nominations, the most for any play.
Richard Greenberg's "The Assembled Parties," a New York City drama concerning the power of familial bonds, earned three nominations, including ones for Judith Light, scenic design and best play.
"It's been so luxuriously treated by this production," the playwright said. "It was given such care and attention. I think you only get something that unblemished once. And so I'm relishing it."
Playwright Douglas Carter Beane earned a best book nomination for the lush, big musical "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella," but not for his more intimate play "The Nance," although it earned five nods. A veteran, he rolled with it Tuesday morning.
"You just have to really enjoy it when you get nominated and you have to just not care when you're not," he said. "It's great to show I'm not just this one thing. Just as actors like to show off their versatility, writers like to do it, too."
The hit-stuffed "Motown: The Musical," about Motown Records under founder Berry Gordy, earned four nominations, including Valisia LeKae as Diana Ross and Charl Brown as Smokey Robinson.
LeKae, who was an understudy or swing in four other Broadway shows, is making her Broadway debut as a leading lady and said everything in her life has prepared her for the role. She grew up listening to Ross and performing her songs.
"It's very interesting the way life works out. I left 'The Book of Mormon' last year in March and I was a swing for the show," she said. "It's amazing how life can change in a matter of a year's time. You can be swinging one year and be nominated the next."
Although the revival of Rupert Holmes' musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" has closed, it earned five nominations, including one for Stephanie J. Block, who played a pompous actress. "It felt really great to do that and have nobody complain," Block joked. "I'm so pleased that all the committees are remembering 'Drood' because it really was such a special show."
Her former "Drood" co-star Will Chase got a nomination as best featured actor. "It's easily the most fun I've ever, ever had onstage," he said. "I love the love that we've gotten today."
The nominations were co-hosted by Tony winner Sutton Foster and "Modern Family" star Jesse Tyler Ferguson. The awards will be broadcast on CBS from Radio City Music Hall on June 9.
Scott Ellis, who directed "Drood," watched the announcement live on his couch with his 3½-year old twins, Parker and Charlotte.
"I said, 'You may hear daddy's name, you may not.' And they said, 'Daddy, that's your name!' And then they got up and started playing. They were done. And that's all the perspective I needed."