"," a madcap medieval musical loosely based on the zany British troupe's film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," led the field with 14 Tony nominations Tuesday, including best musical. Two of its stars - Tim Curry as King Arthur and Hank Azaria as Lancelot - also were nominated.
"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "The Light in The Piazza" got 11 each.
In drama, the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Doubt," John Patrick Shanley's play of uncertainty set against the backdrop of a Catholic school in the Bronx, received eight nominations.
Kathleen Turner picked up a best actress nomination for her role as a boozy wife in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." Also nominated were Laura Linney as a spurned woman in "Sight Unseen," Mary-Louise Parker for her portrayal of a distraught housewife in "Reckless," Cherry Jones, who played a dour, authoritarian nun in "Doubt" and Phylicia Rashad , an ancient, mystical woman in "Gem of the Ocean."
Best actor nominees: Billy Crudup, a jailed writer in "The Pillowman;" Phillip Bosco for a disbelieving juror in "Twelve Angry Men;"
for "Virginia Wolfe;" and Brian F. O'Byrne, an accused priest in "Doubt."
The nominees in the best play category besides "Doubt" were "Democracy," "Gem of the Ocean" and "The Pillowman."
The off-Broadway sleeper hit that made it to Broadway - "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" - vies with "Monty Python's Spamalot," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "The Light in The Piazza" as best musical.
For a complete list of nominees, click here.
From the Broadway lounge of New York's Marriott Marquis, The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith shared the stage with the four Broadway performers who announced the nominees for the 2005 Tony Awards: Lynn Redgrave, Alan Cumming, Kate Burton and Brian Stokes Mitchell.
Smith notes the race is full of excitement. Besides Azaria and Curry from "Monty Python's Spamalot," Norbert Leo Butz and John Lithgow from "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" are going head-to-head - and Gary Beach was also nominated as a leading actor in a musical for his work in "La Cage aux Folles."
"And this one is priceless," he says, "Best performance by a featured actor:, Gordon Clapp and Liev Schreiber are all nominated. They're in a little play with six guys, total, called 'Glengarry GlenRoss.'"
Nominated for leading actress in a musical were Christina Applegate, "Sweet Charity;" Victoria Clark, "The Light in the Piazza;" Erin Dilly, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang;" Sutton Foster, "Little Women;" and Sherie Rene Scott, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."
Applegate received a nomination as the unlucky-in-love dance hall hostess in "Sweet Charity." She broke her right foot in March during the show's Chicago tryout, and the Broadway production was canceled after its next stop, in Boston. But Applegate's determination resurrected it.
Edward Albee, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who challenged theatrical convention in such masterworks as "Virginia Woolf," "A Delicate Balance" and "Seascape," was picked to receive a special Tony for lifetime achievement.
The best revival of a play category pits "Virginia Woolf" against David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," "On Golden Pond" and "Twelve Angry Men." In the best revival of a musical category, "La Cage aux Folles" will compete with "Pacific Overtures" and "Sweet Charity."
Four special theater events were nominated for Tonys: "Laugh Whore," Mario Cantone's bawdy one-man show; "700 Sundays," Billy Crystal's autobiographical evening; "Whoopi, the 20th Anniversary Show," Whoopi Goldberg's revival of her original 1984 one-woman show; and Australian Barry Humphries' drag extravaganza, "Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance!"
The Theatre de la Jeune Lune of Minneapolis will be given the 2005 Regional Theatre Tony Award for its artistic achievement.
The Tony Awards are presented by Tony Award Productions, a joint
venture of the League of American Theatres and Producers and the
American Theatre Wing.
You can catch the 59th annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 5, at 8:00 p.m ET and 7:00 p.m. CT on CBS. Australian actor Hugh Jackman will host the awards ceremony from New York's Radio City Music Hall.