Broadway’s Best

Celebrate the Tony Awards by experiencing the year’s most nominated shows.

There is nothing quite like summer in New York City. Beautiful warm weather and an exciting variety of offerings across the city give New Yorkers and tourists alike many reasons to celebrate the summer months. On Broadway the buzz of the spring opening season gives way to one of theatre’s most anticipated events- the Tony Awards. Held every June at the world renowned Radio City Music Hall, the glittering evening sees a bevy of stars of stage and screen gather to honor the best and brightest of theatrical season. Tony Award winners Alan Cumming and Kristen Chenoweth (also a nominee for her performance in On The 20th Century) will host this year’s ceremony which marks the 69th anniversary of the awards. The musicals An American in Paris, Fun Home, Something Rotten, and the revival of The King and I mark this year’s most nominated productions.

A new shimmering musical inspired by the 1951 film of the same name, An American in Paris, is at the front of the pack with an impressive 12 nominations including Best New Musical and Best Choreography for its dazzling ballet sequences created by director Christopher Wheeldon. Ballet superstar Robert Fairchild and leading lady Leanne Cope also both received nominations for their lead performances. An American in Paris follows the romantic adventures of a young soldier-turned-painter living in a newly liberated Paris after the end of the Second World War. His romances with a beautiful young French woman and wealthy heiress features a sumptuous score by the great writing team of George and Ira Gershwin with such classics as “I Got Rhythm,” “S’ Wonderful,” and “An American in Paris.” (Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway)

Tied at the top also with 12 nominations is the poignant original musical Fun Home inspired by the award winning graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. The musical is the story of a young woman at different stages in her life as she not only discovers her own identity but also comes to terms with the unexpected death of her enigmatic and elusive father. Told from the perspective of the narrator at different stages in her life, the show features a Tony nominated score by four-time nominee Jeannine Tesori. In addition to nominations for Best New Musical, stars Beth Malone, Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas, and Emily Skeggs were all nominated for their acting work. (Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 W. 50th St)

Next in line is the silly, joyous, and satirical new musical romp Something Rotten! with a total of 10 nominations including Best New Musical and Best Actor nominations for Broadway stars Christian Borle and Brian D’Arcy James, also known for their roles on TV’s Smash. Set in in England in the 1590s, Something Rotten! sees theatrical writing brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom giving the superstar playwright William Shakespeare a run for his money by writing the world’s first musical after a soothsayer predicts the future of theatre will include singing and dancing. Chock full of loving nods to classic musicals and Shakespearean plays, theatre goers and comedy lovers alike continue to delight in Something Rotten! night after night. (St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St.)

Rounding out the top nominated productions this year with 9 nominations is Lincoln Center’s lavish revival of the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The King and I. Featuring such favorites as “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Getting to Know You,” and “Shall We Dance,” The King and I is the story of the strong willed Anna Leonowens, an English widow, who travels to Siam to serve as a teacher for the King’s children in the late 1800s. Amid cultural differences and despite the King’s stubborn strong-headedness, Anna and the King develop a tender relationship that bridges the East-West divide through the connection of the human heart. Film star Ken Watanabe and six-time Tony Award nominee Kelli O’Hara both earned nominations this year for their performances. The King and I is also nominated for Best Revival of a Musical and designing legend Catherine Zuber was nominated for her opulent period costumes. (Vivian Beaumont Theater, 150 W. 65th St.)

(Photo Credit: Joan Marcus)