NEW YORK — Two stories born in Britain are vying for America’s biggest theater prize.
“Kinky Boots” and “Matilda” are each a virtual lock to get a Tony Award nomination today for best musical and each show will be eager to capture as many nods as possible in the other 25 categories.
The nominations will be announced from The New York Public Library for Performing Arts in a televised event co-hosted by Tony winner Sutton Foster and “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
“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. Songs by pop icon Cyndi Lauper and a story by Harvey Fierstein have made it a crowd-pleaser, albeit in open-minded New York. Touring potential is key for Tony voters.
“Matilda,” the import from London, is a witty musical adaptation of the beloved novel by Roald Dahl and is true to his bleak vision of childhood as a savage battleground. It has proven it can find audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.
The other contenders for the best musical prize — the biggest reward on Tony night— include the peppy “Bring It On: The Musical” the hit-stuffed “Motown: The Musical,” the quick-to-close “Hands on a Hardbody” and the sweet “A Christmas Story, The Musical.”
“Kinky Boots” and “Matilda” also have a good chance of nabbing nominations in the best musical actor category, with some interesting drag involved for both shows’ leading men, who both wear skirts onstage.
British actor Bertie Carvel plays a brutal headmistress in “Matilda” and Billy Porter plays a drag queen in “Kinky Boots.”
Others who may get a nod include Rob McClure as the lead in “Chaplin,” Matthew James Thomas in “Pippin,” Brandon Victor Dixon in “Motown: The Musical” and Jim Norton in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” Porter’s co-star Stark Sands might also get a nomination.
The best play category is stuffed, but only four can make it. The leading lights include Richard Greenberg’s “The Assembled Parties,” Sharr White’s “The Other Place” and Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”
Others with a real possibility include Colm Toibin’s “The Testament of Mary,” Nora Ephron’s “Lucky Guy,” Douglas Carter Beane’s “The Nance,” Craig Wright’s “Grace,” Holland Taylor’s “Ann” and John Logan’s “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers.”
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