‘American in Paris,’ ‘Fun Home’ get a leading 12 Tony Award nominations

Sydney Lucas as Small Alison, Beth Malone as Alison and Emily Skeggs as Medium Alison in “Fun Home” at Circle in the Square Theatre in New York. The musicals “An American in Paris” and “Fun Home” each received a leading 12 Tony Award nominations on Tuesday.

NEW YORK — The musicals “An American in Paris” and “Fun Home” each received a leading 12 Tony Award nominations on Tuesday, showing two very different sides of this Broadway season.

One side is sunny — the dance-heavy stage adaptation of the 1951 musical film with George and Ira Gershwin songs — and the other moody — the dark show based on Alison Bechdel’s coming of age graphic novel about her closeted, suicidal dad.

“It’s nice to know if something’s good, there’s room for it,” said Max von Essen, who earned a nomination for featured actor in a musical in “American in Paris.” “There’s room for a smaller, darker piece and there’s room for a big, show-stopping revival.”

Michael Cerveris got one of the dozen nods for “Fun Home,” as best leading actor in a musical, and hopes they will attract more people to see his critically acclaimed and poignant show.

“The real value of the Tonys, and I suppose any awards, is to draw attention to something that people otherwise might not seek out. So the fact that every aspect of the production has been acknowledged is the best kind of advertising,” he said.

Bechdel and the off-Broadway cast came to Charleston a year ago to present a concert version of the musical in response to complaints by South Carolina lawmakers and others that the work was pornographic. The book was recommended reading for College of Charleston students as part of a College Reads! program.

The Tony Nominations ranged from 11-year-old Sydney Lucas in “Fun Home” to 82-year-old Chita Rivera, looking for her third Tony. Helen Mirren and Bradley Cooper each got nominations but Hugh Jackman and Matthew Morrison from “Glee” didn’t get nods in their returns to Broadway.

Rivera, who is wowing crowds just with a raised eyebrow, has championed her show, the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical “The Visit,” since 2001. She called its arrival on Broadway “joyous” and said the experienced cast and creators are superb.

The best new play category includes “Wolf Hall, Parts One & Two,” “Hand to God,” “Disgraced” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

Larry David’s “Fish in the Dark” was snubbed entirely.

The first casualty of the nominating process was “Living on Love,” which announced it would close May 3. The Renee Fleming-led play earned no nominations Tuesday. Last week, it grossed only about 16 percent of its $957,000 potential.

In addition to “An American in Paris” and “Fun Home,” the best new musical category includes “Something Rotten!” and “The Visit.” The Peter Pan-themed “Finding Neverland,” Harvey Weinstein’s first-ever venture into Broadway as a lead producer, didn’t get a single nomination.

The British did well, with transfers “Wolf Hall Parts One & Two,” “The Audience,” “The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time” and “Skylight” grabbing 24 nominations. Sting’s “The Last Ship” earned the rocker a nomination for best original score even though his show closed in January.

Another production, the revival of “The Elephant Man,” about a horribly deformed man who galvanized London society in the late 19th century, plans to go the other way and open in London this summer with all 13 American actors, including Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson, who all earned nominations.

Clarkson called the play “one of the greatest experiences of my career” and was thrilled that it wasn’t over when it ended its run in New York.

“The Elephant Man” will face competition in the best play revival category from “Skylight,” “This is Our Youth” and “You Can’t Take It With You.”

The musical revival category has three strong candidates: “The King and I,” “On the Town” and “On the Twentieth Century.” (Vanessa Hudgens’ “Gigi” only got one, for actress Victoria Clark.)

Ruthie Ann Miles earned a supporting actress nomination for playing Lady Thiang in the lush Lincoln Center Theater revival of the classic 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I.”

The architect and set designer David Rockwell earned nominations for the intricate detailed work he put into the play “You Can’t Take It with You” and the huge train he created for “On the Twentieth Century.”

He added hundreds of mementos and photos on the walls on the play’s sets, while his interior train set had to give the impression of optimism, speed and opulence.

The best actor in a musical nominees are: Cerveris in “Fun Home”; Robert Fairchild in “An American in Paris”; Brian d’Arcy James in “Something Rotten!”; Ken Watanabe in “The King and I”; and Tony Yazbeck in “On the Town.”

The best actress in a musical category includes Kristin Chenoweth for “On the Twentieth Century,” Kelli O’Hara for “The King and I,” Rivera for “The Visit,” Leanne Cope from “An American in Paris” and Beth Malone from “Fun Home.”

The best actor in a play nominees include Cooper, Ben Miles for “Wolf Hall, Parts One & Two,” Alex Sharp in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” Steven Boyer in “Hand to God,” and Bill Nighy for “Skylight.”

The five best actresses in a play nominees are: Carey Mulligan in “Skylight,” Mirren in “The Audience,” Ruth Wilson in “Constellations,” Geneva Carr in “Hand to God” and Elisabeth Moss in “The Heidi Chronicles.”

The Tonys will be handed out at Radio City Music Hall on June 7.