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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 5, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 18
2017 Tony Award nominations: Bette Midler, Nathan Lane and Josh Groban among this year's nominees
Arts & Entertainment
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2017 Tony Award nominations: Bette Midler, Nathan Lane and Josh Groban among this year's nominees

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

As expected, Bette Midler earned a Tony Award nomination this week for her well-reviewed performance in Hello, Dolly!, playing its titular character, Dolly Gallagher Levi. Unlike a few years ago when the Tony nominating committee overlooked her work in I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers, this time there was no denying the multi-talented entertainer her due recognition in the popular show, which captured 10 nominations total, including Best Revival of a Musical.

Also unsurprisingly, Nathan Lane scored another Tony nod for his work in The Front Page. Should he get called to the podium, it would be his third award following wins for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1996) and The Producers (1991). Meanwhile, pop singer Josh Groban landed his first Tony nomination for his role in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, which led all nominees with 12, including Best Musical. This marked Groban's debut on a Broadway stage.

Come From Away, a production that centers on a Canadian town offering shelter to stranded travelers on September 11th, received multiple nominations, including a mention for Best Musical. Before opening on Broadway it enjoyed a local run here in Seattle at the Seattle Rep. Another Emerald City connection that got some Tony love on Tuesday morning is Bartlett Sher, the former Artistic Director at the Intiman Theatre, who earned a nomination for Best Direction of a Musical for Oslo. And yet another Seattle tie-in is the Divine M herself, who starred in her very first professional theater production with the Seattle Opera in the Who's Tommy back in 1971.

There's never a shortage of LGBT actors and creative people included among the Tony Award nominees, and a few of them to note this year, besides Nathan Lane, are David Hyde Pierce, who co-stars in Hello, Dolly! alongside Midler, nabbing one of the five slots for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Cynthia Nixon who squeezed into the tightly contested race of Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in The Little Foxes, and Andrew Rannells, perhaps best known for his TV roles in the HBO series 'Girls' and the short-lived comedy 'The New Normal,' who was recognized in the category of Best Featured Actor in a Musical, for Falsettos.

Competing for Best Musical, besides Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and Come From Away, are the stage adaptation of the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day and Dear Evan Hansen, which garnered 9 nominations total, including one for its main star Ben Platt, considered the frontrunner to take home the prize for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Duking it out for Best Play will be A Doll's House, Part 2, Dear Evan Hansen, Oslo and Sweat.

Midler is heavily favored to win Best Leading Actress in a Musical, although she'll have to knock off a pair of Broadway powerhouses to claim the statue, Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, who both appear in War Paint. The other nominees are Denee Benton in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and Eva Noblezada in Miss Saigon.

Kevin Spacey will host the 71st Tony Awards at NYC's Radio City Music Hall on June 11. The 2016-2017 Broadway season featured an impressive 37 new shows, of which 25 of them received nominations on May 2 when they were announced by Jane Krakowski and Chris Jackson.

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2017 Tony Award nominations: Bette Midler, Nathan Lane and Josh Groban among this year's nominees
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