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'The Book of Mormon' leads Tony Award nominations

The Associated Press, Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 4:56am (PDT)

NEW YORK (AP) -- "The Book of Mormon" nabbed a leading 14 Tony Award nominations Tuesday morning, earning the profane musical nods for best musical, best book of a musical, best original score, two leading actor spots and two featured actor nominations, among others.

The second-highest nominations went to "The Scottsboro Boys," a searing tale of 1930s injustice framed as a minstrel show. It received 12 nominations, including best musical, best book of a musical, best original score as well as a leading actor and two featured actor nods.

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Among others who earned nominations were Al Pacino, who played Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice," Vanessa Redgrave in "Driving Miss Daisy," Edie Falco in "The House of Blue Leaves" and Ellen Barkin in "The Normal Heart."

Some notable snubs included James Earl Jones in "Driving Miss Daisy," Daniel Radcliffe in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and Aaron Tveit from "Catch Me If You Can."

The Cole Porter comedy "Anything Goes" was nominated for nine awards, including best revival, best leading actress for Sutton Foster, a best featured role nomination for Adam Godley, best scenic and costume design.

"I'm very happy. I'm thrilled for our show," said Kathleen Marshall, who picked up her sixth and seventh nominations for directing "Anything Goes" and its high-kicking choreography. "'Anything Goes' is one of those shows that is there to delight and entertain and transport the audience."

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"The Book of Mormon," about two Mormon missionaries who find more than they bargained for in Africa, was written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of Comedy Central's irreverent "South Park," and Robert Lopez, co-creator of the equally irreverent Tony Award-winning musical "Avenue Q."

The trio teamed up with Casey Nicholaw, who co-directed with Parker and choreographed. Both won nominations for best direction and Nicholaw won a best choreography nomination. "Mormon" also earned its two missionaries - Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells - acting nominations as well as Nikki M. James for featured actress.

Of the 42 new productions this season, there were 14 musicals - 12 new ones and two revivals - and 25 plays, a whopping 16 of them brand new. The last time there were 16 new plays produced in a single season was 1986-87.

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It is also shaping up to be a lucrative time for Broadway, with total box-office grosses already at more than $987,057,484, or 3.6 percent more than the same time last year. Attendance this season is at over 11.4 million, up 3 percent from this time last year.

The awards will be handed out June 12 at a new location: the Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side of Manhattan after producers lost their long-term space at Radio City Music Hall. It will be broadcast live by CBS.

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