- Title: USA: This year's Tony Award nominees gather for press reception
- Date: 5th May 2011
- Summary: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (MAY 4, 2011) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) JUDITH LIGHT, ACTRESS, BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY NOMINEE, SAYING: "I don't think it's about screen actors I think it's about actors and I think it's about people who have had long and varied and diverse careers and now we are able to go from one place to another."
- Embargoed: 20th May 2011 22:37
- Location: Usa, Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA6Z0EEXDRW4GKVU24DA4WCG1JB
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Lead actor nominees Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells from "The Book of Mormon" were still in a bit of shock after learning their musical had snagged 14 Tony Award nominations during a media reception in New York on Wednesday (May 4).
Before performances began in March controversy surrounded the show, which is a religious satire that tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent off to spread the word in a dangerous part of Uganda. Gad said he is shocked by how audiences are reacting.
"I was convinced that, you know, people, while some people would embrace the show many others would be very angry or hesitant and speak out about it and that has not happened at all and I think it's a testament to the brilliance of the writing," said Gad.
Gad and Rannells both have spots in the lead actor in a musical category, Rannells said he is pulling for a tie.
"Let's hope for a tie for Josh and I that would be really fantastic - let's go with that. I was saying to Josh we didn't even get nominated "Billy Elliot" style, like they didn't even like put us together, we should have rallied for that but we didn't," said Rannells.
In 2009 three actors from the musical "Billy Elliot" shared one nomination and won the Tony for their performances.
"Sister Act" will compete against "The Book of Mormon" in the best musical category. The show's producer and talk show host, Whoopi Goldberg said she was thrilled about the shows five nominations.
"It feels pretty good, you know, this is a wonderful pat on the back for a show that is the little show that could and did and has and now it's gotten some attention and I'm very happy," said Goldberg.
This year's crop of nominees is filled with Hollywood screen stars like Al Pacino, Frances McDormand, Ellen Barkin, and Edie Falco. British actress Hannah Yelland, who is nominated for her leading role in the play "Brief Encounter" doesn't see a difference.
"An actor is an actor is an actor, you know. It's obviously great to be nominated with such fantastic actresses. They all have done theater and they all have done film before so it's just really an honor to be considered in the same category," said Yelland.
Best featured actress in a play nominee and former "Ugly Betty" star, Judith Light, agreed.
"I don't think it's about screen actors I think it's about actors and I think it's about people who have had long and varied and diverse careers and now we are able to go from one place to another," explained Light.
Actress Beth Leavel received the only nomination for the production of "Baby It's You." When asked about the recent lawsuits filed against the show by Dionne Warwick and the Shirelles accusing producers of using their names and likenesses without permission, Leavel shrugged it off.
"We don't even think about that, it's not even on, no, because the audience has such a good time, they have such a good time," she told Reuters.
The Tony Awards will be handed out on June 12.
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