NY1's Frank DiLella spotlights the five new shows eligible for the the Tony Award for best play. He filed the following report.
Ten new plays opened on The Great White Way this season, starting with John Grisham's "A Time To Kill." While that show closed after only playing a mere 33 performances, Harvey Fierstein's "Casa Valentina," the final play of the season, is still running and happened to make the Tony cut.
Fresh off of last year's Tony win for best musical "Kinky Boots," Fierstein returns to the Broadway boards this season, but this time with a play. Loosely based on actual events, "Casa Valentina" is set in the '60s in The Catskills and follows the story of a bunch of men who crave dressing as women. The play earned four nominations, including two for cast members Reed Birney and Mare Winningham.
Also in the mix, Moss Hart's autobiography "Act One" went from page to stage courtesy of Pulitzer and Tony winner James Lapine. The play received five nods, including one for leading man Tony Shalhoub, who takes on a trio of characters, including Hart and his one-time collaborator, George S. Kaufman.
Bryan Cranston makes his Broadway debut as as our 36th president in the political drama "All The Way." This new work, which comes to Broadway by way of The American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., follows LBJ's first year in the Oval Office. The show received two nods, one for best play and the other for Cranston's performance.
Theater vet Terrence McNally returned to the Broadway boards this season with the family drama "Mothers and Sons." The work, which is set in present day, features the first legally married gay couple on a Broadway stage. The show stars celebrated actress Tyne Daly as a conflicted mother who is mourning the loss of her son, who died of AIDS. In addition to playwright McNally, Daly also received a Tony nomination.
Finally, filling out the fifth Tony slot is John Patrick Shanley's play "Outside Mullingar." The show, which was produced earlier this year by Manhattan Theatre Club, starred Debra Messing and Brian F. O'Byrne as neighbors who end up falling for one another.