By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The musical satire "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" led the nominations for Broadway's annual Tony awards on Tuesday, scoring 10 nods including for best musical, director and leading actor.
The comedy about a would-be heir who must "eliminate" several distant relatives who stand between him and an inheritance featured no top-name stars, but beat out several high-profile new musicals, including "Bullets Over Broadway" and "Rocky," which were not nominated for the top prize.
Woody Allen received a nomination for best book of a musical for writing "Bullets Over Broadway," based on his 1994 film. The show had five other nominations, most in technical categories.
Other best musical nominees were the Harlem review "After Midnight," "Aladdin," based on the animated Disney film, and "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" about songstress King.
"Gentleman's Guide," which received some of the best reviews of the season, was written by newcomers Robert Freedman and Steven Lutvak. It also won nominations for best score, book, scenic design, costumes, orchestrations, featured actress and leads Bryce Pinkham and Jefferson Mays, who plays eight characters.
Best play nominees included "Act One," which won a best actor nomination for Tony Shalhoub, "All the Way," "Casa Valentina," "Outside Mullingar" and "Mothers and Sons," whose star Tyne Daly was cited in the best actress category.
But several Hollywood stars who appeared on Broadway this season were left out when the nominations were announced by actors Jonathan Groff and Lucy Liu.
Denzel Washington, James Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michelle Williams and Zachary Quinto were all left out. Washington in particular won critical raves for his performance in "A Raisin in the Sun."
Revivals of "Twelfth Night" and "The Glass Menagerie" received the most nominations of any Broadway play production, each garnering seven nods. Other best play revival nominees were "A Raisin in the Sun" and "The Cripple of Inishmaan."
Nominated for best musical revival were "Violet," "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and "Les Miserables."
Bryan Cranston, known for the hit TV series "Breaking Bad," was nominated for best actor for his acclaimed performance as President Lyndon Johnson in "All the Way," as was Neil Patrick Harris for the punk musical, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch."
Joining Cranston were Chris O'Dowd for "Of Mice and Men," Samuel Barnett for "Twelfth Night" and double-Shakespearean revival nominee Mark Rylance, cited for both "Richard III" as lead actor and "Twelfth Night" for best featured actor.
Actresses nominated for plays included LaTanya Richard Jackson for "A Raisin in the Sun," Cherry Jones in "The Glass Menagerie," Audra McDonald for "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill" and veteran Estelle Parsons for "The Velocity of Autumn."
Two musicals that received some strong reviews, "The Bridges of Madison County" based on the film of the same name, and "If/Then," were snubbed in the best musical category, though each won a nomination for their respective lead actresses, Kelli O'Hara and Idina Menzel.
The 68th Tony awards will be presented on June 8 at Radio City Music Hall and hosted by stage and film star Hugh Jackman, who made a surprise appearance on Tuesday to make a pitch for fans to watch the broadcast.
(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Paul Simao and Tom Brown)