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Tony Awards snub '9 to 5,' 'The Seagull' and 'Desire Under the Elms'

May 5, 2009 |  8:48 am

Seagull_2 Part of the drama (or is it schadenfreude?) of any awards season is picking out the snubs and shutouts. This morning's announcement of the 2009 Tony nominations definitely delivered its share of pain for several high-profile Broadway productions.

One of the biggest slaps in the face was the exclusion of "9 to 5: The Musical" from the best musical category. The big-budget comedy (based on the hit 1980 film) opened last week to a blitz of publicity, but the reviews were tepid at best

Dolly Parton scored a nomination for her music, and actors Allison Janney and Marc Kudisch both received nods. But the show's absence from the top category suggests the Tony nominating committee was less than worked up about the office comedy.

In the drama categories, two critically acclaimed revivals of classic plays were shut out.

Chekhov's "The Seagull," starring Kristin Scott Thomas, was expected to land several nominations in the top categories.  The production received strong reviews, especially for Scott Thomas, who won an Olivier Award for her portrayal of the vain actress Arkadina. Her absence from the list of nominees qualifies as perhaps the biggest surprise of the morning.

"Desire Under the Elms," a sexed-up reinterpretation of Eugene O'Neill's gothic drama, also walked away empty handed despite positive reviews. The production stars Carla Gugino, Brian Dennehy and Pablo Schreiber.

In the acting categories, some of the other big omissions this morning were Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin and John Goodman, who are currently starring in a revival of Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," and Daniel Radcliffe for his lead role in the revival of "Equus."

Other notable absences among this year's nominees:

-- Arthur Laurents, for directing the bilingual revival of "West Side Story."

-- "All My Sons," the revival of the Arthur Miller play, which received no nominations. The production was directed by Simon McBurney and starred John Lithgow, Patrick Wilson, Dianne Wiest and Katie Homes.

-- "Speed-the-Plow," the revival of David Mamet's black comedy, which received only one nomination for actor Raúl Esparza.

Do you feel that other productions were dealt an unfair hand at this year's nominations? Let us know.

-- David Ng

Photo: Kristin Scott Thomas in the recent Broadway revival of "The Seagull." Credit: Joan Marcus