Fences” has only been open a week, and already its stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis have received Tony nominations for their leading roles, two of ten announced Tuesday for the August Wilson play.
“Fela!” nominated for best musical, tied with “La Cage aux Folles” for a leading 11 nominations, while actress Lillias White and choreographer Bill T. Jones also earned nods for the musical about pioneering Afrobeat musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
“Fela!” will face off in the best musical category with “Memphis,” which is loosely based on Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips, one of the first white DJs to play black music in the 1950s. Montego Glover of “Memphis” was nominated for best actress in a musical [See her perfomance of “Colored Woman” below.] and will face off against Catherine Zeta-Jones (“A Little Night Music”), Kate Baldwin,(“Finian’s Rainbow”), Sherie Rene Scott (“Everyday Rapture”) and Christiane Noll (“Ragtime”).
David Alan Grier of David Mamet’s “Race” and Stephen McKinley Henderson of “Fences” will compete for the featured actor in a play, joining Jon Michael Hill (“Superior Donuts”), Stephen Kunken (“Enron”) and Eddie Redmayne (“Red”) in the category.
Washington’s best actor category is filled with fellow superstars of the big screen: Jude Law for “Hamlet”; Alfred Molina, “Red”; Liev Schreiber, “A View From the Bridge”; and Christopher Walken, “A Behanding in Spokane.”
Davis, meanwhile, will face TV legends Valerie Harper (“Looped”), Linda Lavin (“Collected Stories”), as well as film star Laura Linney (“Time Stands Still”) and Jan Maxwell (“The Royal Family”) for best actress.
Winners will be announced June 13 during a ceremony televised by CBS from Radio City Music Hall.