(L-R) Viola Davis, Chris Chalk, Denzel Washington and Mykelti Williamson...

(L-R) Viola Davis, Chris Chalk, Denzel Washington and Mykelti Williamson are shown in a scene from the Broadway revival of August Wilson's "Fences." Credit: AP

Rock musicals, American playwrights and Hollywood star power dominate this year's Tony Award nominees, which were announced Tuesday. "Fela!" and "La Cage aux Folles" led the race with 11 nominations each.

Close behind the leaders is the revival of "Fences," starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, with 10 nominations. "Memphis," a new musical about a white DJ who loves soul music in the segregated South, has eight.

"Fela!" a biographical concert / extravaganza about the activist / creator of Afrobeat, was nominated for best musical, with Bill T. Jones cited for both his direction and choreography. Among the nominations for "La Cage," a revival of the 1984 family values drag musical, are lead actors Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge.

All four nominated musicals are from pop and rock, a huge split from traditional Broadway sounds. In addition to "Fela!" and "Memphis," nominees are "American Idiot," based on the Green Day punk-rock album, and "Million Dollar Quartet," a jukebox recreation of dead rock and roll stars. Both have three nominations. But "American Idiot" director Michael Mayer and star John Gallagher Jr. were not nominated.

In an atypical year, all four best plays - "Red" (7), "In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)" (3), "Next Fall" (2) and "Time Stands Still" (2) - are by American playwrights.

Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth were shut out of their star turns in "The Addams Family," which got just two nominations but sold more than $1 million in tickets last week.

In a season driven by movie stars, plenty got nominations. Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig were ignored for "A Steady Rain." But acting nominations did go to Washington and co-star Viola Davis for "Fences," Liev Schreiber for "A View from the Bridge" (along with Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Hecht), Jude Law for "Hamlet," Christopher Walken for "A Behanding in Spokane" and Laura Linney for "Time Stands Still."

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury are nominated, respectively, in lead and supporting categories for "A Little Night Music," which is also a nominee for best musical revival.

Perhaps the most competitive category is play revival, with 10 for "Fences," including director Kenny Leon, six for "A View from the Bridge," including director Gregory Mosher, five for "The Royal Family" and three for "Lend Me a Tenor." The Tony Awards ceremony is June 13 at Radio City Music Hall and will air on CBS.

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