Tony voters have celebrated everything from the goofy to the grotesque on Broadway, handing out nominations in double digits to such varied shows as Tina Fey's catty Mean Girls, the sprawling AIDS drama Angels in America, a grown-up Harry Potter play and a lolly-coloured slice of seafood in SpongeBob SquarePants musical.
Seven shows earned 10 or more nominations, led by Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants, with 12 each. Angels in America, The Band's Visit and Carousel tied with 11, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and My Fair Lady each got 10.
The best new musical category is filled by The Band's Visit, Frozen, Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants. Those musicals that failed to make the cut were the Hal Prince revue Prince of Broadway, the Jimmy Buffett musical Escape to Margaritaville and Summer, about disco diva Donna Summer.
JK Rowling's Harry Potter franchise extended its magical touch to Broadway, with the two-part stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child earning nominations for lead actor Jamie Parker, featured actor Anthony Boyle, featured actress Noma Dumezweni, set design, costumes, lighting, sound design, choreography and a director nod for John Tiffany.
Another British revival, Angels in America, Tony Kushner's monumental, two-part drama about AIDS, life and love during the 1980s in New York, grabbed the most nominations for any play this season.
Katrina Lenk earned her first Tony nomination for The Band's Visit, based on a 2007 Israeli film about an accidental clash of cultures when an Egyptian orchestra gets lost and ends up in the wrong Israeli town.
Lenk and Louderman face competition for best actress in a musical from Lauren Ambrose of My Fair Lady, Hailey Kilgore of Once On This Island, LaChanze of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, and Jessie Mueller of Carousel.
Best male acting nominations for a play include Denzel Washington, starring in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's epic The Iceman Cometh. The 2010 Tony winner for Fences faces off against Andrew Garfield in Angels in America, Tom Hollander of Travesties, Parker of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Mark Rylance in Farinelli and The King.
Tony-winner George C. Wolfe, who directed the original Angels in America in 1993, earned another nomination for his work on The Iceman Cometh, which captured eight nods.
Amy Schumer, who made her Broadway debut in Steve Martin's comedy Meteor Shower, won a nomination for best actress in a play. Others in the category include Glenda Jackson from Three Tall Women, Condola Rashad in Saint Joan and Lauren Ridloff in Children of a Lesser God.
Carousel, My Fair Lady and Once on This Island make up the best musical revival category, mostly because they're the only shows eligible.
Michael Cera and Atlanta star Brian Tyree Henry both were recognised for their featured performances in the Kenneth Lonergan play Lobby Hero, which will compete with Angels in America, Three Tall Women, Travesties and The Iceman Cometh for best play revival.
While Broadway veterans like Louderman, Mark Rylance and Condola Rashad all received nominations, some Hollywood stars were shut out, including Uma Thurman, Chris Evans and Clive Owen.
Bruce Springsteen, whose solo show mixes songs and stories from his best-selling memoir Born to Run and has been banking over $US2 million each week he's onstage, will be granted a special, non-competitive Tony, along with John Leguizamo for Latin History for Morons.
© AP 2018
Image: MEAN GIRLS [ US / 2004 ] RACHEL MCADAMS, JONATHAN BENNETT