NEW YORK – "Monty Python's Spamalot," (search) a madcap medieval musical loosely based on the zany British troupe's film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," led the field with 14 Tony nominations Tuesday, including best musical and bids for its King Arthur, Tim Curry, and Lancelot, Hank Azaria (search).
The musicals "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," about a couple of scam artists working the French Riviera, and "The Light in The Piazza," the lushly romantic tale of love at first sight -- and its ramifications, got 11 each.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning "Doubt," John Patrick Shanley's drama of uncertainty set against the backdrop of a Catholic school in the Bronx, received eight nominations.
Kathleen Turner (search) picked up a best actress nomination for her role as a boozy wife in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." Also nominated were Laura Linney (search) as a spurned woman in "Sight Unseen," Mary-Louise Parker (search) for her portrayal of a distraught housewife in "Reckless," Cherry Jones, who played a dour, authoritarian nun in "Doubt"; and Phylicia Rashad, an ancient, mystical woman in "Gem of the Ocean."
Best actor nominees: Billy Crudup (search), a jailed writer in "The Pillowman"; Philip Bosco for a disbelieving juror in "Twelve Angry Men"; James Earl Jones for a cantankerous father in "On Golden Pond"; Bill Irwin, Turner's boozy, battling husband in "Virginia Woolf"; and Brian F. O'Byrne, an accused priest in "Doubt."
The nominees in the best play category besides "Doubt" were "Democracy," "Gem of the Ocean" and "The Pillowman."
The off-Broadway sleeper hit that made it to Broadway -- "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" -- vies with "Monty Python's Spamalot," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "The Light in The Piazza" as best musical.
Besides Curry and Azaria, other leading actor in a musical nominees included Gary Beach for "La Cage aux Folles," Norbert Leo Butz and John Lithgow for "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."
Nominated for leading actress in a musical were Christina Applegate, "Sweet Charity"; Victoria Clark, "The Light in the Piazza"; Erin Dilly, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"; Sutton Foster, "Little Women"; and Sherie Rene Scott, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."
In the same year he was up for an Academy Award (for his supporting role in "The Aviator") Alan Alda got a Tony nod as a featured actor in "Glengarry Glen Ross."
And Applegate -- who still may be best known as a trampy teenager on the old sitcom "Married ... With Children" -- received a nomination as the unlucky-in-love dance hall hostess in "Sweet Charity." She broke her right foot in March during the show's Chicago tryout, and the Broadway production was canceled after its next stop, in Boston. But Applegate's determination resurrected it.
Edward Albee, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who challenged theatrical convention in such masterworks as "Virginia Woolf," "A Delicate Balance" and "Seascape," was picked to receive a special Tony for lifetime achievement.
The best revival of a play category pits "Virginia Woolf" against David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," "On Golden Pond" and "Twelve Angry Men." In the best revival of a musical category, "La Cage aux Folles" will compete with "Pacific Overtures" and "Sweet Charity."