Tony nominees with local connections

Center: Sutton Foster (center) stars in the Tony-nominated revival of "Violet." The musical was developed at the O'Neill, and Foster once acted at the Norma Terris.

When you watch the Tony Awards ceremony Sunday, you'll be seeing a lot of familiar faces.

Fans of theater in southeastern Connecticut will notice a lot of actors and writers and directors and other creative people who have worked around here.

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's list of 2014 Tony-nominated alums includes:

• National Playwrights Conference grads John Patrick Shanley and Robert Schenkkan have each seen their new work nominated for best play this year. Shanley earned his nod for "Outside Mullinger," with Schenkkan honored for "All the Way."

• The musical "Violet," which was developed at the O'Neill's National Music Theater Conference in 1994, is up for best revival of a musical. "Violet" director Leigh Silverman, a faculty member for the O'Neill's National Theater Institute, is nominated for best direction of a musical.

• Anika Noni Rose, who acted at the O'Neill's 2002 and 2005 National Playwrights Conference, is among the nominees for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play for her turn in "A Rasin in the Sun."

Goodspeed Musicals, too, has plenty of representatives at the Tonys. In fact, 23 nominees are Goodspeed alumni. Beyond that, 17 more performers and 10 creative staff members are part of shows in contention for best musical or best revival of a musical.

Idina Menzel, who is in the running for best actress in a leading role in a musical for "If/Then," starred in 2000's "Summer of '42" at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre in Chester. Sutton Foster, nominated in that same category for "Violet," was at the Norma Terris in 2000 for "Dorian."

Darko Tresjnak, up for best direction of a musical for "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," helmed a trio of shows at Goodspeed; his most recent work at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam was 2010's "Carnival."

Jason Robert Brown, who was at the Norma Terris with "13" and "John & Jen" in 2008 and 1993, respectively, has two Tony nominations, for best original score and best orchestration for "The Bridges of Madison County."

Costume designer William Ivey Long, whose mainstage Goodspeed credits include 2009's "Lucky Guy," is up for best costume design of a musical for "Bullets Over Broadway."

And some nominees have both Goodspeed and O'Neill credits to their name, such as "After Midnight" director and choreographer Warren Carlyle.

Artists born here are making their mark as well. There is, of course, New London native Stephen Trask, who saw the revival of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," for which he wrote the songs, be nominated as best revival.

And lead actor nominee Jefferson Mays was born in New London and grew up in Clinton. The show he's starring in - "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" - played Hartford Stage before moving to Broadway.


Left: Idina Menzel (with James Snyder) is nominated for a Tony for
Left: Idina Menzel (with James Snyder) is nominated for a Tony for "If/Then." Menzel starred in "Summer of '42" at the Goodspeed's Norma Terris in 2000. JOAN MARCUS/POLK AND CO./ AP PHOTO
Right: Playwright Robert Schenkkan's
Right: Playwright Robert Schenkkan's "All The Way" is nominated for a best play Tony. It stars, from left, Jack Willis and Kenajuan Bentley. Schenkkan was part of several O'Neill playwrights conferences. COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, JENNY GRAHAM/AP PHOTO


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