Inside the Tony Award nominees: Best Play

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As the Tony Awards approach (Sunday, June 10), EW takes a closer look at this season’s nominated selection of new musicals, plays, and revivals, all of which will be competing for Broadway’s highest honor. Today, we dive into this year’s nominees for Best Play. (See also: Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical.)

Peter and the Starcatcher

Opened: April 15, 2012

Starring: Christian Borle, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Adam Chanler-Berat

Written by Rick Elice; music by Wayne Barker; directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers

Synopsis: A clever retelling of Peter Pan, Starcatcher re-imagines Peter as a nameless orphan (Chanler-Berat) held captive on a pirate ship called the Neverland and reinvents Captain Hook as a scenery-chewing pirate named Black Stache (Borle). Their paths collide when their ships crash and they’re both marooned — along with a cast of vibrant characters — on a not-so-deserted island.

EW’s Review: “This may be the tale of the future Peter Pan (Adam Chanler-Berat) and his lost-boy pals, but it’s quick-on-the-draw, rubber-limbed Borle who steals the show. The actor’s gifts for physical comedy aren’t exactly highlighted on NBC’s Smash; here, however, he is rewarded with a deliciously juicy part as a malaprop-prone mustachioed pirate — not to mention an astonishing number of facial-hair jokes and goofy random references to Proust and Kelis. B” (Melissa Rose Bernardo)

Tony nominations: 9 — Best Play; Best Score; Best Featured Actor in a Play (Christian Borle); Best Featured Actress in a Play (Celia Keenan-Bolger); Best Direction of a Play (Roger Rees, Alex Timbers); Best Scenic Design of a Play (Paloma Young); Best Lighting Design of a Play (Jeff Croiter); Best Sound Design of a Play (Darron L. West)

Odds on winning: Borle is a critic’s darling, but his impeccable comedic talent is probably no match for Death of a Salesman‘s Andrew Garfield in the Featured Actor race. A Best Play win would be a welcome surprise, but Starcatcher‘s best chances lie with its creative designers, who created a world from household objects and simple, clever effects. Costume designer Paloma Young’s inventive mermaid costumes literally stop the show, while lighting designer Jeff Croiter and sound designer Darron West may join their colleague for respective awards in their areas as well.

Celia Keenan-Bolger on her Tony odds: “It’s easier if you know you’re not going to win, and I feel that way, which is so nice!” says Keenan-Bolger, who was a nominee for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in 2005. “It takes off so much pressure! I mean, I hope I will be at the Tony Awards some year where I do think there’s a chance I could, but that is not this year, and so instead I just get to enjoy being with all of these people whom I care about and not stressing about winning.”

Adam Chanler-Berat on a recent Starcatcher slip-up: “Slank, who is this monster of a ship captain, is threatening Molly, played by Celia Keenan-Bolger. He says something like, “I might not have been born with a silver spoon up me bum, but that don’t mean I won’t stir my tea with one.” And he said — and he’s gonna kill me for saying this — he said, ‘I might have been born in a spoon in me bum!’ and that was it, that’s all that came out. Celia, being the pro she is, moved on, but I laughed. I couldn’t contain my excitement and I was giggling through the next good portion of [the next scene], which I have water in my mouth for most of.”

NEXT: Venus in Fur

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