Colorado's Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone both nominated for Tony Awards

Annaleigh Ashford and Beth Malone
Tony Award nominees Annaleigh Ashford (“You Can’t Take it With You”) and Beth Malone (Fun Home”).

Both Wheat Ridge High grad Annaleigh Ashford (You Can’t Take it With You)  and Castle Rock native Beth Malone (Fun Home) were nominated this morning for Tony Awards.

Beth MaloneASHFORD_ AnnaleighMalone, who opened the DCPA Theatre Company season starring in a refreshed version of the classic Broadway musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, was nominated for best leading actress in a musical for Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s coming-of-age graphic novel about her closeted and suicidal dad. Alison is portrayed by three actors at different times in her life. Malone plays the middle-aged Alison.

Wrote The New York Times: “Ms. Malone expertly turns seeming self-effacement into penetrating presence.”


Malone was nominated alongside Kristin Chenoweth, Kelli O’Hara, Chita Rivera and Leanne Cope. She was so convinced she had no chance of being nominated, she slept through the televised morning announcement made by none other than Bruce Willis. “I just wanted to wake up and have it be done because I didn’t want it to hurt,” she said. “But oh my God, it’s so nice to be wrong.”

Beth MaloneWhen wife Rochelle Schoppert’s cell phone started pinging, she turned to Malone and said, “Congratulations, Tony nominee.”

“It was like a sensation of both relief and joy washed over me while I just lay there spooning my dog,” said Malone. “And then we went to the dog park and picked up poop.”

Malone credited her experience with Molly Brown in Denver as a significant factor in her Fun Home success.

“I have to say that doing Molly Brown and have it be a success on the level that it was really helped me walk back into the Fun Home rehearsal knowing that I could lead a cast,” said Malone. “Molly Brown and that whole experience at the Denver Center bolstered my confidence in my bones.”

Photos from Beth Malone’s time in Denver starring in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Photo by John Moore.

Ashford was here in Denver just two weeks ago performing two sold-out evenings of her acclaimed cabaret show, Annaleigh Ashford: Lost in the Stars.  She has been nominated as best featured actress in a play for You Can’t Take it With You opposite James Earl Jones.  She was previously nominated for best featured actress in a musical for Kinky Boots.

“I’m so honored to have been nominated among such an extraordinary group of women,” Ashford told the DCPA NewsCenter. “But I’m even more grateful to have been a part of the amazing ensemble cast of You Can’t Take it With You. It was one of the highlights of my life, and this is just extraordinarily amazing.”

You Can’t Take it With You is the 1938 Pulitzer-winning play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart about a good-natured and decidedly eccentric family that lives life according to their whims rather than societal convention.

The New York Times called Ashford “a sly comic genius” in its review. Ashford played Essie, who goes through life in toe shoes and on point. “Priceless moments as offered up by Ms. Ashford as Essie makes like Pavlova in every conceivable context,” wrote Ben Brantley. “Just wait for the position she assumes by Mrs. Kirby’s chair in the big dinner scene.”

Both Malone and Ashford grew up on Colorado stages and have the former Country Dinner Playhouse in common. Ashford  made her stage debut at age 10 in Theatre Group’s Ruthless! The Musical! Malone played the narrator in the Arvada Center’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and has other credits spanning BDT Stage to Theatre Aspen.

Read our featured interview with Annaleigh Ashford

Read our featured interview with Beth Malone

Photos from Annaleigh Ashford’s visit last month to Denver. Photo by John Moore.

The musicals “An American in Paris” and “Fun Home” each received a leading 12 Tony Award nominations, showing two very different sides of this Broadway season.

One side is sunny — the dance-heavy stage adaptation of the 1951 musical film choreographed by Gene Kelly — and the other dark.

Michael Cerveris got one of the dozen nods for “Fun Home” — as best leading actor in a musical — and hopes that will attract more people to see his poignant show that might not initially be a lure for tourists.

“The real value of the Tonys — and I suppose any awards — is to draw attention to something that people otherwise might not seek out. So the fact that every aspect of the production has been acknowledged is the best kind of advertising,” he told The Associated Press.

The nominations also ranged from 11-year-old Sydney Lucas in “Fun Home” to the 82-year-old Chita Rivera, looking for her third Tony. Helen Mirren and Bradley Cooper each got nominations but Matthew Morrison from “Glee” did not get a nod in his return to Broadway.

The best new play category will include the candidates “Wolf Hall, Parts One & Two,” ”Hand to God,” ”Disgraced” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Larry David’s “Fish in the Dark” was snubbed entirely.

In addition to “An American in Paris” and “Fun Home,” the best new musical category includes “Something Rotten!” and “The Visit.” The Peter Pan-themed “Finding Neverland,” marking Harvey Weinstein first-ever venture into Broadway as a lead producer, didn’t get a single nomination.

​The category of best revival includes the Rodgers and Hammerstein gem The King and I, the Leonard Bernstein/Betty Comden/Adolph Green classic On The Town and the Cy Coleman/Comden/Green romp On the Twentieth Century.

The British did well, with transfers “Wolf Hall Parts One & Two,” ”The Audience”, “The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time” and “Skylight” grabbing 24 nominations. Sting’s “The Last Ship” earned the rocker a nomination for best original score.

The best actress in a musical category includes Kristin Chenoweth for “On the Twentieth Century,” Kelli O’Hara for “The King and I,” Chita Rivera for “The Visit,” Leanne Cope from “An American in Paris” and Beth Malone from “Fun Home.”

The best actor in a musical nominees are Brian d’Arcy James for “Something Rotten!”, Michael Cerveris in “Fun Home,” Ken Watanabe in “The King and I,” Tony Yazbeck in “On the Town” and Robert Fairchild in “An American in Paris.”

The best actor in a play nominees include Bradley Cooper for “The Elephant Man,” Ben Miles for “Wolf Hall, Parts One & Two,” Alex Sharp in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” Steven Boyer in “Hand to God,” and Bill Nighy for “Skylight.”

The five best actresses in a play nominees are: Carey Mulligan in “Skylight,” Helen Mirren in “The Audience,” Ruth Wilson in “Constellations,” Geneva Carr in “Hand to God” and Elisabeth Moss in “The Heidi Chronicles.”

Mirren earned her nod for playing Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience” imagines the private weekly meetings between the monarch and eight of Britain’s prime ministers over her six-decade reign. Mirren already has an Oscar for playing the same sovereign in the film “The Queen” and was a hit in the play in London.

“I’ve studied the shape of her mouth. I know her face probably better than anyone else does. But it’s only my portrait,” she said. “I can only surmise and imagine.

DCPA NewsCenter viewers were able to watch the 2015 Tony Awards nominations announcement live in a special webcast hosted by Mary-Louise Parker and Bruce Willis. Parker is a former Tony winner (Proof) and three-time nominee. Willis is set to make his Broadway debut this fall in the upcoming play Misery, a new stage adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

Check back here throughout the morning as we update this page with inside info, trivia, quotes and more.

The Tony Awards will be presented on June 7 on CBS. On the Twentieth Century headliner Kristin Chenoweth and recent Cabaret star Alan Cumming will host the 69th annual ceremony live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Wire reports contributed to this report.


Best Play
Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar
Hand to God by Robert Askins
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens
Wolf Hall Parts One & Two by Hilary Mantel and Mike Poulton

Best Musical
An American in Paris
Fun Home
Something Rotten!
The Visit

Best Revival of a Play
The Elephant Man
This Is Our Youth
You Can’t Take It With You

Best Revival of a Musical
On the Town
On the Twentieth Century
The King and I

Best Book of a Musical
Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, Something Rotten!
Lisa Kron, Fun Home
Craig Lucas, An American in Paris
Terrence McNally, The Visit

Best Score
John Kander and Fred Ebb, The Visit
Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!
Sting, The Last Ship
Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, Fun Home

Best Leading Actor in a Play
Steven Boyer, Hand to God
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Ben Miles, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Bill Nighy, Skylight
Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Leading Actress in a Play
Geneva Carr, Hand to God
Helen Mirren, The Audience
Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Ruth Wilson, Constellations

Best Leading Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Ken Watanabe, The King and I
Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

Beth_Malone_Molly_Brown_Broncos_3Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Beth Malone, Fun Home
Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
Chita Rivera, The Visit

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Matthew Beard, Skylight
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
Richard McCabe, The Audience
Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play

Annaleigh Ashford and Molly Nash. Ashford once perfdormed a benefit concert to defray Nash's medical expenses. Photo by John Moore. Best Featured Actress in a Play
Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It With You
Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
Julie White, Airline Highway

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris
Max von Essen, An American in Paris

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Victoria Clark, Gigi
Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Bunny Christie & Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Bob Crowley, Skylight
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It With You

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris
David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
Michael Yeargan, The King and I
David Zinn, Fun Home

Best Costume Design of a Play
Bob Crowley, The Audience
Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It With You
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Zinn, Airline Highway

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century
Catherine Zuber, The King and I

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Paule Constable and David Plater, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Natasha Katz, Skylight
Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Donald Holder, The King and I
Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
Ben Stanton, Fun Home
Japhy Weideman, The Visit

Best Director of a Play
Stephen Daldry, Skylight
Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It With You
Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God

Best Director of a Musical
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
John Rando, On the Town
Bartlett Sher, The King and I
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Best Choreography
Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Best Orchestrations
Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky and Bill Elliott, An American in Paris
John Clancy, Fun Home
Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!
Rob Mathes, The Last Ship

Tony Nominations by Production
An American in Paris – 12
Fun Home – 12
Something Rotten! – 10
The King and I – 9
Wolf Hall Parts One & Two – 8
Skylight – 7
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – 6
Hand to God – 5
On the Twentieth Century – 5
The Visit – 5
You Can’t Take It with You – 5
Airline Highway – 4
The Elephant Man – 4
On the Town – 4
The Audience – 3
The Last Ship – 2
Constellations – 1
Disgraced – 1
Gigi – 1
The Heidi Chronicles – 1
It’s Only a Play – 1
This Is Our Youth – 1

Gold Derby is predicting that Fun Home, starring Beth Malone, will not only be nominated for Best Musical, but will win.

Donald Holder, who designed the lights for The Unsinkable Molly Brown in Denver, was nominated for an 11th time for The King and I.

CBS has broadcast the Tony every year since 1978.

Tony nominees Beth Malone, above, and Donald Holder, below, when they were here in Denver for The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”