NEW YORK -- The musical comedy classics ''Kiss Me, Kate'' and ''The Music Man'' drew the most Tony nominations today for the best of the Broadway season. Notably missing from the best musical category was Disney's lavish version of ''Aida.''
''Kiss Me, Kate,'' the Cole Porter musical loosely adapted from Shakespeare's ''The Taming of the Shrew,'' received 12 nominations, while Meredith Willson's corn-fed remembrance of 1912 Iowa took eight. They will compete for best musical revival along with ''Jesus Christ Superstar'' and the revue ''Tango Argentino.''
''Copenhagen,'' Michael Frayn's drama about the controversial meeting of two physicists on opposite sides during World War II, was nominated for best play.
It will compete for the top prize against ''Dirty Blonde,'' Clauda Shear's warm-hearted biography of sex symbol Mae West; ''The Ride Down Mt. Morgan,'' Arthur Miller's examination of an unrepentant bigamist; and ''True West,'' Sam Shepard's savage comedy about two battling brothers.
''Contact,'' three stories told through dance, was nominated for best new musical, along with ''James Joyce's The Dead,'' ''Swing!'' and ''The Wild Party.'' In addition to ''Aida,'' the critically panned ''Saturday Night Fever'' also was passed over in the category. But ''Aida'' composer Elton John was nominated for best score, along with lyricist Tim Rice.
Also snubbed as Patrick Stewart, star of Arthur Miller's ''The Ride Down Mt. Morgan.'' Stewart had sparred publicly with the show's producers over what he perceived as lack of support for the play.
Instead, for best actor in a play, nominators picked the two stars of ''True West,'' Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly; Gabriel Byrne, who portrays a dissolute actor in ''A Moon for the Misbegotten''; Stephan Dillane, the adulterous writer in ''The Real Thing''; and David Suchet, who plays Mozart's rival in ''Amadeus.''
A mother-daughter race was set up in the actress category with Rosemary Harris, who stars in Noel Coward's ''Waiting in the Wings,'' going against her daughter, Jennifer Ehle, who is in ''The Real Thing.'' Also nominated were Claudia Shear, who portrays Mae West in ''Dirty Blonde''; Cherry Jones, from ''A Moon for the Misbegotten''; and Jayne Atkinson of ''The Rainmaker.''
Newcomer Craig Bierko, the charming con man Professor Harold Hill in ''The Music Man,'' was nominated for best actor in a musical.
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