03Philadelphia has long been a presence in New York theater, and this year two plays with strong Philly connections have a major presence in the major categories for 2017 Tony Award nominations.
Nominated for best musical is Dear Evan Hansen, about lies and fantasies enabled by social media, based roughly on a teen suicide at Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, with songs by the duo Pasek and Paul -- Pasek being Ardmore-raised Benj Pasek, who won an Oscar for his work in the film La La Land. Pasek and writing partner Justin Paul also are Tony nominees for best original score.
Dear Evan Hansen raked in seven additional nominations, for a total of nine, the third highest after Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (with 12) and Hello, Dolly! (10).
Oslo by J.T. Rogers, a nominee for best play, was crafted as part of Philadelphia's PlayPENN development workshop. An intricate dramatization of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that led to the Oslo Accords, the play had a successful summertime run last year at Lincoln Center's small Mitzi Newhouse Theater and reopened in the larger, Tony-eligible Vivian Beaumont Theater this spring to renewed acclaim.
Oslo received a total of seven Tony nominations, including best actor (Jefferson Mays) and best actress (Jennifer Ehle).