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Whodathunk?! Congratulates Five (Happy!) Surprise Tony Nominees

Whodathunk?! Congratulates Five (Happy!) Surprise Tony Nominees
Left to right: Elizabeth A. Davis in 'Once,' Ron Raines in 'Follies' & Laura Osnes in 'Bonnie & Clyde' lists five 2012 surprising Tony nominations.

The 2012 Tony race has offically begun! Although successfully predicted a majority of the nominees, the May 1 announcement included its share of curveballs, with the comittee recognizing several first-time nominees over longtime favorites. Below, we analyze five happy surprises from the list of Tony nominees.

Laura OsnesBonnie & Clyde (Best Leading Actress in a Musical)
With the show long-closed and contenders like Bernadette Peters (Follies) and Elena Roger (Evita) in the mix, Osnes was far from a shoo-in. Stepping away from her frequent ingenue roles, she delivered a memorably sexy and abrasive turn as the infamous title bank robber. In five years, Osnes has gone from reality TV contestant to Tony nominee. 

Wayne Barker and Rick Elice, Peter and the Starcatcher (Best Score)

One of two plays to pick up a Best Score nomination (in addition to One Man, Two GuvnorsStarcatcher’s nod is notable as the show includes only two actual songs: the delightful second act opener “Mermaid of Me” and “Swim On.”

Michael CumpstyEnd of the Rainbow (Best Featured Actor in a Play)
With Tracie Bennett dominating Rainbow's spotlight as Judy Garland, it’s easy to forget about the men who share the stage with her. Tony nominators recognized stage veteran Cumpsty’s turn as Garland's charming and caring pianist Anthony.

Elizabeth A. Davis, Once (Best Featured Actress in a Musical)
The Once ensemble is such a tightknit unit, it’s difficult to select a standout from the group of pub-dwelling Dublin folk. Still Davis’ quadruple-threat performance (She sings! She dances! She acts! She plays the violin!) as Cristin Milioti's Czech roommate caught nominators' eyes. (Click here to read Davis' pre-Tony reflections on her role.)

Ron RainesFollies (Best Leading Actor in a Musical)
A showering of support for Follies was a no-brainer, but with so many performers who might have been singled out, no one was assured of Tony love. Raines brought powerful authority to Benjamin Stone, the least flashy of the musical's four leads—and got his first Tony nomination.

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