Tony Award Nominees For ‘Best Musical’ Touch On Themes New & Old

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Broadway’s biggest night is this Sunday.

The Tony Award nominees for “Best Musical” are four very different shows. CBS2’s Emily Smith took a sneak peak, starting with a musical inspired by the novel “War and Peace.”

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“Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812” leads all shows with 12 nominations. The musical is set in 19th Century Russia. Musician Josh Groban, in his Broadway bow, is nominated as lead actor.

“I’m so thrilled to be in a group of nominees who I respect so highly. It’s been an incredibly crowded season of brilliant performances,” he says.

Broadway newcomer Denee Benton, Groban’s costar, is a lead actress nominee, as well.

“It’s really a group of artists who came from all different walks of life. And we’ve gotten to make what I think is a show to go into the cannon of the greats,” she says.

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“Dear Evan Hansen” is also generating lots of buzz with  nine Tony nominations. It’s a show about teenagers’ struggles to fit in, and their parents’ struggle to understand them.

“His isolation and his inability to connect and get outside himself and be present is something universally people can relate to,” lead actor nominee Ben Platt says.

“These characters are just beautiful. It’s been overwhelming and perfect that they’ve been received the way that they have,” featured actress nominee Rachel Bay Jones adds.

With seven nominations, “Come From Away” takes us to Gander, Newfoundland where residents took in 6,700 people on September 11th after the terror attacks and 38 airplanes were diverted to the Canadian small town. Jen Colella is now a Tony nominee for her featured performance.

“I think the overall message of ‘Come From Away’ is that kindness and compassion is where we live,” she says.

In “Groundhog Day,” Andy Karl is the weatherman stuck in time. The musical is based on the 1993 movie.

“The treat is being here with all these talented people. Everyone is ridiculously amazing. So that’s kind of fun,” the lead actor nominee says.

“Groundhog Day” has seven nominations.

Sunday night, casts from those nominated shows will perform live, along with the casts of “Hello Dolly,” “Miss Saigon,” “War Paint” and more.

Kevin Spacey hosts the 71st annual Tony Awards live from Radio City Music Hall Sunday at 8 p.m., and you can watch on CBS2.

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