SONDHEIM'S `PASSION' TAKES 10 TONY NOMINATIONS

* Stephen Sondheim's operetta ``Passion'' received a leading 10 Tony Award nominations May 16, after a Broadway season so thin that the nominating committee came up with only three candidates instead of four for best score.

``Passion'' received nominations for four of its performers: Donna Murphy, Jere Shea, Marin Mazzie, and Tom Aldredge, as well as for best direction (James Lapine), score (Mr. Sondheim), book (Mr. Lapine), lighting design (Beverly Emmons), and costumes (Jane Greenwood).

Disney's lavish song-and-dance stage version of ``Beauty and the Beast'' and the revival of the 1963 musical ``She Loves Me'' got nine nominations each.

The 1993-94 Broadway season was top-heavy with revivals and light on new plays and musicals. So many old shows opened that for the first time, the revival category was split into separate awards for plays and musicals.

Of the season's new works, ``Perestroika,'' the second half of Tony Kushner's AIDS drama, ``Angels in America,'' received a best-play nomination. ``Millennium Approaches,'' the drama's first part, won the best-play Tony last year.

Competition for the top drama prize is between ``Perestroika''; ``Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992,'' Anna Deavere Smith's one-woman show about the Los Angeles riots; Arthur Miller's ``Broken Glass''; and ``The Kentucky Cycle'' by Robert Schenkkan.

Stephen Spinella, who won a Tony last year for ``Millennium Approaches,'' was nominated as best actor for ``Perestroika.''

His competition includes Brian Bedford in ``Timon of Athens,'' Christopher Plummer in Harold Pinter's ``No Man's Land,'' and Sam Waterston in a revival of ``Abe Lincoln in Illinois.''

Diana Rigg captured a best-actress-in-a-play nomination for her title role in the Greek classic ``Medea.'' Other nominees for best actress in a play include: Ms. Smith; Nancy Marchand for ``Black Comedy''; and Joan Rivers, who plays comedian Lenny Bruce's mother in ``Sally Marr ... and Her Escorts.''

The winners will be announced June 12 at the Gershwin Theater in New York and televised in the United States by CBS.

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