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2012 Grammy nominations: Potter, Porter and Mormons - who will win?

2012 Grammy nominations for 3 Broadway musicals pit 'The Book of Mormon' against 'Anything Goes' and 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.'

By MARK KENNEDYAssociated Press / December 2, 2011

In this theater publicity image released by Boneau/Bryan-Brown, Andrew Rannells (c.) performs with an ensemble cast in "The Book of Mormon" at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York. The Broadway cast recordings of "The Book of Mormon," "Anything Goes" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" each earned Grammy nominations Wednesday night, an eclectic group of musicals that are still going strong.

Joan Marcus/Bryan-Brown/Boneau/AP

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Move over Adele, Kanye West and Bon Iver. One of the livelier contests at next year's Grammy Awards will pit Harry Potter, Cole Porter and a pair of Mormon missionaries.

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The cast recordings of "The Book of Mormon," ''Anything Goes" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" — an eclectic group of shows still going strong on Broadway — each earned Grammy nominations Wednesday night.

"We're in very rarified company," said Kathleen Marshall, who directed and choreographed the Porter-driven "Anything Goes," which stars Sutton Foster and Joel Grey and features such songs as "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "You're the Top."

Robert Lopez, who together with "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone created "The Book of Mormon," was generous in his praise for his rivals. "I've seen them both and I thought they were great," he said. "They're two big classics and they did a really good job casting and remounting them."

"The Book of Mormon" goes into the Grammy contest as the favorite, having already captured the best musical Tony Award among its haul of nine awards. Its cast album also hit the top 10 on Billboard's pop charts, which hasn't happened in decades.

But Lopez, who was last nominated for "Avenue Q," isn't predicting victory quite yet.

"I don't make any assumptions," he said. "I thought we were in good shape going in with 'Avenue Q' and we got smoked by 'Wicked.'"

Only three shows were nominated this year, a quirk of the process.

Only 25 cast albums were submitted, meaning only three nominations were allowed. If 24 were submitted, the whole category would have been passed over. If 26 albums were turned in, five nomination slots would have been created. In one of the biggest shocks, "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," with songs by U2's Bono and The Edge, did not get a Grammynod.

For Robert Sher, the record producer who put together the cast album for "How to Succeed," getting a Grammy nomination is familiar territory. He's earned six over his career and has now gotten one four years in a row.

When recording the album featuring John Larroquette and former wizard Daniel Radcliffe, Sher said he wanted to avoid having a studio sound to his CD, which he finds cold and impersonal.

"When I do a show, I think about the period it's set in and I try to get that feeling of period on the album because you don't have the visuals," said Sher, who hopes this year will mark his first Grammy victory. "The idea is to inject the theatricality of the proceedings in a dynamic way."

One funny twist this year is that "The Book of Mormon" CD comes with warning stickers on the cover due to expletives and vulgarity. Marshall laughs that one its songwriting rivals, Cole Porter, hardly needs any parental cautions.

"He's naughty but in a much more innocent way," she said. "He relies on the double entendre and lets us use our imagination."

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