By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Broadway hit "Hamilton" scored a record 16 Tony Award nominations on Tuesday, solidifying its front-runner status for the top prize of best musical.
"Hamilton," which has caused a ticket-buying frenzy not seen on Broadway in years, features a multi-racial cast in a hip-hop, R & B-inflected musical that tells the story of U.S. statesman Alexander Hamilton, who was killed in an 1804 duel with Vice President Aaron Burr.
The show won nominations for lead actors Lin-Manuel Miranda as Hamilton and Leslie Odom Jr. as Burr, for lead actress Phillipa Soo, and for best score and book, both written by Miranda. Four featured cast members also received nods.
"Hamilton"'s 16 nominations broke the record held by "The Producers" and "Billy Elliot."
"It's almost impossible to process," Miranda told Reuters afterward.
"I became aware that if my life were a movie, this would be a montage, playing on fast-forward. And now I'm just trying to slow down the montage."
Up against "Hamilton" for best musical are "Shuffle Along," with 10 nominations; "Waitress"; "Bright Star"; and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "School of Rock - the Musical."
Two-time Oscar winner Jessica Lange was nominated for her portrayal of morphine-addicted Mary Tyrone in "Long Day's Journey Into Night," which won nominations for co-stars Gabriel Byrne and Michael Shannon and for best play revival.
"Blackbird," "Noises Off," and Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" and "A View from the Bridge" were also nominated for best play revival.
Best play nominees were "The Humans," "The Father," "King Charles III" and "Eclipsed."
Best musical revival nominees were "She Loves Me," "Fiddler on the Roof," "The Color Purple" and "Spring Awakening."
Joining Lange in the category of best actress in a play were Laurie Metcalf in "Misery," Lupita Nyong'o in "Eclipsed," Sophie Okonedo for "The Crucible" and Michelle Williams in "Blackbird."
Williams' co-star Jeff Daniel was nominated as best actor, along with Frank Langella for "The Father," Tim Pigott-Smith for "King Charles III" and Mark Strong in "A View from the Bridge."
Best musical actress nominees included Laura Benanti for "She Loves Me," Carmen Cusack in "Bright Star," Cynthia Erivo for "The Color Purple" and Jessie Mueller for "Waitress."
Musical actor nods went to Alex Brightman for "School of Rock," Danny Burstein in "Fiddler on the Roof" and Zachary Levi for "She Loves Me."
Hollywood star Steve Martin won two nominations, for book and co-writer of the score for the musical "Bright Star."
But other stars who appeared this season were shut out, including Keira Knightley, Al Pacino and Saoirse Ronan, as were Clive Owen, Bruce Willis and Forest Whitaker in their Broadway debuts.
The Tony awards will be presented on June 12 at Manhattan's Beacon Theatre in a ceremony headlined by talk show host and past Tony winner James Corden.
(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)