A whopping seven Broadway musicals and two Off Broadway tuners will compete for the single 2013-14 Drama League Award for musical, one of only five competitive award categories packed with nominees that also include actors Michelle Williams, Denzel Washington, Bryan Cranston, James Franco and Neil Patrick Harris.

For Tony Awards pundits looking for clues to the hotly contested new musical race, the Drama League noms -- which pit Broadway vs. Off Broadway fare for its kudos -- won't provide much of a barometer. "After Midnight," "Aladdin," "Beautiful" (pictured, above), "The Bridges of Madison County," "Bullets Over Broadway," "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," and "Rocky" are all in the running -- far more than can be accommodated by the Tony category of four (or possibly five) nominees. Off Broadway titles "Fun Home" (a likely candidate for a Broadway transfer) and "Murder for Two" round out the list, which notably leaves off one of the Rialto's spring contenders, "If/Then."

In the tuner revival category, weighing in at a svelte four titles, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," "Les Miserables" and "Violet" face off against "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill," the Billie Holiday bio that the Outer Critics and the Drama League has classified as a musical but could possibly be considered a play-with-music in the Tony race. In a prelude to what will likely happen with the Tonys, the Roundabout Theater Company revival of "Cabaret" was not considered eligible since it's a remount of the 1998 revival, although the show's new cast members were all considered for nominations.

In the new play race, Broadway outings "All the Way," "Casa Valentina," "Mothers and Sons" and "The Realistic Joneses" square off against Off Broadway's "All That Fall," "Domesticated," "Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play" and "The Open House." Playwright Will Eno competes with himself in the category with his two shows this season, "Realistic Joneses" and "Open House."

Play revival taps just-opened productions of "The Cripple of Inishmaan" and "Of Mice and Men" for a race that also encompasses fall opener "The Glass Menagerie" and Off Broadway's "Good Person of Szechuan" and "The Mutilated."

The list of actors vying for the lone acting award stretches to some 50 nominees, including Idina Menzel, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Tracy Letts and Tyne Daly, among many others.

The nominations from the League, the longstanding legit audience and artist development nonprofit, add momentum to the Gotham theater industry's 2014 awards season, which kicked off Tuesday with the Outer Critics Circle noms.

Christopher Seiber, the thesp currently starring in Broadway's "Matilda," and Judith Light announced the Drama League nominees at Sardi's on Wednesday morning. Hosted by Ferguson, the 80th annual Drama League Awards ceremony is set for May 16 at the Marriott Marquis.

The 2014 Drama League Award nominees are:


All That Fall

59 East 59 Theatres

By Samuel Beckett

Directed by Trevor Nunn

59E59 Theaters, Richard Darbourne Limited, Jermyn Street Theatre, producers

All The Way

Neil Simon Theatre

By Robert Schenkkan

Directed by Bill Rauch