''American Idol'''s Constantine Maroulis, James Gandolfini, and Angela Lansbury all scored nods

By Thom Geier
Updated May 08, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

A parade of American Idol survivors, from Fantasia to Clay Aiken to Taylor Hicks, have hit Broadway over the last few years. But who would have guessed that Constantine Maroulis — now showcasing his goofy charm in the ’80s metal musical Rock of Ages — would be the first to earn a Tony nod? (Note to would-be nominees: Perhaps the secret’s in his trademark tresses. ”You just let it dry — and let it rock!” Maroulis tells EW.) Daniel Radcliffe, who stripped naked in last fall’s Equus, was overlooked by the Tony committee. So it goes in an awards race capping a crazy Broadway season that saw the unlikely revival of relics like Chekhov, Ionesco, Beckett, and George W. Bush (as portrayed by Will Ferrell in his hit show, which earned a Tony nom for Special Theatrical Event). Despite the Radcliffe snub, several other well-known names did make the cut, including James Gandolfini, Geoffrey Rush, Angela Lansbury, and Jane Fonda (earning her second nomination a record 49 years after her first). And as expected, Elton John’s Billy Elliot dominated the musical categories with 15 nods, including an extremely rare shared nomination for the three boys playing the title role. ”There are so many great shows,” says Maroulis. ”It’s an incredible season for Broadway.” And for him.

Additional reporting by Kate Ward