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Two Canadian musicals, including Come From Away, land Drama League nods

The cast of Come From Away on Broadway.

Matthew Murphy

Canadian musicals "Come From Away" and "Ride the Cyclone" are in contention for a prestigious Drama League Award.

The homegrown plays were announced on Wednesday as nominees in the outstanding production of a Broadway or off-Broadway musical category.

Joining the Canadian shows among the contenders is "Anastasia," which stars Ontario-raised theatre actor Ramin Karimloo. The other nominees are "Amelie, A New Musical," "Bandstand," "Dear Evan Hansen," "Groundhog Day," "Hadestown," "Natasha, Pierre And The Great Comet Of 1812," and "War Paint."

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"A Life" from Montreal-born playwright Adam Bock is among the nominees for the outstanding production of a Broadway or off-Broadway play award. The play tells the story of unlucky-in-love Nate Martin, who turns to astrology after his latest ill-fated relationship in an exploration of his past and place in the universe.

Other contenders in the category include "A Doll's House, Part 2," "Caught," "Everybody," "If I Forget," "Indecent," "Oslo," "The Play That Goes Wrong," "Sweat," "Tell Hector I Miss Him" and "The Wolves."

Regina-born, Saskatoon-raised David Hein and Toronto native Irene Sankoff are the married co-creators of "Come From Away," the uplifting musical set in Gander, N.L., in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The remote East Coast town saw its population double in size as it sheltered 6,579 passengers and crew from 38 planes diverted when U.S. air space was closed.

Before making its Broadway debut early last month, "Come From Away" was staged in La Jolla, Calif., Washington, D.C., Seattle and Toronto. The "Come From Away" cast was also in Gander for two concerts last October as a fundraiser for local charities.

Playwright Jacob Richmond and composer Brooke Maxwell, both from Victoria, are behind the off-Broadway production "Ride the Cyclone," which ended its run last December.

Described as part tragedy, part comedy, the quirky musical centres on students who die in a freak roller-coaster mishap.

The Drama League Awards, first handed out in 1922 and formalized in 1935, are billed as the oldest theatrical honours in the U.S.

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The awards are selected by the entire theatre community, which encompasses thousands of Drama League members from across the U.S. who attend Broadway and off-Broadway shows.

Husband-and-wife acting duo Audra McDonald and Will Swenson will host this year's ceremony, which will be held in New York on May 19.

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