Every season's nomination roster features a portrayal or two based on a historical character, but this year's crop of honorees took several pages from the history books.
All three of the acting nominations won by the Peter Allen musical The Boy From Oz are for actors who impersonate actual personalities from show biz's past. There is, of course, Hugh Jackman, who plays the central character of late Australian entertainer Allen. Also up for an award are Isabel Keating as Allen's one-time mother-in-law Judy Garland and Beth Fowler as Allen's supportive mother.
The Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical Assassins is almost exclusively populated by infamous folk who once breathed American air (though, in most cases, not for long). Of the presidential assassins and would-be assassins depicted in the piece, two performances were nominated: Michael Cerveris' John Wilkes Booth and Denis O'Hare's Charles J. Giteau.
The Boy George musical Taboo brought back to life the London club scene of the 1980s, from which the Culture Club lead singer emerged. Euan Morton, who played Boy George in the show, was nominated for his work.
Though The Retreat from Moscow playwright William Nicholson's parent are hardly famous, they are nonetheless actual people (and still living), and the dissolution of their marriage was the basis of their son's play. Eileen Atkins was nominated for playing Nicholson's exacting mother, while Ben Chaplin was put in the running for his dramatic version of a young Nicholson. In I Am My Own Wife, the nominated Jefferson Mays plays Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, the sui generis German transvestite whose story inspired Doug Wright's play.
Finally, Tovah Feldshuh won a nod for her turn as former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in William Gibson's one-person play, Golda's Balcony.