"Once," the story of a Czech flower seller and an Irish street musician in Dublin, was originally a low-budget movie made for about $150,000. The film earned $20 million, thanks in part to an original score that included the sublime, 2007 Oscar-winning song, "Falling Slowly."
Along with "Once," the shows up for best musical include "Newsies," "Nice Work If You Can Get It" and "Leap of Faith," which got its start at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.
Unlike last year's "The Book of Mormon," there was no monster single hit that dominated the nominations.
"The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It" got 10 nominations each.
Broadway's most expensive show, the $75 million "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," got only two nominations, for best scenic design and costume.
Nominated in the best new play category were "Other Desert Cities," "Peter and the Star Catcher," "Venus in Fur", and "Clybourne Park," which launched with Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group.
The Tony Awards will be handed out June 10 from the Beacon Theatre in New York City.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.