Michael Blakemore, Kiss Me, Kate
A seven-time Tony nominee, Michael Blakemore has two of those nominations this year, for Kate and the drama Copenhagen. He's also been nominated for Joe Egg, Noises Off, City of Angels, Lettice and Lovage and The Life. He's staged more than 20 shows in London's West End, including Benefactors and Privates on Parade, which he later filmed with John Cleese.
Susan Stroman, Contact
Susan Stroman, The Music Man
It has been a roller coaster year for director-choreographer Susan Stroman, from rave reviews and Tony nominations for choreographing Contact and The Music Man, to losing her husband, Mike Ockrent, to leukemia. A two-time Tony Best Choreography winner, for Crazy For You and Show Boat, Stroman is next expected to stage the adaptation of Mel Brooks' "The Producers." Other credits include Steel Pier and the Royal National Theatre's revival of Oklahoma!.
Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Swing!
On Broadway, Lynn Taylor-Corbett has choreographed Chess and Titanic, while her Off-Broadway credits include Theda Bara and the Frontier Rabbi and Darlene Love: Portrait of a Singer. She's worked at such regional venues as CA's Old Globe and NJ's George Street Playhouse, and with such dance companies as New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
Analysis: You'd be hard-pressed to find a theatre insider who didn't think all four nominations weren't extremely deserving, but this is Stro's year. She'll likely win for Contact rather than Music Man, since Contact has been this season's unexpected break-away hit.
-- By David Lefkowitz