Doug Besterman, for The Producers
Besterman won this category in 1999 for his orchestrations of Fosse, and he was nominated in 2000 for The Music Man—, like The Producers, a Susan Stroman musical. Other Broadway credits include Big and Damn Yankees. For film, he has worked on "Mulan," "Anastasia," and "Pocahontas."
Larry Hochman, for A Class Act
Hochman has done orchestrations for such Broadway shows as Jane Eyre, Pippin, Pacific Overtures and Late Nite Comic. He has also worked extensively in film and recordings (Dawn Upshaw, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin).
Jonathan Tunick, for Follies
Tunick's name is synonymous with Stephen Sondheim orchestrations: He has worked on Passion, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, the original Follies, Company, and Off-Broadway's Saturday Night, among others. Other credits include Maury Yeston's Titanic and Ricky Ian Gordon's Dream True. He was nominated last year for Marie Christine, and composer Michael John LaChiusa has also used him on his The Wild Party and The Petrified Prince. He won the Tony for Titanic.
Harold Wheeler, for The Full Monty
Wheeler was nominated for last year's Swing, then the latest Broadway credit on a list that includes Promises, Promises, The Tap Dance Kid, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, Fame, Side Show, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Wiz, Coco, Dreamgirls and A Chorus Line (Michael Bennett obviously appreciated his work).
Analysis: This roster is a three-quarters ditto of last year's, as Besterman, Tunick and Wheeler were all nominated in 2000—though none of them won the Tony (the honor went to Don Sebesky for Kiss Me, Kate). Although Besterman triumphed as recently as 1999, it's likely he will be swept up in the Producers landslide and take home another trophy. A possible dark horse is Larry Hochman, for his orchestrations of Ed Kleban's music; voters may wish to reward his work as a sort of labor of love and tribute to the until-now-unrecognized skills of the late composer. —By Robert Simonson