The Tony Awards ceremony will be at Radio City Music Hall again this year. The date of the 56th annual event is June 2, with nominations announced on May 6. The cutoff date for award eligibility is May 1.
There has been no word regarding this year's host (or hosts, as the case may be), ticket sales or availability. Gary Smith will again executive produce, with Elizabeth Ireland McCann serving as managing producer (and she'll keep that position for at least two more seasons).
As in previous years, the show is likely to be telecast in two parts, with the first hour (8-9 PM), comprising ten awards, running on PBS, and the 9 11 PM slot broadcast on CBS, which has aired the Tonys for 25 consecutive years.
Television ratings for the CBS national broadcast have been low for many years. There was a temporary reversal of fortune in the late '90s. In 1997, with Rosie O'Donnell as host, the show leapt to an 11.2 rating and a 17 share, its best showing in 10 years. The following year, the Tonys registered a 10.3 rating and a 16 share. Since then, numbers have slipped steadily.
The hope is that this year's ceremony will have special relevance and show a rejuvenated New York after the horrors of 9/11. Executive producer Smith said in a statement, "New York has rebounded. Broadway has rebounded. This year's Tony Awards will show television audiences how the greatest City in the world celebrates the singlular most important asset — Broadway." Variety has reported that the Tony Administration Committee has already made some decisions regarding eligibility, including disallowing the closed Renee Taylor-Joseph Bologna duet, If You Ever Leave Me, I'm Going With You, because Tony voters weren't invited, and noting that Mamma Mia! cannot be nominated for best score (music and/or lyrics) because the songs were written for another medium before reaching Broadway. No word yet on whether solos by singer Barbara Cook and Alan Alda (QED), which play only twice a week, will be eligible. Reached Feb. 1, a Tony spokesperson at the Keith Sherman press office could not confirm any issues regarding eligibility.
The Tony Awards are co-produced by the American Theatre Wing and the League of American Theatres and Producers under the umbrella title, "Tony Award Productions." Joey Parnes is this year's coordinating producer.
Last year's 55th annual Tony Awards ceremony for excellence in Broadway theatre were held June 3, 2001 at Radio City Music Hall. The event was televised live on PBS (8-9 PM) and CBS (9-11 PM). The PBS telecast was officially titled "The First Ten Awards: Tonys 2001."
The Producers, which won for Best Musical, broke the all-time record for Tony wins with 12. In fact, The Producers won all the awards for which it had been nominated: for Musical, Book of a Musical, Original Score, Orchestration, Choreography, Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design, Direction of a Musical, Featured Actress, Leading Actor, Featured Actor (Beach). Daniel Sullivan, winning for directing Proof,joked that he thanked the voters for his win, even though he had "nothing to do with The Producers." The Producers would pick up its ninth and tenth awards before 9:30 PM, for Gary Beach and Cady Huffman, as Featured Actor and Actress, respectively, in a Musical. For The Producers' eleventh win, Nathan Lane took the Best Actor trophy, proudly sharing it with co-star Matthew Broderick, as well as mentioning Zero Mostel, who originated the character of Max Bialystock. The show would then take home the big musical prize, for win number twelve, at 10:55 PM.
The Featured Actress award went to Viola Davis (King Hedley II), with Mary-Louise Parker later winning Best Actress for Proof. David Auburn's comedy-drama would also win for Best Play and for Daniel Sullivan's direction.
Here are the 1999-2000 Tony Award winners (in BOLD CAPS) and nominees:
King Hedley II
The Invention of Love
The Tale of the Allergist's Wife
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL :
NATHAN LANE, The Producers
Matthew Broderick, The Producers
Tom Hewitt, The Rocky Horror Show
Patrick Wilson, The Full Monty
Kevin Chamberlin, Seussical
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY:
RICHARD EASTON, The Invention of Love
Brian Stokes Mitchell, King Hedley II
Gary Sinise, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Sean Campion, Stones in His Pockets
Conleth Hill, Stones in His Pockets
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY :
MARY-LOUISE PARKER, Proof
Linda Lavin, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife
Juliette Binoche, Betrayal
Jean Smart, The Man Who Came to Dinner
Leslie Uggams, King Hedley II
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY:
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
The Best Man
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY:
VIOLA DAVIS, Kind Hedley II
Michele Lee, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife
Johanna Day, Proof
Penny Fuller, The Dinner Party
Marthe Keller, Judgment at Nuremberg
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY :
ROBERT SEAN LEONARD, The Invention of Love
Charles Brown, King Hedley II
Larry Bryggman, Proof
Michael Hayden, Judgment at Nuremberg
Ben Shenkman, Proof
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
CADY HUFFMAN, The Producers
Polly Bergen, Follies
Kate Levering, 42nd Street
Mary Testa, 42nd Street
Kathleen Freeman, The Full Monty
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL:
Bells Are Ringing
The Rocky Horror Show
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY :
DANIEL SULLIVAN, Proof
Jack O'Brien, The Invention of Love
Marion McClinton, King Hedley II
Ian McElhinney, Stones in His Pockets
BEST COSTUME DESIGN :
WILIAM IVEY LONG, The Producers
Theoni V. Aldredge, Follies
Roger Kirk, 42nd Street
David C. Woolard, The Rocky Horror Show
BEST SCENIC DESIGN :
ROBIN WAGNER, The Producers
Bob Crowley, The Invention of Love
Heidi Ettinger, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Douglas W. Schmidt, 42nd Street
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
MEL BROOKS, The Producers
Ed Kleban, A Class Act
David Yazbek, The Full Monty
Paul Gordon and John Caird, Jane Eyre
SPECIAL THEATRICAL EVENT
VICTORY GARDENS THEATRE (Chicago, IL)
Lifetime Achievement: PAUL GEMIGNANI
Excellence in Theatre: BETTY CORWIN and the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library; NEW DRAMATISTS, and "THEATRE WORLD."
— By David Lefkowitz