It's hard to guess what's going to win a FANY, the Broadway equivalent of a People's Choice Award. Sometimes it's a match with the Tonys, with Contact, winning four awards including Outstanding Musical. Sometimes it's completely different -- for instance, FANY named Waiting in the Wings the best play of the 1999-2000 season and The Wild Party tied Contact with just as many wins.
Contact also took home best director and choreographer and a win for Karen Ziemba, who accepted both of Stroman's awards and her own. Contact's bookwriter John Weidman (who lost best book to Richard Nelson's The Dead) accepted the best musical award, reminiscing over the musical's beginnings as Stroman's vivid image of mysterious girl in a yellow dress she'd seen in a dance club.
Surprisingly, The Wild Party, a no-win at Tony, garnered as many honors as Contact with wins for Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Set Design, Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Toni Collette and Outstanding Score of a Musical for Michael John LaChuisa. Marc Kudisch, who played Party's Jackie, accepted two of the awards, encouraged by presenter Ruth Williamson (The Music Man) to "kiss your FANY."
Williamson, later a FANY winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for Epic Proportions, would echo that same thought to Tony, after recovering from the awe that she had beat, "bow your heads -- Marian Seldes."
The since-shuttered Wings had two wins -- the top play award and Outstanding Actress in a Play for Rosemary Harris. Harris, not competing against her daughter, The Real Thing's Jennifer Ehle, recalled a scene from The Royal Family where the mother of Gwen tells her daughter, anxious to leave the theatre profession, that she must stay on because one day she will be the very best of the family of actors and "I will be so happy." The gracious Harris was obviously happy to be honored herself after losing the Tony Award to her child. The complete list of nominees with winners bolded follows:
James Joyce’s The Dead
Kat and the Kings
The Wild Party
Outstanding Score of a Musical
Marie Christine , Michael John LaChiusa
Kat and the Kings , Taliep Peterson & David Kramer
Squonk , Jackie Dempsey & Jana Losey
The Wild Party , Michael John LaChiusa
Outstanding Costume Design
Toni-Leslie James, Marie Christine
Toni-Leslie James, The Wild Party
Martin Pakledinaz, Kiss Me, Kate
John David Ridge, Ring Round the Moon
Outstanding Supporting Actor: Play
Anthony Cummings, Waiting in the Wings
Daniel Davis, Wrong Mountain
Clarke Peters, The Iceman Cometh
Raphael Sbarge, Voices in the Dark
Outstanding Supporting Actress: Play
Frances Conroy, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan
Marian Seldes, Ring Round the Moon
Ruth Williamson, Epic Proportions
Sarah Woodward, The Real Thing
Outstanding Supporting Actress: Musical
Gretha Boston, It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues
Eartha Kitt, The Wild Party
Sherie René Scott, Aida
Deborah Yates, Contact
Karen Ziemba, Contact
Outstanding Broadway Debut
Jody J. Abrahams, Kat and the Kings
Christopher Ashley, Voices in the Dark
Gabriel Byrne, The Moon for the Misbegotten
Cindy Katz, Amadeus
Katy Selverstone, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan
This year's celebrity presenters included Robert Cuccioli, Christiane Noll, Alice Ripley, Tony Vincent, Kellie Overbey, Kelly Bishop, Jane Summerhays, Nora Mae Lyng, John Bolton and Brian d'Arcy James.
Since 2000's deadline was March 30, the awards did not include The Green Bird, The Music Man, Dirty Blonde and Uncle Vanya. 1999 shows rendered ineligible for last year's awards which are eligible in 2000 included The Iceman Cometh, Marlene, Ring Round the Moon, Fascinating Rhythm, Amy's View, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues and The Lonesome West.
The Friends of New York Theatre Awards are chosen by the members of their organization, which is open to anyone for a membership fee. Dues range from $200-$25. Tickets for the FANY Awards run $50 and $75.
For further information on the Friends of New York Theatre or the FANY Awards, call (212) 974-0139 or visit the FANY website at http://www.fanyawards.com.
A break down of wins, by show:
The Wild Party: 4
Kiss Me, Kate: 3
The Ride Down Mt. Morgan: 2
Waiting in the Wings: 2
Voices in the Dark: 1
The Dead: 1
Epic Proportions: 1
Dame Edna: 1