The 52nd Annual Antoinette Perry (Tony) Awards, recognizing excellence in Broadway theatre, will be broadcast 8-11 PM Sunday June 7 from Radio City Music Hall. The first part, 8-9 PM, will be broadcast on PBS stations. The second part, 9-11 PM, will be broadcast on CBS stations. Times are local across the U.S.; check local listings for times and stations elsewhere.
Playbill On-Line editors Louis Botto and Robert Viagas are hosting a live RealAudio broadcast from backstage throughout the ceremony. Take a few minutes to download the free software now.
Most of the 21 categories feature close races this year, thanks to a bumper crop of both musicals and plays. Especially tight contests are forecast for Best Musical, between Ragtime and The Lion King; Best Play, between Art and the Beauty Queen of Leenane; Best Actress in a Musical, among Natasha Richardson, Betty Buckley, Marin Mazzie and (nominated as a single performance) Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner. There's also a close race for Best Actor in a Musical, between Alan Cumming (Cabaret) and Brian Stokes Mitchell (Ragtime).
The event is hosted for the second consecutive year by talk-show hostess (and Broadway booster), Rosie O'Donnell. O'Donnell will serve as a producer of the event, with Walter C. Miller -- who's directed Tony broadcasts since 1987 -- serving as executive producer. Roy Somlyo will again serve as managing producer of the Tonys, as he has since 1987. (In 1999, however, he'll step down and be succeeded by Edgar Dobie, former president of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company. Somlyo will stay on as a consultant for two further years). Here's the line-up of stars expected to present this year's Tony Awards:
John Lithgow, Jane Seymour, Craig T. Nelson (Ah, Wilderness!), Patti LuPone (Anything Goes), Barry Bostwick (Nick & Nora), Christine Lahti, Nell Carter (Annie), Tommy Tune (Easter Parade), Mark Linn-Baker (A Flea In Her Ear), Swoosie Kurtz, Jennifer Holliday (Dreamgirls), Betty Buckley (Triumph of Love), Stockard Channing (The Little Foxes), Marilu Henner (Chicago), Helen Hunt (Our Town, Lincoln Center's upcoming Twelfth Night), Alec Baldwin (Macbeth at the Public Theatre), Marisa Tomei (Wait Until Dark), Nathan Lane (Manhattan Theatre Club's Mizlansky/Zilinsky), Angela Lansbury (four-time Tony winner), Annette Bening, Liam Neeson (The Judas Kiss), and Bebe Neuwirth (a Tony winner in 1997 for Chicago).
And here's the line-up for production numbers from nominated musicals during the show:
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Peter Friedman, Marin Mazzie and Audra McDonald will lead the Ragtime company in that show's title tune.
Co-nominees Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner will jointly sing "I Will Never Leave You."
Tsidii Le Loka and Samuel E. Wright will lead the Lion King company on the celebrated "Circle of Life" number.
A Sound of Music medley will feature Rebecca Luker and cast-mates going from "The Wedding Scene" to "Do Re Me" and the show's finale.
Cabaret's Alan Cumming and the Kit Kat Klub girls will bid Tony viewers "Wilkommen."
As for the 8-9 PM PBS part of the Tonys, the show will be structured like last year's program, which took a documentary approach to directors and designers. Included will be footage of Paul Simon working on Capeman, as well as interviews with Cumming, Mitchell, Lion King director Julie Taymor, Ragtime librettist Terrence McNally, William Ivey Long, Eugene Lee, Frank Galati, Beauty Queen of Leenane director Garry Hynes, William David Brohn, Santo Loquasto, Garth Fagan and Lebo M.
The four nominated new plays -- Art, Freak, Golden Child, and The Beauty Queen of Leenane -- will also receive a featured spot on the telecast. According to the NY Times (June 5), the nominated playwrights were asked to write a 45-second synopsis for the play, to be read by a cast-member, in costume, standing on a replica of the play's set. All the dramatists agreed except Art's Yasmina Reza, with actor Alan Alda also demurring. Therefore, Alec Baldwin (who's presenting the play award) will himself read the synopsis, penned by members of the Tony staff. The other plays will follow Miller's plan.
According to spokesperson Kevin Rehac, the running order of award presentations will likely not be finalized until Sunday, but here's a list of the awards on both PBS and CBS, order to be determined:
PBS (8-9 PM EST): Direction (Play, Musical), Score, Book, Orchestrations of Musical; Choreography, Lighting, Scenic, Costume Design.
CBS (9-11 PM EST): Best Play, Musical, Leading Actor (Play, Musical), Leading Actress (Play, Musical), Featured Actor (Play, Musical), Featured Actress (Play, Musical), Revival.
So what else will you need for Tony night? Here are some suggestions:
* Print out our specially designed Tony Ballot, which provides checkboxes so you can compare your personal preferences, your predictions and how the Tony vote actually goes.
* Want to see photos and bios of the nominees? We have every nominee in every category. Here's a sample: Nominees for Best Actor in a Musical.
* Looking for suggestions for music to play at your Tony party? Here's a suggested playlist.
* Want to see how other Playbill On-Line users predicted the Tonys? See the results of our Playbill Polls
* Test your Tony knowledge with our Tony Trivia Quizzes.
* Wondering in what order the awards will be presented? Here's the running schedule as of June 5. Sequence subject to change.
Also, you can find the following in our Tony News Section:
* Complete Who's Who information for every Tony nominee.
* Features and interviews relating to the Tony Awards.
* Readers' opinions of the nominations, and who was omitted.
* Fun columns from some of our best writers.
Here is the complete list of nominees for the 1998 Tony Awards:
The Lion King
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
The Sound of Music
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
The Diary of Anne Frank
A View From the Bridge
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Betty Buckley, Triumph of Love
Marin Mazzie, Ragtime
Natasha Richardson, Cabaret
Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, Side Show
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Alan Cumming, Cabaret
Peter Friedman, Ragtime
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ragtime
Douglas Sills, The Scarlet Pimpernel
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Richard Briers, The Chairs
Anthony LaPaglia, A View From the Bridge
John Leguizamo, Freak
Alfred Molina, Art
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Jane Alexander, Honour
Allison Janney, A View From the Bridge
Geraldine McEwan, The Chairs
Marie Mullen, The Beauty Queen of Leenane
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
The Forever Tango Dancers, Forever Tango
Graciela Daniele, Ragtime
Garth Fagan, The Lion King
Rob Marshall, Cabaret
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE
Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Ragtime
Paul Simon and Derek Walcott, The Capeman
Henry Krieger and Bill Russell, Side Show
Elton John, Tim Rice, Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer, The Lion King
BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
Terrence McNally, Ragtime
Nan Knighton, The Scarlet Pimpernel
Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, The Lion King
Bill Russell, Side Show
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Tom Murphy, The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Brian F. O'Byrne, The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Sam Trammell, Ah, Wilderness!
Max Wright, Ivanov
BEST PEFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Enid Graham, Honour
Linda Lavin, The Diary of Anne Frank
Anna Manahan, The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Julyana Soelistyo, The Golden Child
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
BEST SCENIC DESIGN
Bob Crowley, The Capeman
Richard Hudson, The Lion King
Eugene Lee, Ragtime
Quay Brothers, The Chairs
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
William Ivey Long, Cabaret
Santo Loquasto, Ragtime
Martin Pakledinaz, Golden Child
Julie Taymor, The Lion King
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
William David Brohn, Ragtime
Robert Elhai, David Metzger and Bruce Fowler, The Lion King
Michael Gibson, Cabaret
Stanley Silverman, The Capeman
A special Tony for regional theatre will be presented to the Denver Center Theatre Company, accompanied by a $25,000 grant.
Other special awards will go to theatrical attorney, Edward E. Colton and set designer, Ben Edwards.
A Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre will be given to the International Theatre Institute of the United States.
Here are the totals for shows with more than one nomination:
Ragtime -- 13
The Lion King -- 11
Cabaret -- 10
The Beauty Queen of Leenane -- 6
The Chairs -- 6
A View From the Bridge -- 4
Side Show -- 4
Art -- 3
Golden Child -- 3
1776 -- 3
The Capeman -- 3
The Scarlet Pimpernel -- 3
Freak -- 2
High Society -- 2
Honour -- 2
The Diary of Anne Frank -- 2
Hostess O'Donnell said she's asked the nominees to think carefully about their acceptance speeches. If they win, she said, she doesn't want them thanking long lists of people. She said she wants speeches tell why the winner fell in love with theatre, something "from the heart."
Tony spokesman Kevin Rehac said, "She wants to make it an emotional evening."
Executive producer Miller reportedly will eschew the use of orchestral music to signal winners when their 30 seconds for speeches are up. Instead, a "Please wrap it up" message will be placed on the speaker's teleprompter, in the hopes that they'll take the message to heart.
-- By Robert Viagas, Robert Simonson and David Lefkowitz