Lion King and Ragtime Vie For Grammys Feb. 24; O'Donnell Hosts

News   Lion King and Ragtime Vie For Grammys Feb. 24; O'Donnell Hosts
 
Ragtime and The Lion King are once again competing for a major American entertainment award -- The Grammy -- just eight months after Livent's American pageant lost the 1998 Best Musical Tony Award to Disney's leonine tuner.

Ragtime and The Lion King are once again competing for a major American entertainment award -- The Grammy -- just eight months after Livent's American pageant lost the 1998 Best Musical Tony Award to Disney's leonine tuner.

The original cast albums for both musicals were nominated Jan. 5 in the Best Musical Show Album category for the 41st annual Grammy Awards, which will be broadcast Feb 24. Rosie O'Donnell, who hosted the Tonys when Lion King roared in June 1998, helms the Grammys, administered by The Recording Academy.

The ceremony airs 8-11 PM (ET) Feb. 24 on CBS. Check local listings for regional times and channels.

Also competing for the honor are cast albums of Chicago (the London cast featuring Ute Lemper and Ruthie Henshall), Cabaret (the new Broadway cast album with Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson) and The Wizard of Oz (the Madison Square Garden cast recording with Mickey Rooney and Eartha Kitt).

The nomination for the Madison Square Garden staging of The Wizard of Oz is a boon to the TVT Soundtrax label, which began producing cast albums in 1997. TVT's two-disc recording of Paper Mill Playhouse's Follies, which includes some previously unrecorded material and a bevy of star turns, was officially released Nov. 3, 1998, beyond the Sept. 30, 1998 Grammy eligibility cutoff date. It will be eligible for a Grammy in 2000, said TVT publicist Lisbeth Cassaday. This is the second year in a row Ragtime and Chicago earned Grammy nominations. The one-disc concept album, Songs From Ragtime (with most of the same principals from the currently nominated two-disc Broadway cast album), was nominated a year ago, as was the Broadway album of Chicago, which won the Grammy.

It so happens all shows that spawned the nominated discs are still running: Wizard of Oz is on tour starring Rooney, Lemper is in the Broadway Chicago cast and Cabaret, Ragtime and Chicago are still going strong on Broadway.

RCA Victor is the label for Chicago, Ragtime and Cabaret, Walt Disney Records is the label for The Lion King.

Other theatre-related nominations went to "Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin" (Concord Jazz) for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance and "The Children's Shakespeare" (Dove Audio, with Jim Belushi, Linda Hamilton and more) for Best Spoken Word Album for Children.

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