Reba McEntire, lauded for her current stint in Annie Get Your Gun, and Eric McCormack making his Broadway debut in The Music Man May 8, will share the announcing duties, May 7, when nominations for the 55th Annual Tony Awards for excellence on Broadway are revealed. The press conference will take place at Sardi's theatrical restaurant on West 44th Street at 8:30 AM (EST), according to Tony spokespersons at the Keith Sherman office.
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, stars of The Producers, will co-host the 2001 Tony Awards ceremony, June 3 at Radio City Music Hall. And just as Broderick's Leo Bloom is draped in showgirls in the Producers number, "I Want to Be a Producer," backing up these two male hosts will be an all-female roster of presenters. Among the stars so far lined up are Sigourney Weaver, Edie Falco and Glenn Close.
A limited number of tickets to the Tony Awards ceremony will be made available to the general public at $100 and $250, beginning May 7 at 10 AM EST, right after the Tony nominations are announced. Tickets can be purchased through the Ticketmaster Tony Hotline by calling (212) 307 4544. Visa is the only credit card accepted .
As to likely nominations, speculation has it that The Producers may turn into a juggernaut, its rave reviews, box office clout and intense media hype possibly translating into a record-tying 15 nominations. Certainly it will be the show to beat in the Best Musical category, with A Class Act and The Fully Monty almost sure to be nominated and Seussical, Jane Eyre and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer duking it out for the fourth remaining nomination slot.
As for plays, the Pulitzer-winning Proof is a sure thing, with The Invention of Love and King Hedley II also likely. The fourth slot could go to the popular The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Stones in His Pockets or Judgment at Nuremberg, with Neil Simon's hit The Dinner Party a don't-count-it-out dark horse. There's no clear leader on the play revival front, though One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has the edge as an audience favorite. The Roundabout's well-received Betrayal is also a likely nominee, with the same organization's The Man Who Came to Dinner also possible, thanks to the show's PBS broadcast keeping the Kaufman-Hart comedy fresh in nominators' minds (even though it came early in the season). More likely to fill out the category, though, are The Best Man and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. The middlingly received Design for Living and torrentially dumped-on Macbeth will probably be shut out of this category.
As for speculations on what to look out for in other categories:
* If Hal Linden doesn't get a nod for The Gathering, look for that struggling drama to close quickly.
* If George Gershwin Alone is shut out, that show might end before its limited run is up. The show could get a boost, however, if the nominators deem that it's worthy of this year's new "specialty" category (where, say, Blast! could also wind up).
* Look for Polly Bergen (featured actress) to be recognized for her work in Follies, with Blythe Danner and Judith Ivey far less likely but possible.
* Look for Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Gary Beach, Roger Bart and Cady Huffman to nab nominations (and possibly wins). The theatre community has been buzzing about whether Brad Oscar's Franz Liebkind would also be recognized.
* Look for A Class Act to get a number of nominations for its book, score and cast (Randy Graff, Lonny Price).
*Look for Mary-Louise Parker to get a nod for Proof, with Larry Bryggman a strong supporting-actor nomination possibility.
* Look for Rocky Horror and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to pick up a passel of design nods
* Look for Judgment at Nuremberg to get a sentimental Supporting Actor vote for Maximilian Schell and possibly a Best Actor nod to George Grizzard, with Marthe Keller also possible for Supporting Actress.
* Look for Gary Sinise and Brian Stokes Mitchell to be recognized for Cuckoo's Nest and Hedley
* Look for Linda Lavin and possibly Faith Prince to score nods for Allergist's Wife and Bells Are Ringing.
Gary Smith will executive produce the 55th annual Tony Awards, which will again be broadcast on PBS (first hour, 8-9 PM EST) and CBS (second two hours, 9-11 PM EST) television. It's the 24th consecutive year that CBS has broadcast the ceremony. Glenn Weiss will serve as director, with Ricky Kirshner as line producer. Smith's production company, Smith Hemion, has overseen 24 Emmy Awards, as well as five Tony telecasts (1993-1997).
Tony Award Productions (jointly run by the American Theatre Wing and the League of American Theatres and Producers) announced that this season's Tony eligibility deadline is May 2. Shows must have opened at a Tony eligible house by that date in order to be considered for award recognition this season. (The Tony season's last eligible show was therefore 42nd Street, which opened May 2.) May 2 was also the date Tony Award Productions launched its official website, www.tonys.org, featuring stories, audio clips and other special material about the Tony Awards. (Playbill On-Line is the official content provider for that website.)
The Tony nominees' brunch will be May 16.