Playbill On-Line asked users of the online service to comment on the fact that Julie Andrews has withdrawn her name from consideration for the Tony Award because no one else from her show, Victor/Victoria, was nominated. Here are excerpts from the replies.
"Julie has my full support in her decision to decline her nomination. She did this to stand by her crafty colleagues and not because she is a 'diva'. She is the brightest Star that ever shined on Broadway and I hope that people will support her decision."
-- Anders Zakrisson
"I applaud Julie Andrews' decision to decline her nomination regardless of the consequences. I also think she and the cast of Victor/Victoria should further snub the Tony nominating committee/Tony Awards by giving their usual smashing, blockbuster performance at the Marquis on the evening of June 2 instead of attending the awards ceremony. This could make a great benefit for BC/EFA [Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS]. "
"Has Julie forgotten the reviews from virtually every critic in the country? I would think that she would have the objectivity and professionalism to face the fact that she isn't in a very good show. She could have just not gone to the Tony ceremony. Could it be that this is great P.R. for her husband's big comeback show? Hopefully, this will not set a precedent for future prima donnas."
-- Chuck Anzalone
"I, in no way, shape, or form, believe she is being "prima-donnaish". I don't believe that that is in her character. I think that she is simply standing up for something that she believes in."
-- Kristy Jackson "It seems to me like the Tony committee can't win. Elaine Strich complained about not being nominated, and Julie Andrews complains about being nominated. Why can't they be as gracious as Nathan Lane last year; take the decision in stride and joke without public malice?"
I applaud Julie Andrews' action (although I still hope she wins). Perhaps she is reacting to her long history of Tony snubs. She lost the Best Actress award in 1956 & 1961 to less talented performers. I think the nominating procedure needs a long overdue overhaul.
"The show was robbed and Julie was right to stand by its creative team and performers and decline the nomination. The show may not be an all-time classic and the score is weak, but the book is as laugh-out-loud funny as any musical comedy in years. If all the competition was at the level of Rent, I'd concede that Vic/Vic just had a tough year to compete in. But Swinging on a Star? Get real. It was totally uninspired and one of the only boring evenings on Broadway this season.
Julie and company - thanks for laboring from Minneapolis to Broadway with a show that can make a lot of people happy. The audience appreciates it if the Tony committee doesn't.
I do find it interesting that gay-themed theater has become such a non-issue that Vic/Vic gets shunned and everybody assumes it is because it is too middle-of-the road, not because of homophobia."
"I would like offer my kudos to the Tony nominating committee. Victor/Victoria and Big are both lame shows which did not deserve to be nominated for best musical. The committee was saying that Victor/Victoria would not survive without Julie Andrews, which has been proven true when she did not perform. Many people have pointed out that Swinging On A Star and Chronicle of A Death Foretold are closed, without mentioning that
a) Financial success often has nothing to do with the quality of the piece, and
b) Chronicle of a Death Foretold was a limited run - it was not supposed to still be running.
There is no doubt that Julie Andrews deserved her nomination, and that some of the other actors did, as well, but it certainly was a mediocre show at best in an excellent season. I think that it's excellent that the committee didn't nominate shows just because they're the biggest or most publicized of the season, but instead went for the better shows."
-- Rafi Levavy
"Julie Andrews made a very personal statement when she came out publicly and declined the Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. She has stated in so many words that she does not want this nomination. If the Tony Awards nominating committee and others respected her, they would remove her name. They are only keeping it on the ballot for their own benefit.
The telecast of the awards will suffer because she is the name and person that anyone from outside of NYC will recognize and she is not on. It is really a shame, it could have been a "great" show but now it's a mess.
Keep on socking it to them Julie, they deserve it!"
"It took great personal courage for Julie Andrews to withdraw from the competition. At least SHE has some integrity; something that seems to be a rare commodity on Broadway in recent years. I won't watch the show this year, first time in over a decade I'll miss it.
My biggest hope is that Blake Edwards does for Broadway what he did for Hollywood. I can't wait to see the movie: S.O.B., Part II, starring Marge Champion and the Tony Awards Committee."
I think that Julie Andrews showed a lot of class in turning down her TONY nomination. I think she would have undoubtedly won. However, it is very obvious that petty politics are prevalent even in the arts. It is obvious that the Tony nominating committee this year consisted of people who do not recognize talent. Therefore, I think it would really be a coup to land Julie Andrews for a TV special to air at the same time as the Tony Awards. Julie and Carol together would be unbeatable. Julie is a winner!!! The Tonys are not.
"I think she did the right thing. As a real pro would!!!"
-- Jeff Lynch
"Since the producers of VICTOR/VICTORIA are so hot to get a number performed on the Tony show this is what should happen. I think Nathan Lane should dress up in drag and do "Le Jazz Hot". He could then pull of his wig, just as Julie does in VIC/VIC and be introduced as the host for the evening. That way everyone would be happy. There would be an extremely funny opening for the Tony broadcast and the producers of VICTOR/VICTORIA would get their number on the air.
"I remember seeing Victor/Victoria when it came to Minneapolis and again on Broadway. I must admit that the show itself is not that great, but the individual elements were. I was shocked when only Julie Andrews got the only Tony nomination for V/V. I applaud her commitment to her fellow actors and for taking a stand against the Tony committee. Her resolve is admirable and the intent of her actions his in the right place. Isn't it funny though that V/V sales have increased now due to this brouhaha?"
-- Todd O'Dowd
"I definitely think this is the GREATEST diva tantrum of all time.
To say that Julie Andrews is a good actress is a to do her a disservice. She is one of the greatest theatre persons of all time.
One PBOL member said that she is trying to fight against 'the entertainment industry's obsession with awards and awards ceremonies.' I highly doubt that. If anything, she is supporting the notion that if you produce a spectacle and nothing more, you will be rewarded.
Although she is a Queen of the Theatre, she is not its Dictator. Her reign came to an end when she chose to support big-budget, high-profile musicals rather than those which are original and well-produced.
If any good can come of this, it will be the selection of a Best Actress in a Musical based on her talent within the show she is being nominated for and not because of her name. Julie Andrews would have won the Tony hands-down; I wonder if it would have been for her performance as Victoria, or because of her legendary resume.
"Great leading lady of all time or diva? Definitely great leading lady. I think she is using her position to make a statement about the entertainment industry's obsession with awards and awards ceremonies. As for situations like this corrupting the Tonys, it seems to me they already are way corrupted and need to be overhauled and for some reason Julie thumbing her nose seems pretty just and right on.
"Sounds to me like Ms. Andrews is taking a stand for something she believes in -- her show! Personally, if I felt the same way about a show I was involved with AND felt it necessary to withdraw, I would have gone the same route. Mr. [Bill] Cosby [who declined an Emmy nomination in the early 1980s] felt he would most certainly win, and that a chance should be given to all the others out there. Maybe Julie should have called him for some advice before her speech?
Whatever her reasons may be, I feel this move will neither hurt, nor help, the broadcast, and the Tonys in general. As far as performing a number from the show, only Tony nominated Best Musicals perform, so that is not really a concern either. Personally, I love the movie of V/V, but after seeing a PBS special on Julie and the making of the show, I don't think it's all that great -- in fact, dare one say boring! I certainly have no desire to own the recording! One has to question whether Ms. Andrews was nominated because she and the character are "good," or because she's Julie Andrews.
I applaud the Tony committee for their decisions one and all! I love watching the broadcast every year, and this year will be no different. I felt last year's broadcast was by far the best we'd seen (including the one hosted by Ms. Andrews). Nathan Lane will no doubt make us forget all about Ms. Andrews (in his own special way, of course!)."
-- Kevin Shea
"She sounds like a spoiled child--"My friends didn't get nominated and they all worked real hard, so I'll show you!" LOTS of deserving performers don't get nominated EVERY year!! Ms. Andrews should do the math. Four nominees per category, four categories for musical performers, sixteen nominations--not a really high percentage considering the number of talented people currently performing in new musicals at this time. Of course, I'm sure Ms. Andrews is speaking from the fact that she's seen all of the nominated performances and knows them to be less deserving than her "egregiously overlooked" fellow cast members. OH, no, what was I thinking--the people that saw all of the nominated performances are on the Nominating Committee. Oops!
I have nothing but the utmost respect for Julie Andrews as a performer. Few people can come close to her. However, right now she sounds like nothing more than a petulant, pampered diva. Too bad she couldn't have made her statement when she graciously accepted her award.
Finally, I can see why the producers of the Tony telecast are upset about the show not getting a nomination--now they won't be able to do a live broadcast of "Louis Says"--how will we get through the evening?"
-- Thomas Mull
"If Chicago had been snubbed in 1976 to make more room for A Chorus Line and Pacific Overtures or if Annie had been snubbed in 1977 to make more room for the shows that year I could understand the problem but Victor/Victoria and Big are not Chicago or Annie, not by a long shot; they are bad shows that look and are slapped together, flat and uninspired and, in the case of Big, one of the worst musicals ever (those kids should be stopped...soon).
While I applaud Julie Andrews and think maybe nominating Swinging on A Star was a bit extreme, the nominators made the right decision they excluded the worst three musicals in favor of the best four Further, should Rachel York have been nominated for playing Leslie Ann Warren? Should Rob Marshall be nominated for his blatant knock-offs of Tune and Bennett, especially in that finale which also includes costumes out of A Chorus Line and a set of stairs out of The Will Rogers Follies???
The worst thing about this is it takes away from RENT, which is the best musical in years."
-- William R. Finnegan
"From the start, this debate has not centered on the artistic excellence of 'Victor/Victoria,' and whether the show merited a phalanx of Tony nominations on those grounds. Instead, its producer let us know in several ways that what it's really all about is money, honey, and how those non-profit-loving types are nasty brutes trying to dim the neon lights on Broadway.
What's the point of even having a nominating committee, if this is what it all comes down to? They could set up a computer in the offices of Price Waterhouse, program it to spew out the most commercial marketing vehicles and profitable permutations of cast and crew, and have the results printed on Tony ballots as lucky nominees. No fuss, no muss, and do away with the always unpredictable human factor.
The blanket vilification of the committee disturbs me. None of us were in the room that day. None of us knows what the hell really went on. From what I've read in the New York Times, (from an anonymous source, unfortunately) there was a hot and heavy debate over 'V/V.' Jon Robin Baitz has gone on the record to say that he actually supported the show, to the amazement of some committee members. I would never lump a group of disparate, creative people together and say they were of one mind, on anything.
I know that the theatre (especially Broadway) has been trying to attract a younger audience, a new generation to carry on. What kind of message does this send to us? Am I really supposed to get excited about paying an exorbitant price for a Broadway ticket, when such cynical forces are at play just below the pretty surface?
V/V is getting a lot of mileage out of this sturm und drang. Don't cry for them, anybody.
"I think that [Tony show host] Nathan Lane should get dressed up as Mary Poppins and do a medley of Julie Andrews theatre songs and then most graciously accept the Tony Award forthcoming to her/him?!"
-- Michael Capparelli