PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 10-16: Merry Antoinette

News   PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 10-16: Merry Antoinette The reception of this year's Tony Awards nominations, which were announced on May 12, was so equanimitous as to be absolutely pacific. No controversies. Everything was quite as expected: Hairspray led the pack with 13 nods, with Movin' Out, Nine, Long Day's Journey into Night and La Boheme also doing well. Everyone heaved a sigh as Bernadette Peters won a nomination for her occasional performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy, and people only shrugged a bit at director Sam Mendes was passed over. And the two producers and 31 composers of Urban Cowboy took in their two nominations, nodded and calmly announced a closing notice one hour later.

Sure, a couple shows still running—Salome: The Reading and Life x 3—were rather decidedly repudiated by the nominators, earning one nomination between them. But the producers of those hits were too busy to mind too much: they had money to count.

Another potential flap—how to honor those 10 rotating singers who play the four leads in La Boheme—was solved just as this column predicted last week: by giving all of them an honorary Tony.

Take Me Out, the Richard Greenberg play which is still searching for fuller houses, got a double shot in the arm this week, getting a Tony nomination and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. (Hairspray won for Best Musical and Talking Heads for Best Foreign Play.)

Now the focus will turn to the Tony ceremony, which, as usual, doesn't have a host yet. (Not to be too Michael Riedel-ish about it, but here's an unsolicited suggestion: Eddie Izzard. He's a nominee, he's funny, and would make the show seem unaccountably hip. Special bonus: he and Harvey Fierstein could perform a duet, both wearing dresses.)

Three shows announced or solidified their Broadway plays this week. Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All starring Ellen Burstyn, which had its premiere at San Diego's Globe Theatre in January, will head for Broadway's Longacre Theatre come October. Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, the Richard Alfieri play that had its Broadway plays derailed when star Uta Hagen suffered a stroke in 2001, will come in after all this fall, with new stars Rue McClanahan and Mark Hamill. And the musical Never Gonna Dance, already known to be Broadway-bound, will begin performances at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre Oct. 27 with an official opening night of Dec. 4. Another fall show, Lincoln Center Theater's ambitious production of Shakespeare's Henry IV epic, added Ethan Hawke, Billy Crudup and Dana Ivey to a cast which already included Kevin Kline and Richard Easton. Which should make it next season's must-see, four-hour classic. (Long Day's Journey is this season's).

Just as starry a musical theatre cast will be found this summer in the Williamstown Theatre Festival's staging of Threepenny Opera. Melissa Errico, Karen Ziemba, Randy Graff and Betty Buckley, all of whom could carry a musical on their lonesome, back up the MacHeath of Jesse L. Martin.

(L-R) John Lithgow, Melanie Griffith, Melissa Errico, Eddie Izzard
(L-R) John Lithgow, Melanie Griffith, Melissa Errico, Eddie Izzard (Photo by Aubrey Reuben)