Okay now. The Wild Party remained open, Amadeus and Dame Edna announced they would close, and Cats extended. Wait a minute -- that's not how it was supposed to go down. But such was the aftermath of this year's Tony Awards nominations, which were announced at Sardi's on May 8.
The biggest surprise -- aside from Aida not getting nominated for best musical (and, honestly, people really didn't seem so surprised by that) -- was the strong showing by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe's The Wild Party. The show garnered seven nominations; only Kiss Me, Kate and The Music Man received more. And that was as many nominations as Contact got. Contact, as you may recall, is the most praised new musical of the season, whereas The Wild Party is, uh, not as praised. Ah, well. The nominations -- particularly that for best musical -- kept the wolf from the Virginia Theatre's door, as The Wild Party, still playing to half houses, will run at least until the Tony ceremony on June 4.
As for Amadeus, its best play revival and David Suchet's best actor in a play nominations were a bit unexpected, but not as much as the show declaring it would shut its doors on May 14. The play opened last fall to basically lukewarm reviews but stuck around so tenaciously, many of us were getting used to its being around for some time to come.
Dame Edna didn't just get a Tony nomination; it already won the freakin' award: a special Tony, that is, since it didn't qualify for the normal categories. Nonetheless, Australian comic Barry Humphries will pack up his dresses, wigs and horn-rim glasses and clear out on July 2. Since a North American tour was always planned, the show was never expected to stay forever. Still, going out while you're still on top, while admirable, isn't exactly a Broadway tradition. Look at Cats, for example. For months and months, it limped along playing to less-than-full houses. That all changed when the producers announced Broadway's longest running show in history would finally close on June 25. Now the place is packed and demand is high. So high that the "Now and Forever" musical will now play through the summer, until Sept. 10.
The Tonys aren't the only awards in town. One of the more respectable distributors of shiny knick-knacks in theatre, the New York Drama Critics Circle, revealed its awards on May 9. In the opinion of that body, this season's best play is August Wilson's Jitney, while best foreign play is Michael Frayn's Copenhagen. As for best musical, NYDCC chose James Joyce's The Dead. Patrick Stewart did not get a Tony nomination, though his play, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, and co-star, Frances Conroy, did. It's just as well; Stewart had his hands full this week. As a result of the onstage speeches he made a couple weeks back, pillorying Mt. Morgan's producers for not properly supporting the show, Stewart had to defend himself before an Actors' Equity peer review panel on May 11. Also presenting their argument were the Shuberts, who had filed a complaint with the actors' union following Stewart's public accusations. However, in a distinct anti-climax to the story -- which has been covered extensively in the papers -- the decision of the panel is being kept under wraps, in keeping with the policy of the union. You call that drama?
--By Robert Simonson