Here are more reader reactions to the May 4 nominations for the 1998 Tony Awards.
Owing to the great volume of responses, we have created this third file of opinions. Playbill On-Line thanks all of those who took the time to write.
What a great year for the Tony! All the performers recognized as contenders are winners....I am extremely pleased with the numbers for RAGTIME. Brian Stokes Mitchell gives a phenomenal performance, as does Marin Mazzie. My heart, however, goes to Audra who I have had the pleasure of performing with in her hometown of Fresno, California when she was a child. She was star quality then and a class act now! Best wishes Audra!!!
As a major RAGTIME fan, I couldn't be more thrilled with the nominations!! I am also thrilled for Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, b/c I think what they accomplished was truly extraordinary. I would have loved to have seen a nomination for Stephen Sutcliffe, but there was so much competition that I guess I wasn't really expecting it.
I have a sneaking suspicion that TLK will beat out RAGTIME for the Best Musical prize, but if RAGTIME does not win best score, there is simply no justice in the world. That is the award I care most about. I truly hope that Ahrens & Flaherty will be recognized for the most moving and ambitious score in years. Considering that their competition consists of two closed shows and one in which most of the music is not original, this should be a no brainer, but I fear that voters may pity Paul Simon.
If that happens, it will truly be the "Crime of the Century"!!!
As with many of the other people who e-mailed, I am pretty happy with the Tony nominations this year. I thought they were fair in general, but I do have a few comments or disagreements:
- It's great that John Leguizamo and his one-man show "Freak" are nominated. It's a wonderfully rich performance by one of our most interesting young actors;
- Congratulation to Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley for "Side Show" which was justly recognized in four categories, but what about Choreography that enhanced the hard-to-achieve illusion;
- I thank the nomination committee for recognizing Bob Crowley's powerful set for "The Capeman," it was much more than "a little bus that sailed across the stage." I was not as impressed by the scenic design for "Ragtime" or "The Lion King" as I was with "Golden Child" and "Proposal," but those were just my opinions;
- I love Ms. Buckley, but hers was a supporting role in a so so musical, given that she did have the one redeeming number in "Serenity";
- Brent Spiner of "1776," or even Marc Anthony of "The Capeman," was more Tony-worthy than Peter Friedman who turned in an one-dimensional performance in "Ragtime";
- Granted, this season we saw many rehashed Books for Musicals such as "The Lion King", "High Society", and "Ragtime." But "The Scarlet Pimpernel" was dull and unoriginal. I consider "Triumph of Love" and "The Capeman," though not perfect themselves, more courageous and interesting.
I am not a trained theatre critic or professional, just another very opinionated theatre-loving New Yorkers. Thank you, Playbill On-line, for providing this platform for us to voice our supports for this exciting theatre season. Can't wait to watch the Tonys on June 7th!
Since I saw the "Creating RAGTIME" special on TBS a couple of months ago, I've been absolutely obsessed with the show. So I must say I'm pretty prejudice against the other nominations. But still, I do agree with a lot of the committee's selections. I'm thrilled that Audra MacDonald got nominated for Best Supporting Actress. I hope she'll win her THIRD Tony in '98. I'm happy that "Lion King" got a lot of nominations also, but I don't think it deserves to win Best Musical, Best Book, or Best Score. I know that they've added a lot of new material, but lets face it. It's just a glorified version of the cartoon. And although it may be aesthetically pleasing, it is not "typical" Broadway material. Then again, "Rent" wasn't either, but you get my point. And what about "Wait Until Dark"? Did it not open before the deadline or something? If it didn't, then it was horribly overlooked for Best revival and Best Actress for Marisa Tomei. And my last comment: BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL ROCKS!!!!!
From Phant0m 3:
Overall, a great list of nominations, I am really glad that The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Lion King were nominated for best musical, I think they deserve it. A few bumps along the way though.... Best scenic design for The Capeman? Plus a few shows or actors left out like: Liam Neeson, The Sound of Music (I think it deserves more nominations), etc. But it's a really satisfying list of nominees and I'm looking forward to seeing the winners on June 7th.
From Jen Bender, Northwestern University (j firstname.lastname@example.org):
As much as I loved Betty Buckley in Triumph of Love, I think her role as Hesione is best suited to the Best Supporting Actress category. The score was witty and well-written and deserves The Capeman's spot in the category. I am disappointed that Michael Cumpsty was not nominated for 1776 as Best Supporting Actor, and agree with the masses that Brent Spiner was overlooked.
On an ironic note, I find it interesting that after Wilson Jermaine Heredia's acceptance speech regarding "a new era of theater," the shows that dominated the Tonys the following two years, Titanic and Ragtime, are both set in the early 20th century. Just goes to prove that Broadway's mainstream audiences are never quite as liberal as they'd like to believe.
From Jasmin Singer :
I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT PATTI LUPONE WAS SNUBBED FOR THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD! SHE WAS MAGNIFICENT IN THAT ROLE AND WAS UNFAIRLY OVERLOOKED. I AM SURPRISED AT THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE FOR NOT GIVING PATTI THE CREDIT SHE RIGHTLY DESERVES. As far as the other categories, I vote for Allison Janney and Anthony LaPaglia for A View From the Bridge. I'll be there that day, but in my HEART I know who should win for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Hmph.
I was so thrilled to hear the Tony nominations and feel that the committee did a wonderful job. Kudos to the committee for shutting out Rebecca Luker and Melissa Errico, and also for their inclusion of SIDE SHOW in the musical and actress categories. JUNE 7. . . the following please stand up. . . Peter Friedman for Ragtime, Marin Mazzie for Ragtime, the cast of Ragtime for Ragtime (sorry Simba you were already a movie, save it for the design and costume awards!)
From peter margaretic:
Thank God for small miracles! Side Show deserved the nominations they got and while I've haven't seen Cabaret Alice Ripley & Emily Skinner should win. Puzzled that Patti wasn't nominated. She was the best thing in a long winded, pretentious play. Hope to see Brian S.Mitchell & Audra McDonald win as well as Ann Manahan & Marie Mullen for Beauty Queen. If Anna Manahan doesn't win there is no justice. Totally perplexed over Freak. Falls into the what were they thinking category, John Leguizamo over Liam Neeson??
When I saw that Side Show received a whopping FOUR nominations (including Best Musical), I almost fainted! I am so thrilled!!!! These are the best nominations I have seen in years! (They almost make up for last year's shut out of Jekyll and Hyde). I am overjoyed by Capeman's Best Score, Best Orchestrations, and Best Set Design. Unfortunately, we must realize the Tony nominating committee can never make COMPLETELY happy. Where the hell were the nominations for RENOLY SANTIAGO (Capeman), EDNITA NAZARIO (Capeman), JUDY KAYE (Ragtime), MAX CASELLA (Lion King), HEATHER HEADLEY (Lion King), and most of all JASON RAIZE (Lion King)?! I believe Mr. Raize deserved the nomination over Sam E. Wright.
FAVORITE NOMINATION: Side Show- Best Score
LEAST FAVORITE NOMINATION: Peter Friedman- Beast Actor (This was the weakest performance in Ragtime. Even boring Mark Jacoby deserved a nomination over him!)
I thought the committee did a pretty good job this year, especially considering the fierce competition in nearly every category. What a great year it has been for Broadway! The disappointments, in my opinion, were no nomination for Patti Lupone (who was just amazing in The Old Neighborhood) and no nomination for Melissa Errico. I think she deserved Betty Buckley's spot, and I think Betty should have been nominated in the best FEATURED actress category, considering Triumph was really Susan Egan's show. I also thought Ednita Nazario should have been nominated for The Capeman, which although flawed, had an amazing cast and a great score. My biggest congratulations goes to Side Show, which very deservedly received four nominations; what a shame such a great show closed so quickly.
BRAVO to Brian Stokes Mitchell - he is the clear deserving winner.
But how could these people not nominate Judy Kaye?? Did they see the shows??
From Michael Korzeniowski:
I am pleased with most of the Tony nominations, particularly Brian Stokes Mitchell who I thought gave one of the best performances, strong and forceful but Peter in a Best Actor category as well. I don't think so! I was also glad to see Douglas Sills get a well deserved nod but my vote would be for Brian. I am still upset from last year when Bob Cuccioli was robbed of his deserved award.
I hoped that Jason Raize from Lion King would have been nominated as Best Featured Actor, he was so moving in his rendition of "Endless Night" that I still get moved every time I hear it. I missed "Side Show" it closed before the date that I had tickets but I heard so many good things about it that it deserved to recognized. Good choices in Marin Mazzie (so good in "Passion" as well) and for Audra who never seems to disappoint a theatre goer. I enjoy the musicals so I haven't seen too many of this years plays. I will be watching on Tony night!
Four nominations for SIDE SHOW? Big deal.
Six months after MACK & MABEL closed it got EIGHT nominations. But THAT was a SHOW!
Hi! I`m disappointed that THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL didn`t get more nominations...why are the critics so dismissive of Frank Wildhorn?..it seems that its sort of "In Fashion" to put him down...which is aggravating, since his shows are so much fun. Oh WELL. . . I am happy for the nominations it DID get, however, and I urge anyone who hasn`t seen it to go...its a terrific show and Douglas Sills is a treasure.
I can't seem to wipe the smile off my face...hooray for Sideshow! That is a score to be treasured and this nomination will help. feel for Susan Egan and Patti LuPone. I think the best actor in a musical category is the tightest contest...with Doug Sills' nomination the only one Scarlet Pimpernel deserved.
At the beginning of the season, my prediction was Lion King for Director and most of the design awards...all the acting categories, book, music/lyrics, and Musical going to Ragtime...however...with Alan Cumming in the Best Actor Category...Brian Stokes Mitchell's Tony is threatened, and with ALL of the Lion King score eligible...this may not be Lynn and Stephen's year. I'm thinking "Chicago"(the first time around ) for Ragtime...lots of noms...few or no wins, and it destroys me. (I've seen Ragtime three times, Lion King only once.) Thank goodness that Terrence McNally's book Tony is almost guaranteed.
Lion King is a beautiful and ingenious pageant, but it can't touch Ragtime as a musical. My hope is that Lion King will get the costume and direction awards it so richly deserves and that Ragtime will sweep all the other categories, including Best Musical. The whole Ragtime cast does justice to Stephen Flaherty's gorgeous score and Brian Stokes Mitchell is the best male vocalist Broadway has heard since Robert Goulet. Let us hope the Tony judges rightly recognize Ragtime for the sweeping achievement it truly is.
From Kat Glynn:
For those who don't need all the music, Hurray!! Anthony LaPaglia in A View From the Bridge, outstanding acting! Allison Janey, excellent! This play is dynamite!! LaPaglia finally receives some well deserved recognition!!
While reading the comments already e-mailed to you, I thought to myself "Come on, people, not everyone can be nominated. Be grateful for your favorites who are." Personally, I'm thrilled with the nominations for "Ragtime" (my choice for Best Musical), "The Chairs" (Best Revival of A Play), and "Side Show." I think the toughest category is for Leading Actress in a Musical- who to vote for? The wonderful Marin Mazzie or Alice Ripley/Emily Skinner? I'm also happy with Linda Lavin's nomination--she was terrific in "Anne Frank." Even though I feel "Lion King" may get most of the awards on Tony night, I've got my fingers crossed for "Ragtime."
From ByrdBonner (ByrdBonner@aol.com):
In looking at and anticipating the Tony nominators' list, I always think it is more important to think about the individuals on the committee and the careers of the performers being considered. I would not put the nominating process in the category of politics but rather sentimentality. It is evident in several nominations here: notably, Jane Alexander, Samuel Wright (...Please, Geoffry Hoyle deserves a nomination if anyone does), Betty Buckley, Linda Lavin, Nan Knighton, Ron Rifkin, and especially Mary Louise Wilson.
I do not mean that many of these did not give deserving performances this season, but I think it helps immensely in explaining why some of these got nominated over other less experienced yet great performances. Now, this also always has some exceptions in the end----Alfred Molina instead of Alan Alda, for instance. I have seen many if not most of the nominees and think that the nominating committee did a great job overall.
I still cannot tell others that Ripley and Skinner were nominated together because they played Siamese twins without laughing. It is really absurd.....I mean in ten years theater fans will look back and think it was a joke! Admittedly, I did not see them other than on talk shows, Macy's parade, etc., but I do admire the score and the courage of the subject and context. It has a great message and manages to accomplish its goal spectacularly.
I must say that the nomination for "The Scarlet Pimpernel" surprised me. I saw it and expected to hate it, but, to the contrary, I REALLY liked it. I just liked it- ---really. But with the incredibly weak direction or nonexistent direction by Peter Hunt, the unexceptional performance by Christine Andreas, and the walk-through by the very talented Terry Mann, it seemed to be mainly attributed to Frank Wildhorn and I thought that would deny it a nomination.
I thought that the committee would pull another bizarre choice by nominating "Forever Tango" for best musical, much like it had done with "Juan Darien" last year or "Cyrano" in 1994 or "Chronicle of a Death Foretold". But it wasn't to be. "Side Show" was gladly as far out as they got.
I was very glad to see Geraldine McEwen nominated-- brilliant---was surprised she was not Drama Desk nominated. Prediction: Ragtime will sweep....it is not just spectacularly cast, seamlessly successful in rendering its source material and immensely entertaining, it is life-changing in content mood and message. Every American should see this show...and then every human should. This will be the first truly successful musical movie. But I think Sam Mendes must win best director for his brilliant concept and staging of Cabaret. Write me to talk. ByrdBonner@aol.com.
i think SIDE SHOW should have gotten MORE Tonys. 4 is not enough.
Well, I must say I'm thrilled beyond belief that SCARLET PIMPERNEL wasn't overlooked, as many of us avid fans were afraid it might be!!! Best Book is always a good thing, Best Actor was a given from the very beginning, and Best Musical totally made my day! Now they can perform -- "Into the Fire" perhaps, with a little bit of the library intro scene?
I have a feeling that they're going to lose at least two to Ragtime (haven't seen Ragtime, but everyone knows it's going to sweep), but I think Douglas Sills has a VERY good chance of winning Best Actor. After all, the Best should go to the best, right?
Go Doug! I luv ya darlin!
From Richard Fine:
It was a great year for Broadway, I agree. But from where I stand there was one major omission in this year's nominations for Best Actor in a Musical and that is Brent Spiner for 1776. How he could have been overlooked with the wonderful reviews he received when the show opened I don't know! Congratulations to Gregg Edelman for his nomination! At least one person from that fantastic cast was recognized.
From Michael Garcia:
Yet another season without a Terrence Mann Tony! Although I haven't yet seen "The Scarlet Pimpernel", given Terrence's past perfs, a can only imagine that he ranks well against the four "Featured Actor in a Musical" nominees.
Can't comment on most nominations as I haven't been to NYC this year to see the new crop of shows. However, I did see The Lion King here in Minneapolis in previews. I was pleased to see that the show was nominated for several awards as I thought it deserved them.
It looks to be an interesting night for the awards with The Lion King versus Ragtime for the awards. If Ragtime wins several, perhaps, we'll seen an advertisement from Livent featuring a "b" before the title. You can almost see it: "bRagtime wins seven Tonys!!"
I was thrilled to see that Scarlet Pimpernel got nominated for best musical, it is one of the most fun evenings of theatre in a long time. Unfortunately, I suspect come award night it will lose out to either Ragtime or Lion King. But there is no one nominated who should win out for best actor in a musical over Douglas Sills! What a talent! he can sing, laugh, make us laugh, (and he's not bad to look at either.