The nominations for the 1997 Tony Awards were announced May 5 (see separate story in Theatre News).
Please share your reactions. How do the noms compare with previous years'? Any of your favorites overlooked?
Please post your answers to Managing Editor Robert Viagas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Answers will be posted as they come in. Please include your town and state, and let us know if we can post your e mail address, so you can receive responses.
Here are the responses so far. Playbill On-Line thanks all those who took the time to write:
I was shocked to see Wendy Wasserstein was not one of the noms for her play An American Daughter. I was also shocked to see musicals i never heard of was among the noms for best musical. Why do these people choose some musicals that no one knows about. The only two noms I knew were Steel Pier and Titanic. What about Jekyll & Hyde?
From DBONA, New York, NY:
The Tony nominations in the musical categories only serve to emphasize how shameful the Tonys were to Victor/Victoria last year. That the nominating committee lavished honors on such mediocrities as The Life and Steel Pier -- and one less-than-mediocrity, Titanic -- while a year ago Victor only received a nomination for Best Actress (granted, it's a different group of people doing the nominating) shows just how arbitrary and scattershot the whole Tony business is. Because Victor/Victoria and Tony Roberts, Michael Nouri, Rachel York et al. are far superior to anything and anyone nominated this year, the Theatre Wing and the League should just cancel this year's competition and, in a mea culpa gesture, give everything to Victor.
In any case, this will go down as one of those Who Cares? years for the Tonys, recalling such seminal battles as Hallelujah, Baby! vs. The Happy Time (1968); Raisin vs. Over Here! (1974); and Big River vs Grind vs. Leader of the Pack vs. Quilters (1985).
I, too, am very saddened by the snub of J&H. I think it should have gotten a nom before Juan Darien at least! But what surprises me more is the snub of Linda Eder. I saw J&H on tour and didn't really like it. I found the score to be great, but it was really one great pop song after another and didn't really work as a theatre score. But I was very impressed with Linda Eder. I thought she gave a very good performance and was by far the best thing in the show. Now, I don't know about the B'way production, but I can only believe that it is better than the touring version and that Linda has grown in her role. It saddens me to see the committee blatantly disregard a show just because it is popular among the masses. The theatre community should be trying to make the theatre more friendly to the masses and less highbrow and not punish the shows that are truly audience pleasers.
From Craig B. Radow:
I'm very excited about the nominations. For the last few years it seems like the requirement to get a Best Musical nom is just opening on Broadway. It also is good to see the committee remembered musicals from earlier this year.
From Robbie Wachs (email@example.com) Port Orchard, WA:
I was surprised to see the lack of nominations for Jekyll & Hyde, a show that boasts a fabulous score as well as cast. I feel Linda Eder deserved a well-earned nomination. I know a lot of people do not agree but I feel Sarah Jessica Parker, who virtually carried Once Upon a Mattress, should have been nominated. I also feel that the Tony committee should not try to "fill slots" As with company and Hello dolly last year, they filled the revival category with two shows that are weak, and rely on star power alone, annie and mattress. Should shows be nominated just to fill gaps? I also think that shows that had off brdwy runs and do not immediately transfer to brdwy, ie Juan Darien, should be classified as a revival and not a new musical. If the show transferred directly from of brdwy or a regional theatre, that may have been a different story. I was also surprised to see no nominations for stockard channing, victoria clarke, and joel grey (who I believe was not eligible for featured actor because he was billed over the title) But I don't think there will be as much controversy as last year. But you never know.
I was thrilled to see The Life leading the Tony nominations; it was a real delightful evening at the theatre, despite some of the "mixed" reviews. I only hope that it gets the "boost" it deserves (and would have gotten by the word of mouth, sooner or later). The only other problem relates to the supporting actor award; two of the fine actors from the same show must compete, with the real potential that neither will get the award, even if both were more deserving than the winner. There should be some mechanism to assure that vote splitting doesn't reward an actor from another show. Finally, if Lillias White doesn't win the Supporting Actress award, then there is truly NO JUSTICE. She was, without question, the best thing to hit Broadway this year (and The Life, an old fashioned, "new" musical, is the second.
From Louise Uphoff, Oregon, WI:
I just returned from New York and the Broadway theaters. The nominations came in just the way they should have. The Life is clearly the best new musical of the season. The music and direction are fabulous and the performances are without compare. June 1 will be a great night for this wonderful ensemble.
From Daniel Pasquarelli (firstname.lastname@example.org) Schenectady, NY:
Since Broadway is experiencing tremendous growth, you would think that there would be some better shows to see. The quality of the shows this year is disappointing. It is a shame to see that a growth within the industry allows for shows that are not up to par.
I am happy, however, to see that the Tony Nominating Committee choose carefully and managed to nominate the best of the mediocre fare.
I was disappointed in the overlooking of Jekyll & Hyde. I saw it last week and was very impressed. I also saw Steel Pier which was good but I did not feel it was as good as J & H.
For more responses, see "Playbill Poll: Your Reactions to the Tony Nominations, Part 2" in Theatre News.