Here are more of your reactions to the winners (and losers) in the 1997 Tony Awards. Playbill thanks all those who took the time to write:
From D. Ahlers:
I was not at all shocked at this year's Tony winners. Except, I figured The Life would edge Titanic in the best musical category. However, I have seen both shows and thought Titanic was better. I just figured The Life would win because it got the most nominations. Steel Pier tied the record last night for most non wins.
Lynne Thigpen looked great. When my kids saw her they said, "It's the chief" (she plays the chief on Carmen Sandiego)
Annie is a very obnoxious musical. I'm so glad it didn't win best revival
I think the best thing to come out of the Tonys (aside from the terrific unity of interest demonstrated by PBS and CBS) was the fact that Chicago has finally been realized as a great American musical. Chicago was understandably dominated by A Chorus Line in 1976, and this year proved that the musical was not only before its time, but right on time. Kander & Ebb may have lost with Steel Pier (which is really a good show that just needs a little help), but they certainly got to see one of their older "children" finally steal the spotlight.
I'm still reeling from the shock of Titanic, but I have to think it was
a) just a highly intelligent, terribly cold show that was more desirable than
b) hookers and the pimps who beat them. Anyway, The Life was a bit too much like Sweet Charity on crack. Anyone who stumbles out of Don't Tell Mama and wobbles up 8th Avenue at 2 a.m. would agree.
Hey, Whoopi, thanks for all the leg. Maybe Frank Langella is luckier than we think. (He should've been nominated, he should've been nominated.)
What WAS Raquel Welch wearing? Did she visit the zoo before the show?
Did anyone miss Nathan Lane as much as me? Did Rosie hold back because of time, or because she wants to do it again?
Did everyone scream when the clip of Debra Monk was started after Lillias White was announced as winner? *OUCH!*
Did Rip Torn have to mention that he never missed a performance? Was that a shot at Ann Reinking?
Does Julie Andrews have class, or what?
Who invited Jimmy Smits?
Will someone inevitably use the phrase "egregiously overlooked" in every Tony broadcast from now on?
Where was Betty Buckley?
And, of course, will Mandy Patinkin become the next poster boy for cornea replacement?
And to quote Karen Richards (Celeste Holm) in All About Eve, "Lloyd always said that in the theater a season was a lifetime and a lifetime a season."
See you next year, folks.
From Jason Catterson:
Congratulations to the cast and crew (no pun intended) of "TITANIC"! Its clean sweep of its five nominations was well deserved. It goes to show how a production that was frowned upon by flop-hungry naysayers even before it opened due to the name alone can work out the kinks, ignore the hard knocks being hurled at it from every direction, and bring a piece of moving theatre to the top! The score by Maury Yeston is moving and hauntingly beautiful and well deserving of the Tony. The set is indeed original in concept.
The book by Peter Stone brought the tragic story of the passengers of the Titanic to the stage with pure emotion. And the marvellous orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick are suitably rewarded with the first Tony for orchestration. The cast's heart-felt performance of "The Launching" was so moving that it gave me chills while watching it. Clearly their performance along with the performance of "All That Jazz" by the cast of "CHICAGO" were the best performances out of the nominated shows that night (a clear indication of the well-deserved winners of the 1996/97 season).
On that note, congratulations for the cast of "CHICAGO" - without a doubt the best revival to come along so far! Kudos to the casts of these two fine productions, and may CHICAGO continue to dazzle and the TITANIC sail on!!!
From Kurt Ahlberg (email@example.com ):
Well, I'm surprised I didn't wake the entire neighborhood with my loud groans when TITANIC won for Best Score, Best Book, Best Sets (???!!??), and Best Musical. How could a musical about a sinking boat win more than something fun, witty, and all around BETTER than Steel Pier, or better yet, The Life?
I knew I was in for a disappointing night award-wise when Jekyll & Hyde received no nominations for Best Score, Best Actress (Linda Eder), or Best Musical. Kudos to Chicago, Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking, and even though he didn't win, Robert Cuccioli.
As for Rosie's hosting, I thought she did an awesome job! I've watched my tape of the opening number (particularly Rent) about a million times already since last night. It was great.
The "I remember my first time on a Broadway Stage" speeches got a little old after the first 10. The enthusiastic acceptance speeches by a few memorable winners (Best Featured Actor for The Life (I forgot his name) and Best Featured Actress for The Life, Lillias White) were fun to watch.
So, the evening was quite interesting and I enjoyed it, despite the (hopefully sinking soon) TITANIC awards. Feel free to e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org with anything else you want to say!
SAIL ON! Thrilled they Tony Voters recognized "Titanic". It's been the underdog with skeptical reviews, scenic problems, and what appeared to be very good competition, "The Life" recieved 12 nominations, the Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Drama League awards. The score sounds beautiful, and I'm glad it got recognition for that as well. "Chicago", of course, deserved every award they recieved, including great performances by Bebe, James, and choreography by Ann and Walter Bobbie's direction, as well as Ken Billington's lighting. Praise to all the acting categories, who all were very deservant of their Tonys, as well. Now "Steel Pier" is shut out in the cold, who now lost 11 awards, as much as the original 1976 production of "Chicago", who now both take the rating of most Tonys lost ever. Overall, the ceremony was well put together, accept, I think I expected more from Rosie.
She seemed a little up-tight. Her first number was good, but she didn't have the comedic timing that Nathan Lane had, how he knew exactly what to say at the very moment it was funny. Rosie's first time..she stuck to the script..and perhaps next year she'll ease up. I do give her credit fo promoting Broadway so much, though. In general this year's Tonys were well-done.
The online chat was great, especially because everyone could access it this year. For once, I could interact with other viewers from other places! My only complaint is that some of my questions were never answered due to the large amount being submitted. That's okay:) Rosie O'Donnell was fabulous!!! So was RENT;-)
Loved the shows (PBS and CBS).
Hooray for "Titanic"! I saw the first production on March 29th. Same day as "Steel Pier". Except for the bland, dwindle-down ending, I loved it -- even with the technical delays. Nothin' like live theater! I had wanted another "Kiss of The Spiderwoman" from Kander and Ebb; "Steel Pier" was not that. It was just okay.
Luckily, I bought more tickets for "Titanic" and "Chicago" when I was in NYC in March.
Also drove to Memphis to see the Titanic Exhibition. Wonderful. Wish it were coming to a real city like Chicago or NYC.
Now, back to playing the awards [videotape] again for the third time.
From Ryan A. Don:
I cant believe titanic was even nominated 5 times, let alone won all 5 including best musical....it was THE WORST production I have ever seen.
From Theresa Mazzaro:
After watching all three hours of the Tony telecast I have a couple of reactions: 1. Rosie O'Donnell was a sweet, good and enthusiastic hostess and the show seemed to move at a good pace.
2. Loved Ann Reinking's and Lynne Thigpen's acceptance speeches for well deserved awards. They were straight from the heart.
3. The production numbers were well presented and well placed.
Now on the negative side:
1) The award for Best Actor in a Musical suprised me, in that, while Mr. Naughton is a wonderful actor with an ok voice it is the women of CHICAGO on whose shoulders the show mostly rests. His main competition for the award was Mr. Cuccioli of J and H. His voice soars over Mr. Naughton's and his acting carries the show in a powerful way. I can only think that a serious case of politics is involved here.
2) Though I would have loved to see Jekyll and Hyde win best musical. I must admit to admit to enjoying see Titanic win Best Musical. After being slammed by the critics as a disaster (no pun intended) it was a kind of "take that" to the critics, which I must say I enjoyed.
From Howard Marmorstein:
I was one of the fortunate ones to attend the awards at Radio City. Overall, the ceremony was done very well. Rosie was a great host. Too bad the show is so precisely timed that she did not have much opportunity to tell jokes and comment on the activities.
Before the show, the producer (director?) announced that if time was available the other still playing musicals could possibly have numbers performed. Too bad things did not run quicker than anticipate; we would have like to have seen these. How about next year, they perform the numbers for us, the live audience, and tape segments for possible airing (time permitting).
Our Group (18 of us) had a wonderful time. We had score sheets; I won by picking 17 out of the 21 awards. No real surprises except for Chuck Cooper; we all agreed his performance was outstanding but thought he'd split the vote with Sam Harris.
I guess the performances worked because some of our Group who had not seen certain performances decided to get tickets (the "My Body" number from "The Life" was a definite highlight).
Radio City did a nice job except for two things. One - they quickly ran out of Playbills (some of our Group did not receive any). Two - the lights to show the audience made things real warm in the theatre; we couldn't wait until the commercials when the lights went down and we had a chance to cool off; perhaps some more air conditioning would be in order.
Overall, we decided that we will try and make this an annual event. A job well done.
Well, I must have missed something. I live in LA, but got to NY a few weeks ago to see all the new shows. TITANIC was the worst of the bunch. It had low energy and a sloppy plot development. We KNOW the ship sinks. Wouldn't it have been interesting to get a clearer picture of the PEOPLE on board? Their interactions and conflicts.
I thought the music was fine. The sets were fine. The direction was fine. The performances were fine....
But somehow each of these elements was greater than their sum. However - THE LIFE was exciting, with rich characterizations, terrific performances, book, score and direction.
I'm still scratching my head about TITANIC's win. It was OK - that's all.
P.S. - Thanks to all at Playbill Online for the great job you did.
From Joe Bravaco:
Good for TITANIC,and from the reaction of 6000+ at Radio City after each of its wins only proves that the show was clearly the audience's favorite. Considering its competition, I would agree that it richly deserved every award it received. In another season, it might have not been as lucky, buy hey, it's not another season. Bravo to all. Unfortunately, Michael Cerveris was overlooked by the nominating bunch, but if he hadn't been, it might have been a sixth Tony. The score award was justly deserved, both Coleman and Kander have done better. Their scores were pleasant enough, but I don't remember thinking "Wow, I just heard some terrific music." When I left TITANIC, Yeston's music is what came with me. For my money, Best score and Best orchestrations awards were a given this year.
I was sorry YOUNG MAN FROM ATLANTA didn't win something. Its closing does not bode well for original drama on B'way. This is a serious dilemma on the Great White Way. As much as I enjoy musicals, I shutter to think that New York may soon be defined solely by its song and dance shows. But I digress... The shut out of Kander and Ebb's STEEL PIER (eleven nominations) is awfully familiar. Didn't CHICAGO get blanked eleven years ago after winning eleven nominations? Anyway, I think STEEL PIER will find an audience. I know I am in a minority, but I found the show quite entertaining, hardly groundbreaking, but a nice night in the theatre. THE LIFE was over-nominated and its won its share of awards. Enough aleady. Yes, it has its entertaining moments, but that story is very tired stuff. CHICAGO deserved all its wins (well, Naughton might have been swept into the frenzy because it is a supporting role and as much as I enjoy all his work - great in CITY OF ANGELS- this didn't read TONY AWARD performance to me.) Too bad the people who only watched the CBS portion missed Ann Reinking's acceptance speech -- wonderfully gracious and classy.
Thank you PBS for giving viewers the extra hour. It was the most interesting part of the award presentation. CBS' two hours were fine. The nominated musicals looked good and I was glad to see they were perfomed live for a change (isn't that what theatre is all about? I never understood those awful taped segments in previous years.) Overall, it was a fine, entertaining commercial for NY theatre. Sometimes it was even exciting. Rosie did her share, but seemed a bit stiff and her singing of ON BROADWAY was not a good idea. But ratings were up and I guess that was her doing, long may she reign.
Congratulations to all the winners.
Though I loved this year's broadcast and thought the winners deserving, I was disturbed to see (or shall I say NOT see) any excerpt from JEKYLL & HYDE at any point during the ceremonies. This was a great year for new musicals, based on the fact that for once there WERE new musicals on Broadway, and it seems remiss to have excluded such a popular musical.
I was fortunate to see JEKYLL in its infancy in Houston, follow its growth as one of the most popular touring productions every staged, rejoice in its much-deserved Broadway bow - only to have it be completely absent from the Tony Awards telecast. But then, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was snubbed its debut year, giving way for PASSION to sweep the awards ceremony. Long live JEKYLL. Tonys look great on the mantle, but nothing looks as good as people in the seats, applauding.
I loved watching the Tonys this year! The opening was great, and so were most of the show presentations. Chicago was FABULOUS, and it was also really fun to watch Bebe and Ann just BEAMING, GLOWING really when they were dancing because they had just both won Tonys. To the shows I didn't really like their clips from (Annie mostly) I have one thing to say: they must be doing SOMETHING right, because they're on Broadway and I'm not! I am happy for all the winners and sorry for all those who did not win. I had a great time watching. )))
From Megan (JGEE101535):
Bravo to the Tonys this year!! As a faithful viewer of the last few, this year's show was great. Rosie was awesome, very understated, letting the shows take the limelight. It was strange to witness a broadcast without the mention of Nathan Lane. The opening number was great, especially with the other casts. I'm disappointed in the snubbing of J&H, but it's understandable. Good Job!!!!!
In light of the past few year's shows, last night was amazing. I could not put my finger on it, but I felt so elated and moved by the end. Rosie deserves a great credit for organizing the entire show in a way that makes one proud to be a part of the theatre scene. Also, being of the younger generation myself, she did a wonderful job of providing an inspiring show that also seemed to give everyone a sense of optimism for the future of Broadway. Kudos (and Ring Dings) to Ro!
A few observations from someone who was at the Awards:
1) The voters are a slanted, skewed group of people who do not represent popular opinion - but should they? Popular opinion says that CATS is the best show in history, and that is scary. Even if more professionals voted, like in the Oscars, politics, dollars and biases will still exist. So, take a pill, relax, and go with the flow. Not all my favorites won , either. That's life.
2) To those of you who criticize Rosie for talking over the appluase - if she waited for the applause to die down each of the 10 times she did so, the telecast would have gone over - and the final award(s) would not have been televised! The director spoke to the audience at Radio City several times during the commercial breaks to ask us to limit our appluase, and to help him keep the show moving. He was superb. Rosie was following directions.
3) If the ratings are really good, let's let Rosie sing all she wants. Anything to ensure that the TONYs will be televised next year.
4) Fashion donts - Roseanne's Shoes, Julie's poofy sleeves, and the Woman from the Berkely Playhouse - what was she doing wearing Ann Miller's hair? When they showed her photo during the CBS portion, the audience started to laugh (poor woman) and they continued to laugh while Bernadette kept talking. But, hey, she got to go home with $25,000 - so who cares!
5) Classy acts - Ann Reinking, Lauren Bacall, Marilu Henner (hey, she's a babe - and we can't wait to see her in Chacago), Hal Holbrook, and Chita.
6) Highlights - so many musical segments; discovering that the cute little Annie could sing OK after all; PBS's well done video segments; Chicago's production number (one of the all time best); Raquel Welch (another babe!)
7) Sure, Radio City is not one of the great B'way theaters, but it allowed more people to attend, brought more glitz and fame, and helped to "sell" the entire event. If this helps sell more tickets to more shows, then I am for it.