Playbill Tony Poll: Which Directors Should Win?

Tony Awards   Playbill Tony Poll: Which Directors Should Win? The 1998 Tony Awards will be given June 7. Here is a recap of the nominees in the two director categories. Please share your opinion on who should win, and why. Simple lists will not be posted; we want to hear your reasons. Also: make sure to state which category you're writing about. Send responses to Managing Editor Robert Viagas at robert_viagas@playbill.com.

The 1998 Tony Awards will be given June 7. Here is a recap of the nominees in the two director categories. Please share your opinion on who should win, and why. Simple lists will not be posted; we want to hear your reasons. Also: make sure to state which category you're writing about. Send responses to Managing Editor Robert Viagas at robert_viagas@playbill.com.

BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Matthew Warchus for Art
Garry Hynes for The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Michael Mayer for A View From the Bridge
Simon McBurney for The Chairs

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Julie Taymor for The Lion King
Frank Galati for Ragtime
Scott Ellis for 1776
Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall for Cabaret

Here are the results so far. Playbill On-Line thanks all those who took the time to write.From Louis Schwebius:
BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY -- All of the director nominees in this category are strong choices and I enjoyed all of their work. I think that Garry Hynes' direction of THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE was one of the saving factors for what a found to be a disappointingly predictable play. Michael Mayer's work on A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE is a strong contender because of the way in which he harnessed such primal emotions from the script and cast. Simon McBurney showed me both the fragility and grace which exists in Ionesco's THE CHAIRS. However, my choice is Matthew Warchus for ART because he found a balance and rhythm within the language and staging of the play which made the strongest impression on me.
BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL -- This is a tough one. . . .Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall did such a phenomenal new structuring of CABARET, but Julie Taymor's visionary work in THE LION KING needs to be acknowledged with the Tony.


From Mark Malachesky:
How exciting to have a season with such rich rewards to be found in the world of straight theater as well as musical theater! Hands down the best director of a musical will be Julie Taymor. Nothing can compare with her brilliant vision and imagination. Opera fans have been enjoying (as well as cursing) her direction for a while now and its great to see her break into commercial theater without (much) selling out. Kudos. As much as I would love to see Garry Hynes win for her stunning work on "Beauty Queen" and have two women taking home the Tony, I believe Michael Mayer should win for "View From the Bridge". His incredible handling of this Arthur Miller warhorse created, in my opinion, the most shattering theater of the season. I left the theater reeling from what I had just experienced. An amazing talent that we have only begun to see the best from.


From Logan, Shawn Tracy:
Director Julie Taymor deserves the Tony for creating the most moving visceral experience I've ever seen in a Broadway show. It is cutting edge direction and should be rewarded.


From Patron:
Julie Taymor should win for costume design. No matter what you feel about the whole Disney/Broadway thing, you have to admit that those costumes she designed were truly inventive and absolutely amazing.


From Mark Malachesky:
How exciting to have a season with such rich rewards to be found in the world of straight theater as well as musical theater! Hands down the best director of a musical will be Julie Taymor. Nothing can compare with her brilliant vision and imagination. Opera fans have been enjoying (as well as cursing) her direction for a while now and its great to see her break into commercial theater without (much) selling-out. Kudos.
As much as I would love to see Garry Hynes win for her stunning work on "Beauty Queen" and have two women taking home the Tony, I believe Michael Mayer should win for "View From the Bridge". His incredible handling of this Arthur Miller warhorse created, in my opinion, the most shattering theater of the season. I left the theater reeling from what I had just experienced. An amazing talent that we have only begun to see the best from.


From John Butz:
Not having seen all the plays, I'll limit myself to the musicals. I have to go for Julie Taymor on this one hands down. Scott Ellis' direction for 1776 is disappointingly flaccid and his casting was spotty. Mendes and Marshall have done amazing things with Cabaret, but it IS a reworking, no matter how brilliant. Galati has done good work with Ragtime, but I felt for all its spectacle that I wanted more heart--something I'm not sure is possible with story lines so diverse. Taymor did the impossible--she rethought a cartoon and gave it more imagination and dignity than anyone thought possible. After Beauty and the Beast it was such a pleasure to see someone use an enormous amount of theatrical imagination and story-telling technique to bring Lion King to theatrical life. It's not the best musical--tho' it's close, but Lion King does have the year's best director. Parenthetically--won't it be nice to see a woman win it for a change?


From P Phatsaphaphone:
Best Director of a Musical: Julie Taymor. Even though I am one of the biggest fans out there and love Frank Galati's work in Ragtime, Julie Taymor did an even better job. Julie Taymor did everything. The musical should not be called Lion King. It should be called Julie Taymor.


From joeb:
Hands down for Michael Mayer (VIEW FROM BRIDGE). He has taken a fine Arthur Miller play and given it depth and beauty that, in lesser hands, would not have surfaced. His Greek Theater format works brilliantly. I have seen the production three times and with each viewing the richness of his production grows. Beautifully acted, beautifully designed. Hard to imagine a better take on this particular Miller.
Same Mendes& Rob Marshall (CABARET). Yes, the environmental idea is a bit passe, but the rethinking of the piece and the harrowing elements that make this show a bitter pill to swallow are what make it an outstanding rethinking of the piece. I left the theater never wanting to return to the CABARET, whereas I saw the original production three or four times. I think Mendes made his point. Julie Taymor is a wizard with design, but cannot strongly focus a scene with all the bloated business. Galati does exceptional work, but not merely as innovative as the CABARET duo.


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