Steel Pier and An American Daughter may have been all but overlooked by the 1997 Tony Awards, but the shows were tops with the Friends of New York Theatre, who had their own ceremony Sunday, June 8, at Gallagher's Restaurant in Manhattan. As in the Tonys, Chicago won a FANY Award for best revival, (the FANYs combine plays and musicals in that category) and took home the most honors of the night, six. Ironically, The Last Night Of Ballyhoo, which took a Tony for Best Play, was blanked by the FANYs.
Steel Pier had gotten 10 nominations for the FANYs (announced May 2) edging out Jekyll & Hyde's 9. Dubbed the "People's Choice Awards for Broadway Theatre," the FANYs were founded in 1990 to reward excellence on Broadway.
Here are the 1996-97 FANY Award Winners [in CAPS]:
Outstanding Play: AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER by Wendy Wasserstein; Barrymore by William Luce; The Last Night of Ballyhoo by Alfred Uhry; Skylight by David Hare. Outstanding Revival: CHICAGO; Candide; A Doll's House; The Gin Game; The Little Foxes
Outstanding Musical: STEEL PIER; Jekyll & Hyde, The Life, Titanic.
Outstanding Book of a Musical: THE LIFE (IRA GASMAN, DAVID NEWMAN & CY COLEMAN); Jekyll & Hyde, Leslie Bricusse; Steel Pier, David Thompson
Outstanding Scenic Design:
Outstanding Costume Design: JUDITH DOLAN (CANDIDE); Ann Curtis, Jekyll & Hyde; Jane Greenwood, The Little Foxes; Michael Krass, The Rehearsal
Outstanding Actress in a Play: JULIE HARRIS (THE GIN GAME); Stockard Channing, The Little Foxes; Janet McTeer, A Doll's House; Kate Nelligan, An American Daughter; Lia Williams, Skylight
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: MARTIN SHAW (AN IDEAL HUSBAND); Terry Beaver, The Last Night of Ballyhoo; Bruce Norris, An American Daughter; Owen Teale, A Doll's House.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: LYNNE THIGPEN (AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER); Frances Conroy, The Little Foxes; Dana Ivey, Sex and Longing; Allison Janney, Present Laughter.
Outstanding Broadway Debut: JENNIFER PIECH (TITANIC); Jason Daniely, Candide; Jessica Hecht, The Last Night of Ballyhoo; Paul Rudd, The Last Night of Ballyhoo.
Sustained Excellence in the Theatre: DAVID MERRICK.
Outstanding Community Service Award: THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS (at Lincoln Center).
Special Award to AL HIRSCHFELD for his unique ability to pictorally archive the theatrical seasons.
Those interested in joining FANY just need to pay the annual membership fee and fill out an application. The annual fee is $25 basic membership with right to vote; $15 for seniors/students. Says Ridgeway, "There are also different levels of membership, the highest being $200, which gets you two free tickets to the FANY Awards, your name in the program, and sometimes a special reception with the presenters and nominees." Tickets to the FANY awards are generally $35.
For a membership application, just call (212) 974-0139. "Anybody can become a member," says Ridgeway. "One restriction -- You're not allowed to cast a preliminary (nominations) ballot for a show if you're working on it, but you are allowed to vote."
Attending this year's FANY ceremony were Wendy Wasserstein, Julie Harris, Dana Ivey, Al Hirschfeld, Karen Ziemba and Gregory Harrison (Steel Pier), Brian D'Arcy James, Victoria Clark and Jennifer Piech (Titanic), Chuck Cooper, David Newman & Ira Gasman (The Life), Robert Cuccioli & Christiane Noll (Jekyll & Hyde), Marcia Lewis, Steve Ross, Beth Fowler, Anna McNeely.