The Antoinette Perry (Tony) Awards turned their back on big splashy musicals by declining May 6 to nominate Big or Victor/Victoria for Best Musical (though both were nominated in other categories).
The awards will be given June 2 in a ceremony to be televised on CBS. Nominations for Best Musical went to modest-sized experimental works Rent, Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk and Chronicle of a Death Foretold, plus the short-run revue Swinging on a Star.All the nominees for Best Musical were developed at not-for-profit theatres. The traditional independent Broadway productions were the ones passed over for Best Musical.
The alternative-rock musical Rent, which already won the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama League Award as Best Musical, led in nominations (with 10) for the 50th annual Tony Awards. The nominations arrived the same morning that the new Newsweek hit the stands (the oddly dated May 13 issue) with nominees Adam Pascal and Daphne Rubin-Vega on the cover.
Savion Glover's Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk was second, with nine nominations.
The nominations in the Best Musical category raised another question as well. Which shows will do scenes on the June 2 Tony broadcast? Traditionally, each of the four Best Musical nominees get one scene each. Will TV audiences tune in if they can't see Julie Andrews sing "Le Jazz Hot," or see the Big scene ("Fun") where Josh dances on the giant piano? News of the Big non-nomination reportedly was announced to the cast as it was recording its original cast album at the Hit Factory in New York City May 6. The atmosphere was reported as "glum."
Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk
Swinging on a Star
BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY
George Grizzard in A Delicate Balance
Martin Shaw in An Ideal Husband
Philip Bosco in Moon Over Buffalo
George C. Scott in Inherit the Wind
BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Gerald Gutierrez for A Delicate Balance
Peter Hall for An Ideal Husband
Lloyd Richards for Seven Guitars
Gary Sinise for Buried Child
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE FOR A MUSICAL
Daryl Waters, Zane Mark, Ann Duquesnay, Reg. E. Gaines and George C. Wolfe for Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk
Jonathan Larson for Rent
David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr. for Big
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein for State Fair*
* The Tony Committee added this note to the State Fair nomination: "When considering the score of State Fair, please consider only the following 'Original songs written for the Theatre' as eligible: 'Driving at Night', 'You Never Had It So Good', 'When I Go Out Walking With My Baby', 'Boys and Girls Like You and Me'."
OUTSTANDING REGIONAL THEATRE
Alley Theatre, Houston
The Tony Committee opted to give no special awards in 1996.
The 1996 Tony Awards nominating Committee consisted of Jon Robin Baitz (playwright), Donald Brooks (costume designer), Marge Champion (choreographer), Betty L. Corwin (theatre archivist), Gretchen Cryer (composer), Thomas Dillon (administrator), Brendan Gill (historian, writer), Jay Harnick (artistic director), Charles Hollerith (producer), Barnard Hughes (actor), Ming Cho Lee (set designer), Robert McDonald (union administrator), Douglas Watt (critic) and George White (administrator).
Tony Awards will be voted by 720 members of the theatre profession. Ballots will be mailed by May 11.