Tony Administration Committee Announces Additional Eligibility Rulings; More to Come Monday

Tony Awards   Tony Administration Committee Announces Additional Eligibility Rulings; More to Come Monday The Tony Awards Administration Committee assembled May 8 for its final discussion of eligibility of shows that opened on Broadway during the 2002-2003 season.

According to a Tony Awards spokesperson, several decisions —including the much-anticipated ruling about the rotating casts of La Bohème — will not be made public until Monday, May 12 at Sardi’s, prior to the announcement of this season’s Tony Award nominations.

Decisions that were revealed today include the following:

Oscar Wilde’s Salome: The Reading will be eligible in the Best Revival category, although Al Pacino — who stars in the Wilde opus at the Barrymore — will not be eligible, since he has played the role previously on Broadway. His co-star Marisa Tomei, however, will be eligible in the leading actress category. Salome’s other key players, Dianne Wiest and David Straithairn, will be eligible in the featured categories.

•Yakov Smirnoff’s As Long As We Both Shall Laugh will not be eligible in any category “because the show does not perform a reasonably conventional playing schedule.” Bill Maher’s Victory Begins at Home will, however, be eligible in the Special Theatrical Event category.

Urban Cowboy’s score will indeed be eligible in the Best Score category. There was some controversy following the last meeting of the Administration Committee when it was announced that the Urban Cowboy score would not be eligible. Producers of Cowboy have since demonstrated that the score contains enough new tunes to warrant eligibility. •In Enchanted April only actress Jayne Atkinson will be eligible in the leading category, and in the revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robert Sean Leonard will be eligible in the featured categories.

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The April 24 meeting of the Tony Awards Administration Committee featured these decisions:

On the musical front:

• The only actor in the Nine revival eligible in a lead acting category is Antonio Banderas; all other performers — including Chita Rivera — will be eligible in the featured categories.

• Although Ernie Sabella’s name is billed above the title in Man of La Mancha, he will be eligible in the featured category. And, conversely, although Urban Cowboy’s Matt Cavenaugh and Jenn Colella are billed below the title, they will be eligible in the leading actor categories.

Frog and Toad has been deemed a musical and will be eligible in all applicable categories.

On the play front:

• All actors in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be eligible for nomination, with the exception of Charles S. Dutton, who starred in the original production in the same role. Whoopi Goldberg will be eligible in the leading actor category as she is billed above the title.

• All actors in Take Me Out will be eligible in the featured actor category.

Vincent in Brixton’s Clare Higgins and Jochum ten Haaf will be eligible in the lead acting categories, although they are billed below the title.

• In Yasmina Reza’s Life x 3, only Helen Hunt and John Turturro are eligible in the leading categories; Linda Emond and Brent Spiner are eligible in featured categories. In Joe Egg, only Eddie Izzard and Victoria Hamilton are eligible in the lead categories.

Other fronts:

• The Jackie Mason solo show Prune Danish will be eligible in the Best Special Theatrical Event category.

The Play What I Wrote will also be eligible in the Best Special Theatrical Event category, which makes its actors ineligible for acting awards.

The committee’s first meeting of the season was held Jan. 16, where the group discussed shows that opened on or before Dec. 19. That meeting resulted in several decisions. Billy Joel's Movin' Out — featuring choreography by Twyla Tharp and told entirely in dance and existing pop songs sung live — is eligible for the Best Musical category. Because the musical, which features the songs of pop star Joel, is eligible as Best Musical, its stars are eligible in the best actor/actress musical categories. La Bohème, a modern retelling of the classic Puccini opera directed by Baz Luhrmann, is eligible in the Best Revival of a Musical category. This decision was based on a new "classics" rule created by the Tony committee last summer. Because the staging has been deemed a revival, La Bohème’s creative team and cast are Tony eligible. Nora Ephron's short-lived Imaginary Friends — starring Swoosie Kurtz and Cherry Jones — was deemed a play despite its inclusion of several songs by Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia. However, the Hamlisch/Carnelia score, the show's orchestrations and choreography will be eligible in their respective categories: Best Score, Best Orchestrations and Best Choreography. The committee also decided in January that Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam is eligible in the Best Special Theatrical Event category.

As previously announced, the 2003 Tony nominations will be announced May 12 and will be posted immediately on Playbill On-Line. The 57th Annual Tony Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, June 8 at Radio City Music Hall.