Tony Administration Committee Makes Many Eligibility Rulings

News   Tony Administration Committee Makes Many Eligibility Rulings The Tony Awards Administration Committee assembled April 24 to discuss eligibility of shows that opened on Broadway during the second half of the season. Their decisions follow.

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.

•The score for Urban Cowboy is not eligible for a Best Score nomination because it is comprised of many tunes not specifically written for the stage production.

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.

And, finally, a decision has still yet to be made on the rotating casts of La Boheme. That decision will be made during the final meeting of the committee on May 8.

The committee, which had previously assembled Jan. 16, 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, shows must open on or before May 7 to be eligible for 2003 Tony nominations, which will be announced May 12. The 57th Annual Tony Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, June 8 at Radio City Music Hall.