The revised Scarlet Pimpernel has come up empty in its request for Tony reconsideration. Though the producers argued that the show had been substantially revised and improved, the Tony administration committee has decided the new cast additions Rex Smith, Rachel York and new director Robert Longbottom will not be eligible for Tonys. However Pimpernel can petition for a special award at season's end.
The Tony nominating committee also turned down the season's most unexpected request: eligibility for Margaret Edson's acclaimed drama, Wit. The producers felt strongly that the play's artistic merit, and Kathleen Chalfant's performance, were on a par with anything on Broadway this season and therefore worthy of Tony consideration. However, Wit plays at the Union Square Theatre, an Off-Broadway house, and is therefore ineligible. Wit's gambit was especially surprising, since initially co-producers Manhattan Class Company, Long Wharf Theatre and Daryl Roth considered putting the show on Broadway (targeting the Helen Hayes Theatre) but they and the theatre owner feared audiences would be scared off by the tragic subject matter.
The committee also decided that Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake won't be eligible for Best Musical. Composer Tchaikovsky can't get a best score nod, nor can Bourne be nominated for libretto (actually, the musical has no official book-writer credit, though it arguably had more plot -- albeit silent -- than a number of revues whose writers did receive nominations). According to Tony spokesperson Keith Sherman, Swan Lake's producers can petition for a special award, but only after the season officially ends, April 28. The nominating committee will meet April 29 to consider all such requests and announce the nominees May 3.
Sherman notes that other aspects of Swan Lake -- such as performers and designers -- can be considered for awards in the musical category. Though they alternated performances with other dancers, Adam Cooper and Scott Ambler can be nominated for leading roles in a musical (because they both performed on opening night).
The Tony Awards will be held Sunday, June 6, at a Broadway Theatre still to be determined. No host has been announced for the show, which will begin at 8 PM (broadcast, for the third year in a row, on PBS-TV) and continue from 9-11 PM, broadcast on CBS-TV. Though relations between Tony co-producers the American Theatre Wing and the League of American Theatres & Producers had long been rancorous, they recently patched things up and signed a new contract reaching to 2004. CBS, also, has renewed its contract for the Tonys through that year. -- By David Lefkowitz