There was some question as to whether Lapine, who also directed the original Broadway production of Into the Woods, would be eligible in the category, since he was nominated for a Best Director Tony in 1988. [Actors who portray the same role in different productions of the same show are ineligible for a second Tony nomination.]
The 1988 Tony nominees for Best Director of a Musical included Lapine, Mbongeni Ngema (Sarafina!), Harold Prince (The Phantom of the Opera) and Jerry Zaks (Anything Goes). Prince won the award for his work on Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom. Lapine won a 1995 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for his work on Stephen Sondheim's Passion and has been nominated on four other occasions: Best Director of a Musical for Sunday in the Park with George, Falsettos and Passion and Best Director of a Play for Dirty Blonde.
In other Tony news: Kate Burton, who is currently appearing in the revival of The Elephant Man at the Royale Theatre, will be eligible for a Featured Actress Tony nomination for her work in Bernard Pomerance's Pulitzer Prize-winning play. This decision makes it possible that Burton may be nominated in two separate categories: Best Featured Actress for Elephant Man and Best Actress, for her performance in the title role of Hedda Gabler, which played Broadway earlier this season.
Other decisions: Laura Benanti and Kerry O'Malley, ensemble members of Into the Woods, will be eligible for the featured actress category. And Gavin Creel of Thoroughly Modern Millie will be considered a leading actor. This year's Tony nominations will be announced by Steven Weber and Jennifer Jason Leigh on Monday, May 6 at Sardi's Restaurant.
—By Andrew Gans