Tony Nominators Nix Scarlet Bid; Wit Won't Wash

Tony Awards   Tony Nominators Nix Scarlet Bid; Wit Won't Wash
 
The revised Scarlet Pimpernel came up empty in its request for Tony reconsideration. Though the producers argued that the show had been substantially revised and improved, the Tony nominating committee said 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 revised Scarlet Pimpernel came up empty in its request for Tony reconsideration. Though the producers argued that the show had been substantially revised and improved, the Tony nominating committee said 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 but feared audiences would be scared off by the tragic subject matter.

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.

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