There's more to being a Tony nominee than just getting a happy phone call, choosing an outfit and showing up for the June 3 awards ceremony. As Follies' Polly Bergen told the New York Post (May 15), "All that extra stuff you have to do your one day off — album recordings, photo shoots, ad campaigns, award ceremonies — definitely creates the exhaustion factor."
Well, today Bergen and a host of other 2001 Tony nominees will endure perhaps the most chaotic of Tony-related assignments as they gather for the annual Tony brunch, held this year at the Marriott Marquis, May 16. Though this is when the nominees receive their framed certificates and take a "class photo" for Tony Award Productions' historical use, it's also the time when print and media journalists converge on the nominees, grabbing them for quick interviews and soundbytes.
This year's event is anticipated to be especially hectic owing to the presence of The Producers (15 nominations), which has sparked magazine, newspaper and television interest significantly beyond usual theatre circles.
As expected, The Producers dominated the 2001 Tony Award nominations, collecting 15, including nods for best musical, score, book, direction and choreography. Stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick received nods, as did featured actors Gary Beach, Roger Bart, Brad Oscar and Cady Huffman.
The Tony nominations for the 2000-01 Broadway season were announced 8:30 AM May 7 at Sardi's restaurant by Reba McEntire and Eric McCormack. The 55th annual Tony ceremony will take place June 3 at Radio City Music Hall, to be hosted by Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick and to be televised live on PBS (8-9 PM) and CBS (9-11 PM). By netting a somewhat upexpected nomination for featured actor Brad Oscar, who plays the Nazi playwright in the show, The Producers achieved the magic number of 15 nominations, thus besting Company for most nods ever. (When Oscar's name was called, an audible gasp rose from the crowd gathered at Sardi's.)
Coming closest to The Producers was The Full Monty, which earned nods in 10 divisions, including best musical, score, for David Yazbek, and direction, for Jack O'Brien. O'Brien was also cited for his work on The Invention of Love. The double nomination is an echo of last year's two-fold recognition of director Michael Blakemore, who was nominated for both Kiss Me, Kate and Copenhagen (he won both awards).
The best musical category was rounded out by A Class Act and Jane Eyre. The latter did surprisingly well, claiming entries in five areas. Best play nominees also included Proof, King Hedley II and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. Thus, all three of the Broadway shows to transfer from the Off-Broadway nonprofit, Manhattan Theatre Club - Proof, Allergist's Wife, A Class Act - were nominated for best play or musical.
Both actors from the British Stones in His Pockets were nominated for best actor in a play, as was the entire four-person cast of Proof, including Mary-Louise Parker. Surprise nods included Jean Smart, for the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner and Mary Testa for 42nd Street.
Shows that came away without any nominations include George Gershwin Alone and The Gathering, while The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Bells Are Ringing, Judgment at Nuremberg and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest won only two nods apiece.
The Producers would appear to have most of the categories in which it is competing sewn up (though Lane will have to duke it out with Broderick for best actor in a musical, while best featured actor will be between Beach, Bart and Oscar). That leaves best leading actress in a musical, the only area where The Producers doesn't boast an entry, as the only horse race among the musical divisions. The five nominees are Randy Graff for A Class Act; Christine Ebersole for 42nd Street; Faith Prince for Bells Are Ringing; Marla Schaffel for Jane Eyre; and Blythe Danner for Follies. All five actresses arguably have a chance.
The category of Special Theatrical Event, created last year in the wake of the Contact controversy, will be presented to Blast!. And the Tony Award for regional theatre will go to Chicago's Victory Gardens, founded in 1974. Also, a special Tony will go to musical director Paul Gemignani, while Tonys for excellence in theatre will go to Betty Corwin and the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library; New Dramatists; and Theatre World.
Here are the 1999-2000 Tony Award nominees:
King Hedley II
The Invention of Love
The Tale of the Allergist's Wife
The Full Monty
A Class Act
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL:
Bells Are Ringing
The Rocky Horror Show
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY:
Richard Easton, The Invention of Love
Brian Stokes Mitchell, King Hedley II
Gary Sinise, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Sean Campion, Stones in His Pockets
Conleth Hill, Stones in His Pockets
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY :
Mary-Louise Parker, Proof
Linda Lavin, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife
Juliette Binoche, Betrayal
Jean Smart, The Man Who Came to Dinner
Leslie Uggams, King Hedley II
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL :
Nathan Lane, The Producers
Matthew Broderick, The Producers
Tom Hewitt, The Rocky Horror Show
Patrick Wilson, The Full Monty
Kevin Chamberlin, Seussical
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
Randy Graff, A Class Act
Christine Ebersole, 42nd Street
Faith Prince, Bells Are Ringing
Marla Schaffel, Jane Eyre
Blythe Danner, Follies
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY :
Daniel Sullivan, Proof
Jack O'Brien, The Invention of Love
Marion McClinton, King Hedley II
Ian McElhinney, Stones in His Pockets
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Mel Brooks, The Producers
Ed Kleban, A Class Act
David Yazbek, The Full Monty
Paul Gordon and John Caird, Jane Eyre
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY :
Charles Brown, King Hedley II
Larry Bryggman, Proof
Michael Hayden, Judgment at Nuremberg
Robert Sean Leonard, The Invention of Love
Ben Shenkman, Proof
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY:
Michele Lee, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife
Viola Davis, King Hedley II
Johanna Day, Proof
Penny Fuller, The Dinner Party
Marthe Keller, Judgment at Nuremberg
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL :
Gary Beach, The Producers
Roger Bart, The Producers
Andre DeShields, The Full Monty
John Ellison Conlee, The Full Monty
Brad Oscar, The Producers
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
Cady Huffman, The Producers
Polly Bergen, Follies
Kate Levering, 42nd Street
Mary Testa, 42nd Street
Kathleen Freeman, The Full Monty
BEST SCENIC DESIGN :
Bob Crowley, The Invention of Love
Heidi Ettinger, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Douglas W. Schmidt, 42nd Street
Robin Wagner, The Producers
Multiple nominations were received by:
The Producers: 15
The Full Monty: 10
42nd Street: 9
King Hedley II: 6
A Class Act: 5
The Invention of Love: 5
Jane Eyre: 5
The Rocky Horror Show: 4
Stones in His Pockets: 3
The Tale of the Allergist's Wife: 3
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: 2
Bells Are Ringing: 2
Judgment at Nuremberg: 2
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: 2
In a famous musical number in Bells Are Ringing, Ella the telephone answering service operator shows her boyfriend just how friendly New York subway riders can be. Well, producers of this year's Tony Awards telecast on CBS are apparently hoping for the same level of bonhomie from the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs the train system.
According to Army Archerd's May 9 column in Variety, the June 3 television broadcast will open with the cast of the current 42nd Street revival exiting the Ford Center and hopping a 42nd Street subway train (presumably the C or E) up to 50th Street. On the train they'll rendezvous with the casts of The Rocky Horror Show and the aforementioned Bells Are Ringing revival. Assuming there are no sick passengers, MTA slowdowns or trains just-ahead-of-them-to-be moving-shortly, all three casts will exit at 50th and scurry to Radio City Music Hall, where performers from the year's fourth Tony nominee for Best Revival, Follies, will join the gaggle for "a giant tap number to open the show, directed by Glen Weiss."
Variety notes that the subway sequence would be pre-taped, and that Actors' Equity has given permission for performers from all four shows to take part in the same production number (generally, actors are allowed to do excerpts only from the show's they're in.)
Asked about the subway opener, Tony Awards spokesperson Keith Sherman reiterated his recent statements about keeping decisions about the telecast's content under wraps until they were official. He did say that, "We at the Tony Awards have a lot of ideas to open the show, and that [the subway sequence] is certainly among them. But we can't confirm anything yet for the telecast — other than that it'll be a terrific show. We're putting it together right now." A press source for one of the nominated musicals told Playbill On-Line (May 16) the show's content was still in the midst of being formulated and that "everything's changing."