Tony Noms Make for Some Crazy Ads

Tony Awards   Tony Noms Make for Some Crazy Ads
 
The 1996 Tony Award nominations brought out the best, worst, and most creative in the nominated and non-nominated shows when they designed their ads for showcasing in the New York Times Weekend section May 10.

The 1996 Tony Award nominations brought out the best, worst, and most creative in the nominated and non-nominated shows when they designed their ads for showcasing in the New York Times Weekend section May 10.

* As might have been expected, flamboyant producer David Merrick scored an attention-getting coup with his ad for his State Fair, which was not nominated for Best Musical. Under a photograph of himself, Merrick quoted Jesus in the New Testament, saying "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. -- Luke 23:34." He then added a line that managed to mention his, and two other shows, not nominated for best musical: "When the Big Victor is announced, it won't be Fair."

* Merrick was referring to Big and Victor/Victoria. Big ran its ad the full height of a broadsheet Times page, saying "NOMINATED FOR FIFTEEN AWARDS INCLUDING," then the word "best" and "Musical*." The asterisk takes you down to the bottom of the page, where it says, in tiny letters, "DRAMA DESK NOMINATION," which is a legitimate, but lesser-known New York theatre award. Big's five Tony nominations are mentioned as well, also with asterisks.

* Victor/Victoria, perhaps ominously, ran no ad in the Weekend section. The show recently has been advertising its Outer Critics Circle Award as Best Broadway Musical of the 1995-96 season, without mentioning the Tonys at all. Victor/Victoria was nominated for only one Tony, Best Actress in a Musical for Julie Andrews. Andrews declined the nomination May 8 in a dramatic curtain speech after her show.

* Several of the shows that DID get ample Tony nominations weren't shy about saying so. August Wilson's Seven Guitars took out a large display ad with the words "EIGHT TONY NOMINATIONS" emblazoned across the top, with the nominees listed next to eight big guitars. * A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum reconfigured its toppling-Roman-column logo to list the nominees under the faux Latin headline "TONY AWARD NOMINATUS!"

* Bring in the 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk ran the words "9 TONY AWARD NOMINATIONS" next to photos of leaping cast members and a quote from the New York Times review: "SING HALLELUJAH!"

* A Delicate Balance and A Midsummer Night's Dream were more traditionally restrained in mentioning their nominations. Dream put a dignified pair of laurels around the words "TONY AWARD NOMINATIONS."

* One ad depicting a Tony-nominee was eyebrow-raising for another reason: Buried Child ran a photo of Tony-nominee Lois Smith, who plays the mother in that Sam Shepard play, under the line "Remember mom this Mother's Day . . ." Shepard's drama is the story of a family ripped apart by parent-child incest and murder.

-- By Robert Viagas

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