Tony Rulings: Movin' Out's a New Musical, La Bohème Is Not

News   Tony Rulings: Movin' Out's a New Musical, La Bohème Is Not The Tony Awards Administration Committee assembled Jan. 16, and the results are in, with the two biggest questions from the first half of the Broadway season answered.

The committee, which only discussed shows that opened on or before Dec. 19, announced that Billy Joel's Movin' Out — featuring choreography by Twyla Tharp and told entirely in dance and existing pop songs sung live — will be eligible for the Best Musical category. Because the musical, which features the songs of pop star Joel, is eligible as Best Musical, its stars will be eligible in the best actor/actress musical categories.

La Bohème, a modern retelling of the classic Puccini opera directed by Baz Luhrmann, will be eligible in the Best Revival of a Musical category. This decision is be based on a new "classics" rule created by the Tony committee last summer. That rule states, "A play or musical that is determined by the Tony Awards Administration Committee (in its sole discretion) to be a 'classic' or in the historical or popular repertoire shall not be eligible for an Award in the Best Play or Best Musical Category but may be eligible in that appropriate Best Revival category." A decision has yet to be made on how to deal with La Bohème's rotating cast of principals.

Because the staging has been deemed a revival, its creative team and cast are Tony eligible (that would not have been the case had the show been placed in the Special Theatrical Event category).

Nora Ephron's Imaginary Friends — starring Swoosie Kurtz and Cherry Jones — has been deemed a play despite its inclusion of several songs by Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia. However, the Hamlisch/Carnelia score, the show's orchestrations and choreography will be eligible in their respective categories: Best Score, Best Orchestrations and Best Choreography.

The Tony Awards Committee also decided that Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam will be eligible in the Best Special Theatrical Event category, which last season included Barbara Cook in Mostly Sondheim, Bea Arthur on Broadway, Elaine Stritch at Liberty and Sexaholix. . . a love story. Veteran actress Elaine Stritch won the 2002 Tony in that category. The committee will meet again this spring to discuss shows that opened after Dec. 20. As previously announced, shows must open on or before May 7 to be eligible for 2003 Tony nominations, which will be announced May 12. The 57th Annual Tony Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, June 8 at Radio City Music Hall.