Doubt Is Best Play, Spamalot Best Musical; Butz, Irwin, Clark, Jones, Nichols Win 2005 Tonys

By Kenneth Jones
05 Jun 2005

Top to Bottom: 2005 Tony winners John Patrick Shanley and Cherry Jones; Adam Guettel; Adriane Lenox and Doug Hughes; Jerry Mitchell
Top to Bottom: 2005 Tony winners John Patrick Shanley and Cherry Jones; Adam Guettel; Adriane Lenox and Doug Hughes; Jerry Mitchell
Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The Light in the Piazza, Doubt, La Cage aux Folles, Glengarry Glen Ross and 700 Sundays won 2005 Tony Awards in production categories June 5.

The 59th annual awards, representing excellence in Broadway theatre for the 2004-05 season, were presented at Radio City Music Hall. Hugh Jackman hosted.

The Light in the Piazza, the bittersweetly romantic and humane tale of a mother who takes her troubled daughter on a vacation to Italy in the 1950s, won the most Tonys of any single show this year: six awards, including Best Leading Actress in a Musical (Victoria Clark), Best Orchestrations and Best Score. Its lush design, seen in the Tony broadcast on CBS in the presentation of the song "Statues and Stories," won Tonys for lighting, set and costumes (for musicals).

Monty Python's Spamalot surprised few (including producer Bill Haber, who asked if anyone would be suspicious if he read his speech from a teleprompter) when it won the Best Musical Tony. Sara Ramirez won won a Best Featured Actress (Musical) Tony for playing the sexy vamp who weaves in and out of the loose-limbed musical comedy take on the King Arthur legend. Spamalot won three awards, including a Tony for director Mike Nichols (he already has Tonys and Oscars on his mantle).



Acting honors for plays went to Leading Actress Cherry Jones as a fiercely righteous nun in Doubt; Leading Actor Bill Irwin as hen-pecked George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Featured Actor Liev Schreiber as an oily real estate salesman in Glengarry Glen Ross; and Featured Actress Adriane Lenox for a brief scene as the cornered mother of a teen in crisis in Doubt.

Irwin’s win drew screams and applause of joy and perhaps surprise. It was speculated by pundits that the Leading Actor (Play) award would go to Irishman Brian F. O'Byrne, who plays a possibly corrupt priest who prompts the central mystery in John Patrick Shanley's Doubt, a Parable.

In addition to Best Play, Doubt won a Tony for Direction of a Play (Doug Hughes). Its Tony count totals four.

The Light in the Piazza took five Tonys early in the evening: For scenic design, orchestrations, lighting, costumes and score, and later in the evening veteran actress-singer Victoria Clark (Titanic) thanked the crowd, and her young son, when accepting the Best Actress (Musical) award.

Among theatre royalty taking home Tonys this year were composer-lyricist Adam Guettel, who is composer Richard Rodgers' grandson, for Best Score for The Light in the Piazza; seasoned producer and director Mike Nichols, the famous humorist, revuer, film and stage director, for the aforementioned Best Direction of a Musical (Monty Python's Spamalot); and playwright Edward Albee, who received the Lifetime Achievement Tony (an award announced prior to June 5, but handed out Sunday).

The only award won by the musical comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was for Leading Actor in a Musical. For his fiery and wildly comic performance as one of the title con men, Norbert Leo Butz won his first Tony.

Broadway newcomer Dan Fogler won Best Featured Actor (Musical) for playing the chubby William Barfee (who spells out words with his "magic foot") in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. His win was one of two for the underdog show: Rachel Sheinkin also win for Best Book of a Musical.

David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross won the Best Revival of a Play Tony Award, the first Tony for Pulitzer Prize-winner Mamet, according to the producer Jeffrey Richards.

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The televised ceremony aired 8-11 PM (ET) on CBS-TV, with winners from seven categories revealed in a pre-telecast 7-8 PM.

Nominees and winners are listed below, with winners indicated by boldface type and an asterisk.

Best Musical
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
The Light in the Piazza
*Monty Python's Spamalot
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Hank Azaria, Monty Python's Spamalot
Gary Beach, La Cage aux Folles
*Norbert Leo Butz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Tim Curry, Monty Python's Spamalot
John Lithgow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Christina Applegate, Sweet Charity
*Victoria Clark, The Light in the Piazza
Erin Dilly, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Sutton Foster, Little Women
Sherie Rene Scott, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Best Play
Democracy
*Doubt
Gem of the Ocean
The Pillowman

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
*Cherry Jones, Doubt
Laura Linney, Sight Unseen
Mary-Louise Parker, Reckless
Phylicia Rashad, Gem of the Ocean
Kathleen Turner, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Philip Bosco, Twelve Angry Men
Billy Crudup, The Pillowman
*Bill Irwin, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
James Earl Jones, On Golden Pond
Brían F. O'Byrne, Doubt

Best Revival of a Play
Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
*Glengarry Glen Ross
On Golden Pond
Twelve Angry Men

Best Revival of a Musical
*La Cage aux Folles
Pacific Overtures
Sweet Charity

Best Direction of a Musical
James Lapine, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
*Mike Nichols, Monty Python's Spamalot
Jack O'Brien, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Bartlett Sher, The Light in the Piazza

Best Special Theatrical Event
Dame Edna: Back with a Vengeance!
Laugh Whore
*700 Sundays
Whoopi, the 20th Anniversary Show

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
*Dan Fogler, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Marc Kudisch, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Michael McGrath, Monty Python's Spamalot
Matthew Morrison, The Light in the Piazza
Christopher Sieber, Monty Python's Spamalot

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Joanna Gleason, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Jan Maxwell, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Kelli O'Hara, The Light in the Piazza
*Sara Ramirez, Monty Python's Spamalot

Best Direction of a Play
John Crowley, The Pillowman
Scott Ellis, Twelve Angry Men
*Doug Hughes, Doubt
Joe Mantello, Glengarry Glen Ross

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek
*The Light in the Piazza
Music & Lyrics: Adam Guettel

Monty Python's Spamalot
Music: John Du Prez and Eric Idle; Lyrics: Eric Idle
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Music & Lyrics: William Finn

Best Choreography
Wayne Cilento, Sweet Charity
Jerry Mitchell, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
*Jerry Mitchell, La Cage aux Folles
Casey Nicholaw, Monty Python's Spamalot

Best Book of a Musical
Jeffrey Lane, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Craig Lucas, The Light in the Piazza
Eric Idle, Monty Python's Spamalot
*Rachel Sheinkin, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Mireille Enos, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Heather Goldenhersh, Doubt
Dana Ivey, The Rivals
*Adriane Lenox, Doubt
Amy Ryan, A Streetcar Named Desire

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Alan Alda, Glengarry Glen Ross
Gordon Clapp, Glengarry Glen Ross
David Harbour, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
*Liev Schreiber, Glengarry Glen Ross
Michael Stuhlbarg, The Pillowman

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Tim Hatley, Monty Python's Spamalot
Rumi Matsui, Pacific Overtures
Anthony Ward, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
*Michael Yeargan, The Light in the Piazza

Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, Doubt
David Gallo, Gem of the Ocean
Santo Loquasto, Glengarry Glen Ross
*Scott Pask, The Pillowman

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Tim Hatley, Monty Python's Spamalot
Junko Koshino, Pacific Overtures
William Ivey Long, La Cage aux Folles
*Catherine Zuber, The Light in the Piazza

Best Costume Design of a Play
*Jess Goldstein, The Rivals
Jane Greenwood, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
William Ivey Long, A Streetcar Named Desire
Constanza Romero, Gem of the Ocean

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
*Christopher Akerlind, The Light in the Piazza
Mark Henderson, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Kenneth Posner, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Hugh Vanstone, Monty Python's Spamalot

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Pat Collins, Doubt
Donald Holder, Gem of the Ocean
Donald Holder, A Streetcar Named Desire
*Brian MacDevitt, The Pillowman

Best Orchestrations
Larry Hochman, Monty Python's Spamalot
*Ted Sperling, Adam Guettel and Bruce Coughlin, The Light in the Piazza
Jonathan Tunick, Pacific Overtures
Harold Wheeler, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Edward Albee

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Theatre de la Jeune Lune
Minneapolis, Minnesota

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The total number of awards received by each production follows:
The Light in the Piazza - 6
Doubt - 4
Monty Python's Spamalot - 3
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - 2
La Cage aux Folles - 2
Glengarry Glen Ross - 2
The Pillowman - 2
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - 1
Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - 1
The Rivals - 1
700 Sundays - 1