Julie Andrews Declines Tony Nomination
By Robert Viagas
Julie Andrews, star of the Broadway musical Victor/Victoria announced May 8 that she is withdrawing her name from consideration for the 1996 Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical.
Andrews was the only member of the Victor/Victoria cast, creative staff and production team nominated for a Tony. The snub for the rest of the show made headlines around the world when nominations were announced May 6.
In a minute-long speech interupted by cheers and applause from the standing audience at the curtain call of the May 8 matinee, Andrews said "I have searched my conscience and my heart and find that I cannot accept this nomination, and prefer instead to stand with the egregiously overlooked --" At that point she was interrupted by applause and cheering from the audience. Andrews then named co-stars Tony Roberts, Michael Nouri, Rachel York, Greg Jbara and members of the creative staff, including her husband Blake Edwards, director and librettist of the show.
Andrews prefaced her statement by applauding "my fellow nominees" and she explained "I could not have done this alone."
Despite Andrew's gesture Tony Awards spokesman Keith Sherman said that Andrews name will still be on the Tony ballots being mailed later this week and she could still win.
The award was widely assumed to be virtually hers, and if she withdraws her name from consideration, it would certainly be a blow.
The entire Victor/Victoria project was designed to give a boost to the career of her husband, film director Blake Edwards, who directed and wrote the book of the stage show. The 14-member Tony nominating committee snubbed Edwards, and Andrew's supporting cast, Rachel York, Michael Nouri, Tony Robers and Greg Jbara.
Andrews is strongly loyal to her husband, and has said that she was determined to stay with the show until it turned a profit.
Tony producers were counting on Andrews' performing a number from the show as a prime draw for the June 2 Tony broadcast. But since only shows nominated for Best Musical generally get to do songs on the show, the Vic/Vic snub is creating something of a crisis for the show's planners.
Nominated in the Best Musical category were Rent and Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, as anticipated. But the other two slots in the category, which were expected to go to Victor/Victoria and Big, instead went to two shows that closed months ago: Swinging on a Star and Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
Anyone who watched Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins knows that her prim nanny had a "cheery disposition" but also could be very firm when the situation arose.
The situation appears to have arisen in her real life.
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