Doubt Is Best Play, Spamalot Best Musical; Butz, Irwin, Clark, Jones, Nichols Win 2005 Tonys
By Kenneth Jones
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.
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 Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Best Revival of a Play
Best Revival of a Musical
Best Direction of a Musical
Best Special Theatrical Event
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Best Direction of a Play
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Best Book of a Musical
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Best Costume Design of a Play
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Regional Theatre Tony Award
The total number of awards received by each production follows:
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