Record 12 Tony Awards for Producers; Proof, Cuckoo's Nest & 42nd St. Tops Too

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04 Jun 2001

Tony Winners Richard Easton, Mary Louise Parker, Christine Ebersole, Mel Brooks and Nathan Lane
Tony Winners Richard Easton, Mary Louise Parker, Christine Ebersole, Mel Brooks and Nathan Lane
Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The 55th annual Tony Awards ceremony for excellence in Broadway theatre were held June 3 at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. The event was televised live on PBS (8-9 PM) and CBS (9-11 PM). The PBS telecast was officially titled "The First Ten Awards: Tonys 2001."

The 55th annual Tony Awards ceremony for excellence in Broadway theatre were held June 3 at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. The event was televised live on PBS (8-9 PM) and CBS (9-11 PM). The PBS telecast was officially titled "The First Ten Awards: Tonys 2001."

The Producers, which won for Best Musical, broke the all-time record for Tony wins with 12. In fact, The Producers won all the awards for which it had been nominated: for Musical, Book of a Musical, Original Score, Orchestration, Choreography, Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design, Direction of a Musical, Featured Actress, Leading Actor, Featured Actor (Beach). Daniel Sullivan, winning for directing Proof,joked that he thanked the voters for his win, even though he had "nothing to do with The Producers." The Producers would pick up its ninth and tenth awards before 9:30 PM, for Gary Beach and Cady Huffman, as Featured Actor and Actress, respectively, in a Musical. For The Producers' eleventh win, Nathan Lane took the Best Actor trophy, proudly sharing it with co-star Matthew Broderick, as well as mentioning Zero Mostel, who originated the character of Max Bialystock. The show would then take home the big musical prize, for win number twelve, at 10:55 PM.

The Featured Actress award went to Viola Davis (King Hedley II), with Mary-Louise Parker later winning Best Actress for Proof. David Auburn's comedy-drama would also win for Best Play and for Daniel Sullivan's direction.

Christine Ebersole scoring a win for 42nd Street. Victories also went to the two A.E. Housmans in The Invention of Love, Best Actor Richard Easton and Featured Actor Robert Sean Leonard.



The ceremony began at 8 PM, with Lane and Broderick on red armchairs, "Masterpiece Theatre" style, making fun of PBS' hoity-toityness — albeit with jokes about Pamela Anderson, teamsters and "Survivor." A taped look at the season's musicals followed, including images of David Yazbek in a soapy bathtub, rehearsals of The Producers' grannies-on-walkers scene and Kate Levering discussing 42nd Street's tap.

The CBS hour began with a 42nd Street subway tap-fest (the show would soon win for Best Revival and Leading Actress, Christine Ebersole), followed by Broderick and Lane kidding about the former getting a swelled head over The Producers' mega-power -- until Lane reminded his partner of the two flop films they'd done, "Godzilla" and "Isn't She Great." Bernadette Peters then introduced nominee Polly Bergen, who belted "I'm Still Here," and Marc Kudisch introduced his Bells Are Ringing co-star Faith Prince, who sang, "I'm Going Back." Dick Cavett then performed his narrating duties for a Rocky Horror "Time Warp," with members of the audience (including Gwyneth Paltrow and Andre deShields) pulled up to dance along.

Tony nominations for the 2000-01 Broadway season were announced 8:30 AM May 7 at Sardi's restaurant by Reba McEntire (Annie Get Your Gun) and Eric McCormack (The Music Man).

Here are the 1999-2000 Tony Award winners (in BOLD CAPS) and nominees:

BEST PLAY:
PROOF
King Hedley II
The Invention of Love
The Tale of the Allergist's Wife

BEST MUSICAL:
THE PRODUCERS
The Full Monty
A Class Act
Jane Eyre

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL :
NATHAN LANE, The Producers
Matthew Broderick, The Producers
Tom Hewitt, The Rocky Horror Show
Patrick Wilson, The Full Monty
Kevin Chamberlin, Seussical

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY:
RICHARD EASTON, The Invention of Love
Brian Stokes Mitchell, King Hedley II
Gary Sinise, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Sean Campion, Stones in His Pockets
Conleth Hill, Stones in His Pockets

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
CHRISTINE EBERSOLE, 42nd Street
Randy Graff, A Class Act
Faith Prince, Bells Are Ringing
Blythe Danner, Follies
Marla Schaffel, Jane Eyre

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY :
MARY-LOUISE PARKER, Proof
Linda Lavin, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife
Juliette Binoche, Betrayal
Jean Smart, The Man Who Came to Dinner
Leslie Uggams, King Hedley II

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY:
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
Betrayal
The Best Man

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY:
VIOLA DAVIS, Kind Hedley II
Michele Lee, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife
Johanna Day, Proof
Penny Fuller, The Dinner Party
Marthe Keller, Judgment at Nuremberg

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY :
ROBERT SEAN LEONARD, The Invention of Love
Charles Brown, King Hedley II
Larry Bryggman, Proof
Michael Hayden, Judgment at Nuremberg
Ben Shenkman, Proof

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
CADY HUFFMAN, The Producers
Polly Bergen, Follies
Kate Levering, 42nd Street
Mary Testa, 42nd Street
Kathleen Freeman, The Full Monty

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL :
GARY BEACH, The Producers
Roger Bart, The Producers
Andre DeShields, The Full Monty
John Ellison Conlee, The Full Monty
Brad Oscar, The Producers

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL:
42ND STREET
Follies
Bells Are Ringing
The Rocky Horror Show

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY :
DANIEL SULLIVAN, Proof
Jack O'Brien, The Invention of Love
Marion McClinton, King Hedley II
Ian McElhinney, Stones in His Pockets

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL :
SUSAN STROMAN, The Producers
Jack O'Brien, The Full Monty
Christopher Ashley, The Rocky Horror Show
Mark Bramble, 42nd Street

BEST COSTUME DESIGN :
WILIAM IVEY LONG, The Producers
Theoni V. Aldredge, Follies
Roger Kirk, 42nd Street
David C. Woolard, The Rocky Horror Show

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN :
PETER KACZOROWSKI, The Producers
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Jane Eyre
Paul Gallo, 42nd Street
Kenneth Posner, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

BEST SCENIC DESIGN :
ROBIN WAGNER, The Producers
Bob Crowley, The Invention of Love
Heidi Ettinger, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Douglas W. Schmidt, 42nd Street

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS:
DOUG BESTERMAN, The Producers
Larry Hochman, A Class Act
Jonathan Tunick, Follies
Harold Wheeler, The Full Monty

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY:
SUSAN STROMAN, The Producers
Jerry Mitchell, The Full Monty
Jim Moore, George Pinney and John Vanderkloff, Blast!
Randy Skinner, 42nd Street

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL:
MEL BROOKS & THOMAS MEEHAN, The Producers
Terrence McNally, The Full Monty
John Caird, Jane Eyre
Lonny Price and Linda Kline, A Class Act

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
MEL BROOKS, The Producers
Ed Kleban, A Class Act
David Yazbek, The Full Monty
Paul Gordon and John Caird, Jane Eyre

SPECIAL THEATRICAL EVENT
BLAST!

REGIONAL THEATRE
VICTORY GARDENS THEATRE (Chicago, IL)

SPECIAL TONYS
Lifetime Achievement: PAUL GEMIGNANI
Excellence in Theatre: BETTY CORWIN and the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library; NEW DRAMATISTS, and "THEATRE WORLD."

Tony wins / nominations were received by:

The Producers: 12 / 15
Proof: 3 / 6
The Invention of Love: 2 / 5
42nd Street: 2 / 9
King Hedley II: 1 / 6
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: 1 / 2
The Full Monty: 0 / 10
A Class Act: 0 / 5
Follies: 0 / 5
Jane Eyre: 0 / 5
The Rocky Horror Show: 0 / 4
Stones in His Pockets: 0 / 3
The Tale of the Allergist's Wife: 0 / 3
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: 0 / 2
Bells Are Ringing: 0 / 2
Betrayal: 0 / 2
Judgment at Nuremberg: 0 / 2
Blast!: 1 (special Tony) / 2
Seussical: 0 / 1
The Man Who Came to Dinner: 0 / 1
The Best Man: 0 / 1
The Dinner Party: 0 / 1
The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life...: 0 / 1
Victory Gardens Theatre (Regional): 1 / 1

The annual Tony Brunch for nominees was held at the Marriott Marquis, May 16. As expected, The Producers dominated the 2001 Tony Award nominations, collecting 15, including nods for best musical, score, book, direction and choreography. Stars Lane and Broderick received nods, as did featured actors Gary Beach, Roger Bart, Brad Oscar and Cady Huffman.

Musical sequences on the broadcast included:

"Along Came Bialy" (The Producers, with Nathan Lane)
"Let it Go" (The Full Monty, with Patrick Wilson and company
"The Pledge" and "Sirens" (Jane Eyre, with Marla Schaffel and James Barbour)
"I'm Going Back" (Bells are Ringing with Faith Prince)
"The Lullaby of Broadway" and "We're in the Money" (42nd Street company)
"I'm Still Here" (Follies, with Polly Bergen)
"The Time Warp" (Rocky Horror Show company)
Medley of "Follow Your Star" and "Better" (A Class Act with Lonny Price and Randy Graff)

Excerpts from the four Best Play nominees were also shown, with the Play Revival nominees featured via pre-taped video excerpts.

As for presenters of this year's Tony Awards, those included Heather Headley (a Tony winner for Aida) and Kristin Chenoweth (a Tony winner for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) presenting the award for Best Book of a Musical. Also lined up were Gwyneth Paltrow ("Shakespeare in Love"), Brian Stokes Mitchell and three-time victor Audra McDonald. Henry Winkler, who exits The Dinner Party June 10, spoke about the American Theatre Wing with Isabelle Stevenson, and the new Gun-totin' Annie, Reba McEntire also presented.

Other presenters included Lily Tomlin, who just finished a Tony-nominated revival run of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, The Heidi Chronicles' Joan Allen and Sunset Boulevard Tony winner Glenn Close. Dame Edna, whose Royal Tour earned a special Tony last year, was also on hand (tucking the award between her legs while she read the nominees), as were Gina Gershon, Edie Falco (Side Man), Jane Krakowski (Grand Hotel) and Doris Roberts (TV's "Everybody Loves Raymond"). Mykel Bath, who plays Young Simba in The Lion King and Harrison Chad, who plays Chip in Beauty and the Beast, served as "trophy boys" and hand out the actual awards. Sarah Jessica Parker, who co-starred opposite hubby Matthew Broderick in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, also presented and identified herself as "Mrs. Leo Bloom."

On a less jovial note, some shows that went home empty will have to work extra hard over the next few months to attract audiences. While the blanked The Full Monty (zero wins out of ten nominations) has been doing strong box office since it opened, Jane Eyre, Bells Are Ringing, and A Class Act face big struggles (Jane Eyre is already on borrowed time -- and Alanis Morissette's donated money). Follies is on a limited run through Labor Day but may not survive to that point; Stones in His Pockets went virtually unseen on the Tony show, and Rocky Horror will have to continue to push for audiences beyond its built-in youth-cult viewership.