The ABC-TV broadcast of Cinderella, the Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II musical, raked in seven Emmy nominations, including a nod for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. Only 12 other programs--series or otherwise--earned more noms.
The Emmys will be awarded Sept. 13.
The Nov. 2, 1998 broadcast of Cinderella received the highest ratings for the network in the 7-9 PM time period in 13 years. According to overnight Nielsen figures, the musical, part of ABC's "Wonderful World Of Disney," averaged a 22.3 rating and 31 Nielsen share. A single rating point represents 970,000 households, so a 23.3 rating translates to roughly 23 million households nationwide that were tuned in. ABC estimates 60 million viewers watched all or part of the telecast.
Other Cinderella personnel honored with Emmy noms were Rob Marshall (Broadway's Cabaret), cited for his choreography, and Robert Iscove, nominated for his direction. Cinderella also received nods for art direction, costume design, and musical direction.
The cast of Cinderella included Bernadette Peters as the wicked stepmother; Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother; pop star Brandy as Cinderella; "Seinfeld's" Jason Alexander as Lionel, a new character created for this version; Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen; Paolo Montalban as the prince; and Veanne Cox (of Company fame) as one of the wicked stepsisters. The lavish production cost $12 million -- one of the most expensive TV movies ever made. R&H's only musical written expressly for television, Cinderella was originally done with Julie Andrews, then remade for broadcast on CBS with Lesley Ann Warren. The musical made its New York stage debut at New York City Opera in 1994 with Crista Moore as Cinderella.
Elsewhere among the Emmy nominations, a number a talents familiar to theatre audiences were recognized for their work on the small screen.
Michael Crawford in Concert received two Emmy nominations: Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Specical (Crawford) and Outstanding Music Direction in a Variety or Musical Special (Ian Frazier).
Steppenwolf Theatre Company member Gary Sinise (The Grapes of Wrath) was cited for his work in the TNT movie George Wallace, where he will competing with stage veteran Patrick Stewart (Broadway's The Tempest), nominated for his portrayal of Captain Ahab in USA's Moby Dick.
Helen Hunt, currently playing Viola in the Lincoln Center production of Twelfth Night, received a nod for her work in the sitcom "Mad About You," while Kristen Johnston, also seen on the New York stage this summer in the New York Shakespeare Festival mounting out Skin of Teeth, was honored for "3rd Rock from the Sun."
Theatre stalwarts Nathan Lane (Mizlansky/Zilinsky) and Patti LuPone (The Old Neighborhood) both earned noms for guest appearances on comedy series: Lane for a role on "Mad About You"; and LuPone for a turn on "Frasier."
Tony-winner Jason Alexander was nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series as George Costanza on NBC's Seinfeld.
Two ladies of the theatre will compete in the category Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Olympia Dukakis as Anna Madrigal in Showtime's Armistead Maupin's More Tales Of The City and Sigourney Weaver as Claudia Hoffman in Showtime's Snow White: A Tale Of Terror.
Stomp Out Loud, the HBO special based on the long-running Off-Broadway revue, was nominated for four Grammys, including Outstanding Direction for a Variety or Music Program (Luke Cresswell and Steve McNichols), plus three technical awards.
The annual broadcast of "The Kennedy Center Honors" got two nominations, in technical categories as well.
The nominations were announced on July 23 at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood, CA. The awards ceremony will by televised live on Sept. 13 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
-- By Robert Simonson