Plans for Tony Parties -- Official and Unofficial

Tony Awards   Plans for Tony Parties -- Official and Unofficial
As soon as the curtain rings down on the 1997 Tony Awards Sunday night at Radio City Music Hall, there'll be a seemingly endless line of limos heading south from 50th Street and Avenue of the Americas (okay! a.k.a. Sixth Avenue) to the official supper ball in the Broadway Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis Hotel.

As soon as the curtain rings down on the 1997 Tony Awards Sunday night at Radio City Music Hall, there'll be a seemingly endless line of limos heading south from 50th Street and Avenue of the Americas (okay! a.k.a. Sixth Avenue) to the official supper ball in the Broadway Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis Hotel.

That's six short blocks away for the winners, but six excruciating blocks for the non-winners. Remember in the Tony race, there are no losers. The honor is just to be nominated!

Isabelle Stevenson, president of the American Theatre Wing, co-sponsors of the Tonys with the League of American Theatres and Producers, said, "This is one party -- and that's what it is! -- where you don't have to worry about no-shows. As soon as the applications go out with the ticket forms, it seems they are responded to immediately."

For Stevenson and the executives of the Wing and League, the ball is "finally a time to relax. There's been the excitement leading up the Tonys, then the awards themself, and then, in a puff, it's over.

"What makes the ball so exciting is that everybody's ready to have a good time. The ballroom is beautifully decorated. As you come it, you get off to a great start with glasses and glasses of Taittinger Champagne. Then, after cocktails when you sit, you're right next to all the stars you've just seen on the show. We've always made a tradition of spreading around the celebrities, CBS executives, and sponsors of the telecast." Tickets for the supper ball are in addition to the price of tickets to the awards ceremony -- $250 extra, in fact. For the 1,500 partygoers, that includes music and dancing to the 16-piece Emery Davis Orchestra, which (conducted by Meyer Davis) will be providing music for the 48th such ball, Flowers By John Spellman, which will include 4,000 Ravel roses and white lilac on the tables and decorations of 2,000 multi-color balloons on the stage against a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.

The pre-dinner Taittinger Champagne reception will have a lavish array of hors d'oeuvres. Then, around 12:30 AM, whether you have room for it or not, guess what's coming to dinner!

Marriott Marquis executive director of catering Joseph Cozza and a banquet staff of 125 will be there to see that all runs smoothly.

Cozza worked with Roy Somlyo, the managing producer of the Tony Awards for the American Theatre Wing and the League, to plan the menu. He gave Playbill On Line a blow-by-blow rundown of the evening's menu. Words of advice to partygoers: don't eat supper beforehand!

Appetizers will include international cheeses, country pate en Croute (pastry), smoked breast of duck, marinated salmon with pesto, sliced tenderloin of beef, and crab cakes.

Oh, yes, there's more. The dinner appetizer is tomato Farcis (stuffed with roasted vegetables and fresh mozzarella) served with grilled zucchini and fennel on toasted fiscelle (thin Italian bread). The entree of chicken Champignon (sauteed with wild mushrooms) with sauce Madeira will be served with a medley of fresh spring vegetables: asparagus, baby carrots with dill, and Dauphinois potato (thinly sliced, layered with Gruyere cheese).

If you want a cola or beer, you're out of luck since Taittinger is providing two of their premium wines to be served with the dinner courses: Bruno Prats Sauvignon Blanc 1995 and Bruno Prats Cabernet Savignon 1995.

There'll be an array of desserts: bombe Marquis, a domed-shaped chocolate and raspberry mousse on chocolate chiffon cake glazed in dark chocolate Ganache (icing); praline ice cream; fresh raspberries. With coffee and after dinner beverages, there'll be an edible chocolate basket of white chocolate-dipped strawberries and an assortment of classic Eureopean biscuits by LU. p>Stevenson said that with the "buzz as big as last year's 50th anniversary celebration of the Tonys, the official supper ball is going to be a very exciting evening."

Yet some stars,casts, and creative teams of the nominated shows prefer to put in a quick appearance at the official ball, then discreetly exit to their own private parties.

A veteran press agent, who prefers to remain anonymous, said that the tradition of casts preferring private events began about seven years ago "when people like me got tired of sitting next to people who didn't win and having to tell them all night how wonderful they are."

Martin Richards, one of the lead producers of The Life, said, "A primary reason the casts prefer the smaller parties is that they've bonded and become a family. This is one of those rare off-stage occasions they will be together. Though the cast sees each other onstage at every performance after a show sets in for the long run, everyone has their own priorities. So this has become one of those rare nights to celebrate together."

The producer explained he'd be celebrating at both the official ball, with fellow producers Roger Berlind, Sam Crothers, and Cy Coleman (who also composed the score for The Life, and dropping into the cast party.

Here is a sampling of those celebrations:

The casts and staffs of Barrymore and Candide, both Livent productions, will celebrate at the Copacabana on West 57th Street

Chicago: Coco Pazzo Teatro, a favored haunt of producers Barry and Fran Weissler, on West 46th Street in the Paramount Hotel

The Last Night Of Ballyhoo: Frico Restaurant at Ninth Avenue and 43rd Street

The Life: Luxia Restaurant on West 48th Street;

Once Upon A Mattress and Titantic, both co-produced by Dodger Productions: Laura Belle on West 43rd Street.

These are private parties and will not be open to the public.

Dream, Jekyll& Hyde, and The Young Man from Atlanta will not be having parties. Calls to the press office for Steel Pier yielded little information other than the cast would party, but not just at one site.

- By Ellis Nassour

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