Playbill On-Line asked readers of this service to react to the 1998 Tony Award nominations, announced May 4. Owing to the volume of replies, we've created this second file of opinion. Playbill On-Line thanks all those who took the time to write:
A major smile crept over my face when I saw that the hideous, horrible and ghastly The Judas Kiss got exactly what it deserved. Anyone who makes Oscar Wilde as deadly dull as Hare did deserves this fate. There is a lot of wailing and moaning about certain people not being nominated, but this theatrical year was so rich that truly only the best got nominated. There are a few questionable choices, as there are with any awards, but overall the nominated are excellent examples of the best that Broadway has to offer.
But besides the brilliant folks in Cabaret, I am really excited for some of the nominees who probably snuck in there: Freak, Golden Child, Capeman music, and the Side Show sisters (in a not-so-great show). Best of luck to all the nominees!
From Paul Fisher:
Yeah. I'm with Tony on this one. "Anne Frank" was by far THE BEST THING EVER. I'm very pleased that Ms. Lavin walked away with a nomination, but Mr. Yulin, Mr. Pendleton and Ms. Portman deserved noms as well. And listen, Mr. Lapine is god. You don't mess with god, folks. And, like Tony said, the set design and the lighting were magnificent. Oh my god... I don't know... I'm really disappointed in the Tony Nominations...
What are you guys? The Grammy's? ...where's Puff's nom?
From suellen vance (firstname.lastname@example.org ):
I must say I was very happy to see the nominations for The Scarlet Pimpernel, Nan Knighton and Douglas Sills. Let me begin with Mr. Sills. Never have I seen a leading man work so hard for the success of his show. He does an excellent job in the role and truly commits himself to it body and soul, onstage and off. Truly, a man with class - it is hard to believe it took this long for him to come to the fore. While he may have a run for his money as Brian Stokes-Mitchell is also very compelling in Ragtime - I believe Mr. Sills will win out.
Also, I would like to commend the people producing the show itself. They have had the vision to know it needed to evolve and change to measure up to the standards of Broadway. They embraced that knowledge and adjusted the show to make it the best it can possibly be. When I saw the show at the end of March, it immediately captured my heart with its lively hummable music (always a good sign when one leaves the theatre humming one of the musical numbers), its passion and its adventure. Indeed, I am taking a group of people to see the show at the matinee of the 17th provided now I can get the tickets, of course.
I thank you for your time and once again I say Bravo! to the Scarlet Pimpernel nominations.
Betty Buckley may be Betty Buckley, however I do not feel that her performance in "Triumph of Love" was Best Lead Actress material. Despite her talent, in that show, she supported Susan Egan
And where is Rebecca Luker. Between this and the fact that she was the ONLY actress nominated against Glenn Close's Norma Desmond in 1995 (?) it seems like this wonderful actress gets the Tony cold shoulder.
Otherwise, I think the nominations look good. Can't wait to see who comes out on top.
From Adam Cooper:
YYYYEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!! THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL was quite the impressive show an I am so glad that it was not forgotten this year. Douglas Sills deserves that Tony for Best Actor above all the other nominees. He was AMAZING!!!! Also, I think that the nominators obviously never saw THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK. That show was TERRIBLY portrayed. The acting was not up to broadway level. The show was reminiscent of many community theater groups I have seen do that play, except for the fact that the community theater groups were better.
From Jeanna Noel Culp:
My feelings on the Tony nominations: I felt that Christine Andreas deserved a Best Actress nomination along with Terrence Mann for Best Actor(Featured Role Musical), Frank Wildhorn for Best Original Musical Score, and Jane Greenwood for Best Costume Design. Overall, I believe that The Scarlet Pimpernel was unfairly passed over. I do agree with the Best Musical, Best Actor, and Best Book nominations whole-heartedly.
From Smartric :
I am a little shocked and very upset that Natalie Portman was not nominated for Best Actress in a play for "The Diary of Anne Frank." I went with some of my students and they all enjoyed the show. I thought that she gave an excellent performance and was very touched by the whole play.
I am SO upset that Patti LuPone (The Old Neighborhood) and Brent Spinner (1776) were snubbed. They were both brilliant in their respective rolls. I am, however, extremely happy that Julie Taymor was nominated for both best director of a musical and best costume design (The Lion King). The other nominations that thrilled me were: Richard Hudson for best scenic design (The Lion King), Donald Holder for best lighting design (The Lion King), and Nan Knighton for best book (Scarlet Pimpernel).
From Trisha Stever:
All I can say is GO SIDE SHOW!!!!! They deserve every single nomination they got and more! I am so happy for Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner because they deserve the reward! Though I would have liked to see Norm Lewis' name appear. He was so AMAZING he deserves something! But other than that I was VERY pleased with the Nominations. GO SIDE SHOW!
I really wish I'd had the experience that so many had with Side Show. I went wanting to be moved and left sorely disappointed. The performances were lackluster and the creative team missed a lot of chances to enhance a great story. On the other hand, I'm thrilled that Douglas Sills was nominated and can't think of a more deserved nomination in years. Sills defines the term "leading man". I concur with the respondent who complained of the lack of a "Best Ensemble in a Musical" category--the Lion King cast is phenomenal, and there's no place for them to be recognized. It bolsters my faith in American theater that Beauty Queen of Leenane is doing so well--it is a brilliant piece all the way around.
From Gabrielle Dean:
I have to say that I was glad to see that The Scarlet Pimpernel finally got some of the respect that it so richly deserves. As a musical that the critics hate but the audience loves, it is often overlooked. However, it has a highly talented cast, a hysterically funny book, delightful melodies, and an incredible lead actor. In combination, they make a fun and highly enjoyable night at the Theatre, which in my opinion, is the very essence and purpose of theatre. So, hurrah to the Tony's committee for recognizing the talented Douglas Sills, and the creative abilities of Nan Knighton and Frank Wildhorn. I can't wait till June 7th!
From Michael, Baltimore:
All I have to say is Judy Kaye! She was so great in Ragtime. I think that Ragtime should have gotten two other nominations. One for Mrs. Kaye and one for the man who plays Younger Brother Stephen Sutcliffe. I thought that those two actors were up to the caliber of Mrs. Mazzie and Mr. Mitchell. Other than that I feel the voters knew what they were doing. In my eyes The Lion King was the most amazing thing I have ever seen, but as for content in the play I think Ragtime was the most brilliant thing that has ever been written. The book and Music was unbeatable. But hopefully Ragtime will lose the best Director Tony to Julie Taymor who gave her heart and soul and more to The Lion King. She deserves a special Tony for all she put toward that show.
From Josh Israel, BARRINGTON, RI:
While I was pleased with many of the nominations, a few snubs were disappointing.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Brent Spiner
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Norm Lewis and Steven Sutcliffe
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Judy Kaye
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY: George Hearn
BEST DIRECTOR (PLAY): James Lapine
I strongly hope Brian Stokes Mitchell or Peter Friedman, Marin Mazzie or the Side Show twins, Audra McDonald, and Gregg Edelman win the actor awards and that RAGTIME sweeps just about everything else.
Congratulations to the nominating committee. Ripley and Skinner as one was a brilliant move. While I loved Marin Mazzie in Ragtime, I really hope that the duo gets to accept the award on June 7th. I know I'll be rooting for them. If only Side Show had been able to keep itself running longer. It certainly didn't close because it stuck. Hopefully, the committee will vote the right way and choose Side Show.
From Tolve, Tom:
I did not find there to be an overabundance of surprises with this years nominees. I was more than excited to see that Side Show received four nominations. It was a brilliant show that did not get its fair chance to prove itself. I think the awards it was nominated for truly represent its strongest points(Alice Ripley/Emily Skinner and score) I can't wait to see something from that show be performed again at the Tones. I only regret that I only got to see Side Show three times. As far as the other nominees, I feel Marin Mazzie gave an incredible performance in Ragtime and in my heart of hearts, I'd like to see a tie for the Best Actress go to Alice/Emily and Marin. Although wonderful, does Audra McDonald need a third Tony? Even though I did not see her, I am disappointed that Patti didn't get a nomination but happy that Linda Lavin got one.(after getting a chance to create a roll versus take over one as she has done often in past years.) All in all, I say Side Show, Side Show and Side Show!
I was somewhat pleased with the Tony nominations. I feel it unfair, however, that many true theatre veterans were overlooked for "name" television and film actors who are just doing theatre in their spare time. Such veterans as LuPone, Spiner (who soared in many Broadway shows before his "Data Daze"), Lapine and Simon, for example. Regardless, I will be in the audience at the Tonys this year, eagerly awaiting the names of the winners to be announced. Kudos to Playbill Online for their fantastic coverage!! Keep it up!
From kimberly raygor:
I think Patti LuPone should have been nominated for The Old Neighborhood. She had favorable reviews. What's the deal here? After the Sunset Boulevard incident a few years ago, her career has been on an upswing. She had a successful run in Master Class, both in New York and London and has had good reviews in The Old Neighborhood. I think she has been underappreciated once again!!!
I am very pleased about this year's nominations but I have to agree with Leon Williams about the ensembles not getting nominated. I hope in the future the Tony's will have a Best Ensemble because it is not just the leads that make a show it is the ensemble as well.
Also sadden a little that Steven Sutcliffe was not nominated.
From Colleen Remar:
Kudos to Betty Buckley! She is overdue for a Tony, and I hope that she will walk away with the award on June 7. I agree that this was a competitive season, and it's a shame that not everyone gets the recognition they deserve. Susan Egan of Triumph is an amazing actress and singer, and how could the committee overlook George Hearn and Patti LuPone as well? I'm sure that the show will be exciting, and though watching the broadcast from my living room, I will be there in spirit (and cheering Betty on!)
From Steve Griffiths:
The oversight of Patti LuPone hurts. She burrowed through the complex emotional depth of Jolly so forcefully. However brief, Ms. LuPone's appearance in The Old Neighborhood is truly a highlight in a tremendous season. Elsewhere, I am exceptionally pleased with the nominations for Side Show -- one of the decade's great musicals. Hopefully the Tony voters saw the production last fall, will overcome the commercial pressures of honoring shows that remain open, and will award its accomplishments. My vote for best actress in a musical easily would go to Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner.
From Jolyn J. Kramberg:
Hooray for Side Show! I only wish it had received this recognition before it closed. I just hope that Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner get to perform on the Tonys so everyone can see what they missed out on!
From Scott Sears:
I can't say I'm real surprised with the Tony nominations. The Tony committee seems quite predictable. I agreed with most nominations with just a few exceptions. Patti LuPone's performance in The Old Neighborhood, Brent Spiner in 1776 and Frank Wildhorn's Scarlet Pimpernel score. I believe most categories are up for grabs which should make things interesting. The only guaranteed winner should be Anthony LaPaglia whose brilliant performance in A View From the Bridge was head and shoulders above the rest.
From Patricia S. Martinez:
I am extremely happy with the inclusion of Douglas Sills in the Actor in a Musical Category. His performance is amazing, and I was very afraid that it would be overlooked, as would Scarlet Pimpernel for best musical. I am, however, upset that Terrence Mann was not nominated for Best Supporting Actor. I have seen the show twice, once recently after it opened, and I must admit that yes, that first time, his performance was rather...subdued. However, on my subsequent visit, he had altered the entire tenor of his Chauvelin, making him both seductive and menacing, a worthy opponent for Sills' Percy. In addition, I was also very upset by the exclusion of Brent Spiner for 1776. His John Adams was absolutely wonderful, and I feel that this a glaring omission in this category. But I am pleased about Gregg Edelman's nomination; his "Molasses to Rum" is one of the best single moments on the musical stage I have seen in recent memory.
I am also upset that Triumph of Love did not receive a nomination for Best Musical. It was a touching, romantic, witty piece that I feel certainly deserved a nomination over Side Show. Along those lines, I feel that Susan Egan also deserved a nomination for BEst Actress -- while I feel that Betty Buckley certainly deserved the nomination, I felt that hers was more of a supporting Role in Triumph.
One more nomination that confused me was Scarlet Pimpernel's nomination for Best Book, but not best Score. The book of the musical was in fact wonderful, but to exclude it from the Best Score category in favor of the CAPEMAN doesn't make much sense to me.
From Unknown User:
For once, the committee this year seems to have made adequate choices in deciding the nominees. I, for one, would have been majorly upset if the committee had voted not to include Cabaret in the running. Therefore, cheers for Natasha Richardson, Alan Cumming, Ron Rifkin, and Mary Louise Wilson, in addition to Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall for their wonderful revival. It was also nice to see Betty Buckley get recognized for her wonderful talents. Ragtime and The Lion King deserve every nomination they got, though I do wonder if much of the score of the Lion King should have been eligible (remember State Fair?). The omission of High Society in favor of the Scarlet Pimpernel was a surprise, as was the snub that Liam Neeson received. I do protest the omission of Alan Alda and Victor Garber from the roster. If the Side Show twins of Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley (cheers for them) got a nod, why couldn't the ensemble of Art be included in such a nomination? Without any of the three actors, Art wouldn't be a piece of art.
From Brad Baker:
You neglected to list the biggest oversight of all. . .
BRENT SPINER - 1776
What wuz Tony thinking about?
Stephen Sutcliffe?? Where is Stephen Sutcliffe??? Big oversight!! HUGE OVERSIGHT!!!