The 1998 Tony Awards will be given June 7. Here is a recap of the nominees in the three design categories. Please share your opinion on who should win, and why. Simple lists will not be posted; we want to hear your reasons. Also: make sure to state which category you're writing about.
Send responses to Managing Editor Robert Viagas at firstname.lastname@example.org before 12:01 AM June 5.
As a reminder, here are the nominees:
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
William Ivey Long, Cabaret
Santo Loquasto, Ragtime
Martin Pakledinaz, Golden Child
Julie Taymor, The Lion King BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
Paul Anderson, The Chairs
Peggy Eisenhauer and Mike Baldassari, Cabaret
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Ragtime
Donald Holder, The Lion King
Polls for the other categories are listed separately.
Here are the results so far. Playbill On-Line thanks all who take the time to write.
From Louis Schwebius:
In all of the designer categories, it is going to be a toss up between RAGTIME and THE LION KING. It will be a difficult choice because both shows deal with such different styles. I have to go with Richard Hudson (Scenic Design), Julie Taymor (Costume Design) and Donald Holder (Best Lighting Design) for THE LION KING because of its innovative visual approaches. (I personally found the Quay Brothers' set and Paul Anderson's lighting for THE CHAIRS to be absolutely stunning, although its limited engagement and absurdist approach will probably not sway enough Tony voters.)
From William P. Hines, Scranton, PA (Wphines@aol.com):
The three design Tony categories represent a wealth of talent and diversity in production values. Here are my preferences:
Best scenic Design should be given to Eugene Lee for "Ragtime." Such breath-taking scenic effects as the steel bridge crushing the assembly- line workers and the post cards from Atlantic City only contribute to the beuaty of "Ragtime."
Best costume design--Julie Taymor "The Lion King." No theatergoer will ever forget the opening "Circle of Life" number in "The Lion King." Her visual puppets--give "The Lion King" the perfect human touch. Her costumes and visual images provide plenty of goosebumps at each performance.
Best Lighting Design---Jules Fisher, Peggy Eisenhauser--"Ragtime." The brilliant shades of the lighting in "Ragtime" contribute immensely to the total musical theater experience at the Ford's Center. Who can folrget the circles of immigrants in the opening number and the train pulling away with Tateh and daughter aboard--illuminated into the darkness of night. The lighthouse where Marin Mazzie delivers the showstopper, "Back to Before" with such heaart and soul makes "Ragtime" a spectacular musical. The brilliant lighting of "Ragtime" only makes the score soar to greater heights.
From Shawn, Kirksville, MO:
BEST SET DESIGN--Without a doubt, it should go to Eugene Lee for Ragtime. This would make up for his lack of nomination for his superb work on Showboat. Also, his settings for Ragtime were phenomenal yet simplistic. His use of color was absolutely wonderful. And he had two boats sail across stage....both of which were better than the boat from Titanic.....last year's winner!!
BEST COSTUME DESIGN--Clearly this should go to Julie Taymor.
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN--A very tough one to call. The lighting design for both Lion King and Ragtime was superb. However, one scene in LK slants my vote in its direction. The scene "He Lives in You (Reprise)" with Mufasa's head appearing in the sky was absolutely breathtaking, and this is due to Mr. Holder's exquisite touch here. Bravo!
From William P. Hines, Scranton, PA (Wphines@aol.com):
The three design Tony categories represent a wealth of creative talent and diversity in production values. Here are my choices: Best Scenic Design should be given to Eugene Lee for "Ragtime" Such breath-taking scenic effects such as the bridge with Henry Ford crushing the assembly-line workers and the post cards from Atlantic City only contribute to the beauty of "Ragtime."
Best costume designs--Julie Taymor "The Lion King." No theatergoer will ever forget the opening "Circle of Life" number in "The Lion King." Her visual puppet -like costumes give "The Lion King" that special human touch. Her costumes are a goose-bump experience.
Best Lighting Design---Jules Fisher, Peggy Eisenhauser---"Ragtime" The brilliant shades of the light in "Ragtime" again contribute to the total musical theater experince from start to finish. Who can forget the circles in immingrants in the opening numner and the train pulling away with Tateh and his and daughter--illuminated into the darkness of night. The lighthouse where Marin Mazzie delivers "Back to Before" with such heart and soul. The lighting in "Ragtime" is flawless and it makes the production come alive- -it creates spectacular mood. It only makes the dyanamic score soar to new heights.
Well, It's obvious that this is where The Lion King is going to shine. The only show that has a chance in any of these categories is Ragtime. Although I do think that Ragtime will win best lighting over The Lion King. This is a toss up.
Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Costume Design.
For the first time in years, there was one show that was so brilliantly designed that it deserved ALL of the design awards. That show: THE LION KING. The spinning Pride Rock deserves an award all in itself!
A sure winner in my book would be Julie Taymor for her costumes for "The Lion King." Never in all my theater going experience have a seen such impressive work. I saw the show five times while it previewed in Minneapolis and still remember hearing the applause as the giraffes lumber across the stage of the Orpheum Theater to be followed by elephants, rhinos, birds of all description, etc. It was especially enjoyable to see the human element within the costumes. This is probably in keeping with the Disney animation as the characters on the screen are often drawn to look like the person doing the voice. I only hope to get to NYC to see the show with the current cast in order to enjoy the experience once again.