The Tony Awards Administration Committee, which assembled for the third time this season Feb. 12 to discuss the eligibility of nine Broadway productions for the 2009 Tony Awards, decided that the young David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish are eligible to be considered jointly in the Leading Actor in a Musical category for their performances in Billy Elliot the Musical. That would be some acceptance speech!
Additionally, the producers of Horton Foote's Dividing the Estate and Richard Greenberg's The American Plan got their wish. Both dramas are eligible in the category of Best Play, even though the Foote piece was first penned in 1989 and the Greenberg hails from 1990. There was a minor brouhaha last year when the Lucille Lortel Awards deemed the Foote play a revival, despite the wishes of Primary Stages, which presented its New York premiere Off-Broadway. Foote angrily withdrew from the competition.
The Tony Awards will be held at Radio City Music Hall June 7. CBS-TV will broadcast the event live.
The New York Shakespeare Festival will be presenting Twelfth Night in the Central Park — again. The Shakespearean comedy of mistaken identities and star-crossed love took the Delacorte Theater stage just seven years ago, in a production featuring Julia Stiles as Viola. The designated movie starlet this time around is Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married"). Daniel Sullivan will direct the play, which will kick off the summer of free theatre in Central Park. Sullivan previously staged A Midsummer Night's Dream for Shakespeare in the Park in 2007. Twelfth Night will run June 9-July 12. ***
Producers Kevin McCollum and Bob Boyett have decided to bring Minsky's — the new Charles Strouse musical now playing in Los Angeles, where it got mixed-to-positive reviews, but is doing good business — to Broadway. This is good news for lovers of the work of 80-year-old Broadway vet Strouse, who hasn't had a new show on Broadway since (hold your breath) Nick & Nora, the famous bomb of 1991.
The musical has a book by Tony Award winner Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. Rewrites have been promised for the show about burlesque king Billy Minsky, which is directed by Casey Nicholaw.
Joanna Pacitti can't catch a break. Back in 1997, Pacitti, then a little girl, was chosen to star in the 20th anniversary revival of Annie, only to be dismissed from the show before the production reached Broadway after a few months on the road.
It looked like Pacitti might achieve a glorious revenge when she was named one of the top 36 finalists of this year's edition of the wildly popular singing competition, "American Idol."
But, no. The young singer now has been disqualified from the competition. A Fox press statement released Feb. 12 says, "It has been determined that Pacitti is ineligible to continue in the competition." Pacitti had a previous recording deal with A&M Records. Star magazine also reported that Pacitti had lived in the same building as two of the executives of the production company behind the Fox series.
Classic Stage Company's new rendition of Uncle Vanya, directed by Austin Pendleton and starring Denis O'Hare, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard (late of the recent Seagull) opened this week to mixed reviews. Advocates found it a rich, lively look at a classic play, detractors found it miscast and fidgety in its direction.
Manhattan Theatre Club scored a solid hit, meanwhile, with the latest by Lynn Nottage, Ruined. The nonprofit added two weeks to the run of the provocative new play about crimes against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after critics decreed it was a moving, probing, emotionally and intellectually involving drama that expertly drew you in on a serious and unsettling journey. Following her previous New York premieres of Fabulation and Intimate Apparel, both of which were praised, Nottage continues her critical winning streak.
With South Pacific, opera singer Paulo Szot visited director Bartlett Sher's stomping ground, Lincoln Center Theater.. Now, Sher will visit Szot's territory. Szot, who won a Tony Award for his performance as Emile de Becque will star in a new production of the Dmitri Shostakovich opera The Nose, which will be directed by Sher in the 2009-10 season.
The Who's legendary 1973 studio album "Quadrophenia," which subsequently provided the basis for a 1979 feature film of the same name, will be brought to the British stage for the first time. The production — directed by Tom Critchley, who has also adapted it for the stage with Jeff Young and John O'Hara — will embark on a six-month U.K. tour.
Set in London and Brighton at the height of the Mod era, Quadrophenia is told through the eyes of Jimmy, a hedonistic style-conscious teenager searching for a place to belong and a girl to love. The coming-of-age story is brought to life in a production set against the colorful backdrop of the world of sixties Britain.
Hey, it worked with Tommy.