Everyone seems to agree that there were few surprises at last night's Tonys. Despite an initial brace of strong reviews Topdog/Underdog has not been doing well in terms of word of mouth; and since the voters were apparently loath to give the Best Play award to either of two works by authors that have been dead for a really long time, Edward Albee got the prize for his provocative, insightful (and brilliantly acted) The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? Faced with two disappointing musical revivals, the voters at least went with the less disappointing of the two: Into the Woods. In fact, the leaden, humorless revival of Oklahoma! that Trevor Nunn, Cameron Mackintosh, and Susan Stroman hath wrought garnered only one Tony, for Shuler Hensley's moving portrayal of Jud Fry.
The awards ware notable in that several categories were so filled with excellence--e.g., featured actor and actress in both the musicals and plays--that multiple ties would not have been inappropriate. As to people getting "robbed," most of that took place not during the awards but several weeks ago, when the list of nominees was announced and such names as Ian McKellen, Bill Pullman, and Jeff McCarthy were not included.
Entertainment-wise, the evening was a lot better than some recent Tony telecasts. The star-studded Richard Rodgers medley was wonderful (wasn't it great to hear the original Billy Bigelow, John Raitt, singing the "Soliloquy" from Carousel?) and co-hosts Bernadette Peters and Gregory Hines were entertaining in New York-themed songs from Broadway musicals. The camera work this year seemed particularly excellent; it's nice to know that the Tony people can still put on a first-class show when they really try. But will we ever again see a full, three-hour telecast of the awards ceremony on one of the major commercial networks, rather than a continuation of the split with PBS? What do you think? (From all reports, CBS should have aired Elaine Stritch's performance in the press room after having her on-air acceptance speech cut short. Click here to read Peter Filichia's full report of the incident.)
Meanwhile, at the Park Avenue Country Club, several hundred of TheaterMania's Gold Club members, friends, and staff watched the proceedings on big-screen TVs. The party included the presentation of a $10,000 check to AIDS Walk New York/GMHC representing the total amount of money raised by TheaterMania through recent efforts, including team participation in the AIDS Walk on May 19. Richard Kind, one of the new stars of Broadway's The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, made the presentation. Following is a complete list of this year's Tony Award nominees, with the winners indicated by asterisks.
*Edward Albee's The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?
Sweet Smell of Success
*Thoroughly Modern Millie
Urinetown The Musical
Best Book of a Musical:
Catherine Johnson, Mamma Mia!
John Guare, Sweet Smell of Success
Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan, Thoroughly Modern Millie
*Greg Kotis, Urinetown The Musical
Best Original Score Written for the Theater:
Marvin Hamlisch (music), Craig Carnelia (lyrics), Sweet Smell of Success
Jeanine Tesori (music), Dick Scanlan (lyrics), Thoroughly Modern Millie
Harry Connick, Jr. (music & lyrics), Thou Shalt Not
*Mark Hollmann (music), Mark Hollmann & Greg Kotis (lyrics), Urinetown The Musical
Best Revival of a Play:
Morning's at Seven
Best Revival of a Musical:
*Into the Woods
Best Special Theatrical Event:
Bea Arthur on Broadway, Just Between Friends
*Elaine Stritch at Liberty
Sexaholix...a love story
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play:
*Alan Bates, Fortune's Fool
Billy Crudup, The Elephant Man
Liam Neeson, The Crucible
Alan Rickman, Private Lives
Jeffrey Wright, Topdog/Underdog
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play:
Kate Burton, Hedda Gabler
*Lindsay Duncan, Private Lives
Laura Linney, The Crucible
Helen Mirren, Dance of Death
Mercedes Ruehl, Edward Albee's The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical:
Gavin Creel, Thoroughly Modern Millie
John Cullum, Urinetown The Musical
*John Lithgow, Sweet Smell of Success
John McMartin, Into the Woods
Patrick Wilson, Oklahoma!
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical:
*Sutton Foster, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Nancy Opel, Urinetown The Musical
Louise Pitre, Mamma Mia!
Jennifer Laura Thompson, Urinetown The Musical
Vanessa Williams, Into the Woods
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play:
*Frank Langella, Fortune's Fool
William Biff McGuire, Morning's at Seven
Brian Murray, The Crucible
Sam Robards, The Man Who Had All the Luck
Stephen Tobolowsky, Morning's at Seven
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play:
Kate Burton, The Elephant Man
*Katie Finneran, Noises Off
Elizabeth Franz, Morning's at Seven
Estelle Parsons, Morning's at Seven
Frances Sternhagen, Morning's at Seven
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical:
Norbert Leo Butz, Thou Shalt Not
Gregg Edelman, Into the Woods
*Shuler Hensley, Oklahoma!
Brian d'Arcy James, Sweet Smell of Success
Marc Kudisch, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical:
Laura Benanti, Into the Woods
*Harriet Harris, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Spencer Kayden, Urinetown The Musical
Judy Kaye, Mamma Mia!
Andrea Martin, Oklahoma!
Best Scenic Design:
John Lee Beatty, Morning's at Seven
*Tim Hatley, Private Lives
Daniel Ostling, Metamorphoses
Douglas W. Schmidt, Into the Woods
Best Costume Design:
Jenny Beavan, Private Lives
Jane Greenwood, Morning's at Seven
Susan Hilferty, Into the Woods
*Martin Pakledinaz, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Best Lighting Design:
Paul Gallo, The Crucible
David Hersey, Oklahoma!
Natasha Katz, Sweet Smell of Success
*Brian MacDevitt, Into the Woods
*Rob Ashford, Thoroughly Modern Millie
John Carrafa, Into the Woods
John Carrafa, Urinetown The Musical
Susan Stroman, Oklahoma!
Best Direction of a Play:
Howard Davies, Private Lives
Richard Eyre, The Crucible
Daniel Sullivan, Morning's at Seven
*Mary Zimmerman, Metamorphoses
Best Direction of a Musical:
James Lapine, Into the Woods
Michael Mayer, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Trevor Nunn, Oklahoma!
*John Rando, Urinetown The Musical
Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus & Martin Koch, Mamma Mia!
*Doug Besterman & Ralph Burns, Thoroughly Modern Millie
William David Brohn, Sweet Smell of Success
Bruce Coughlin, Urinetown The Musical
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater:
Regional Theater Tony Award:
Williamstown Theatre Festival