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Brad Garrett Apparently Ineligible For Tony Nomination Due to Swift Exit From The Odd Couple logo
Brad Garrett
(Photo © Joseph Marzullo)
Actor Brad Garret, best known for his Emmy Award-winning role of Robert Barone on the CBS-TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, is apparently ineligible for a Tony Award nomination for his performance as Murray the Cop in the current Broadway revival of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple because he left the production before the the Tony voters were invited to see it.

The show opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on October 27. Garrett had only been signed to appear through January 1, whereas Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and the rest of the cast are contracted through April 2. At one time, there had been talk that Garrett would extend his contract and would eventually replace Lane in the leading role of Oscar, but it was announced last week that he was leaving the production entirely. Garrett has been replaced by Mike Starr, who gave his first performance as Murray on January 3.

According to Alan Eichhorn of PMK/HBH, the press representative for the Tonys: "The nominating committee, which consists of about 25 people, comes in to see each show. They've probably already been to see The Odd Couple. But then there are the 700-or-so Tony voters that have to be invited. It's up to the general manager of a show as to when to do that, but they can't wait until after the nominations have been announced, because then there wouldn't be enough time to get the voters in. Also, some shows have limited runs. Producers often use January, a slow month at the box office, as a good time to invite the voters so there won't be a mad crunch in May and early June."

Though the Tony administration committee has not yet made any rulings on eligibility, it seems clear that Garrett will be ineligible for an award because he left the production before the Tony voters were invited to see it. Jim Randolph, the press rep for The Odd Couple, confirms that the members of the Tony nominating committee have already seen the show but that the voters have not yet done so; they will be invited to attend any time between January 24 and February 12. Since all of the original cast members except Garrett will still be in the show at that point, they'll be eligible for Tony nominations. Randolph was uncertain as to whether or not the fact that Garrett is apparently ineligible because of his early departure had been discussed among the producers or with the actor.

The Odd Couple was directed by Joe Mantello. In addition to Lane, Broderick, and Starr, the cast includes Peter Frechette, Lee Wilkof, Rob Bartlett, Jessica Stone, and Olivia D'Abo.

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