The 1999 Tony Award nominations were announced this past Monday and, as usual, the nominating committee came up with a few surprises. I asked Fergus McGillicuddy, our resident egotistical critic, for his prediction in each category; I'll have a comment or two and also put Fergus' pick in bold print.

Best Actor: Brian Dennehy (Death of a Salesman), Brian O'Byrne (The Lonesome West), Corin Redgrave (Not About Nightingales) and Kevin Spacey (The Iceman Cometh). I suppose they're starting off good. Our readers also selected Mr. Dennehy in a poll.

Best Actress: Stockard Channing (The Lion in Winter), Judi Dench (Amy's View), Marian Seldes (Ring Round the Moon) and Zoe Wanamaker (Electra). Again, our readers selected Dame Dench. Looks like it's her year. Where was Nicole Kidman, you ask? Don't ask.

Actor (featured role - Play): Kevin Anderson (Death of a Salesman), Finbar Lynch (Not About Nightingales), Howard Witt (Death of a Salesman), and Frank Wood (Side Man). Our poll says Kevin Anderson, but one does not dispute the ego of Fergus.

Actress (featured role - Play): Claire Bloom (Electra), Samantha Bond (Amy's View), Dawn Bradfield (The Lonesome West) and Elizabeth Franz (Death of a Salesman).

Actor (musical): Brent Carver (Parade), Adam Cooper (Swan Lake), Martin Short (Little Me) and Tom Wopat (Annie Get Your Gun). Adam Cooper? Wasn't that a ballet? Didn't he alternate the role? Jeremy Kushnier should have been here for (Footloose). Parade is gone of course raising the question...Tom Wopat? And if Little Me were still running, well, who knows?

Actress (musical): Carolee Carmello (Parade), Dee Hoty (Footloose), Bernadette Peters (Annie Get Your Gun) and Sian Phillips (Marlene). Dee Hoty? That's a leading role? Now, Lea Delaria, maybe. Doesn't matter. It's Bernadette by a mile.

Actor (featured role - musical): Roger Bart (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Desmond Richardson (Fosse), Ron Taylor (It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues) and Scott Wise (Fosse). Hmmm. Where was Michel Bell for The Civil War? Oh, it's a Wildhorn musical. Nevermind.

Actress (featured role - musical): Gretha Boston (It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues), Kristin Chenoweth (Your'e a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Valarie Pettiford (Fosse), and Mary Testa (On The Town). No comment. It's yours Kristin.

Best New Play: Closer by Patrick Marber, Lonesome West by Martin McDonough, Not About Nightingales by Tennessee Williams, Side Man by Warren Leight. Must be best new-old play. And David Hare, remember this...3 strikes and you're out!

Director (Play): Howard Davies (The Iceman Cometh), Robert Falls (Death of a Salesman), Garry Hynes (The Lonesome West), and Trevor Nunn (Not About Nightingales). Goes to show you that Director and Play are not always at the same wedding.

Director - Musical: Matthew Bourne (Swan Lake), Richard Maltby Jr. & Ann Reinking (Fosse), Michael Mayer (You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown) and Harold Prince (Parade). Now, Fergus, you've gone too far.

Book (Musical): Footloose (Dean Pitchford & Walter Bobbie), It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues (Charles Bevel, Lita Gaithers, Randal Myler, Ron Taylor & Dan Wheetman), Marlene (Pam Gems) and Parade (Alfred Uhry). 5 writers for the book of Blues? Coulda fooled me. Mr. Uhry, of course.

Origina Musical Score: Footloose (Music & Lyrics: Tom Snow, Eric Carmen, Sammy Hargar, Kenny Loggins & Jim Steinman, Parade (music & lyrics: Jason Robert Brown), The Civil War (Music: Frank Wildhorn Lyrics: Jack Murphy, and Twelfth Night (Music: Jeanine Tesori). Sorry Frank, only one prize to a customer; hang in there. It's Jason all the way.

Scenic Designer: Bob Crowley (The Iceman Cometh), Bob Crowley (Twelfth Night), Ricardo Hernandez (Parade), and Richard Hoover (Not About Nightingales). Toss-up with Hoover if ya ask me.

Costume Designer: Lez Brotherston (Swan Lake), Santo Loquasto (Fosse), John David Ridge (Ring Round the Moon) and Catherine Zuber (Twelfth Night). Hang in there Fosse!

Lighting Designer: Andrew Bridge (Fosse), Mark Henderson (The Iceman Cometh), Natasha Katz (Twelfth Night) and Chris Parry (Not About Nightingales). There ya go, Fosse, but Paul Gallo from Civil War should have been nominated.

Choreographer: Patricia Birch (Parade), Matthew Bourne (Swan Lake), A.C. Ciulla (Footloose) and Rob Marshall (Little Me). Maybe it was a musical. No Fosse?

Revival (Play): Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Electra by Euripides, The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill, and Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. Miller by default since the other three won't be attending the awards show.

Best Revival (Musical): Annie Get Your Gun, Little Me, Peter Pan and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Where's The Scarlet Pimpernel?

Orchestration: Ralph Burns & Douglas Besterman (Fosse), David Cullen (Swan Lake), Don Sebesky (Parade) and Harold Wheeler (Little Me). Easy one.

Best New Musical: The Civil War, Fosse, Ain't Nothing But the Blues and Parade. A cantata, Fergus? You sure? Everyone knows it was Parade, but Awards are not necessarily for excellence, are they? I guess you're right. Afterall, this is show bu$ine$$ and The Civil War is hitting the road soon! That little statue means box office. Somehow closed shows don't sell tickets. But, then again, there was Hallelujah Baby! And remember what happened 10 years ago? Jerome Robbins' Broadway. History has a way of repeating itself...It's Fosse, Fergus!

See you Sunday!

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