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What's New on the Rialto

Past Articles

What's New on the Rialto

Tony Awards 2000
The Non-Musical Categories

I asked our critic, Thomas Burke, to take a look at the non-musical Tony Award nominations as I did last year with dearly departed Fergus. Since the distinguished Mr. Burke has seen all the plays and musicals, I was interested to see how he would call the Tony Awards.

V.J. You game Thomas? Care to discuss the Tony nominations with me for our readers?

Thomas Burke: I'm going against my better judgment, only because you said I can't have a Talkin' Broadway button unless I help you write this column! Well, to quote Ben Johnson, "To select a singular event, and swell it to a giant's bulk by fabulous appendages of spectres and predictions, has little difficulty, for he that forsakes the probable may always find the marvellous." Which pretty much means that, as long as we accept we're going to end up looking like fools, we may as well take a shot at it.

V.J. Which, of course, means you'll take the lead.

Thomas Burke: Okay, let's start off with Best Actor in a play.

ACTOR (PLAY)
Gabriel Byrne (A Moon For The Misbegotten)
Stephen Dillane (The Real Thing)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (True West)
John C. Reilly (True West)
David Suchet (Amadeus)

Thomas Burke: Without question Gabriel Byrne is giving the most noteworthy performance of the five nominees. I can't see the Tony going to anyone else.

VJ: That may be true, but David Suchet is not out of the picture, if the Tony voters don't forget his great performance in Amadeus. Hoffman and Reilly simply cancel each other out, and I wasn't too fond of the switching of roles. Too gimicky for me, although, I can almost understand their artistic endeavors.

Thomas Burke: True about Suchet. But for a number of reasons, I don't think too many Tonys will be going to Brits this year.

V.J. Perhaps. Maybe next year Cats will come back and win as Best Revival.

Thomas Burke: Not if Andrew treats it like he did Jesus Christ Superstar, which has to be the absolute worst, mind-numbing attempt at a revival I've ever been unfortunate enough to experience. Next to Superstar, even Saturday Night Fever looks good.

V.J. I know. Makes me want to run out and even see Footloose, anything but JCS, but we'll get into that when we talk about musicals in the next column.

ACTRESS (PLAY)
Jayne Atkinson (The Rainmaker)
Jennifer Ehle (The Real Thing)
Rosemary Harris (Waiting In The Wings)
Cherry Jones (A Moon For The Misbegotten)
Claudia Shear (Dirty Blonde)

Thomas Burke: As impressed as I am with Rosemary Harris and Cherry Jones, I think Claudia Shear will take the Tony. She's giving a masterful performance and I believe the fact that her play Dirty Blonde won't win for best new play will tip the scale in her favor.

VJ: And I love Cherry Jones. As far as I'm concerned, she can read the phone book and I'd vote for her. She's just an awesome actress. I find it interesting that mother (Rosemary) and daughter (Jennifer) are both nominated, simply for the intrigue. This is wide open, if you ask me.

Thomas Burke: No, not wide open. If Dirty Blonde hadn't transferred at the last minute, Jones would have been the obvious choice. Jones is - and I've said this before - the best actress of her generation. But Shear came in just under the wire and made a big splash, and all the buzz is about her professionalism, obvious talent, and versatility.

On a side note: I'm hearing rumors that Jones may be considering something by Shakespeare soon. Can you imagine what she would do with Cleopatra?

V.J. I think she'd kick asp!

ACTOR (FEATURED ROLE-PLAY)
Kevin Chamberlin (Dirty Blonde)
Daniel Davis (Wrong Mountain)
Roy Dotrice (A Moon For The Misbegotten)
Derek Smith (The Green Bird)
Bob Stillman (Dirty Blonde)

Thomas Burke: The same wave of goodwill that will give Claudia Shear her Tony will reward Kevin Chamberlin with his well deserved Tony in this category.

VJ: Could be. I also like Bob Stillman; he served as musical director as well. Just a very talented guy. Perhaps, I'm being swayed by his terrific performance in The Last Session a few seasons back Off Broadway.

Thomas Burke: I remember it well. However, brilliant as Stillman is in what amounts to a dazzling series of cameos, he didn't have the chance to establish a major character the way Shear and Chamberlin did. If he had, he would have been a serious contender and would have split the Dirty Blonde vote, giving the Tony to Roy Dotrice.

V.J. And that's still a very real possibility. You remember what happened to Stokes and Friedman in Ragtime two seasons back? Hello Alan! I hate when two actors from the same show are in the same category. Should neither win, we always think they cancelled each other out.

ACTRESS (FEATURED ROLE-PLAY)
Blair Brown (Copenhagen)
Frances Conroy (The Ride Down Mt. Morgan)
Amy Ryan (Uncle Vanya)
Helen Stenborg (Waiting In The Wings)
Sarah Woodward (The Real Thing )

Thomas Burke: It's Blair Brown's year.

VJ: It sure is! Couldn't agree with you more.

DIRECTOR (PLAY)
Michael Blakemore (Copenhagen)
James Lapine (Dirty Blonde)
David Leveaux (The Real Thing)
Matthew Warchus (True West)

Thomas Burke: Michael Blakemore won't get the Tony for best direction of a musical with Kiss Me, Kate, so he'll have to settle for a best director Tony for Copenhagen.

VJ: I suppose you think Stroman will get the musical award, and again we agree, it goes to Blakemore.

REVIVAL (PLAY)
Amadeus
A Moon For The Misbegotten
The Price
The Real Thing

Thomas Burke: A Moon for the Misbegotten will walk away with the Tony. Amadeus and The Real Thing didn't live up to memories of the original productions.

VJ: Right, again I agree with you, and for the same reasons. Why wasn't True West in this category? Nevermind, I know, new to Broadway.

Thomas Burke: The funny thing is that if True West had been considered a revival, it would have won over Moon.

BEST NEW PLAY
Copenhagen by Michael Frayn
Dirty Blonde by Claudia Shear
The Ride Down Mt. Morgan by Arthur Miller
True West by Sam Shepard

Thomas Burke: As much as I believe Dirty Blonde deserves the Tony for best new play, Copenhagen is the 800 pound intellectual gorilla that won't be stopped.

VJ: I tend to agree. True West, I think, has too much of a revival stigma to it, no matter what they call it. What about The Ride Down Mt. Morgan? I didn't see it, but it is Arthur Miller, after all. Do you think Stewart's chastising of the Shuberts had any negative impact with the nominating committee?

Thomas Burke: It cost him a nomination for Best Actor. (Although, I don't think he would have won.) Since Arthur Miller supported his complaint, I don't think we'll be seeing any more new productions of Miller's plays soon either.

Let's see, Thursday we are tackling the musical awards, right?

V.J. Oh yeah. I've never met a musical I didn't like, except for this year! And let's yak about some of the design awards too.

See you Thursday when we continue our look at the Tony Award nominations!



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