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Archive for Tuesday, May 8, 2001

Producers’ rules Tony nominations

Mel Brooks’ record-breaking Broadway musical up for 15 awards

May 8, 2001

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— "The Producers," Broadway's biggest hit in years, received a record-breaking 15 nominations Monday, including a nod for best musical, as the 2001 Tony nominations honoring the best of the Broadway season were announced.

Its two stars, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, were nominated as were three of its performers in the featured-actor category: Roger Bart, Gary Beach and Brad Oscar.

The musical, based on the classic 1968 Mel Brooks film comedy, also received nods for book, score, direction-musical, featured-actress musical, choreography, sets, costumes, lighting and orchestrations. Brooks himself received three nominations for book, score and for being a producer of "The Producers."

There was some confusion involving the previous record holder for most Tony nominations. For 30 years, it was thought that "Company," the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical, had received 15 nominations.

"'Company,' in fact, had 14 nominations," said Keith Sherman, a spokesman for the Tonys. "In all the record books, Hal Prince was listed twice, for best production and best producer. In fact, 'Company' only won for best production. We went back to the actual ballot from the '70s and noticed the truth."

Yet, according to Mary Bryant, a spokesman for Prince, "Hal remembers being nominated three times, but he really doesn't talk Tonys." Prince was nominated for and did win a Tony for "Company" as best director of a musical.

A copy of the 1971 Tony ballot obtained by The Associated Press shows it received 14 nominations and there was no separate category for producer.

"The Producers" nearest competitor was "The Full Monty," which received 10 nominations and "42nd Street," which got nine. Winners will be announced June 3.

Besides "The Producers" and "The Full Monty," competition for this year's top musical award includes "A Class Act," a celebration of the life of songwriter Ed Kleban, and "Jane Eyre," a retelling of the Charlotte Bronte novel.

Nominated for best play were "Proof," the 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner by David Auburn; "The Invention of Love," Tom Stoppard's drama about English poet A.E. Housman; "King Hedley II," the latest installment from August Wilson on the 20th century black experience in America, and "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife," Charles Busch's comedy about an anxiety-riddled Manhattan matron.

Nominated for best actor in a play were Brian Stokes Mitchell, the volcanic title character in "King Hedley II"; Richard Easton, who plays the older Housman in "The Invention of Love"; Gary Sinise, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and the two stars of the Irish comedy, "Stones in His Pockets," Sean Campion and Conleth Hill.

Actress nods went to Mary-Louise Parker, the tormented daughter in "Proof"; Linda Lavin, "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife"; Leslie Uggams, "King Hedley II"; Jean Smart, who played a tempestuous star in the revival of "The Man Who Came to Dinner"; and Juliette Binoche, "Betrayal."

Besides Lane and Broderick, best-actor musical nominations went to Kevin Chamberlin, "Seussical"; Tom Hewitt, "The Rocky Horror Show"; and Patrick Wilson of "The Full Monty."

The actress-musical nods: Blythe Danner, "Follies"; "Christine Ebersole, "42nd Street"; Randy Graff, "A Class Act"; Faith Prince, "Bells Are Ringing," and Marla Schaffel, "Jane Eyre."

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