TONY TOASTS ‘LIFE’

Tuner tops noms with 12; Brits play it up

NEW YORK – Broadway musical “The Life” hustled 12 Tony Award nominations Monday, topping the list of contenders for the 51st annual trophies.

The lineup included no surprises to rival last year’s “Victor/Victoria” snub, although Jeckies – the cult-like fans of the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” – might disagree: It was shut out of the top musical category by last fall’s smaller-scale “Juan Darien, A Musical Carnival.”

Rounding out the best tuner category was “Steel Pier,” which placed second to “The Life’s” tally with 11 noms, and “Titanic.” With its $10 million price tag, “Titanic” was the most expensive show on Broadway this season, yet nabbed only five nominations.

The four contenders for best musical also will compete in the best score category, with “Jekyll & Hyde” again left out. Jekyll himself, Robert Cuccioli, was named in the best leading actor/musical category, along with Jim Dale in “Candide”; James Naughton, “Chicago”; and Daniel McDonald, whose perf in “Steel Pier” may have edged out co-star Gregory Harrison.

In the lead musical actress category, Bebe Neuwirth of “Chicago” faces Pamela Isaacs in “The Life”; Tonya Pinkins, “Play On!”; and Karen Ziemba, “Steel Pier.” “Jekyll’s” female star Linda Eder, one of the few elements of the show to draw strong reviews, garnered no nomination.

All four of the season’s musical revivals were nominated in that category. Front-runner “Chicago” strutted off with eight nominations overall, trumping other revivals “Candide,” “Once Upon a Mattress” and “Annie.”

The four nominees in the best play category were a predictable group: “Skylight,” “Stanley,” “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” and “The Young Man From Atlanta.” Left out was Wendy Wasserstein’s “An American Daughter,” which received only one nomination, for Lynne Thigpen’s performance in the best featured actress category.

“Titanic,” although it got a nom in the scenic design category, didn’t make the directing cut. Directors for “The Life,” “Chicago,” “Steel Pier” and “Juan Darien” will compete for best direction of a musical.

Imported productions had a strong showing, with the Brits mounting the strongest invasion. The Royal National Theater productions “Stanley” and “Skylight” took seven noms between them, while three of the nominees for best director of a play helmed British imports (Richard Eyre, “Skylight”; Anthony Page, “A Doll’s House”; John Caird, “Stanley”; Charles Nelson Reilly was the sole American for “The Gin Game”).

One of the more hotly contested categories, best leading actor in a play, includes no Americans at all: Brian Bedford (“London Assurance”) and Michael Gambon (“Skylight”) are British and Irish, respectively, Christopher Plummer (“Barrymore”) is Canadian and Antony Sher (“Stanley”) is South African. Rip Torn (“The Young Man From Atlanta”) and Charles Durning (“The Gin Game”), both considered strong possibilities for the category, were shut out.

Two of the nominees for best leading actress in a play (Lia Williams, “Skylight,” and Janet McTeer, “A Doll’s House”) are English, going up against Julie Harris for “The Gin Game” and Shirley Knight for “The Young Man From Atlanta.” Perennial Tony nominee Stockard Channing was not nominated this year for her performance in “The Little Foxes.”

Perhaps the strongest category this year is best performance by a featured actress in a musical, with four scene-stealers angling for the top prize: Marcia Lewis, “Chicago”; Andrea Martin, “Candide”; Debra Monk, “Steel Pier”; and Lillias White, “The Life.”

“Dream,” the Broadway musical set to Johnny Mercer tunes, took only one nomination, for Wayne Cilento’s choreography. Rounding out that category was hoofing from “The Life,” “Chicago” and “Steel Pier.”

The nominations were announced at Sardi’s restaurant by Rosie O’Donnell, Raquel Welch and Alec Baldwin. O’Donnell will host this year’s ceremony, Welch takes over the lead role in “Victor/Victoria” next month, and previous Tony nominee Baldwin hits the boards next season in “Macbeth.”

This year’s special Tony Award for regional theater, based on a recommendation by the American Theater Critics Assn., goes to the Berkeley Repertory Theater in California. The award includes a $25,000 grant from RCA Victor.

An award for lifetime achievement will be awarded posthumously to former Shubert Organization president Bernard B. Jacobs, who died last year.

Tickets for the June 1 ceremony at Radio City Music Hall went on sale Monday. This year marks the first time tickets to the Tonys have been made available to the public, thanks to the larger venue – traditionally the awards, administered by the American Theater Wing, have been housed in one of the Broadway theaters, most of which have fewer than 2,000 seats.

A list of nominees follows:

PLAY

“Skylight” — author, David Hare; producers, Robert Fox, Roger Berlind, Joan Cullman, Scott Rudin, the Shubert Organization, Capital Cities/ABC, the Royal National Theatre

“Stanley” — author, Pam Gems; producers, Circle in the Square, Gregory Mosher, M. Edgar Rosenblum, the Royal National Theatre

“The Last Night of Ballyhoo” — author, Alfred Uhry; producers, Jane Harmon, Nina Keneally, Lisa Oliver

“The Young Man From Atlanta” — author, Horton Foote; producers, David Richenthal, Anita Waxman, Jujamcyn Theaters, the Goodman Theatre, Robert Cole

MUSICAL

“Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass” — producers, Lincoln Center Theater, Andre Bishop, Bernard Gersten, Music-Theatre Group

“Steel Pier” — producer, Roger Berlind

“The Life” — producers, Roger Berlind, Martin Richards, Cy Coleman, Sam Crothers

“Titanic” — producers, Dodger Endemol Theatricals, Richard S. Pechter, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

BOOK OF A MUSICAL

“Jekyll & Hyde” — book, Leslie Bricusse

“Steel Pier” — book, David Thompson

“The Life” — book, David Newman, Ira Gasman, Cy Coleman

“Titanic” — book, Peter Stone

ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC & LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATER

“Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass” — music, Elliot Goldenthal; lyrics, Elliot Goldenthal

“Steel Pier” — music, John Kander; lyrics, Fred Ebb

“The Life” — music, Cy Coleman; lyrics, Ira Gasman

“Titanic” — music, Maury Yeston; lyrics, Maury Yeston

REVIVAL OF A PLAY

“A Doll’s House” — producers, Bill Kenwright, Thelma Holt

“London Assurance” — producers, Roundabout Theatre Co., Todd Haimes, Ellen Richard

“Present Laughter” — producers, David Richenthal, Anita Waxman, Jujamcyn Theaters

“The Gin Game” — producers, National Actors Theatre, Tony Randall

REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

“Annie” — producers, Timothy Childs, Rodger Hess, Jujamcyn Theaters, Terri B. Childs, Al Nocciolino

“Candide” — producer, Livent (U.S.) Inc.

“Chicago” — producers, Barry Weissler, Fran Weissler, Kardana Prods. Inc.

“Once Upon a Mattress” — producers, Dodger Prods., Joop van den Ende

PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Brian Bedford, “London Assurance”

Michael Gambon, “Skylight”

Christopher Plummer, “Barrymore”

Antony Sher, “Stanley”

PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Julie Harris, “The Gin Game”

Shirley Knight, “The Young Man From Atlanta”

Janet McTeer, “A Doll’s House”

Lia Williams, “Skylight”

PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Robert Cuccioli, “Jekyll & Hyde”

Jim Dale, “Candide”

Daniel McDonald, “Steel Pier”

James Naughton, “Chicago”

PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Pamela Isaacs, “The Life”

Bebe Neuwirth, “Chicago”

Tonya Pinkins, “Play On!”

Karen Ziemba, “Steel Pier”

PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Terry Beaver, “The Last Night of Ballyhoo”

William Biff McGuire, “The Young Man From Atlanta”

Brian Murray, “The Little Foxes”

Owen Teale, “A Doll’s House”

PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Helen Carey, “London Assurance”

Dana Ivey, “The Last Night of Ballyhoo”

Lynne Thigpen, “An American Daughter”

Celia Weston, “The Last Night of Ballyhoo”

PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Joel Blum, “Steel Pier”

Chuck Cooper, “The Life”

Andre De Shields, “Play On!”

Sam Harris, “The Life”

PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Marcia Lewis, “Chicago”

Andrea Martin, “Candide”

Debra Monk, “Steel Pier”

Lillias White, “The Life”

SCENIC DESIGN

John Lee Beatty, “The Little Foxes”

Stewart Laing, “Titanic”

G.W. Mercier/Julie Taymor, “Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass”

Tony Walton, “Steel Pier”

COSTUME DESIGN

Ann Curtis, “Jekyll & Hyde”

Judith Dolan, “Candide”

William Ivey Long, “Chicago”

Martin Pakledinaz, “The Life”

LIGHTING DESIGN

Ken Billington, “Chicago”

Beverly Emmons, “Jekyll & Hyde”

Donald Holder, “Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass”

Richard Pilbrow, “The Life”

CHOREOGRAPHY

Wayne Cilento, “Dream”

Joey McNeely, “The Life”

Ann Reinking, “Chicago”

Susan Stroman, “Steel Pier”

DIRECTION OF A PLAY

John Caird, “Stanley”

Richard Eyre, “Skylight”

Anthony Page, “A Doll’s House”

Charles Nelson Reilly, “The Gin Game”

DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Michael Blakemore, “The Life”

Walter Bobbie, “Chicago”

Scott Ellis, “Steel Pier”

Julie Taymor, “Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass”

ORCHESTRATIONS

Michael Gibson, “Steel Pier”

Luther Henderson, “Play On!”

Don Sebesky/Harold Wheeler, “The Life”

Jonathan Tunick, “Titanic”

More Scene

  • Palm Springs Where to eat Drink

    Palm Springs Hotter Than Ever: Places to Eat, Drink, Stay

    NEW YORK – Broadway musical “The Life” hustled 12 Tony Award nominations Monday, topping the list of contenders for the 51st annual trophies. The lineup included no surprises to rival last year’s “Victor/Victoria” snub, although Jeckies – the cult-like fans of the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” – might disagree: It was shut out of the […]

  • 2017 Ripple of Hope Awards

    Why Alfre Woodard Thinks 'Everybody Gets Left Out' of Film Awards Race

    NEW YORK – Broadway musical “The Life” hustled 12 Tony Award nominations Monday, topping the list of contenders for the 51st annual trophies. The lineup included no surprises to rival last year’s “Victor/Victoria” snub, although Jeckies – the cult-like fans of the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” – might disagree: It was shut out of the […]

  • 'Father Figures' film premiere

    'Father Figures' Premiere Raises Funds for Southern California Wildfire Victims

    NEW YORK – Broadway musical “The Life” hustled 12 Tony Award nominations Monday, topping the list of contenders for the 51st annual trophies. The lineup included no surprises to rival last year’s “Victor/Victoria” snub, although Jeckies – the cult-like fans of the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” – might disagree: It was shut out of the […]

  • 'Grown-ish' TV show premiere

    A Meme Inspired 'Black-ish' Spinoff 'Grown-ish,' Creator Kenya Barris Says

    NEW YORK – Broadway musical “The Life” hustled 12 Tony Award nominations Monday, topping the list of contenders for the 51st annual trophies. The lineup included no surprises to rival last year’s “Victor/Victoria” snub, although Jeckies – the cult-like fans of the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” – might disagree: It was shut out of the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content