‘Assassins’ in Tony revival class

Classification means score will not be eligible

The Tony administration committee has classified Joe Mantello’s acclaimed production of “Assassins” a revival, putting an end to one of the spring theater season’s hotter debates.

Since the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical debuted Off Broadway in 1991, and has been produced dozens of times since then, this might seem a statement of the obvious.

But the Tonys have in the past deemed old plays to be new plays if they had never appeared in one of the 35 or so theaters designated Broadway houses. (The 19th-century Ivan Turgenev play “Fortune’s Fool,” from a few seasons back, is the most egregious example.)

The decision is good news for the producers of the show’s potential rivals in the musical category — which include “Wicked,” “Avenue Q” and “Caroline, or Change.” “Assassins” received some of the best reviews of the season, and Sondheim is a much-revered industry figure. The classification also means Sondheim’s score and Weidman’s book will not be eligible in those categories.

But it’s not such good news for “Assassins’ ” revival rivals: “Wonderful Town,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Big River.” One probably will be left out when the Tony noms are announced Monday.

The committee ruled all the performers in “Assassins” will be eligible in the feature acting categories.

Other decisions handed down by the committee:

  • Frank Langella is the sole actor in the cast of “Match” to be considered in the leading category (Ray Liotta and Jane Adams are eligible in the featured categories, although all three got above-the-title billing, nominally an indication of leading-perf consideration).

  • In the cast of “A Raisin in the Sun,” Phylicia Rashad and Sean Combs are leading; Audra McDonald and Sanaa Lathan are featured.

  • Although he did not receive above-the-title billing, Simon Russell Beale is eligible in the leading-actor category for “Jumpers”; co-star Essie Davis will contend as a featured actress.

  • “Bombay Dreams” performers Manu Narayan and Anisha Nagarajan are leading performers.
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