Administration assesses award eligibility

The three boys playing the title role of “Billy Elliot” are jointly eligible for a single Tony nom, and Horton Foote’s play “Dividing the Estate,” which preemed in an early version in 1989 before its Broadway run this season, will be considered a new play.

That’s the word from the Tony Awards Administration Committee, which met Thursday for its third of five meetings to assess kudos eligibility for the Broadway season’s productions and creatives.

Eligibility for the three young performers originally cast to alternate in the demanding lead role of “Billy” on Broadway — David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish — mirrors the awards consideration for the wunderkind thesps from the original London production of “Billy.” That trio won a joint Olivier in 2006.

Foote, meanwhile, will be eligible in the new play category for Lincoln Center Theater’s Broadway run of “Estate.” The nonagenarian scribe has never won a Tony.

Also eligible as a new play will be Richard Greenberg’s “The American Plan,” currently on the Rialto in a Manhattan Theater Club production but originally seen Off Broadway in 1990. Greenberg is also eligible for a book-writing nom for his new book to Roundabout Theater Company’s revival of “Pal Joey.”

Contenders for the special event category will include “Liza’s at the Palace,” “Slava’s Snowshow” and “Soul of Shaolin.”

Brian d’Arcy James and Sutton Foster have been dubbed the lead actor and actress contenders from “Shrek the Musical,” while Martha Plimpton is a possibility for a featured actress nom for “Joey.”

Eligible as leads for “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” are Stephen Bogardus, Jeffry Denman, Kerry O’Malley and Meredith Patterson.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Piven so far remains eligible for a Tony, even after his unexpected departure from “Speed-the-Plow” late last year. Eligibility for “Speed” was decided at the committee’s last meeting, held Dec. 4, and that ruling still stands.

The Tony administration committee meets periodically throughout the season to determine whether kudo eligibility should differ from the norm, which sees above-the-title performers considered in lead categories and all others eligible as featured players.

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