Possible praisery merger leaves awards wondering

Few notable decisions came out of Thursday afternoon’s Tony Awards Administration Committee meeting, at which members determined the kudos eligibility of 10 of Broadway’s fall offerings.

Instead, the most intriguing question seemed to be the unresolved one of who would be handling press for the Tonys, given news of the shakeup at praisery PMK/HBH and its reportedly impending merger with PR firm BNC.

PMK’s Allen Eichhorn, who has handled the Tonys in the past, will exit the company at the end of the year, while colleague Shawn Purdy departs at the end of this week.

“PMK/HBH is obviously in a state of major transition,” said Howard Sherman, exec director of the American Theater Wing, co-presenter of the legit laurels. “The Tonys look forward to an opportunity to discuss the account with them once they have resolved their transitional issues.”

As for the day’s decisions on award eligibility: “After Miss Julie,” the play by Patrick Marber that is closely based on August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie,” will be considered a revival rather than a new play despite the fact that the play has never before played the Rialto.

The show’s producer, Roundabout Theater Company, had not made any requests regarding the category in which the show should be eligible.

The first Main Stem run of David Mamet’s “Oleanna” also has been tagged a revival, with the play’s successful Off Broadway preem in 1992 accounting for its earlier entry in the legit canon of familiar works.

Tony guidelines state that thesps listed above the title will be considered leads, with below-the-title actors placed in featured slots, unless the committee decides otherwise.

Jude Law (“Hamlet”), Michael McKean (“Superior Donuts”), Jan Maxwell (“The Royal Family”) and Chad Kimball and Montego Glover (both of “Memphis”) will be considered in lead thesp categories for their starring roles.

Meanwhile, Bill Irwin (“Bye Bye Birdie”) and Marin Ireland (“After Miss Julie”) are in the mix for featured acting categories.

The admin committee meeting was the first of four skedded to take place throughout the season. The 2010 Tonys Awards are set for June 14.

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