As for who nabbed the “Mr. Abbott” Award this year, Nathan Lane provided unique insight Sunday night at the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers Foundation’s annual fete.
“It has been indisputably won by Susan Stroman because there was no French judge,” cracked Lane, ready to give up his “Producer” fedora on March 17. The Stroman-helmed show apparently brought out the best as well as the worst in the Tony Award-winning thesp. “With Stro, you work and work and work until you drop dead or develop a polyp,” said Lane, whose recent work sked has been a reduced six perfs a week.
High point of the evening came when Lane went off-subject to riff on Liza Minnelli’s upcoming wedding to David Gest, calling it “The Great Show on Earth” as well as “Survivor 4: the Hollywood Outback.” As Broadway’s top wisecracker put it, “Makes you wish Federico Fellini were still alive!”
Back to the subject at hand, Matthew Broderick commented that dancing with Stroman made him feel like Ginger Rogers, while “Producers” co-star Gary Beach groused that his cross-dressing-helmer persona from the hit tuner should have earned him a crack at directing “Oklahoma!,” the honoree’s latest terpsichorean effort on Broadway.
“All those cowboys, chaps, boots and whips!” gushed Beach, his long rhinestone earrings catching the spotlight just so.
Contrary to popular myth, Stroman has directed and/or choreographed shows not named “The Producers.” To provide proof, such fave Stroman performers as Roger Bart, Scott Ellis, Boyd Gaines, Karen Mason, Andrea Martin, Alan Menken, Debra Monk and Deborah Yates sang and danced numbers from “A Christmas Carol, “Contact,” “The Music Man,” “Oklahoma!,” “Thou Shalt Not” and “And the World Goes Round.”