TITANIC, BALLYHOO WIN TOP TONYS
By David Lefkowitz
June 1, 1997
Titanic, a musical epic about the sinking of the luxury ocean liner,
survived problematic reviews to win the 1997 Tony Award as Best Musical
June 1, sweeping all five categories in which it was nominated, including
Best Score for Maury Yeston and Best Book for Peter Stone.
The Last Night of Ballyhoo, the story of tensions between ethnic
German Jews and ethnic Russian Jews in 1930s Atlanta, won Best Play for Alfred
Uhry, who adds it to his Pulitzer Prize and Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy.
Walter Bobbie's stylish revival of Chicago won the most Tonys for
a single show -- six, including Best Musical Revival, Best Actor and Best
Actress in a Musical for James Naughton and Bebe Neuwirth, respectively.
The British import revival of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, won
Best Revival of a Play, plus Best Actress in a Play for Janet McTeer.
Several major musicals and plays were completely shut out of the Tonys,
including Steel Pier, Jekyll & Hyde, Dream, Play
On! and the 1995 Pulitzer Prize winner The Young Man From AtlantaChicago
jazzed up the first hour of the Tonys, taking three quick Tonys for best
choreography, lighting and director of a musical.
Chicago scored further victories for best actor and actress for
James Naughton and Bebe Neuwirth, respectively. As expected, Christopher
Plummer won his second Tony, for Barrymore (the show's only nomination),
Janet McTeer and Owen Teale took acting honors for the Doll's House revival,
which also earned best revival and best revival director.
One of the biggest surprises of the night was the appearance of presenter
Mandy Patinkin, who arrived in dark glasses and explained that "11 days
ago, I received a cornea transplant." Likely to wear dark sunglasses on
Monday morning will be the producers of Jekyll & Hyde, The Gin Game
and Steel Pier, which all got goose-egged.
On May 5, at Sardi's Restaurant in the New York theatre district, Rosie
O'Donnell, Raquel Welch and Alec Baldwin announced the nominees for the
1996-1997 Tony Awards. The Life led the field with 12 nominations; Steel
Pier followed with 11. The American Theatre Wing and League Of American
Theatres & Producers bestowed the Tonys Sunday, June 1, 1997, at a ceremony
televised first on PBS (8-9PM) and then on CBS (9-11PM), hosted by Rosie
Titanic 1996-97 Tony Awards
BEST MUSICAL: TITANIC
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE: MAURY YESTON, (TITANIC)
BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL: PETER STONE (TITANIC)
BEST ORCHESTRATIONS: JONATHAN TUNICK (TITANIC)
BEST SCENIC DESIGN: STEWART LAING (TITANIC)
Titanic: 5 (Musical, Orchestration, Book-Musical, Original Score,
Scenic Design); out of 5 nominations.