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'Hairspray' top Tony Awards contender

By FREDERICK M. WINSHIP   |   May 12, 2003 at 3:53 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, May 12 (UPI) -- The musical "Hairspray" was the top scorer Monday in the competition for the 57th annual Tony Awards for the best of Broadway, winning 13 nominations including best musical of the 2002-2003 season.

The nearest runner up with 10 nominations was "Movin' Out," a dance musical without spoken dialogue, followed by "Nine, The Musical" with eight, a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night" with seven, and Baz Luhrmann's production of Giacomo Puccini's opera, "La Boheme," with six.

The contenders for the Antoinette Perry Awards, chosen by 28 theater professionals and given jointly by the American Theater Wing and the League of American Theaters and Producers, were announced at a news conference at Sardi's restaurant by Melanie Grffith, who will soon be starring in "Chicago" on Broadway, and John Lithgow, a 2002 Tony Award winner.

The Tonys will be presented June 8 in a 3-hour live telecast (CBS) from Radio City Music Hall. The winners are selected by vote of more than 700 members of the theater community and theater critics.

"Hairspray," a musical version of the 1988 movie about an overweight aspirant for TV dance show fame, has as its competition for best musical "Movin' Out," choreographed by Twyla Tharp to a Billy Joel score, "A Year with Frog and Toad," based on children's stories by Arnold Lobel, and "Amour," imported from France with music by Michel Legrand.

Competing for best play are Matthew Barber's "Enchanted April," based on a popular English novel, Richard Greenberg's "Take Me Out," about a gay baseball champion, Rupert Holmes "Say Goodnight Gracie," a tribute to comic George Burns, and Nicholas Wright's "Vincent in Brixton," a portrait of young Vincent Van Gogh in love with an older woman.

Nominations for best revival of a play were "A Day in the Life of Joe Egg," "Dinner at Eight," "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune," and "Long Day's Journey into Night." Revivals of musicals named for the competition were "Gypsy," "La Boheme," "Man of La Mancha," and "Nine, The Musical."

Contenders for the best special theatrical event award were "Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home," "The Play What I Wrote," an English import, "Prune Danish," and "Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on Broadway."

Among the prominent actors named for their performances in leading and supporting roles were Vanessa Redgrave, Paul Newman, Bernadette Peters, Brian Dennehy, Melissa Errico, Antonio Banderas, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Harvey Fierstein, Christine Ebersole, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Chita Rivera, Brian Bedford, and Victoria Hamilton.

Cy Feuer, a veteran Broadway producer, was named as recipient of a Special Tony Award for lifetime achievement in the theater, and the annual Tony Award for regional theater will go to The Children's Theater Company of Minneapolis.

The complete list of nominations is as follows:

Best Play: "Enchanted April," "Take Me Out," "Say Goodnight Gracie," "Vincent in Brixton."

Best Musical: "Amour," "A Year with Frog and Toad," "Hairspray," "Movin' Out."

Best Revival of a Play: ""A Day in the Death of Joe Egg," "Dinner at Eight," "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune," "Long Day's Journey into Night."

Best Revival of a Musical: "Gypsy," "La Boheme," "Man of La Mancha," "Nine, the Musical."

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play: Jayne Atkinson in "Enchanted April," Victoria Hamilton in "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg," Clare Higgins in "Vincent in Brixton," Vanessa Redgrave in "Long Day's Journey into Night." And Fiona Shaw in "Medea."

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play: Brian Bedford in "Tartuffe," Brian Dennehy in "Long Day's Journey into Night," Eddie Izzard in "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg," Paul Newman in "Our Town," and Stanley Tucci in "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune."

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical: Melissa Errico in "Amour," Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in "Man of La Mancha," Elizabeth Parkinson in "Movin' Out," Bernadette Peters in "Gypsy," and Marissa Jaret Winokur in "Hairspray."

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical: Antonio Banderas in "Nine, The Musical," Harvey Fierstein in "Hairspray," Malcolm Gets in "Amour," Brian Stokes Mitchell in "Man of La Mancha," and John Selya in "Movin' Out."

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play: Christine Ebersole in "Dinner at Eight," Linda Edmond in "Life (x) 3," Kathryn Meisle in "Tartuffe," Michele Pawk in "Hollywood Arms," Marian Seldes in "Dinner at Eight."

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play: Thomas Jefferson Byrd in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Long Day's Journey into Night," Robert Sean Leonard in "Long Day's Journey into Night," Denis O'Hare in "Take Me Out," Daniel Sunjata in "Take Me Out."

Best Book of a Musical: Didier van Cauwelaert for "Amour," Willie Reale for "A Year with Frog and Toad," David Henry Hwang for "Flower Drum Song," and Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan for "Hairspray."

Best Original Score (Music and Lyrics) Written for the Theater: Robert Reale and Willie Reale for "A Year with Frog and Toad," Michel Legrand and Didier van Cauwelaert for "Amour," Marc Shaiman with Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman for "Hairspray," and more than 20 collaborators for "Urban Cowboy, The Musical."

Best Theatrical Event: "Bill Maher: Victory Begins at Home," "The Play What I Wrote," "Prune Danish," "Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on Broadway."

Best Direction of a Play: Laurence Boswell for "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg," Robert Falls for "Long Day's Journey into Night," Joe Mantello for "Take Me Out," and Deborah Warner for "Medea."

Best Direction of a Musical: David Leveaux for "Nine, The Musical," Baz Luhrmann for "La Boheme," Jack O'Brien for "Hairspray," Twyla Tharp for "Movin' Out."

Best Choreography: Robert Longbottom for "Flower Drum Song," Jerry Mitchell for "Hairspray," Melinda Roy for "Urban Cowboy, The Musical," Twyla Tharp for "Movin' Out."

Best Scenic Design: John Lee Beatty for "Dinner at Eight," Santo Loquasto for "Long Day's Journey into Night," Catherine Martin for "La Boheme," David Rockwell for "Hairspray."

Best Costume Design: Gregg Barnes for "Flower Drum Song," William Ivey Long for "Hairspray," Catherine Martin and Angus Strathie for "La Boheme," Catherine Zuber for "Dinner at Eight."

Best Lighting Design: Donald Holder for "Movin' Out," Nigel Levings for "La Boheme," Brian MacDevitt for "Nine, The Musical," Kenneth Posner, "Hairspray."

Best Orchestrations: Billy Joel and Stuart Malina for "Movin' Out," Nicholas Kitsopoulos for "La Boheme," Jonathan Tunick for "Nine, The Musical," Harold Wheeler for "Hairspray."

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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