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60th Annual Tony Awards


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'The Drowsy Chaperone' Leads Tony Nods

by Michael Kuchwara, AP Drama Writer

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Sutton Foster in 'The Drowsy Chaperone'

NEW YORK, New York - "The Drowsy Chaperone," a daffy musical about one fan's favorite 1920s show, took 13 Tony nominations on Tuesday, May 17, including for best musical. Close behind with 11 was "The Color Purple," the Oprah Winfrey-produced musical based on Alice Walker's novel about a determined woman's triumph over adversity.

The revival of "The Pajama Game" got nine bids, while tied at eight were "Jersey Boys," the gritty show-biz tale of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and the revival of "Awake and Sing!" Nominated for best play and receiving seven nominations, "The History Boys," is Alan Bennett's London success about a group of boisterous students trying to get into Oxford or Cambridge.

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Richard Griffiths in 'The History Boys'

The other best play nominees include "The Lieutenant of Inishmore," Martin McDonagh's comic splatterfest about a crazed Irish terrorist, "Shining City," Conor McPherson's ghost story set in present-day Dublin and "Rabbit Hole," David Lindsay-Abaire's look at a suburban couple attempting to deal with the death of their young son.

"The Wedding Singer" a celebration of the 1980s and based on the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore movie, will compete for best musical honors. The best actor in a play candidates included Ralph Fiennes who plays the title character in Brian Friel's "Faith Healer" and Richard Griffiths, a beloved teacher in "The History Boys."

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Cynthia Nixon in 'Rabbit Hole'

Among the best actress in a play hopefuls were Cynthia Nixon, the distraught mother in "Rabbit Hole," Judy Kaye in "Souvenir" and Kate Burton in "The Constant Wife." Julia Roberts, who received gently scathing reviews for her performance in Richard Greenberg's "Three Days of Rain," did not get a nomination.

Harry Connick Jr., however, did get a nod for his Broadway debut in "The Pajama Game." His competition includes Michael Cerveris, the bloody barber in "Sweeney Todd," John Lloyd Young, who portrays crooner Frankie Valli in "Jersey Boys," Bob Martin, the co-author and narrator-star of "The Drowsy Chaperone" and Stephen Lynch, the lovesick hero of "The Wedding Singer."

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Kelli O'Hara and Harry Connick Jr. in 'The Pajama Game'

Kelli O'Hara, Connick's co-star in "The Pajama Game," received a nomination for best actress in a musical, as did Broadway veteran Patti LuPone, the industrious pie-maker in "Sweeney Todd." Their competition includes LaChanze, the beleaguered heroine of "The Color Purple," Sutton Foster for "The Drowsy Chaperone" and the legendary Chita Rivera for playing herself in "Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life."

Who takes home the awards will be settled on Sunday, June 11 at Radio City Music Hall, where the winners will be announced in a three-hour telecast, beginning 8 p.m. EDT on CBS.

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2006 Tony Award Nominations
(winners will appear highlighted in red)

Play
"The History Boys"
Author: Alan Bennett
Producers: Boyett Ostar Productions, Roger Berlind, Debra Black, Eric Falkenstein, Roy Furman, Jam Theatricals, Stephanie P. McClelland, Judith Resnick, Scott Rudin, Jon Avnet/Ralph Guild, Dede Harris/Mort Swinsky, The National Theatre of Great Britain


"The Lieutenant of Inishmore"
Author: Martin McDonagh
Producers: Randall L. Wreghitt, Dede Harris, Atlantic Theater Company, David Lehrer, Harriet Newman Leve & Ron Nicynski, Zavelson Meyrelles Greiner Group, Mort Swinsky & Redfern Goldman Productions, Ruth Hendel


"Rabbit Hole"
Author: David Lindsay-Abaire
Producers: Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow, Barry Grove


"Shining City"
Author: Conor McPherson
Producers: Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow, Barry Grove, Scott Rudin, Roger Berlind, Debra Black


Musical
"The Color Purple"
Producers: Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, Quincy Jones, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci & Cheryl Lachowicz, Independent Presenters Network, David Lowy, Stephanie P.Clelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Bob & Harvey Weinstein, Andrew Asnes & Adam Zotovich, Todd Johnson

"The Drowsy Chaperone"
Producers: Kevin McCollum, Roy Miller, Boyett Ostar Productions, Stephanie P. McClelland, Barbara Freitag, Jill Furman


"Jersey Boys"
Producers: Dodger Theatricals, Joseph J. Grano, Pelican Group, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Latitude Link, Rick Steiner/Osher/Staton/Bell/Mayerson Group

"The Wedding Singer"
Producers: Margo Lion, New Line Cinema, The Araca Group, Roy Furman, Douglas L. Meyer/James D. Stern, Rick Steiner/The Staton Bell Osher Mayerson Group, Jam Theatricals, Jujamcyn Theaters, Jay Furman, Michael Gill, Dr. Lawrence Horowitz, Rhoda Mayerson, Marisa Sechrest, Gary Winnick, Dancap Productions, Inc.,
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60 Hosts for Tonys' 60th Anniversary

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Oprah Winfrey appears jubilant at the curtain call on the opening

night of 'The Color Purple'

NEW YORK, New York - How's this for a birthday celebration? Eschewing the usual solo or co-emcees that have occasioned past ceremonies along the Great White Way, organizers for the 2006 Tony Awards have announced plans to showcase 60 celebrity hosts in honor of the kudocast's 60th anniversary.

This year's Tonys, being held at Radio City Music Hall, will feature a cavalcade of big name presenters drawn from both stage and screen, among them Oprah Winfrey, who executive produced "The Color Purple," which snagged 11 nominations.

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Ralph Fiennes in 'Faith Healer'

Also hosting will be Ralph Fiennes, who's up for Best Actor for the play, "Faith Healer." Other stars set to dole out honors include Glenn Close, Cynthia Nixon, Martin Short, Mark Ruffalo, Bernadette PetersThree Days of Rain failed to garner her an acting nod.

"The 60th anniversary show is bigger than just one host. So we've put together a line up of 60 stars from the stage to lead our celebration," said the telecast's executive producers, Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner in a joint statement.

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Hugh Jackman kicks it onstage with the Radio City Rockettes in

the opening number as the host of the 2005 Tony Awards

The last time the Tonys featured multiple emcees was back in 1999 with an all-star ensemble led by Kevin Spacey and Julie Andrews. Since then, other emcees have included "The Producers" duo of Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane and Hugh Jackman, who's drawn raves for his deft solo efforts over the past three years.

Leading the list of nominees unveiled on May 16 to great fanfare was sleeper hit of the season, "The Drowsy Chaperone," which scored 13 nominations, including Best Musical and Best Performance By a Leading Actor and Leading Actress respectively.

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'Jersey Boys' earned eight Tony nominations

'Chaperone' will face off against "The Color Purple" and "The Wedding Singer," based on the Adam Sandler comedy. Also nominated is "Jersey Boys," inspired by the life and career of Frankie Valli, which earned eight nods.

Another tuner that's up for Tony consideration is the popular revival of "The Pajama Game," which picked up nine nominations, including a Best Actor nod for star Harry Connick Jr. The 2006 Tonys will be broadcast live on CBS June 11 starting at 8 p.m.

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'Boys' Night Out On Broadway

by David Rooney

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Winners for Best Actors and Actresses for Musicals and Play are:

(L-R) John Lloyd Young for the musical, 'Jersey Boys'; LaChanze

for the musical, 'The Color Purple'; Cynthia Nixon for the drama,

'Rabbit Hole' and Richard Griffiths for the play, 'The History Boys'

NEW YORK, New York -- 'Boys' ruled the "60th Annual Tony Awards" on Sunday night at Radio City Music Hall, when "Jersey Boys" took the prize for best musical and "The History Boys" was named Best Play. With six wins, Alan Bennett's drama matched the high mark for a play, set by "Death of a Salesman" in 1949.

A biotuner that stitches the hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons into a chronicle of their bumpy rise from blue-collar Garden State suburbia to pop stardom, "Jersey Boys" nabbed four trophies, beating chief rival, "The Drowsy Chaperone," in what was widely considered a two-horse race.

The two shows have been neck-and-neck since the Tony nominations were announced, but the strong touring prospects of "Jersey Boys" is believed to have given it the edge in securing the all-important road presenters' votes. The show has grossed a muscular $30 million since it opened in November.

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Tony Nominee Sutton Foster in 'The Drowsy Chaperone'

In an evening that played out largely according to plan with few significant upsets, the split of musical awards between the two shows -- "Drowsy Chaperone" took five Tonys -- stands to bolster their business as potential long-runners on Broadway.

The two tuners' victories also shine a spotlight on the Southern California theaters that spawned them: "Jersey Boys" began life at the La Jolla Playhouse under artistic director Des McAnuff, who helmed the tuner; the U.S. premiere of Canadian import "Drowsy Chaperone" was produced at the Ahmanson in Los Angeles by the Center Theater Group. It opened on Broadway to promising business May 1.

The "Jersey Boys" win continues the reversal of fortune for Dodger Theatricals, which bounced back from a string of failures. Other lead producers are Joseph P. Grano, Pelican Group, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Latitude Link and Rick Steiner/Osher/Staton/Bell/Mayerson Group.

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'Jersey Boys' light up the stage before winning 2006 Best Musical

In addition to the top award, "Jersey Boys" snagged the Lead Actor in a Musical nod for Broadway newcomer John Lloyd Young as siren-voiced Valli and for Featured Actor Christian Hoff as his wiseguy bandmate Tommy DeVito.

The Tony victory for "Jersey Boys" represents a degree of redemption for the much-maligned jukebox musical. The genre has come under heavy fire on Broadway with a string of recent failures including "Lennon," "All Shook Up," "Good Vibrations" and "Ring of Fire."

"Drowsy Chaperone," the meta-theatrical parody of frothy 1920s musicals, also grabbed its share of the glory, taking home five awards including Original Score (for which "Jersey Boys" was ineligible), as well as the book prize for Bob Martin and Don McKellar.

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Tony Nominee Stephen Lynch in 'The Wedding Singer'

Latter award serves as especially appropriate acknowledgement for Martin, also a Best Actor nominee for his role as Man in Chair, the sad-sack musical theater aficionado who comments on the show within the show.

Beth Leavel's turn as the dipsomaniac title character landed her the Featured Actress in a Musical prize, while David Gallo's Set Designs and Gregg Barnes' Costumes also were recognized.

Brit import, "The History Boys" romped home with six Tonys. Bennett's compassionate reflection on cultural, academic, spiritual and moral education scored Nicholas Hytner his second Tony for direction. The National Theater's a.d.a.d. won for direction of a musical in 1994 with "Carousel."

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Tony Nominated 'The Color Purple'

The play also landed Tonys for Lead Actor Richard Griffiths' turn as a maverick English teacher, and for Featured Actress Frances de la Tour's work as his world-weary colleague. Bob Crowley won for Scenic Design of a Play, while Mark Henderson won for Lighting. The limited-run transfer plays on Broadway through September 3 with the original cast from the National intact.

Producers on the Broadway run are Boyett Ostar Prods., Roger Berlind, Debra Black, Eric Falkenstein, Roy Furman, Jam Theatricals, Stephanie P. McClelland, Judith Resnick, Scott Rudin, Jon Avnet/Ralph Guild, Dede Harris/Mort Swinsky and National Theater of Great Britain.

The win for leading actress in a musical by LaChanze as the downtrodden but ultimately empowered Celie in "The Color Purple" was the hit show's sole trophy out of 11 nominations. The tuner narrowly avoided the fate of the 1985 Steven Spielberg film adaptation at the Oscars, which scored 11 noms but no wins.

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Tony Nominee Harry Connick Jr. took center stage at the piano

singing 'Fernando Hideaway' from 'The Pajama Game'

The evening's biggest surprise came with the win for Musical Revival of Roundabout's "The Pajama Game." The smash production, starring Harry Connick Jr. and Kelli O'Hara, also landed a second Choreography Tony for Director Kathleen Marshall, who won in 2004 for "Wonderful Town."

The pared-down return of "Sweeney Todd" had been generally tipped to win for Revival. But that production didn't go empty-handed. Brit helmer-designer John Doyle won the award for Direction of a Musical while Sarah Travis won for her Orchestrations, which reworked Stephen Sondheim's complex score for a cast of 10 actor-musicians.

Actress in a Play went to Cynthia Nixon for her role as a grieving mother in emotional isolation from her family in the Manhattan Theater Club production of David Lindsay-Abaire's "Rabbit Hole."

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Tony Nominees Michael Cerveris and Patti LuPone in a sinister

duet from 'Sweeney Todd'

Ian McDiarmid took the prize for Featured Actor in a Play for his work as a chatty Cockney manager recalling both the joy and pain of the past in "Faith Healer," an import from Dublin's Gate Theater.

Lincoln Center Theater and director Bartlett Sher's lovingly staged remounting of the 1935 Clifford Odets drama about a Bronx family during the Depression, "Awake and Sing!" scored Tonys for Revival of a Play and for Catherine Zuber's period Costumes. It was the second consecutive Tony for Zuber, who won last year for Sher and LCT's "The Light in the Piazza."

As previously announced, Harold Prince received a special Tony for Lifetime Achievement, adding to his 20 past wins. Prince won his first Tony in 1955 as producer of "The Pajama Game" and his most recent in 1995 for directing "Show Boat." The Broadway vet gave a video acceptance speech; he skipped the awards ceremony to focus on "Phantom -- The Las Vegas Spectacular," now in previews and opening June 24.

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Alan Cumming and Cyndi Lauper wowed the crowd

in a duet from 'The Threepenny Opera'

Also announced previously, Sarah Jones won a Special Tony for her work as author and performer of the hit Off Broadway transfer, "Bridge and Tunnel," while Seattle's Intiman Theater won the regional Theater Tony, which includes a grant of $25,000.

The choice to forgo a lead host this year in favor of 60 presenters to mark the awards' 60th anni led to a somewhat anonymous Tony ceremony, but the numbers presented from nominated musicals all came across well, as opposed to the hit-and-miss stagings of past editions. The national promo platform is considered a useful tool to boost ticket sales for all shows as the summer tourist season gears up.

In a shrewd move indicating the studio knows musical-theater fans will be a significant part of its core audience, during the telecast DreamWorks unveiled the trailer for Bill Condon's screen adaptation of Broadway tuner "Dreamgirls," due in theaters at Christmas.

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2006 Tony Award Winners


Play
"The History Boys"
Author: Alan Bennett
Producers: Boyett Ostar Productions, Roger Berlind, Debra Black, Eric Falkenstein, Roy Furman, Jam Theatricals, Stephanie P. McClelland, Judith Resnick, Scott Rudin, Jon Avnet/Ralph Guild, Dede Harris/Mort Swinsky, The National Theatre of Great Britain


Musical
"Jersey Boys"
Producers: Dodger Theatricals, Joseph J. Grano, Pelican Group, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Latitude Link, Rick Steiner/Osher/Staton/Bell/Mayerson Group


Book of a Musical
"The Drowsy Chaperone"
Bob Martin and Don McKellar


Original Score Written for the Theatre
(Music and/or Lyrics)
"The Drowsy Chaperone"
Music & Lyrics: Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison


Revival of a Play
"Awake and Sing!"
Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, Andr
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