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'Sunset Boulevard' Takes 7 Tonys; 'Show Boat' Wins 5

June 05, 1995|JOSEPH C. KOENENN | NEWSDAY

NEW YORK — "Sunset Boulevard," the only genuinely new musical of the Broadway season, and "Show Boat," an extravagant revival of an American classic, took top honors in Sunday's Tony Awards. Among plays, the revival of "The Heiress" and "Love! Valour! Compassion!" were the top scorers.

"Sunset Boulevard" was voted best new musical and collected six other Tonys. "Show Boat" was named best musical revival and won four more Tonys.

"The Heiress" won for best play revival, best leading actress for Cherry Jones, best featured actress for Frances Sternhagen and best director for Gerald Gutierrez.

Harold Prince collected his 20th Tony as best director of a musical for "Show Boat," the most ever won by an individual in the 49-year history of the awards.

Other "Show Boat" winners were Gretha Boston, best featured actress in a musical; Susan Stroman, choreography, and Florence Klotz, costumes.

Even before the broadcast began, "Sunset Boulevard," the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that had its U.S. opening in Los Angeles, won two Tonys by default. The score and book took best of the season because there was no other new musical that qualified.

"Sunset Boulevard" provided the setting for the ceremony at Minskoff Theater, where the musical is playing. Glenn Close, who won best actress in a musical, made her entrance as co-host down the staircase that dominates the "Sunset Boulevard" set. She welcomed the audience to Norma Desmond's home and announced that she figured she walks up or down 5,984 steps every month.

George Hearn, who plays Norma Desmond's butler, was named best featured actor in a musical. The musical also earned Tonys for John Napier's set design and Andrew Bridge's lighting.

Only two other shows won Tonys: Ralph Fiennes, best leading actor in a play for "Hamlet," and Matthew Broderick, best leading actor in a musical for "How To Succeed. . . ."

A special Tony for regional theater went to the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn. Jane Alexander, a familiar Broadway face before she became chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts, accepted an honor for her embattled agency's "outstanding contribution to the theater."

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