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'Movin' Out' and 'Hairspray' rack up Tony nominations

The two productions celebrating bygone eras garner 23 nods; 'Amour' and 'A Year with Frog and Toad' are also in the running for best musical.

May 13, 2003|Patrick Pacheco | Special to The Times

NEW YORK — "Hairspray," the smash musical based on John Waters' film about an overweight teen integrating a '60s TV dance show in Baltimore, led the Tony nominees with 13, including best musical. Close behind was "Movin' Out," the Vietnam-era musical directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp to the songs of Billy Joel, which gathered 10 nods. Nominations for Broadway's highest honor were announced Monday in Manhattan by Melanie Griffith and John Lithgow.

Rounding out the category of best musical, with five and three nominations, respectively, are "Amour," the short-lived Michel Legrand musical based on a French short story about a man who walks through walls; and "A Year with Frog and Toad," based on the Arnold Lobel children's classic about the friendship between marsh creatures.

"Thirteen is my lucky number," said Margo Lion, lead producer of "Hairspray," recalling the relatively trouble-free development of the show that had its world premiere in Seattle last June. Among the "hires" who received Tony nominations were stars Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur; director Jack O'Brien, artistic director of San Diego's Old Globe Theatre; and set designer David Rockwell, who also designed the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

Unlike "Hairspray," "Movin' Out" had a rough road to Broadway, meeting an unfavorable reception during its tryout last fall in Chicago. But Tharp, a modern dance choreographer, was able to rework the show and was rewarded for her efforts with nominations as best choreographer and best director. "Well, it's what I do," said Tharp, "so I'm just glad to have it work and to have it noticed."

The leads in "Movin' Out" -- Elizabeth Parkinson, Ashley Tuttle, John Selya, Keith Roberts and vocalist Michael Cavanaugh -- received nominations. Joel was recognized along with Stuart Malina in the category of best orchestrations.

Failing to make the grade was "Urban Cowboy," which had been scraping by in hopes of receiving a best musical nod. The show, which received two nominations (for score and orchestrations), announced Monday afternoon that it would be closing on Sunday.

The Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of "Nine," the 1982 musical based on Fellini's "8 1/2," led the revival categories with eight nominations, including nods for star Antonio Banderas and, in the supporting role category, Chita Rivera, Jane Krakowski and Mary Stuart Masterson.

Competing with "Nine" for the best revival Tony will be "La Boheme," Baz Luhrmann's re-telling of the 19th century Puccini opera presented in Italian with English subtitles; "Man of La Mancha" (which also won nods for its stars Brian Stokes Mitchell and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio); and "Gypsy," with five nominations, including one for Bernadette Peters, who has missed several performances recently because of a respiratory illness. Sam Mendes, who directed the Jerome Robbins classic based on the life of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, was noticeably absent from the nominees list.

The substantially revised revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic "Flower Drum Song," which premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in 2001 but had a short run on Broadway, garnered three nominations -- for costumes (Gregg Barnes) choreography (Robert Longbottom) and book of a musical (David Henry Hwang).

Nominations for drama were led by the revival of "Long Day's Journey Into Night," with seven honoring the production; cast members Vanessa Redgrave (a first-time nominee), Brian Dennehy, Robert Sean Leonard and Philip Seymour Hoffman; and director Robert Falls.

Also competing for best revival of play is "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg," "Dinner at Eight" and "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune." Stanley Tucci was nominated for his turn as a short-order chef in "Frankie and Johnny," but co-star Edie Falco, as a gun-shy romantic, was not.

The highly successful revival of "Our Town" did not earn a nomination, but its star, Paul Newman, received the first Tony nod of his career.

Among original dramas, "Take Me Out," Richard Greenberg's play about a baseball icon who comes out of the closet, appears to be the early favorite for best play with its four nominations. It will be competing against "Enchanted April," "Vincent in Brixton" (Clare Higgins' widely praised performance also received a nod), and "Say Goodnight Gracie."

Two high-profile plays were largely overlooked. "Salome: The Reading," starring Al Pacino, Marisa Tomei and Dianne Wiest, which came up with zip; and "Life (x) Three" by Yasmina Reza, recognized only for Linda Emond's critically praised supporting performance. Co-stars Helen Hunt, Brent Spiner and John Turturro did not make the cut.

The Tonys will be presented in a three-hour telecast, live from Radio City Music Hall, on June 8 on CBS.

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