The awards, now in their 51st year, are administered by the American Theatre Wing and presented by The League of American Theatres and Producers.
The nominations were read at Sardi's Restaurant by comedian and talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, who will emcee this year's Tony ceremony; Alec Baldwin (1992 Tony nominee for "A Streetcar Named Desire"); and Raquel Welch, who will be replacing Julie Andrews in "Victor/Victoria" starting on June 3.
For the first time, the awards will be split between two networks when they are aired on Sunday, June 1, from Radio City Music Hall. In order to fit in numbers from the nominated musicals, plus all the awards, and allow the winners to make acceptance speeches of more than 30 seconds, PBS stations will carry the first hour of the ceremony from 8-9 pm in a special entitled "Broadway '97: Launching the Tonys." This segment will feature live presentations of 10 of the prizes.
CBS will then pick up the rest of the show from 9-11 pm. The Big Eye network's broadcast will include the excerpted numbers and the remaining 12 Tonys. Last year's broadcast was harshly criticized for presenting taped and edited versions of winners accepting their accolades before the program went on the air.
Executive Producer Gary Smith informed Back Stage that the CBS show will feature scenes from the four Best Musical candidates, including a representation of the now-closed "Juan Darien," and the quartet of Outstanding Musical Revival hopefuls. There will probably not be any room for the tuners which were shut out of the big categories. These include "Dream," "Play On!" and "Jekyll & Hyde."
Based on a recommendation of the American Theatre Critics Association, a special Tony will be presented to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre of Berkeley, Cal. It will be accompanied by a $25,000 grant from RCA Victor. A posthumous special Lifetime Achievement Tony will be given to the late Bernard B. Jacobs who served as president of the Shubert Organization.
Tix to the Tonys
In another first, tickets to the Tonys will be available to the general public. This innovation is due to the large seating capacity of Radio City Music Hall. Tickets may be purchased at $65 and $125, and are obtainable at the Radio City box office, 1260 Ave. of the Americas or through Ticketmaster by calling (212) 307-4100. Ticket-buyers are reminded that the Tonys are strictly black-tie.
The awards will be voted on by 763 members of the theatrical profession and journalists whose names appear on the league's first-night press list.
The 1997 Tony Nominating Committee consists of publisher Price Berkley; costume designer Donald Brooks; educators Mary Schmidt Campbell and Robert Fitzpatrick; choreographer Marge Champion; theatre archivist Betty Corwin; composer Gretchen Cryer; press agent Merle Debuskey; administrators Tom Dillon, Robert McDonald, Peter Neufeld, Dorothy Olin, and George White; historian/writer Brendan Gill; artistic director Jay Harnick; lyricist Sheldon Harnick (1965 Tony winner for "Fiddler on the Roof"); director Geoffrey Holder (1975 Tony winner for "The Wiz"); producer Charles Hollerith; actor Barnard Hughes (1978 Tony winner for "Da"); playwright David Ives; general manager Robert Kamlot; critics David Richards and Douglas Watt; judge Franklin R. Weissberg; and writer Edwin Wilson.
A complete list of the 1996-97 Tony nominees in all categories follows:
Play: "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" by Alfred Uhry, "Skylight" by David Hare, "Stanley" by Pam Gems, "The Young Man From Atlanta" by Horton Foote.
Musical: "Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass," "The Life," "Steel Pier," "Titanic."
Revival of a Play: "A Doll's House," "The Gin Game," "London Assurance," "Present Laughter."
Revival of a Musical: "Annie," "Candide," "Chicago," "Once Upon a Mattress."
Actor (Play): Brian Bedford ("London Assurance"); Michael Gambon ("Skylight"); Christopher Plummer ("Barrymore"); Anthony Sher ("Stanley").
Actress (Play): Julie Harris ("The Gin Game"); Shirley Knight ("The Young Man From Atlanta"); Janet McTeer ("A Doll's House"); Lia Williams ("Skylight").
Actor (Musical): Robert Cuccioli ("Jekyll and Hyde"); Jim Dale ("Candide"); Daniel McDonald ("Steel Pier"); James Naughton ("Chicago").
Actress (Musical): Pamela Isaacs ("The Life"); Bebe Neuwirth ("Chicago"); Tonya Pinkins ("Play On!"); Karen Ziemba ("Steel Pier").
Featured Actor (Play): Terry Beaver ("The Last Night of Ballyhoo"); William Biff McGuire ("The Young Man From Atlanta"); Brian Murray ("The Little Foxes"); Owen Teale ("A Doll's House").
Featured Actress (Play): Helen Carey ("London Assurance"); Dana Ivey ("The Last Night of Ballyhoo"); Lynne Thigpen ("An American Daughter"); Celia Weston ("The Last Night of Ballyhoo").
Featured Actor (Musical): Joel Blum ("Steel Pier"); Chuck Cooper ("The Life"); Andrƒ De Shields ("Play On!"); Sam Harris ("The Life").
Featured Actress (Musical): Marcia Lewis ("Chicago"); Andrea Martin ("Candide"); Debra Monk ("Steel Pier"); Lillias White ("The Life").
Score of a Musical: Cy Coleman, Ira Gasman ("The Life"); Elliot Goldenthal ("Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass"); John Kander, Fred Ebb ("Steel Pier"); Maury Yeston ("Titanic").
Book of a Musical: Leslie Bricusse ("Jekyll & Hyde"); David Newman, Ira Gasman, Cy Coleman ("The Life"); Peter Stone ("Titanic").
Director (Play): John Caird ("Stanley"); Richard Eyre ("Skylight"); Anthony Page ("A Doll's House"); Charles Nelson Reilly ("The Gin Game").
Director (Musical): Michael Blakemore ("The Life"); Walter Bobbie ("Chicago"); Scott Ellis ("Steel Pier"); Julie Taymor ("Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass").
Choreography: Wayne Cilento ("Dream"); Joey McKneely ("The Life"); Ann Reinking ("Chicago"); Susan Stroman ("Steel Pier").
Orchestrations: Michael Gibson ("Steel Pier"); Luther Henderson ("Play On!"); Don Sebesky, Harold Wheeler ("The Life"); Jonathan Tunick ("Titanic").
Set Design: John Lee Beatty ("The Little Foxes"); Stewart Laing ("Titanic"); Clarke Dunham ("Candide"); G.W. Mercier, Julie Taymor ("Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass"); Tony Walton ("Steel Pier").
Costume Design: Ann Curtis ("Jekyll & Hyde"); Judith Dolan ("Candide"); William Ivey Long ("Chicago"); Martin Pakledinaz ("The Life").
Lighting Design: Ken Billington ("Chicago"); Beverly Emmons ("Jekyll & Hyde"); Donald Holder ("Juan Darien, A Carnival Mass"); Richard Pilbrow ("The Life").
Special Awards: Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Outstanding Repertory Theatre); Bernard B. Jacobs (Lifetime Achievement, posthumous).