Copenhagen & Real Thing Win Tony HonoursDate: 5 June 2000
It was payback time for Brits on Broadway at the Tony Awards, the US's premier theatrical awards, held last night at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Although last year's Tony's promised more, this year's delivered, thanks to homegrown productions of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing and Michael Frayn's Copenhagen.
In 1999, productions which transferred from the West End to Broadway garnered an unprecedented 23 nominations but, on the night, Brits took home only two awards, one for Judi Dench who scooped the Best Actress for her role in David Hare's Amy's View. This year Brits earned a comparatively paltry ten nominations, but succeeded in actually winning six of them. The big winners were the Donmar Warehouse's revival of The Real Thing and the National's production of Copenhagen, who scooped three apiece.
The revival of The Real Thing, Tom Stoppard's 1982 comedy about love, marriage and adultery, directed by David Leveaux, first ran last summer at the Donmar. It transferred to the West End's Albery Theatre in January for nine weeks before moving on to Broadway. Last night, it landed Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Play, a Best Actor award for Stephen Dillane and a Best Actress award for Jennifer Ehle, beating our her mother, Rosemary Harris, who was also nominated in the category for her role in Waiting in the Wings.
Copenhagen premiered at the National's Cottesloe in May 1998 before transferring to the West End's Duchess Theatre where it has been playing since February 1999. The three-hander drama about a 1941 meeting of nuclear physicists Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr won the 1998 Evening Standard and Critics Circle Awards for Best New Play. At the Tony s, it won another award for Best Play as well as awards for Micheal Blakemore's direction and Best Performance by a Featured (ie Supporting) Actress for Blair Brown.
Sir Peter Hall's production of Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, starring David Suchet, received two nominations but, in both cases for Best Revival and Best Actor lost to fellow Brits. David Leveaux was also nominated for Best Direction and Sarah Woodward was nominated for Best Performance by a Featured Actress for The Real Thing, losing out in both instances to Copenhagen competition.
Ironically, both Copenhagen and The Real Thing missed out on major success at the Oliviers, the UK's premier theatrical awards. This year The Real Thing was nominated for four Oliviers, including Best Actor and Best Actress, but won none, and in 1999, Copenhagen was pipped at the post for the Best New Play Olivier by Conor McPherson's The Weir.