Python’s Spamalot Earns a lot of Tony NominationsDate: 10 May 2005
Nominations for this year’s 59th annual Tony Awards, announced today in New York, are dominated by Monty Python’s Spamalot, a new Broadway musical inspired by Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which was named 14 times. New York’s leading prize-giving will take place on 5 June at Radio City Music Hall in a ceremony that will be hosted by Hugh Jackman, who last year won the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance in The Boy From Oz.
Eric Idle, who wrote the book and lyrics for Monty Python’s Spamalot and co-wrote the music with fellow Brit John Du Prez, took nominations for both Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score Written for the Theatre.
A double nomination was also earned by the show’s British designer, Tim Hatley for his set and costume designs, while fellow Englishman Hugh Vanstone was nominated for his lighting. British-born star Tim Curry is nominated for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. The show was also, of course, nominated for the all-important Best Musical Award in competition with another film-to-stage adaptation, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and original musicals The Light in the Piazza and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
The West End-to-Broadway transfer of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, however, failed to be included in the list of potential Best Musicals, though it secured five nominations in other categories, including nominations for its British set and lighting designers, respectively Anthony Ward and Mark Henderson.
Two British plays, both first seen at the National Theatre, go head-to-head in the Best Play category – Michael Frayn’s Democracy (now shuttered on Broadway) and Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman are nominated alongside the American plays, John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt (which has already won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean (also already closed). John Crowley, who directed The Pillowman both at the National and now on Broadway, is nominated for Best Direction of a Play, amongst the six nominations the production received in all, including one for Billy Crudup for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.
Although British director Anthony Page’s hit Broadway revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has won six nominations, including nods for Best Revival of a Play and for stars Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin for Best Performance by a Leading Actor and Actress in a Play, respectively, Page himself is not named.
It is, otherwise, a year dominated by American plays, players and practitioners. The musicals Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Light in the Piazza earned 11 nominations apiece, with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee taking six nominations. Amongst the front-runner plays, Doubt was named eight times, and a revival of Glengarry Glen Ross took six nominations.
- by Mark Shenton