Two imports from Britain -- the eye-popping musical, "Cats," and the Royal Shakespeare Company's lavish revival of "All's Well That Ends Well"--dominated the Tony award nominations, announced yesterday in New York.
Although American representation on the list was respectable, early evidence seemed to indicate that Broadway, following the example of Hollywood when it passed out the Oscars last month, was getting ready to honor the English all over again.
With 11 nominations, including best musical, "Cats" outpaced the American-born Gershwin musical, "My One and Only," which received nine. "All's Well" was nominated for seven awards, among them best revival. "Cats," a blockbuster since it opened last fall, is likely to be a shoo-in on all fronts.
"Plenty," a drama by British playwright David Hare about the post-World War II malaise in England, was nominated as best play, although Neil Simon's warm, autobiographical hit, "Brighton Beach Memoirs," was edged out of the competition in favor of Marsha Norman's grueling " 'night, Mother," Lanford Wilson's "Angels Fall," and Harvey Fierstein's three-play look at the life of a drag queen, "Torch Song Trilogy."
Twiggy, the Cockney fashion model turned leading lady, was one of the four nominees for best actress in a musical for her performance as an aquacade star in "My One and Only." She is up against Natalia Makarova ("On Your Toes"), Lonette McKee ("Show Boat") and Chita Rivera ("Merlin"). And British director Trevor Nunn, who staged both "Cats" and "All's Well," was a strong contender to win awards both as best director of a musical and of a play.
The Tony nominating committee, which is obliged to propose four candidates in each category, was clearly straining in many instances. "Merlin," essentially a top-heavy magic show with singing and dancing, was nominated for best musical, along with "Blues in the Night," which disappeared early in the season. "A Doll's Life," although a multimillion-dollar fiasco, nonetheless surfaced in three categories: best book of a musical, best score and best actor in a musical. Many of the nominations, in fact, came from shows which received critical drubbings and quickly folded. Virtually overlooked was the cast and creative personnel of "You Can't Take it With You."
Only the race for best actress in a play shapes up as a real competition. Although sentiment may tilt it in favor of Jessica Tandy ("Foxfire"), she has worthy rivals in Anne Pitoniak and Kathy Bates (costars of " 'night, Mother") and Kate Nelligan ("Plenty").
Washington representation on the list was minimal this year. In addition to Makarova's nomination, the Kennedy Center's revival of "On Your Toes" got four nominations: Best Revival, Donald Saddler (choreography), Lara Teeter (best supporting actor in a musical) and Christine Andreas (best supporting actress in a musical). Andreas took over the role of the ingenue after the Washington tryout.
Arena Stage's superlative cast of "K-2" was bypassed when the show was remounted for Broadway. Jeffrey De Munn, of the New York cast, was nominated for best actor in a play. Arena's set and lighting were used in New York, however, getting nominations for both Ming Cho Lee and Allan Lee Hughes.
Some 660 theater professionals and critics will now determine the winners by secret ballot. The results will be announced June 5 during the 37th annual Tony Awards show, which will be carried live on CBS.
The complete list of nominees:
Play: "Angels Fall," Lanford Wilson; "'night, Mother," Marsha Norman; "Plenty," David Hare; "Torch Song Trilogy," Harvey Fierstein.
Musical: "Cats"; "My One and Only"; "Blues in the Night," and "Merlin."
Book, Musical: "A Doll's Life," Betty Comden and Adolph Green; "Cats," T.S. Eliot; "Merlin," Richard Levinson and William Link; "My One and Only," Peter Stone and Timothy S. Mayer.
Score, Musical: "A Doll's Life," Larry Grossman, Betty Comden and Adolph Green; "Cats," Andrew Lloyd Webber and T.S. Eliot (the late poet's cat poems were used as both the basis for and the lyrics of the musical); "Merlin," Elmer Bernstein and Don Black; "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," Gene de Paul, Al Kasha, Joel Hirschorn and Johnny Mercer.
Actor, Play: Jeffrey De Munn, "K-2"; Harvey Fierstein, "Torch Song Trilogy"; Edward Herrmann, "Plenty"; Tony Lo Bianco, "A View From the Bridge."
Actress, Play: Kathy Bates and Anne Pitoniak, "'night, Mother"; Kate Nelligan, "Plenty"; Jessica Tandy, "Foxfire."
Actor, Musical: Al Green, "Your Arms Too Short to Box With God"; George Hearn, "A Doll's Life"; Michael V. Smartt, "Porgy and Bess"; Tommy Tune, "My One and Only."
Actress, Musical: Natalia Makarova, "On Your Toes"; Lonette McKee, "Show Boat"; Chita Rivera, "Merlin"; Twiggy, "My One and Only."
Director, Play: Marshall W. Mason, "Angels Fall"; Tom Moore, " 'night, Mother"; Trevor Nunn, "All's Well That Ends Well"; Gene Saks, "Brighton Beach Memoirs."
Director, Musical: Michael Kahn, "Show Boat"; Trevor Nunn, "Cats"; Ivan Reitman, "Merlin"; Tommy Tune and Thommie Walsh, "My One and Only."
Supporting Actor, Play: Matthew Broderick and Zeljko Ivanek, "Brighton Beach Memoirs"; George N. Martin, "Plenty"; Stephen Moore, "All's Well That Ends Well."
Supporting Actress, Play: Elizabeth Franz, "Brighton Beach Memoirs"; Roxanne Hart, "Passion"; Judith Ivey, "Steaming"; Margaret Tyzack, "All's Well That Ends Well."
Supporting Actor, Musical: Charles "Honi" Coles, "My One and Only"; Harry Groener and Stephen Hanan, "Cats"; Lara Teeter, "On Your Toes."
Supporting Actress, Musical: Christine Andreas, "On Your Toes"; Betty Buckley, "Cats"; Karla Burns, "Show Boat"; Denny Dillon, "My One and Only."
Scenic Design: John Gunter, "All's Well That Ends Well"; Ming Cho Lee, "K-2"; David Mitchell, "Foxfire"; John Napier, "Cats."
Costume Design: Lindy Hemming, "All's Well That Ends Well"; John Napier, "Cats"; Rita Ryack, "My One and Only"; Patricia Zipprodt, "Alice in Wonderland."
Lighting Design: Ken Billington, "Foxfire"; Robert Bryan, "All's Well That Ends Well"; David Hersey, "Cats"; Allen Lee Hughes, "K-2."
Choreography: George Faison, "Porgy and Bess"; Gillian Lynne, "Cats"; Donald Saddler, "On Your Toes"; Tommy Tune and Thommie Walsh, "My One and Only."
Revival, Play or Musical: "All's Well That Ends Well"; "A View From the Bridge"; "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial"; "On Your Toes."