Monday, 5 June 2000
The 54th Annual Tony Awards took place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City yesterday. The success of Contact, which features a prerecorded track with no original music and which picked up a Tony Award for Best New Musical, will no doubt further fuel the debate about what constitutes a musical. Michael Frayn's Copenhagen collected the prize for Best New Play, whilst a revival of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate collected five Tonys, including Best Musical Revival. Austalian director Michael Blakemore, who now lives in Britain, became the first person to win both Best Director of a Play (Copenhagen) and Best Director of a Musical (Kiss me Kate) in the same year. Elton John and Tim Rice won the Tony for best Score for Aida which also earned Bob Crowley a Tony for best Scenic Design and Natasha Katz the award for Best Lighting Design. The prize for Best Revival went to Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, whilst the award for Best Book of a Musical went to Richard Nelson for James Joyce's The Dead. The Tonys are still remarkably poor at recognising technical excellence – apart from the awards for scenic design and lighting (both of which went to Aida) there is scant recognition of the part played by our industry and particularly notable by its absence is any recognition for the sound designer.