2003 Tony Awards
Thursday, 12 June 2003
USA - The voters were divided at this year’s Tony Awards in New York, presented earlier this week, with no one show sweeping the boards. In the technical categories, it was La Boheme’s night, with Baz Luhrmann’s stylish production of Puccini’s opera winning designer Catherine Martin a Best Scenic Design Tony and lighting designer Nigel Levings the Best Lighting Design Tony.

"It was thrilling to win," commented Levings, who was previously nominated for The King and I. The Tonys round out a successful New York award season for the Boheme design team: Levings and Martin also won the equivalent categories in New York’s Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Desk awards. Levings’ co-nominees were Donald Holder for Movin’ Out, Brian MacDevitt for Nine and Kenneth Posner for Hairspray, while the other scenic design nominees were John Lee Beatty for Dinner at Eight, Santo Loquasto for Long Day’s Journey Into Night and David Rockwell for Hairspray. (Further information about Boheme, along with a profile of Nigel Levings, can be found in the February 2003 issue of Lighting&Sound International).

Catherine Martin and co-designer Angus Strathie were also nominated for Best Costume Design, but at the Tonys, as in the other awards, were beaten by William Ivey Long for his flamboyant designs for Hairspray - one of the eight categories won by the surprise hit musical of 2002, which also collected prizes for Best Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Harvey Fierstein), Best Leading Actress in a Musical (Marissa Jaret Winokur), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Dick Latessa), Best Direction of a Musical (Jack O’Brien), Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. Hairspray - which was covered in the March 2003 issue of Lighting&Sound International - was prevented from running away with all of the musical categories by the revival of Nine, which collected awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Broadway veteran Jane Krakowski, now better known as secretary Elaine in TV’s Ally McBeal), and by Movin’ Out, which won Best Choreography for Twyla Tharp and Best Orchestrations.

Amongst the plays, the awards largely became a contest between Take Me Out (Best Play, Best Featured Actor, Best Direction) and Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Best Revival of a Play, Best Leading Actress for Vanessa Redgrave, Best Leading Actor for Brian Dennehy).

The awards were presented in a ceremony at the Radio City Music Hall in New York by Hugh Jackman - now best known for his appearance in films such as X-Men, but previously a star of the musical stage in Oklahoma! ; Jackman will return to musical theatre later in the year in the new Broadway production of The Boy From Oz.

(Rob Halliday)

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