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Do the Drama Desk's Foreshadow the Tony's?

by Susan Haskins

Last night, The Drama Desk Award for Best Musical may have gone to
SPAMALOT, but it's significant that the exhuberant spectacle failed to
win many of the awards for the creative components the make up a great

Book and direction went to THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
while Light, Orchestrations, Set and Best Actress went to THE LIGHT IN
The musically sophisticated PIAZZA also won Best Score for composer Adam
Guettel, who may soon be able to shed his obligatory moniker of "Richard
Rodger's grandson."

The only "technical" award SPAMALOT got went to Tim Hatley for his
fabulous costumes, which should get a Tony as well,

SPAMALOT got no performance awards, although it would have picked up
Best Featured Actress/ Musical for Sara Ramirez had the DD nominators
not egregiously failed to nominate her. This omission, however, allowed
the DD award to go to the wonderful Jan Maxwell of the otherwise lacking
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. The popular Maxwell will likely lose to
powerhouse Ramirez on Tony night.

The Best Featured Actor/ Musical went to SWEET CHARITY's Denis O'Hare,
who's not nominated for a Tony. This opens the possiblity that
SPAMALOT's l Sir Galahad, Christopher Sieber (also overlooked by The DD
nominators) may win Best Featured Actor/Musical, unless it goes to
SPELLING BEE' newcomer Dan Fogler.

As he did at The Drama Desk, Norbert Leo Butz will win Best
Actor/Musical over SPAMALOT's Tim Curry (Hank Azaria's nomination in
this category helps diminish Curry's chances). Butz is also set to earn

SPAMALOT's super-star director Mike Nichols has been considered
slam-dunk winner this year for coordinating the elements of the
exhilarating movie-based pageant, but is it possible that Lapine's more
sensitive crafting of "Spelling Bee" will recognized by Tony voters

This is probably not going to happen - all the road producer-voters with
dollars in their eyes support Nichols-- but it's still significant that
this was the choice of the less financially concerned Drama Desk members.

By all accounts, Nichols mounting of SPAMALOT owes great deal to his
choreographer, Casey Nicholaw, who lost The Drama Desk to LA CAGE's
Jerry Mitchell. Still, I'd be very surprised if Nicholaw doesn't get the

Last night's Best Book winner Rachel Sheinkin also has a good shot at
the Tony for her (what she is the first to say was highly collaborative)
work on SPELLING BEE. As it did at The Drama Desk, her original work for
the stage could beat Eric Idle's entertaining transformation of the film
"Monty Python's Holy Grail " into a musical.

In any case, SPAMALOT will win repeat its Best Musical win on Tony
night. It won't pull out anything near a sweep, but infectious good time
provided by the lavish hit will earn it the top prize. [sHask]

Copyright © Susan Haskins, 2005. Ms. Haskins is co- host of the TV show, "Theater Talk" on Thirteen/WNET (New York City's PBS affiliate).


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