Tony Awards rulings shake up Best Play and Musical races

Unlike other kudos, the Tony Awards decide eligibility on a rolling basis and the 23 members of the Administration Committee met earlier this week for the second of four times this season. They decided that “The Pee Wee Herman Show” can contend for Best Play while “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles” will vie for one of the four Best Musical slots. 

As the defacto rule is that only those actors billed above the title compete as leads, producers have to petition for any changes. “Pee Wee” player Paul Reubens will be eligible in the lead race as will Jeffrey Wright (“A Free Man of Color”) and both Santino Fontana and David Furr (“The Importance of Being Earnest”). And Lily Rabe has been judged a leading lady for “The Merchant of Venice.” The only musical upgrade was for Sebastian Arcelus who played the title character in the seasonal musical “Elf.”

The Administration Committee includes ten members designated by the American Theater Wing, ten by the Broadway League, and one each by the Dramatists Guild, Actors’ Equity Association, United Scenic Artists, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Current members are: Emanuel Azenberg, Roger Berlind, Ted Chapin, Bill Craver, Dasha Epstein, Cecilia Friederichs, Philip Getter, Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, Doug Leeds, Paul Libin, Margo Lion, Jo Sullivan Loesser, Kevin McCollum, James L. Nederlander, James M. Nederlander, Enid Nemy, Laura Penn, Michael Price, Charlotte St. Martin, Ralph Sevush, Howard Sherman, Philip Smith and David Stone.

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