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 first of four times this season. They decided that the first Broadway staging of Alfred Uhry's 1987 off-Broadway hit "Driving Miss Daisy" will be eligible only for Best Play Revival as will the first rialto run of David Mamet's 1977 two-hander "Life in the Theater." However, they ruled that the first stage version of Noel Coward's 1945 film script for "Brief Encounter" can contend for Best Play with adapter Emma Rice receiving a co-credit. And Colin Quinn's one-man show "Long Story Short" is also eligible for Best Play.
As the defacto rule is that only those actors billed above the title compete as leads, producers have to petition for any changes. Judith Light ("Lombardi") and Joanna Lumley ("La Bete") have dropped down to Featured Actress in a Play where replacement cast member Christina Ricci will also contend for the re-opened "Time Stands Still." And four-time Tony champ Boyd Gaines will vie for a Featured Actor in a Play nod for "Driving Miss Daisy."
Among musical performances, Benjamin Walker as the title character in "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" and Joshua Henry as one of "The Scottsboro Boys" will contend as Lead Actors while Sherie Rene Scott, who is one of the "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," will be in hunt for a Lead Actress nomination.
The Tony Awards 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.
Photo: Tony Award statue (ATW)