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Tony vs. Tony

Expect the Tony Awards to get whacked in the ratings this year since they will be on opposite the final episode of The Sopranos. A few seasons back, the Broadway awards were on opposite a Sopranos season finale and Edie Falco was a presenter. I was behind the press barricades at the red carpet and asked her how she felt about competing with herself. She replied HBO reruns the mob drama dozens of times so she wasn't worried about missing anything. I'm afraid not too many people are going to feel the same way. Millions of Americans are dying to learn if Tony will go to prison or wind up the victim of a hit (probably by Phil Leotardo, the newly-crowned boss of New York). These people vastly outnumber those of us who care just as much whether Spring Awakening or Grey Gardens gets Best Musical. It is possible to be equally passionate about both TV events (as I am) but I'm definitely in the minority.

Speaking of the Tonys, the nominations will be announced tomorrow morning. This year is strange because there is no big overwhelming show like The Producers or Hairspray set to sweep. Us critics just loved Spring Awakening (it won Best Musical on the first ballot at the New York Drama Critics Circle voting), but there's a backlash against it among the public. Several don't like its rock score juxtaposed with an 1890s setting. Mary Poppins has its detractors (too long and serious) as does Legally Blonde (too silly--not me, I loved it) and Curtains (not funny enough, although there might be a sympathy factor for Fred Ebb and Peter Stone, two of its late creators). Everyone loved LoveMusik's leads Donna Murphy and Michael Cerveris, but not the show itself. So the nominations could go any which way. The coup will be which show gets most noms so they can play it up in their ads.

--David Sheward

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