"Fosse," the anthology of sleek and gyrating dances by the late Bob
won the 1999 Tony Award for best musical. It leapt over "Parade," a musical
drama that featured a dark chapter of Atlanta history and an Atlanta-born
author, Alfred Uhry.
Winner of best play was "Side Man," newcomer Warren Leight's bittersweet
portrait of his jazzman father and the only nominated dramatic production that
didn't originate in London.
Uhry did win for best book of a musical. "Parade" had the most nominations
(nine) of any show but only Uhry and Jason Robert Brown (best score) took
home the silver medallions named after the late actress-director Antoinette
The 61-year-old Uhry sprung some news when he stepped onto the stage
New York's Gershwin Theatre on Sunday evening to make his acceptance
speech. He announced that the controversial musical will have its first regional
mounting in Atlanta a year from now.
Ironically, Uhry originally advised his producers against premiering
the work in
the city where it is set, because of its explosive subject matter --- the 1915
lynching of Leo Frank --- and dark portraits of characters whose descendants
still live in the Atlanta area.
Producer Chris Manos, contacted at home, confirmed that his Theater
Stars will open "Parade" at the Fox Theatre on June 13, 2000, under its original
director, Hal Prince ("Phantom of the Opera"), "who has promised that he can
get us most of the original cast."
Uhry, angered when a pan by The New York Times hastened the closure
"Parade" in February, took a page from Gen. Douglas MacArthur's book when
he proclaimed, " 'Parade' isn't over yet --- watch for us to be back here again
next year" --- clearly meaning that he expects the Atlanta production to return
to New York.
It was an almost defiant speech, very different from Uhry's lighthearted
when his "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" won the 1997 Tony for best play. On
Sunday, he emotionally saluted "35 dear gifted performers who gave their all
Watching the telecast, Manos was unprepared for Uhry's announcement.
"We haven't really finished the negotiations, but I guess now it's going
happen," Manos said with a chuckle. Referring to Uhry's subdued demeanor,
he added, "It's clear that he was frustrated, ready to vindicate."
It was a big night for Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" (best revival
play) and two big men: Brian Dennehy (best leading actor, play) and Robert
Falls (best director, play). Dennehy made light of their bulk by cracking, "Bob
is the only director in America I can wear his pants."
Dennehy then looked at his archrival nominee, Kevin Spacey of "The Iceman
Cometh," and said with great warmth, "Kevin, it's extraordinary what you've
done for this business and this city," as the Oscar winner grinned back.
Dame Judi Dench took best actress, play for "Amy's View." "Annie Get
Gun" won best revival of a musical, and its star, Bernadette Peters, captured
best actress, musical.
Best "thanks" from the heart: Elizabeth Franz, clearly a crowd favorite
blistering performance as "Salesman's" Linda Loman (best featured actress,
play), held herself on the verge of joyous tears during her classy thank-yous.
She concluded by looking toward Miller, spreading her arms wide and saluting
"your glorious writing" as the playwright (who won a lifetime achievement Tony)
A mini-gaffe: Alan Cumming, snakey Emcee of "Cabaret," while listing
nominees for best book, mauled Uhry's name as "Oorie" in his Scottish brogue
(correct pronounciation: "Yurie"). The camera caught the playwright wincing
and shaking his head. Calista Flockhart got it right in announcing Uhry the