Mayor Mike Bloomberg was too busy on Saturday evening to pick up his Tony Award “honor” at the annual night before cocktail party. That’s when the Tony Awards hand out the Lifetime Achievement Awards and give a little pep rally for nominees before their Saturday night shows. Real actors like Judith Light, Richard Kind, Kristine Nielsen, Tom Sturridge (with his actress mom Phoebe Nichols), Judith Ivey, Danny Burstein, Billy Magnussen, the four little Matilda’s, Shalita Grant and William Ivey Long managed to get over to an out of the way restaurant on West 33rd Street across from Penn Station.
Amanda Green, who wrote the much loved “Hands on Hardbody” wouldn’t have missed it. Neither did her Tony nominated Best Supporting Actress Keala Settle. And Diana Paulus, a shoo in Best Director for “Pippin,” and Best Revival of A Musical, had a coterie of fans waiting to talk to her. She’s just accepted a job to direct the original musical “Finding Neverland,” based on the movie. The show had an iffy try out, outside of London. Paulus is rolling up her sleeves and re-making it. It will be her first non-revival.
Bloomberg, meantime, sent New York City Film commish Kathryn Oliver. Where was he? In Bermuda? Riding a Citibike? Drinking a Big Gulp? Oliver said he had a “prior commitment.” But you know he’ll be there tonight on national television to accept his award. Ditto “Normal Heart” playwright Larry Kramer who told the producers he’d only accept if he was on national TV. West 33rd St. ? What? Are you kidding?
Today all the Tony nominees are in rehearsal at Radio City Music Hall from 8am until 2pm. Then most of them have 3pm matinees. Yes, there are matinees on Sundays even on Tony show day. When the shows are over they come right back to Radio City for the red carpet. The show starts at 8pm.
By the way: the nominees only get a plus 1. Billy Magnussen is bringing his mom as his date. “We bought my dad a ticket in the mezzanine,” he told me. Judith Ivey is bringing her daughter. And so on.
The biggest applause in the jammed restaurant? For Paul Libin, who won a Lifetime Achievement award for his many years with Jujamcyn Theaters and working in various theater causes. Ivey Long, who kept announcing awards to people who hadn’t shown up, looked relieved. Libin stood up and said, “I am not a hologram,” and that went over big.