'Piazza' Trumps Python but 'Spamalot' Wins Top Tony

By Vitello, Barbara | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 6, 2005 | Go to article overview

'Piazza' Trumps Python but 'Spamalot' Wins Top Tony


Vitello, Barbara, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Barbara Vitello Daily Herald Staff Writer

Hopes for a sweep by "Monty Python's Spamalot" faded even before Sunday's telecast of the 59th annual Tony Awards began.

In ceremonies preceding the CBS broadcast, "The Light in the Piazza," Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas' elegant musical about a young woman who falls in love with a handsome Florentine while on an Italian holiday with her mother, earned Tonys for orchestration and lighting, costume and scenic design.

Composer/lyricist Guettel, grandson of the inimitable Richard Rodgers, won for his lush, sophisticated score for the joint production between Goodman Theater and Seattle's Intiman Theatre which premiered here last year. Victoria Clark won lead actress in a musical award her portrayal of a protective mother.

The evening's big winner, "Piazza" with six Tonys, but it failed to take home the award for best musical. That went to "Spamalot," the zany blockbuster based on the British comedy troupe's beloved "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

Chicago proved to be a good luck charm for "Piazza" and "Spamalot," which was nominated for 14 awards but took home only three, including a directing nod (his ninth) for Mike Nichols and a featured actress award for first-time nominee Sara Ramirez, inelegantly tugging at her strapless gown in an attempt to cover her assets.

John Patrick Shanley added a Tony for best play to the Pulitzer Prize he earned for "Doubt," the acclaimed drama about a nun who suspects a priest of molesting a boy.

The play also earned acting nods for lead actress (two-time Tony winner Cherry Jones), supporting actress (Adriane Lenox) and director, a gracious Doug Hughes.

"Glengarry Glen Ross," David Mamet's incisive indictment of the pursuit of the American dream as it plays out among a group of corrupt real estate salesman won the Tony for best play revival. …

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