Dallas Does Tony

Categories: Stage
Park Cities-raised Doug Wright is among those with local ties nominated for a Tony Award, which is, you know, quite a tony award.

The announcement of the 2007 Tony Awards nominations yesterday thrilled three folks with Dallas ties. Dallas actress Julie White, bright and brassy in The Little Dog Laughed -- a drama that didn’t last long on Broadway -- was nominated as best actress, along with Eve Best, Swoozie Kurtz and two legends, Angela Lansbury and Vanessa Redgrave.

Dallas producer Jerry Frankel won big, with four of his shows raking in nominations: Spring Awakening, Talk Radio, Radio Golf and The Little Dog Laughed. (Am I the only one who thought the latter -- about an agent and her movie-star client, an actor who falls in love with a male hustler -- needed a different name?)

And, of course, there was Doug Wright, the Park Cities-born playwright whose wonderful musical Grey Gardens garnered 10 nominations. Perhaps you recall the cover story about Wright that recently ran in the paper version of Unfair Park? Course you do.

It was a foregone conclusion that his star, actress Christine Ebersol, would get tapped as a nominee for best actress in a musical. She plays two roles, that of Big Edie Beale and her daughter Little Edie, in Wright’s hilarious and heartbreaking story about the two eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Ben Brantley, drama critic of The New York Times called Ebersole’s performance a tour de force, “one of the most gorgeous ever to grace a musical.”

Based on the documentary of the same name by documentary greats Albert and David Maysles, Grey Gardens also received nominations for best musical, best featured actress in a musical (Mary Louise Wilson), best book of a musical (Wright), best original score (composure Scott Frankel and lyricist Michael Korie), best orchestrations and best scenic, lighting and costume designs.

Unfortunately, Grey Gardens hasn’t been as big a hit at the box office as expected. Blame not the musical but the publicity campaign. The sign at the theater and in ads -- the backside of a hand-held mirror -- is clever but makes it hard to understand what the play is about. When tourists come to spend $100 a ticket at the theater, they want to know what they are getting.

The Tony Awards will be broadcast June 10. --Glenna Whitley

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