The Play What I Wrote Cited for Award
The Scotsman, 12 May 2003
Late comics Morecambe and Wise made their mark on Broadway today as a stage hit they inspired was shortlisted for a respected Tony Award.
'The Play What I Wrote', directed by Kenneth Branagh, was nominated for the best theatrical event prize at next month's ceremony.
Britain had further recognition when surreal funnyman Eddie Izzard was shortlisted for best leading man for his role in A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg. And British stars - including Vanessa Redgrave - dominated the best actress category.
'The Play What I Wrote' is a homage to the great comedy duo and features a big name cameo performance each night.
Roger Moore was performing in the show in New York when he collapsed last week. However, he is expected to return to the show. Others making cameo appearances in the production over the coming days include M*A*S*H star Alan Alda, Oscar winner Holly Hunter and Liam Neeson.
Producer David Pugh was delighted with the nomination today. "To take the show to New York, which is somewhere that Morecambe and Wise never actually broke themselves is fantastic. "They were supposed to have played there but couldn't because of Eric's health - he had had his first heart attack. "We're over the moon with the nomination. A Tony Award nomination means so much more than an Olivier (London theatre award). "When we produced Art and it took a Tony we sold 224,000 dollars (œ139,000) of tickets the following day - when it got an Olivier we did two refunds," he joked.
"We've changed it very little, because their brand of comedy is universal. Although the New York audience didn't feel the nostalgia for Morecambe and Wise, they can recognise the humour which is international."
Izzard who has established himself as an actor after finding fame as a stand-up, said today in New York: "This is a great honour and I feel very lucky to be here. "The last time I was nominated for an acting award was the Eastbourne Gazette Drama Awards (Schools Section) in 1979."
Veteran film star Paul Newman and Antonio Banderas were also nominated in best actor categories - Newman for his role in a revival of Our Town, and Banderas for his starring role in the revival of Nine The Musical.
Nominated for best leading actress were Vanessa Redgrave for her appearance in Long Day's Journey Into Night, Victoria Hamilton (A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg), Claire Higgins (Vincent in Brixton) and Irish-born Fiona Shaw (Medea).
A stage adaptation of cult director John Waters's film Hairspray leads the field with 13 Tony nominations.