'The Producers' Gets 15 Tony Nominations

The Producers, Broadway's biggest hit in years, received a record-breaking 15 nominations today, including a nod for Best Musical, as the 2001 Tony nominations honoring the best of the Broadway season were announced.

Its two stars, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, were nominated as were three of its performers in the Featured-Actor category: Roger Bart, Gary Beach and Brad Oscar.

Setting the Record Straight

The musical, based on the classic 1968 Mel Brooks film comedy, also received nods for book, score, Direction-Musical, Feature-Actress musical, choreography, sets, costumes, lighting and orchestrations. Brooks himself received three nominations — for book, score and for being a producer of The Producers.

There was some confusion involving the previous record holder for most Tony nominations. For 30 years, it was thought that Company, the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical, also had received 15 nominations.

"Company, in fact, had 14 nominations," said Keith Sherman, a spokesman for the Tonys. "In all the record books, Hal Prince was listed twice, for Best Production and Best Producer. In fact,

Company only won for best production. We went back to the actually ballot from the '70s and noticed the truth."

Yet, according to Mary Bryant, a spokesman for Prince, "Hal remembers being nominated three times, but he really doesn't talk Tonys." Prince was nominated for — and did win — a Tony for Company as Best Director of a Musical.

Competition for The Producers for this year's top musical award includes The Full Monty, an American version of the popular English film comedy; A Class Act, a celebration of the life of songwriter Ed Kleban, and Jane Eyre, a retelling of the Charlotte Bronte novel.

Juliette Binoche, Linda Lavin Get Nods

Nominated for Best Play were Proof, the 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner by David Auburn; The Invention of Love, Tom Stoppard's drama about English poet A.E. Housman; King Hedley II, the latest installment from August Wilson on the 20th century black experience in America, and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Charles Busch's comedy about an anxiety-riddled Manhattan matron.

Nominated for best actor in a play were Brian Stokes Mitchell, the volcanic title character in King Hedley II; Richard Easton, who plays the older Housman in The Invention of Love; Gary Sinise, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and the two stars of the Irish comedy, Stones in His Pockets, Sean Campion and Conleth Hill.

Actress nods went to Mary-Louise Parker, the tormented daughter in Proof; Linda Lavin, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife; Leslie Uggams, King Hedley II; Jean Smart, who played a tempestuous star in the revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner; and Juliette Binoche, Betrayal.

Besides Lane and Broderick, Best-Actor Musical nominations went to Kevin Chamberlin, Seussical; Tom Hewitt, The Rocky Horror Show, and Patrick Wilson of The Full Monty.

The Actress-Musical nods: Blythe Danner, Follies; Christine Ebersole, 42nd Street; Randy Graff, A Class Act; Faith Prince, Bells Are Ringing, and Marla Schaffel, Jane Eyre.

The names and number of categories have varied over the years. For example, the award for stage technician was discontinued after 1963. Authors and producers originally shared the Tony Award for Best Musical. However, since 1971, Best Musical has gone only to the producer, while authors have been eligible for Best Score and Best Book of a Musical.