Like manna from heaven or a plague of locusts, depending on your viewpoint, no fewer than 20 Hollywood and pop-music stars have fallen on Broadway this season. As a result, the Tony Awards telecast on CBS will look a lot like the Oscars. Stellar nominees include Gregory Hines, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Judd Hirsch, Larry Fishburne, and Glenn Close, the ceremony’s host. (Stellar snubs include Jessica Lange, Richard Dreyfuss, Gene Hackman, and director Mike Nichols). To make sure the stars get what they deserve, here are Entertainment Weekly’s first annual SOB (Stars on Broadway) Awards.
THE WILT CHAMBERLAIN SOB (for most oversexed performance): Alec Baldwin in A Streetcar Named Desire(also starring Jessica Lange). When he strips off his shirt in the first act and wipes his armpits, there are always audible gasps in the audience. According to rumors on the Great White Way, Baldwin even considered doing one scene in the nude. If he bombs on the screen this summer in Prelude to a Kiss, can Oh! Calcutta! be far behind?
THE HUDSON HAWK SOB (for the meanest review): Cyd Charisse in Grand Hotel. To hear New York magazine’s drama critic, John Simon, tell it, the 71-year-old movie star ”comes across as someone mistakenly embalmed while still alive and now trying hard to emerge from premature mummification.”
THE ANN-MARGARET SOB (for falling down on stage): Sheena Easton in Man of La Mancha (also starring Raul Julia). Possibly reeling from scathing reviews — ”Miss Easton has a tendency to act with her eyebrows, and Mr. Julia has a tendency to sing with his,” said The New Yorker’s Mimi Kramer-Easton collapsed on stage during an April 29 matinee. Official cause: an upset stomach. Julia motioned for the orchestra to stop, then performed the last 10 minutes of the show with Easton’s understudy.
THE ELIZABETH TAYLOR SOB (for the best star treatment): Debbie Gibson in Les Misérables. Before she joined the cast as the pathetic waif, Eponine, the show’s management circulated a memo ordering the cast and crew to call her ”Deborah.”
THE DICK CLARK SOB (for worst practical joke): Glenn Close, Gene Hackman, and Richard Dreyfuss in Death and the Maiden. On April Fools’ Day the stage manager announced to the audience that the three stars would be ”unable to appear” in that evening’s performance. Before he could say, ”April Fools,” half the audience had stood up to leave. The headliners had to get on the public address system to halt the exodus. When the curtain finally went up on Ariel Dorfman’s very serious play about political torture, the stars couldn’t stop giggling.