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There is nothing like a Tony for Bartlett Sher -- finally, after losing bids for 'Awake' and 'Piazza'

June 15, 2008 |  6:27 pm

For director Bartlett Sher, third time turned out to be the charm as he won his first Tony Award for helming the revival of "South Pacific." Previously, he had picked up nods but lost the awards for directing the revival of the play "Awake and Sing" and the original musical "Light in the Piazza." That tuner was written by Adam Guettel, who just happens to be the grandson of "South Pacific" composer Richard Rodgers.

As Sher explained backstage, this connection helped him get the job of directing the first Rialto revival of the 1950 Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical. And Sher said he used many of the same creative types that had worked with him on that show. "I am not very good with people. I like to have conversations over and over. You have a shorthand with them." It certainly has been lots of "happy talk" for the team as four of them have already won Tony Awards this evening.

Now, can his leading lady, Kelli O'Hara, who picked up a supporting nod for "Piazza," stop the juggernaut that is Patti LuPone, star of the fifth revival of "Gypsy"?