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Those poor, lowly crafts awards just got demoted

June 15, 2008 |  5:38 pm

Wow. Those so-called second-tier awards not included on the big kudocasts just got demoted to third or fourth tier.

In the past, PBS telecast the bestowal of the creative-arts Tony Awards that were handed out before the CBS broadcast. At least that gave them some serious media attention. This year PBS didn't bother. The presentations were only webcast. That might be OK in this Internet age, but they didn't even get attention from the Tonys chiefs. As those awards were being passed out, that video wasn't what appeared on the monitors back in the press room. Instead, those monitors were tuned to the red-carpet arrivals aired on NY1, the local, New York-only cable channel.

Of the dozen competitive Tony Awards handed out, four went to the first rialto revival of "South Pacific." The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical swept the technical Tony Awards -- Catherine Zuber -- costumes (No. 4 in a row for her); Michael Yeargan -- scenic design (his second); Donald Holder -- lighting (his second); and Scott Lehrer -- winner of the first sound design Tony ever awarded.

Of the new musicals, "Passing Strange" won best book -– one of four awards star Stew is up for this year for his Broadway debut. However, "In the Heights," took the choreography award for Andy Blankenbuehler and the orchestration Tony went to Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman. Does this bode well for "In the Heights," which headed into the evening with a leading 13 nominations?

"Boeing-Boeing" was a surprise winner for best revival of a play. Rarely does a farce win this award. Usually serious fare like "MacBeth" or "The Homecoming" takes home this prize.

While "South Pacific" won all four technical Tony Awards, the riches on the play side were shared among three shows. The sumptuous costumes of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" won a Tony for Brit Katrina Lindsay for her first Broadway show, while the three-story house in "August: Osage County" won the scenic design Tony for another Broadway newcomer, Todd Rosenthal. And "The 39 Steps" took two technical Tony Awards –- lighting design for Kevin Adams, who won on the tuner side last year for "Spring Awakening," and the first sound design Tony Award ever for Mic Pool.