Although the hit West End play "Enron" opened on Broadway on Tuesday to mixed reviews, it remains a front-runner in the race for the top prize at the Tony Awards. This ambitious production uses music, dance and video to tell the tale of the infamous financial scandal of 2001. Rupert Goold -- who won an Olivier Award for his original helming -- directs an American cast that includes Tony champ Norbert Leo Butz ("Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), three-time Tony nominee Marin Mazzie and Tony and Emmy nominee Gregory Itzin.
"Enron" -- which lost best play at the Oliviers to "The Mountaintop" -- is only the second full-length play from Lucy Prebble, who also created the saucy TV series "Secret Diary of a Call Girl." Critics lauded the ambitiousness of the piece but faulted it for simplifying the complex issues underlying the collapse of the onetime corporate powerhouse. However, none of the other top contenders for the best play prize at the Tony Awards premiered to universal praise.
On the technical side, expect a slew of Tony nominations. This is only the seventh Broadway show for Anthony Ward, who designs both sets and costumes. However, he has racked up three scenic design noms already and won last year for his costume designs for "Mary Stuart." In 2006, lighting designer Mark Henderson finally won the Tony Award with his fifth nomination, for "The History Boys." The sound design category is only two years old, and Adam Cork contended in its first year for "Macbeth."
And, as this play makes much of its musical moments, choreographer Scott Ambler could contend. There is a precedent for a play with dance to be nominated in this category. In 1992, Terry John Bates vied for "Dancing at Lughnasa" but lost to Susan Stroman for her work on the top tuner "Crazy for You."
Photo: "Enron" playbill. Credit: Broadhurst Theatre