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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Doubt,’ ‘Spamalot’ snare Tonys for drama, musical

Michael Kuchwara Associated Press

NEW YORK – “Doubt,” John Patrick Shanley’s drama of suspicion and certainty set in a parochial school in the Bronx, was named best play as the 2005 Tonys celebrated the best of a busy Broadway theater season.

“Monty Python’s Spamalot,” an irreverent romp inspired by the British troupe’s film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” took the prize for best musical, as well as for director Mike Nichols and actress Sara Ramirez, who portrays the Lady in the Lake in the zany spoof.

A somewhat flustered Nichols told the audience he had forgotten what he intended to say, but went on to thank his company and “Spamalot” creator Eric Idle, “from whom all blessings flow.”

Yet more Tony awards were won by “The Light in the Piazza,” a tale of young love in old Europe. It received six Tonys, including best score for composer Adam Guettel, grandson of the legendary Richard Rodgers.

“Doubt,” the season’s most honored play, already had picked up the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and several other top play prizes.

“Happy. Joy. Fleeting,” Shanley began his acceptance speech, adding: “I want to thank the Sisters of Charity for teaching me how to read and write. I want to thank the Irish Christian Brothers for throwing me out of high school.”

“Doubt” also captured two acting Tonys – for star Cherry Jones and for featured performer Adriane Lenox.

Jones, winning her second best actress Tony, was honored for her fierce, yet often funny portrait of a determined, unrelenting nun. Lenox plays the mother of a boy who may have been molested by a priest.

The director of “Doubt,” Doug Hughes also won.

“It must seem like a wild act of Oedipal revenge for the son of two actors to become a director, but I assure you that’s not the case,” said an emotional Hughes, the son of theater veterans Barnard Hughes and Helen Stenborg.

Bill Irwin captured the actor/play prize, winning for his portrayal of the henpecked George in a blistering revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

“Piazza” also won for its star, Victoria Clark, who plays a Southern matron shepherding her mentally challenged daughter on a tour of Italy. Its other prizes were for sets, costumes and lighting in the musical design categories as well as for orchestrations.