Posted on June 6, 2003 at 12:00 pm
Tomorrow at Belmont Park, a horse named Supervisor will line up for the Belmont Stakes. At odds of 50 to 1, he is almost certain to trot home a loser.
Jason Robert Brown knows how he feels.
On Sunday, Mr. Brown’s name will be announced at Radio City Music Hall as one of the 30 songwriters on the failed musical "Urban Cowboy," which was, surprisingly enough, nominated for a Tony Award for best score, along with "Amour," "A Year With Frog and Toad" and "Hairspray." What does he make of his chances?
"The odds are, how should I say?" Mr. Brown said. "Infinitesimal."
Call them dark horses, sleepers or the worse bets in the world, but every year there are a few Tony nominees whom nobody — not even the nominees themselves — expects to win.
Not that they can’t dream, of course. Take Rupert Holmes, who wrote "Say Goodnight Gracie," the one-man show about George Burns that is nominated for best play in a category that everyone expects to be easily won by "Take Me Out." The play has beaten the odds before, mind you, running for more than seven months (and counting) despite mixed reviews.
"I think that we have been a sleeper all year long," Mr. Holmes said. "So who knows?"
Tom O’Neil thinks he does. Mr. O’Neil runs the Gold Derby Web site, www.goldderby.com <http://www.goldderby.com> , which posts odds on awards shows. What kind of odds is "Gracie" getting?
"It’s 40 to 1," Mr. O’Neil said.
The musical "Amour," which closed in November after a brief run but still bagged five Tony nominations, has a worse shot, according to Gold Derby, clocking at 50 to 1 for best musical. Which makes its composer, Michel Legrand, giggle.
"I don’t think we’ll win anything, do you?" said Mr. Legrand, who is nonetheless traveling from his home in Switzerland for the awards. "If, by any miracle, we do, I buy you a drink."
Indeed, for all the Tony long shots, it seems that just being invited to compete is honor enough, even if, as in the case of "Urban Cowboy," they are just filling out a category.
"I was grateful to get a nomination," Mr. Brown said. "I mean, I wasn’t jumping up and down — we closed, after all — but I appreciate being recognized. I was glad they hated someone else’s show more than ours."