Posts Tagged ‘Tony Awards’

How To Succeed At The Tonys

Tonight (or last night) was the 65th presentation of The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre.  Once again, Neil Patrick Harris shined as the host as he poked fun at himself, Spider-Man (30 seconds of jokes about the troubled musical), and battled with Hugh Jackman to see who would be the better host.  Really in his element as an entertainer.  Since I had to work until 9, I had to watch via the DVR an hour late.

Honestly, I was not overly impressed with the excerpts from the NEW musicals.  Two based on movies (Catch Me If You Can.. never saw the Hanks/Decrapio movie; and Sister Act… which surprisingly did not translate that well to the stage).  The Scottsboro Boys is the now closed and soon to hit the road swan song of Kander and Ebb (who created Cabaret and Chicago).  The winner of Best Musical, The Book of Mormon, was co-created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (known primarily for bringing “South Park” into our lives).

I was much more impressed by the two shows battling it out for Best Revival of a Musical.  Daniel and company were very fun while performing “Brotherhood of Man” from How to Succeed… Congrats to John Larroquette on his win for Best Featured Role by an Actor in a Musical.  Sutton Foster and her cast of the classic Anything Goes was the odds on favorite to snag the revival award and it did not disappoint.  I am still amazed that Radcliffe was not nominated for his role.  It does not make sense to blame Harry Potter itself when Jackman won for The Boy from Oz while he was still riding high as Wolverine in the X Men films.

Memorable moments:

  • Spider-Man excerpt did not do a thing to endear it to me.  Re-opens Tuesday.  Julie Taymor is suing for royalties due to her after she was fired from the director’s gig.
  • I found bits of The Book Of Mormon’s song, “I Believe,” to sound like a mockery of “I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music.  What can we expect from the co-creators of “South Park?”
  • Brooke Shields (soon to join the cast of The Addam’s Family) got a big long BLEEEEEEEEP (or was it a long mute)
  • Christie Brinkley (yet another to soon revolve into the endless cast of Chicago) looked like a deranged Barbie doll and sounded like a munchkin.
  • “No audience members have been injured during a performance…. YET!” (30 seconds of Spider-Man jabs)
  • Whatever the (what can only be best described as) THING was that Whoopi had on her head.

So… while the year’s crop of NEW musical highlights leave something lacking, the awards and revivals were entertaining.  And please…KEEP THE SUPERHEROES WHERE THEY BELONG!  IN THE COMICS, ANIMATED SERIES, OR MOVIES!

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Ah… The Antoinette Perry’s

Tonight, we honor the toast of Broadway. I will just touch on some of the highlights.

  • In the much coveted Best Musical we have Green Day’s American Idiot, Fela!, Memphis, and Million Dollar Quartet.  Best Musical Revival nods go to… Finian’s Rainbow, La Cage aux Folles, A Little Night Music, and Ragtime.I think both catergories will come down to two.  I think B. M. will come down to  Fela! and American Idiot.  Revival will be either La Cage or Night Music.  They both have been getting a bunch of press.  I would like to see Finian walk away with it but alas…
  • Can you imagine The Addam’s Family with Nathan Lane as Gomez (only 2 nods and the king of Broadway is not one)?  Bebe Neuwirth is Morticia.
  • Scarlett Johansson just won her first statue for her role in the revival of A View from the Bridge.  Ever since she was a little girl, she had dreamed of being on Broadway.  WOW!  Sounds like someone I know all too well.  From Iron Man to Broadway.
  • Ricky Martin is going to be in Evita?  He was on Broadway in Les Miserables?  Aren’t we about tired of the jukebox musical?  This year we have Frank Sinatra in Come Fly with Me (I think it is actually Ol’ Blu Eyes set to dance… eh.  Plus we have the Million Dollar Quartet who were the back up singers for everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis to Elvis to Johnny Cash.
  • Oh, boy… Will and Jada Smith.  Perhaps to dote on their son’s breakout performance in The Kung Fu Kid.  I’ve actually heard mixed comments on that one.  Think I’ll wait until Netfix gets it in about 3 months.  So, get them over with already!  AH… two of the producers for Fela!
  • Back to La Cage.  In Junior High, I remember that my English/Lit teacher took a trip to New York to see the show.  Unaware of the show’s plot, she and her husband walked out prior to intermission.  I believe that it may be the big winner of the night.  It is tied with Fela! with 11 noms.  And Kelsey Grammer just lead his line of “lovelies” in The Best of Times (probably the only thing I really know about the show aside from the obvious).
  • Superior Donuts? I’ve never heard of it, either.  And the play did not win its one nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
  • I must say that I am more interested in the plays of this year’s season.  I don’t think the musicals are much to get excited over (coming from me, can you believe it?!).  I have read August Wilson’s Fences (up for a number of awards) and The Piano Lesson. Both remarkable plays and ones that I have little chance of being in unless we have a color-blind casting director.  Denzel Washington is up for best actor in a play along with Jude Law (Hamlet), Alfred Molina (Red), Liev Schrieber (A View from the Bridge), and Christopher Walken (A Behanding in Spokane).  Denzel must have gone from The Book of Eli (on DVD Tuesday) to New York.  WOO HOO!  DENZEL WINS!!! And the play itself wins Best Revival!  HOOray!
  • Yep… In the Next Room or… The Vibrator Play is exactly what it sounds like.  The invention of… well use your imagination.
  • The Grande Dame of the theatre, the first honorary chairperson of the theatre wing… Ms. Angela Lansbury.  And she was beaten in the Best Featured Actress in a Musical category.
  • Focus on that one thing.  Don’t let anyone stand in your way.  Don’t listen to anybody else.  You will meet the right people (I have), teachers (still looking), circumstances (so far, so good… if you consider CT in NWO good which  it is, but…).
  • Mark Sanchez from the New York Jets?!  That is too COOL!  Presenting the cast of Memphis.
  • I see that Valerie Harper is up for Best Actress (Play) in Looped based on the life of Tallulah Bankhead. Neither Rhoda nor her 70s tv competition… Linda Lavin (“Alice”) were winners.  But Viola Davis won for FencesYAY!
  • Does anyone else find Kristin Chenoweth to be somewhat annoying.  I maybe in the minority but perhaps its that voice.
  • “Send in the Clowns” Catherine Zeta-Jones.  80th birthday of Sondheim.  A Little Night Music is up for four… already lost its first.  Never understood the show.  I always thought it was overrated.
  • Father’s Day and the Tony Awards are presented by Wal*Mart?!  OMG… it really is taking over!  Whatever happened to Wal*Martopia?
  • Annie is being revived yet again in 2012 (is that 35 years?).  Too late to audition for one of my favorite parts?
  • 10 o’clock… one hour to go.
  • Best Choreography… YUCK!  I admire those that can and do… those who can’t… sing.  Those who do neither?  I’ll just be Sean Hayes (Promises, Promises) sitting at the desk, working while the dancers do their thing around me.  Fela! wins that one.. jumps ahead of La Cage with two.
  • In Memorium… Lynn Redgrave, Rue McClanahan, Dixie Carter, and Larry Gelbart (co writer of …Forum, creator for television of M*A*S*H) were four of those that I knew of.
  • Best Play… Red
  • I haven’t become a Glee(k).  But two of the stars were on singing “All I Need is the Girl” (Gypsy, I believe).  And “Don’t Rain on My Parade” (I forget the show 😉 No real reason but to promote the tv show.
  • American Idiot (the show based on Green Day’s album) set to perform soon.  25 to go… scheduled, anyway… we’ll see how close they cut it.  Is it just me or is Green Day trying to come up with the next Rent?
  • Spider-Man coming on singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade” muffled by his mask.  Someday, somehow… he is set to make his Broadway debut this season.  I’ll believe it when I (don’t) see it. The concept seems ridiculous.  I love the character.  I think the post shows my extreme dislike of theatre.  However passionate I am of both… they should not be allowed to combine!
  • La Cage aux Folles wins Best Revival of a Musical.
  • 14 minutes to go…
  • Best Leading Actress/Actor in a Musical presented by two non-nominees (Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane).  Actress: Catherine Zeta-Jones (A Little Night Music). Actor:  Douglas Hodge (La Cage aux Folles)
  • One to go… five minutes and a final performance?  Hmmm… welll… I don’t think there was a big winner of the night but I’m glad that Fences won so many well deserved awards.  I haven’t seen the show but  it was a good read.
  • MEMPHIS WINS BEST MUSICAL!?  What an upset!  Dark horse, definitely! WOW!

Well… I hope I haven’t bored any of my faithful readers and hopefully, I gain a few!  Good night.. congrats to the winners!  Bravo to Broadway!

Fascinating… Schmascinating

I usually enjoy watching Barbara Walters and her announcing of the 10 Most Fascinating People of the Year.  I usually am surprised to find out who the most fascinating person of the year is; however, aside from a few this year was far from surprising and even less fascinating.  I’m sorry, but Rush Limbaugh just does not make me stop and listen to his political views on the radio… and his pick for Republican Presidential candidate in 2012?  None other than another political figure who made the list, Sarah Palin.  Which led to another person on the list, former Saturday Night Live cast member, Tina Fey whose characature of the former vice-presidential candidate may or may not have been a factor in the Democrats assuming the White House.

Not all of the figures in tonight’s special were from the political arena.  Four of them were on primarily to promote their new movies coming soon to a theatre near you.  Will Smith was promoting Seven Pounds.  Tom Cruise (who seems to be on most of Bawa Wawa’s specials) promoted Valkyrie.  And don’t forget the current “it girl” amongst the tween set: Miley Cyrus and coming soon… Hannah Montana The Movie (I guess the movie this fall was a concert film).  Frank Langella (whom I most recall portraying Perry White in Superman Returns … although I know he has been in a host of other roles) is reprising his Tony winning role in the film version of Frost/Nixon.

In previous years, I have often noticed that Ms. Walters usually lists people whom she has interviewed earlier in the year and recently for that matter.  Within the last month, she has interviewed both this year’s top person and the world’s first “man” to give birth.  As for the top person, it does NOT take much of a genius to figure that out.  During the last fifteen minutes, I was just saying “Come on already.”  Although, I thought the most fascinating person on the show was Olympic gold medal record-breaker Michael Phelps.

At least The Office did not disappoint.

Bypass theater ticket lines. Buy movie tickets in advance at Read reviews and find showtimes for any movie in the U.S.

Hungry As The Wolf Felt When He Met Red-Riding Hood

In 1949, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II brought to the Broadway stage what would be their third musical blockbuster, South Pacific.It tells the tale of Ensign Nellie Forbush, a “Cockeyed Optimist”-ic Naval nurse from Little Rock, stationed on a remote Pacific island, who falls in love with a worldly French planter. This type of interacial pairing was extremely controversial for a show in the 1940s. Even more so was the introduction of Emile de Becque’s two Polynesian children. After learning of the children, Nellie vows to “Wash that Man Right Out of Her Hair.”

A secondary plot revolves around the romance between Lt. Joseph Cable and a mute Polynesian native. The plots are brought together when de Becque and Cable are called upon to go on a dangerous mission which leads to tragedy.

The theme of racial prejudice is explored throughout the show and no more so than in the song “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught.” Because of its biting commentary on prejudice, Rodgers and Hammerstein were encouraged to take the song out of the show to which they both responded that there would be no show without it.

South Pacific opened at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway April 7, 1949 (40 years ago, today) and had a run of 1,925 performances. It was the recipient of 9 Tony Awards (including all 4 of the major acting trophies). It also received the prestigious 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (one of only 7 musicals to have done so). Most of the songs have become standards: “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Younger than Springtime,” “Bali Hai,” and “There is Nothing like a Dame” (a rousing chorus number led by the great character Luthor Billis and his chorus of Seabees).The movie was released in theatres in 1958 as well as a televised version in 2001 starring an out-of-place Glenn Close who is much too old to play a young, naiive Naval nurse. Ironically, it is the only major Rodgers and Hammerstein show to have never been revived on Broadway until it recently opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.

ADDENDUM: Any errors in mathmatics are solely the responsibility of the blogger. He takes full responsibiity for his ignorance and hopes that his brilliance does not become the topic for a post on another site. Unless it is by his own doing.

Put A Dime In the Jukebox

It may cost more nowadays to play a song on a jukebox (think the last time I played one it cost a quarter). Which brings me to another trend in musical theatre of the past few years: the jukebox musical. These are shows which include songs from artists from other genres: country, pop, rock and roll, etc. Music from artists such as Elvis Presley, Billy Joel, Patsy Cline, Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons, the Beach Boys,  and Johnny Cash have each had their music be the focal point of stage shows. Smokey Joe’s Cafe was a Broadway hit which brought the Mike Stoller and Jerry Lieber songbook to the stage. Songs such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Yakety Yak,” “Charlie Brown,” and 36 others are the focal point of the musical revue.

An attempt was made to set the tunes of Elvis Presley to an original story. All Shook Up probably would have done better if it had something to do with the king of rock and roll or at least staged one of his better movies (many of which are better left forgotten).

Perhaps the best known jukebox musical is Jersey Boys. The turbulent history of the 1960s pop music group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is told through many of its greatest hits (“Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Sherry,” “Walk Like A Man,” and several others. Jersey Boys was the recipient of four 2006 Tony Awards; is still playing strong at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway; and has touring companies throughout the U.S. and other countries, including Australia.

So…. the next time you are playing a game and the question is asked; “What kind of music makes you want to get up and sing?” be careful. Broadway music may now have more than one meaning.