Almost Christmas-For-Theatre-Nerds

The TONY Awards are tomorrow. That’s why I have a picture below of my cat, Playbill, laying on a TONY Awards tote bag that I got years ago at an afterparty. She’s still wondering why she hasn’t been formally invited. She’s always in black tie attire, right?

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I celebrated Theatre Nerd Christmas almost arriving today with a TONY Awards-themed 60 minute Flywheel ride at the Lincoln Square Flywheel, set to all kinds of show tunes. It’s how all rides should be. It was amazing. One of the actresses from Oslo even came by in between her matinee and evening show to ride, which is AMAZING and insane at the same time.

I sort of feel very removed from the TONYs this year, given that I haven’t seen Dear Evan Hansen yet, and that’s supposed to take home the big award of the night. My greatest hope for tomorrow night would be for the Best Musical award to go to Come From Away, inspiring one of the biggest upsets since 2004.  I loved Come From Away and I think it is so timely. But I think Dear Evan Hansen will probably win because the TONYs are usually predictable and boring. That said, here’s who I want to win and who I think will win:

Continue reading “Almost Christmas-For-Theatre-Nerds”

Tonight!

It’s the big night tonight. The most important evening for most theatre people (on this side of the pond at least). Below are my predictions of who will win and who should win

Best Play

The Assembled Parties
Author: Richard Greenberg

Lucky Guy
Author: Nora Ephron

The Testament of Mary
Author: Colm Toíbín

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Author: Christopher Durang

Best Musical
Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Kinky Boots
Matilda The Musical

Best Revival of a Play
Golden Boy
Orphans
The Trip to Bountiful
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Revival of a Musical
Annie
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Pippin

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Best Book of a Musical

A Christmas Story, The Musical
Joseph Robinette

Kinky Boots
Harvey Fierstein

Matilda The Musical
Dennis Kelly

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Douglas Carter Beane

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

A Christmas Story, The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Hands on a Hardbody
Music: Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
Lyrics: Amanda Green

Kinky Boots
Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper

Matilda The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots

*I can’t pick one. They’re all fantastic. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
Patina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy

*I haven’t seen most of these performances so I’m not going to wager a vote.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical

*Toss up!

Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, The Nance
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
David Rockwell, Lucky Guy
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy

*Haven’t seen any of these, so I can’t judge.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Scott Pask, Pippin
David Rockwell, Kinky Boots

Best Costume Design of a Play
Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
Ann Roth, The Nance
Albert Wolsky, The Heiress
Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy

*Haven’t seen any of these, so I can’t judge.

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy
Donald Holder, Golden Boy
Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary
Japhy Weideman, The Nance

*Haven’t seen any of these, so I can’t judge.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots
Kenneth Posner, Pippin
Kenneth Posner, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Hugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical

Best Sound Design of a Play
John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful
Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
Leon Rothenberg, The Nance
Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Jonathan Deans and Garth Helm, Pippin
Peter Hylenski, Motown The Musical
John Shivers, Kinky Boots
Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Best Direction of a Play
Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy
George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy

Best Direction of a Musical
Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Diane Paulus, Pippin
Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Chet Walker, Pippin

*Talk about tough decisions. Jesus christ. These were all directed well.

Best Orchestrations
Chris Nightingale, Matilda The Musical
Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots
Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook, Motown The Musical
Danny Troob, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Saturday night was the kick off of Kevin Smith’s national tour to promote, and screen, his newest movie Red State.  Once I heard the premise of the movie (evangelists taking their god-worshipping to the next level – murder) and watched the trailer, I knew I had to see it.  Spoilers ahead!

The god-obsessed family, the Five Points (I think that was their “church” name), live in a compound in middle America that is completely guarded by a hideous makeshift fence with an underground chapel.  The town they live in has recently suffered from two homicides with no clues as to who the culprits are.  Surprise, surprise!  It’s this family.  They’ve taken to doing “the lord’s work” and killing sinners themselves by knocking them unconscious, then wrapping them from the night down in shrink wrap and hoisting them onto a cross in their chapel.  After they’ve said some prayers for the sinner, they finish them off.  I won’t give it all away but three local teens are captured and the audience watches their struggle to get out of their compound.  The local police have also caught wind that this family has recently purchased enough machine guns and riffles, and bullets, to keep an army at war satisfied for a few years.  The investigation starts, and the movie doesn’t stop until the final line, “Shut the fuck up!”

Prior to tonight I’d never seen a Kevin Smith movie, and I don’t plan on going back and watching Mall Rats, but he did an excellent job with Red State.  He never gives you what you want, keeping you on the edge of your seat, and is always surprising you with who will and won’t die.  The cinematography is interesting with a lot of up-close and in-your-face angles. The ending is also hilarious. I’m pretty sure everyone in Radio City tonight thought that shit was really about to go down.    

Even though the story is obviously fiction, when you think about it, this doesn’t seem so far fetched from something people like the Phelps’ could eventually do.  But let’s cross our fingers for the best.  Kerry Bishe and John Goodman gave the stand-out performances, with honorable mentions for Michael Angarano, Nicholas Braun, and Ronnie Connell who portrayed the three boys who were kidnapped.  

After the movie, Kevin Smith took part in an audience Q&A with a majority of the leads from the film, including recent Academy Award winner Melissa Leo.  I’d heard his Q&A’s were epic but this one left much to be desired.  A lot of people walked up to the microphone to pitch their movies, or tell Smith or Goodman that they were huge fans.  Luckily, Kevin Smith fans do not sit idly by while crap questions get asked.  They boo and shout obscenities.  

Red State is being released on October 19th, 2011.  For more information about Kevin Smith’s Red State Tour click here.  

(image via)

So, sadly I didn’t take many photos last night but it was FUN.  It was probably my favorite year [seat filling] yet.  The rain in the afternoon was a slight set back but I think it kept people away from Radio City so my friend Zack and I were in the first twenty or so people  to get there, we later met up with Brian.  

Where I sat: Zack and I started off saving Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s seats in the first row for just about the entirety of the technical awards.  Bernadette Peters was behind us, Liev Schrieber and Scarlett Johansson (with Naomi Watts and Ryan Renoylds respectively) were across the aisle from us.  Afterward I was moved up the aisle on the left side, a few seats behind the fantastic Jan Maxwell, who made me beam after she grabbed my arm and said hi on my way up the aisle.  I lucked out and was third row dead center (Nathan Lane’s row) for the opening number… and for Green Day’s almost-five minute set.  Best five minutes ever.  I saved Robin de Jesus’ seat for a while when he was performing with La Cage Aux Folles, and he sweetly thanked me when he got back.  For a brief moment, I sat next to Neil Austin’s (who won the Tony for Best Lighting Design of a Play for Red) wife and I noticed she was playing with her husband’s Tony Award and I asked if she was having fun [playing with the award] and she said, “Yeah!  It’s pretty substantial!  You wanna try?” and handed the Tony to me as though it was a book or something meaningless.  I sat for the last two or three segments in orchestra right about six rows behind Green Day.  

My favorite other moments:

  • Green Day in the opening, obviously.  
  • Marian Seldes walking offstage and not making a speech after receiving her lifetime achievement award.  Class act.  There really are not words for receiving an award like that.
  • La Cage Aux Folles’ performance was great, in my opinion.
  • American Idiot’s performance was perfect.
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones’ acceptance speech (no matter how undeserved the award was.)
  • Eddie Redmayne’s acceptance speech (he totally didn’t except it)

As much as I’m not a fan of the show, I think Memphis represented themselves very well.  There were some totally undeserved wins this season though such as Scarlett Johansson for Best Featured Actress in a Play in A View From the Bridge (Jan Maxwell had that in the bag) and Catherine Zeta-Jones for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for A Little Night Music (she doesn’t have a good voice!), as well as Denzel Washington for Best Leading Actor in a Play in Fences (Alfred Molina was robbed) though Eddie Redmayne winning for Best Featured Actor in a Play (for RED) was a complete surprise except he totally deserved it, as did Levi Kreis (who won for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in Million Dollar Quartet).  And of course, I totally cheered when Kevin Adams and Christine Jones both won (for Best Lighting Design and Best Set Design for a Musical, both for American Idiot).  

You can check out a full list of winners here, Playbill’s photos are here and here, Broadway World’s are here, here, and here, and Broadway.com’s photos can be viewed here, here, and here.   

364 days until next year!