My TONYs Post-Mortem

I ended up at a long-time friend’s apartment last night with some other similarly individuals to view The Tonys. Overall, I’d say this year’s was pretty boring. Kevin Spacey did an excellent job as host – he has a great voice. The opening number meant well but it felt really choppy and slow.

Groundhog Day picked the WRONG number to perform. I’m assuming they just needed something with the entire cast that wouldn’t cost too much to stage, but wow, they picked an awful number. It was so boring. I think it sold zero tickets, so that was a waste of $500k on the part of the producers. On the other hand, Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 did fantastic numbers. It was really moving to see Ben Platt perform, and although his voice was a little shaky to start, he nailed the high notes in the latter part of the song. He deserved his TONY Award. Lastly though, the Hello, Dolly! performance? What was that?! I went to refill my drink at that point.

Somebody should’ve gotten a hook and pulled Bette Midler off that stage because goddamn. Snooze. And did Sutton Foster wake up from a nap right before walking onstage? She needed a blowout.

Best Costume Design of a Musical should definitely have gone to Great Comet. I have no idea what the voters were thinking with Hello, Dolly!. I mean, really?

Christopher Ashley (Come From Away) definitely deserved the Best Direction award. The direction is stellar. They were on point when they voted for The Great Comet for Best Scenic Design, because, COME ON. Have you seen the inside of the Imperial Theatre lately?

I really wanted Jen Colella to win Best Featured Actress, but I hear Rachel Bay Jones is excellent, so congrats to her. I was also very excited for Laurie Metcalf and her win. She deserved it.

Another year down. I can’t wait to see what the next season has in store!

The full list is here.

 

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”

I think only people in theatre know what a producer is. The public does not know. It knows a writer writes, and an actor acts, and a director tells them what to do. A producer raises money. Well, he does, and in some cases that’s all he does. But the workers in the theatre know that this is not the real thing. A producer is a rare, paradoxical genius – hard-headed, soft-hearted, cautious, reckless, a hopeful innocent in fair weather, a stern pilot in stormy weather, a mathematician who prefers to ignore laws of mathematics and trust intuition, an idealist, a realist, a practical dreamer, a sophisticated gambler, a stage-struck child.

That’s a producer.

Oscar Hammerstein – this quote was given to us during our first, or final, class during the CTI 14-week program.  

I hadn’t gone through my Playbill collection in probably 5 years and because it’s too hot to be outside today, I sat down, removed my Playbills down my bookcase and sorted.  

1. That’s all of the Playbill’s from the Broadway shows I’ve seen.  Notice the Glory Days Playbill on the top?  Sigh.  That’s maybe one of 7 that was printed.  My first Broadway show was CATS in 1994.

2. All of my off-Broadway Playbills.  I love Broadway, but I love off-Broadway as well.  I think my first off-Broadway show was De La Guarda in 2002 (that could be wrong, actually, I’m sure it’s wrong).  

3. Rent.  I think I saw Rent a total of 60 times on Broadway and once on tour (the first Non-Equity tour in New Brunswick, NJ and it was AWFUL).  That smaller pile is of the Playbills I have from Rent that I wasn’t actually at (back in the day I liked getting Playbill’s from shows I hadn’t been at – looking back, I can’t figure out why!).  

4. Shakespeare in the Park!  (L-R: Twelfth Night, HAIR (40th Anniversary Weekend), Two Gentleman of Verona, A Winter’s Tale, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Bacchae (the best thing about that show were Jonathan Groff glittery jeans).

  5. New York Musical Theatre Festival (better known as NYMF) from beginning and onwards.  I used to be diligent with seeing shows in NYMF every year but I’ve slacked off in recently years.  I really regret not seeing Feeling Electric (now known as Next to Normal) when it was at the festival in 2006 (year could be wrong!).  I’m excited to see what shows are chosen this year.  

6. Special events such as the TONYs, Easter Bonnets, Gypsy of the Year’s, Broadway Bares’, Broadway on Broadway, the Drama Desk Awards, and several benefit concerts.

7. New York International Fringe Festival… including two shows that I worked on (Beautiful & Ana 311) and the most memorable shows I ever saw at the Fringe, SILENCE! the Musical (a musical version of Silence of the Lambs) in 2005.  

I’m off to the Tonys.  I’ll be wearing this necklace under my dress for good luck for American Idiot!  (One of the guys used it during the third preview back in the day.)  I’ll be live-tweeting so be sure to follow my Twitter!  See you there.

Some extra info: Each show has a special “encore” performance prepared if they win Best Musical.  AND just so you all know, the cast of American Idiot is performing LAST (closest to 11pm) at the awards tonight.  

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So, on Thursday night, the cast of American Idiot performed on The David Letterman Show, using the song ‘Holiday.’  This is the third song the cast has done on national television.  I thought this song worked fantastically for late-night television.  It’s my educated opinion that in performing all of these different numbers, they’re testing the waters for their Tony Awards performance.  Let’s recap.

21 Guns: Performed at the 52nd Annual Grammy’s in January.  Green Day was nominated for this song, so that’s why they “chose” to perform it, and it was a brilliant marketing scheme because it sparked a $1m+ spike in ticket sales for the show.  Was it a good representation of the show?  No, not at all, in my opinion.  I think it’s very hard to understand if taken out of the context of the show and it’s a ballad which doesn’t capture the high-energy core of the show at all (obviously).  On the other hand, it displays Tom Kitt’s outrageously gorgeous orchestrations of the show extremely well.  

Wake Me Up When September Ends: Performed this past Tuesday, April 27th, on Regis and Kelly.  More beautiful arrangements by Tom Kitt on display by John Gallagher Jr, Michael Esper, and Stark Sands.  Also a lovely performance, and an appropriate choice for a morning show (who really wants a hard-core punk rock number on at 9:15am?).  Regis and Kelly’s praise of the show didn’t really hurt either.

Holiday (see above): Performed on Letterman this past Thursday, April 29th.  This has been my favorite choice of numbers thus-far.  They were performing well past 11:30pm and had greater freedom do an edgier number because of lack of television restrictions at that hour.  This performance encompassed everything that I love about the show (mainly the high energy aspect).  I watched this for a second time yesterday morning on my lunch break and was exhausted with the cast after they finished.  That’s what I love about the show, it grabs you emotionally and you “feel” everything as they go through it onstage.  A step in the right direction for the Tony performance, but still not quite there yet.

What number do I think will best represent the show on the Tonys?  (Given that they’re nominated for Best Musical, fingers crossed!)  The title number and show-opener, American Idiot.  The producers should raise some capital to build a smaller-scale version of the set and perform the opening number exactly how it’s performed at the theatre, with the curtain rise and all (I can’t recall if Radio City has curtains on their smaller stages or not).  The song isn’t long so they could perform it in it’s entirety (it’s under 3 minutes, and I believe shows are allotted about 4 minutes of stage time) so they could throw a small part of another in it too (though I think tacking anything onto the end of that song is unnecessary, but if you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for that national publicity, I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to use ALL of it).  And yes, a single performance at the Tony Awards does usually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (word has it that Spring Awakening’s 2007 Tony Awards performance cost upwards of $1m).  As a Tony nominee, you are given the 4 minutes but you have to produce the segment yourself (as in the show’s producers).  The Tony Committee gives the shows a small piece of that ($15-$20k), even still with union costs, building a new set, the airtime… it adds up!

So, what’d you think American Idiot should be perform at the Tony Awards?

(video via fuckyeahjohngallagherjr)

Thanks to producer Ken Davenport for clarifying some facts for me!