a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Archive for June, 2014




And so now it’s only two weeks left to contribute to my Kickstarter Project “Get Stephen Holt to the Toronto Film Festival 2014”!

Facebook friends, I don’t know if you know how Kickstarter works, but it’s a wonderful thing for artists like myself, who are financially-challenged by what they love to do. You get to contribute to the continuation of “The Stephen Holt Show” and there are some nice rewards as well.

In my case, what I love is covering the wonderful films at the Toronto Film Festival. They have the highest concentration of the best American Films there. The quality ones that are seeking Hollywood’s top prize, the Oscar.

They also are a platform like no other for independent films, who otherwise might not get this kind of recognition at all. And attending the Toronto Film Festival as an accredited journalist is really the highest pinnacle for an entertainment journalist like me, and an essential one. If you’re not there, you’re nowhere.

And to not have the money to get there and stay there for the right amount of time, i.e., long enough to cover the major films,  which is about six-seven days, is just terrible and frightening to contemplate. And so far we’ve received $0.00, which, by any standards, is awful.

So I hope you can help, please! i do this for YOU! AND I don’t make any money from it. You’re enjoying my blog(4 years) and my web-series(eight years) and my TV show(26 and a half years), so this is crucial in my continuing to do all this.

I know you’re out there.. Please help! And thank you. For watching, reading, listening all these years!

Just click on the phrase “Only Two Weeks Left! Hurry” at the top of the page and it will take you right to my Kickstarter project.



New Terence McNally play to start one week earlier


” I T ‘ S   O N L Y   A   P L A Y “







New York, NY (June 25, 2014) – Producers Tom Kirdahy, Roy Furman, and Ken Davenport have announced a new start date for the star-studded Broadway production of 4-time Tony® Award winnerTerrence McNally‘s uproarious comedy, It’s Only A Play. Previously on sale for performances beginning September 4, 2014, the first preview of It’s Only A Play is now set for Thursday, August 28, 2014 due to overwhelming popular demand.  Tickets are now on sale for the added week.  It’s Only a Play will play a limited 18-week engagement at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th Street) with an opening night set for Thursday, October 9. Tickets are available by visiting Telecharge.com. For groups of 20 or more, call 855-329-2932. Tickets will be available at the Schoenfeld Box Office (236 West 45th Street) starting July 31. For more information, visit www.ItsOnlyAPlay.com.


As previously announced, Academy Award® winner F. Murray Abraham, Tony® Award winner Matthew Broderick, Emmy® and Tony® Award winner Stockard Channing, international film sensation Rupert Grint,Tony® Award winner Nathan Lane, Emmy® Award winner Megan Mullally, and newcomer Micah Stockstar in It’s Only a Play. 3-time Tony® Award winner Jack O’Brien directs 


In It’s Only a Play, it’s opening night of Peter Austin’s (Matthew Broderick) new play as he anxiously awaits to see if his show is a hit. With his career on the line, he shares his big First Night with his best friend, a television star (Nathan Lane), his fledgling producer (Megan Mullally), his erratic leading lady (Stockard Channing), his wunderkind director (Rupert Grint), an infamous drama critic (F. Murray Abraham), and a fresh-off-the-bus coat check attendant (Micah Stock) on his first night in Manhattan. It’s alternately raucous, ridiculous and tender — and proves that sometimes the biggest laughs happen offstage.


Mr. McNally—a four-time Tony® Award winning playwright—recently celebrated the premiere of his 20thBroadway production, Mothers and Sons, which marks his 50th year on Broadway.  Mothers and Sons,which was nominated for Best Play at the 2014 Tony® Awards, recently ended its celebrated Broadway run June 22, 2014 at the Golden Theatre and will be seen in more than twenty countries next year. 




Only 17 Days Left!

Only 17 Days Left!

Yikes! There are only 17 Days Left to contribute to “The Stephen Holt Show”s 2014 Kickstarter Fund!

This is to help get Stephen Holt and a camera man to the super-incredible, super-essential Toronto Film Festival which is coming up faster than a Kickstarter goal deadline.

So far we have had no contributions whatsoever! That’s right! It’s $00.00 which is really depressing. If we can’t get to Toronto and cover Toronto, it’s a big step down in my entertainment/Oscar coverage. I don’t know what I’ll do! We’ve been going to the Toronto Film Festival as accredited journalists for the past 15 years, and its’ high profile films are the top American films of the year, as everyone knows.

If 19 readers could each give one hundred dollars, we’d pass our goal! And I know that there are more than 19 readers of this blog! So help! And Hurry! Quickly! Please…

So click on the above link that says “Only 17 Days Left” and it will take you directly to Kickstarter.com and they will tell you what to do!

Thank you in advance!



New Kickstarter Project Launched! Get Stephen Holt Show to TIFF 1014!

New Kickstarter Project Launched! Get Stephen Holt Show to TIFF 1014!

So proud and happy to be announcing that once again Kickstarter has accepted my new proposal for 2014!

Yes, once again we need your help, dear readers, dear cineastes, dear lovers-of-theater!

Here’s the link to Kickstarter where I explain everything.

Toronto is becoming more and more expensive to get to and stay there for as much of the Festival as possible, every year.

Toronto’s great film festival is the #1 film festival in the world in my book, and certainly in my world.

It’s like the Festival that has taken over Show Business. Everything seems to emanate from there every year. Last year, they launched “12 Years a Slave” into the Oscar stratosphere. Kyle Buchanan of Slate. com declared the Oscar race over the minute he saw it, and I said the same thing here.

It was just incredibly exciting to be there and to see that phenomenon begin to happen. It was like watching the sun explode!

“Gravity” was also there, causing every one who saw it to rave, about its’ technical mastery and 3D breakthroughs and of course, Sandra Bullock’s brave, solo performance.

To be there and to witness that first hand and to be able to convey it to you, dear readers, dear cineastes is a thrill and a pleasure beyond compare.

But financially, it’s more difficult than ever. The Canadian Dollar is up again against the U.S. dollar, and so it just gets harder and harder to fund all this fabulousness at TIFF, so we really do need your help. And we really do appreciate it.

We didn’t make our goal last year, so I lowered the goal a little this year. Maybe we’ll make it this time…

I hate asking or talking about money, but now, once again, I’m faced with having to. And if it wasn’t for the people who did help(although we came nowhere near our goal) I thank you again and every day for your loyalty and support.

So here we go again, and TIFF looks bigger and better and more important than ever. And CRUCIAL to staying visible in this competitive Business of Show.

Thanks again in advance!

Oops! Almost forgot to include the link ~


James Broughton Doc “Big Joy” is a joy!

Who the hell was James Broughton? Never heard of him! Who was this late self-proclaimed poet and poetic filmmaker, I , an very active film critic did not know of? And especially since he was considered a gay pioneer. And I didn’t know him?

Turns out it’s all part of the New York/San Francisco, East Coast/Left Coast disconnect. Broughton was a HUGE figure in San Fran, and gayer than springtime. I started to watch this new documentary with some reluctance, but then it got me.

I couldn’t STOP watching it! And it gripped me unexpectedly and held my attention and interest right through til the end.

James Broughton (November 10, 1913 – May 17, 1999) was part of the ” San Francisco Renaissance,” again a phrase I had never heard before, that occured after World War II ended, and is considered a precursor to the Beat poets.

Then suddenly I remembered a section of Anais Nin’s diary where she talks excitedly about this. This moment in America, where I think she described it as “American culture finally began.” It was at a poetry reading of Alan Ginsberg’s “Howl”, if memory serves, in the San Francisco bookshop which was a focal point for the birth of the Beat Generation and also for James Broughton.

This is where he met and fell in love with a bookshop worker, PAULINE KAEL!?! Whom he had an extended affair with(even though he was gay, and she seems to have known it) and also had a child with her, a girl. Which long story short, he left her to raise the child, who was disabled in some way, on her own.Not a very nice man.

But still Kael always seems to have spoken highly of him, and always praised his experimental films, which she took VERY seriously. Perhaps more seriously than anyone before or since. Her voice is heard on the sound track talking about him, but she is never seen in a traditional interview situation.

“Big Joy” tries to right this cultural wrong by including excerpts from many, many of his films. Which sort of look like a West Coast George Kuchar to me. And sure enough one of the Kuchars turns up to praise him throughout the film, as one of its’ talking heads. As is Armistead Maupin who is infinitely more authoritative.

“Big Joy” pulls out all the stops in trying to make us take James Broughton as seriously as Pauline Kael did. And it pretty much succeeds in that. At least, it makes you consider his unusual, totally original, totally unconventional bisexual life.

People really, really were into him, his facockta movies and his poetry. His greatest phrase “follow your weird” became an anthem of the hippie generation, “Big Joy” his other famous phrase, the doc. claims, and Broughton was right in sync with the Flower Power movement when it came to fruition in San Francisco in the ’60s. Although “Do Your Own Thing” was the more oft-quoted motto, which was said, I believe, by Timothy Leary. “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” was the mantra and Broughton was certainly down with that.

I think I even saw one of his films “The Bed” at the time of its’ release way back when. It was notable at its’ time, the time of “Hair,” for its’ abundant frontal nudity, male and female. And other than breaking that barrier, which was exhilarating at the time, it made very little coherent sense. But then none of his films were ever meant to, it seems.

“Big Joy” finds its’ true stride when Broughton turns 61 and meets his soul-mate, who was one of his film school students, who was in his 20s. Their amazing love story, despite their difference in age, becomes the one enduring thing this doc leaves you with. Astonishing as it seems, late in life, James Broughton at last found “Big Joy” with a lover who stayed with him for the rest of his life.

It is essential queer viewing. Check it out.




Oscar ~ “Fault” Shailene Woodley’s triumph or Schadenfreude?

Julianne Moore 2

22 year old star Shailene Woodley’s Oscar chances are on the rise because her new film “The Fault In Our Stars, “is breaking box-office records, and changing the face of the Best Actress Oscar race even this early in the pre predicting season.

Woodley’s searing portrayal of a teen dying of cancer shocked me at the range of pain and power this young woman exhibited in a sad love story of her star-crossed affection for a another dying teen, also a cancer patient, played effectively by Ansel Elgort..

It was the surprise #1 hit at the box-office this week, upending all kinds of expectations and predictions. This micro-budgeted tale of two seriously ill teens has made an incredible impact with movie goers, most of them young females or YA as the industry likes to call ’em, Young Adults.

And Oscar NEVER ignores this kind of vote. The public’s. They vote with their ticket-buying dollars. And they are buying tickets en masse to see this five handkerchief weepie that is leaving audiences in tears around the country and around the globe.

And they are liking the sadness of the doomed duo. They are LIKING crying their way home. This movie about death, death, and more death, as unlikely a topic as that seems, is making them FEEL. Something, one wonders, if they’ve ever thought about before. The Germans have a word for it Schadenfreude.

I sometimes think all great love stories have to have one or two of the young lovers dying. See “Romeo and Juliet.” Who can forget the surprising B.O. success “A Love Story” had in its’ day?

It was a best-seller, and propelled non-actress/model Ali McGraw on to the cover of Time Magazine. And to an Oscar Nomination. “Love is never having to say you’re sorry” was the trademark catch phrase that was plastered everywhere that year. The public went in droves to see Ali McGraw die. “Fault” is like that. It’s a neglected genre. But “Fault in Our Stars” has put all this weepiness front and center once again.

And Shailene Woodley’s amazing, dynamic turn as the dying teen is powering this film into the stratosphere of Oscar consideratioiin. By that I mean, a serious film, about death, no less, and cancer, moreover, with a young, a very young actress who confounds expectations, is just the kind of performance the Academy loves to honor. Jennifer Lawrence anyone?

David Cronenberg’s “Map to the Stars” won acclaim at Cannes for the performance of Julianne Moore as an aging Hollywood actress trying to hang on to her youth.I thought it was being rushed out in June, but no.  It’s now opening in the fall, when the season REALLY gets under way. Which is good, meaning the producers behind it, think it has Awards chances.

Out of the Cannes gate, Moore was a clear front-runner. She’s had four nominations and never won. Ditto Amy Adams, who is coming up this fall with FIVE nominations and no win, but she has Harvey Weinstein and his mega-hype-machine in “Big Eyes.” I thought the Best Actress Oscar was definitely Adams’ to lose.

But now with “The Fault in Our Stars” powering to #1 and Shailene Woodley on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine this week, looking almost unrecognizably glamourous, I think she’s here in the Oscar conversation to stay. And the movie, based on a popular YA novel, may have equally surprising “legs”as they say, and stick around to really harass Julienne Moore and Amy Adams come the fall.

I mean, it’s only June and already the Best Actress race is red-hot. If Shailene did manage to win this one, I think she supplants Jennifer Lawrence as the youngest winner of Best Actress in Oscar history.

Or is it just too early to think like this? No. It’s never too early to think about Oscar. Or why are you reading this article?

Just Who Nominates for the Tonys? Well, I’ll tell you.

If you’ve ever wondered just who nominates the carefully, but sometimes, puzzling, choices for the Tony Awards nominations, here’s a VERY complete list of the nominators. Who, I have to admit, are very, very serious about their choices. And as you can see, they are obliged to see EVERYTHING that opens on Broadway all season long. Which sounds delightful, but is really sometimes a daunting prospect, and certainly requires a deep, deep commitment to theater, and to quality.

There is a much larger body of Tony voters. Something like 800 or so. This committee nominates, and I guess they can also vote, but they’ve already voted by choosing their nominees. It’s quite a mixed bag of educators, which surprised me, and actors, and designers, and …others.


2014-2015 Tony AwardsÒ Nominating Committee Announced

New York, NY (June 11, 2014) – The Tony Awards Administration Committee announced today the Nominating Committee for the 2014-2015 Broadway season. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

The Nominating Committee attends all productions during the Broadway season and meets on the date designated by the Administration Committee to determine, by vote, the Tony Award nominees for that season. The committee of Tony Nominators will include 50 members for the 2014-2015 season:


  • Douglas Aibel – Artistic Dir., The Vineyard Theatre
  • Arin Arbus – Associate Artistic Dir., Theatre for a New Audience
  • Ira Bernstein – Former Producer/General Manager/Stage Manager/Casting Director
  • Susan Birkenhead- Lyricist
  • Mark Brokaw – Artistic Dir., Yale Institute for Music Theatre/Director
  • Barry Brown – Retired Broadway Producer**
  • Donald Byrd – Choreographer
  • Ben Cameron – Program Dir. for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, NY
  • Mary Schmidt Campbell – Dean, Tisch School of the Arts
  • Veronica Claypool – Arts Management Consultant, Full Circle Management Group/Former GM
  • Paul Cremo – Dramaturg/Director of Opera Commissioning Program, The Metropolitan Opera**
  • John Darnton – Former Cultural Editor, The New York Times
  • Jacqueline Z. Davis – Executive Dir., The NY Public Library for the P. A. at Lincoln Center
  • Rick Elice – Playwright
  • Harvey Evans – Actor**
  • Paul Gallo – Lighting Designer**
  • Kent Gash – Director/Founding Dir., of NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway
  • Liza Gennaro – Choreographer
  • Jenny Gersten – Executive Director, Friends of the High Line**
  • Adam Guettel – Composer/Lyricist
  • Wendall K. Harrington – Projection Designer/Lecturer
  • Philip Himberg – Artistic Director, Sundance Institute Theatre Program
  • Jack Hofsiss – Theatre/Film/Television Director**
  • Ann Hould-Ward – Costume Designer
  • Julie Hughes – Former Casting Director
  • Cheyenne Jackson – Actor
  • Stephen Karam – Playwright
  • Corby Kummer – Senior Editor, The Atlantic Magazine
  • Dick Latessa – Actor
  • John Leguizamo – Actor/Playwright
  • Kate Levin – Cultural Assets Management Principal, Bloomberg Associates**
  • Reynold Levy – Former President of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts**
  • Sara Lukinson – Documentary Film Producer/Television Writer
  • Patricia Marx – American Humorist and Writer/Former Television Writer**
  • Marsha Mason – Actor/Playwright
  • Jim McLaughlin – Former Producer, CBS News/TV Feature and Documentary Producer**
  • Roger Morgan – Lighting Designer/Theatre Designer**
  • Debra Monk – Actor**
  • Katherine Oliver – Media and Entertainment Executive**
  • Christian Parker – Assoc. Artistic Dir. at Atlantic Theater Co./Chair, Columbia MFA Theatre Program**
  • Mary-Louise Parker – Actor
  • Ravi S. Rajan – Dean, School of the Arts – SUNY Purchase**
  • Nigel Redden – Gen. Dir., Spoleto Festival USA/Dir., Lincoln Center Festival
  • Susan H. Schulman – Director/President, Stage Directors & Choreographers Society**
  • Arlene Shuler – President & CEO, New York City Center
  • Scott Schwartz – Director
  • Linda Shelton – Executive Dir., Joyce Theater Foundation
  • Wynn Thomas – Production Designer**
  • Robin Wagner – Scenic Designer
  • Preston Whiteway – Executive Director, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center**


**Denotes new Nominating Committee Member


For more information, visit TonyAwards.com, and follow the Tonys at Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards, @TheTonyAwards on Twitter, and Instagram.com/TheTonyAwards. #TonyAwards.




More on “Mothers and Sons” closing…


“ M O T H E R S    A N D    S O N S ”













New York, NY  Producers Tom KirdahyRoy Furman, Paula Wagner & Debbie Bisno, and Barbara Freitag & Loraine Alterman Boyle announced today that Mothers and Sonsthe two-time 2014 Tony®Award nominee for Best Play and Leading Actress in a Play (Tyne Daly), will play its final performance at theSunday, June 22nd matinee at the John Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street). At the time of its closing,Mothers and Sons will have played 33 preview performances and 104 regular performances.  The producers also announced today that they are in discussions to bring McNally’s celebrated play on a national tour with further details to be announced at a later date.   Mothers and Sons marks Mr. McNally’s 20thBroadway show and 50th year on Broadway, and is directed by Tony® nominee Sheryl Kaller (Next Fall).  Tony® and six-time Emmy® Award winner Tyne Daly, Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Frederick Weller, Tony® Award nominee Bobby Steggert and newcomer Grayson Taylor starPreview performances began on Sunday, February 23, 2014, and opening night was Monday, March 24, 2014.  For tickets and more information, visit www.MothersAndSonsBroadway.com.


Terrence McNally, who with Mothers and Sons celebrates his 20th Broadway production and 50th year on Broadway, will next be represented on Broadway in the just launched 2014-15 Season with the recently announced revival of It’s Only A Play, which will be directed by Tony® winner Jack O’Brien, and stars Academy Award® winner F. Murray Abraham; Tony® winners Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, and Nathan Lane; Emmy® winner Megan Mullally; and Micah Stock in his Broadway debut.  The production will play a strictly limited 17-week engagement at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th Street) beginning September 4, 2014 with an opening night set for October 9, 2014. 


Mothers and Sons is a timely and provocative new play that explores our evolving understanding of family in today’s world.  At turns funny and powerful, Mothers and Sons portrays a woman who pays an unexpected visit to the New York apartment of her late son’s partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son. Challenged to face how society has changed around her, generations collide as she revisits the past and begins to see the life her son might have led.


In addition to its two Tony® Award nominations, Mothers and Sons was nominated by The Drama League for Outstanding Production of a Play; and Tyne Daly was nominated for her performance by The Drama League, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards.




“A triumphant masterpiece.” – New York Observer


“An impeccably acted production wrapped in a sense of urgency.” – The New York Times


“Terrence McNally has just written his best play.” – The Huffington Post


The design team for Mothers and Sons includes scenic design by John Lee Beatty, costume design byJess Goldstein, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, and sound design by Nevin Steinberg.


Mothers and Sons had its world premiere production at Bucks County Playhouse (Jed Bernstein, Producing Director) on June 13, 2013.  Tyne Daly also starred in that production.


Mr. McNally’s other works for Broadway include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; The Full Monty; Ragtime; Master Class; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Kiss of the Spider Woman; The Rink; The Ritz; andBad Habits.


First Post-TONY Casualty. “Mothers and Sons” to close.

Mothers and Sons


Neil Patrick Harris, Best Actor in a Musical! “Hedwig & the Angry Inch”!!

Neil Patrick Harris just won the Tony Award for Best Actor in Musical for his bravura performance as an East German transexual rock performer in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Here enjoy a few stolen moments with Neil after he won the Drama Desk Award in the same category on Sunday.

Videography ~ Jack Siberine

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