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Archive for April, 2015

“Heidi Chronicles” Closing Sunday is a Crime!

Heidi 1“The Heidi Chronicles” closing on Broadway on Sunday is a crime! I just saw it for the SECOND time last night, and enjoyed it all over again. I RARELY, as you know, dear readers, RETURN to revisit a show, especially in this high Drama Desk season, but I’m so glad I did.

The cast was very relaxed and giving and warm, warm, warm and funny, too, as the late Pulitzer winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein was in real life.

Insightful, witty, observant, and yes, timely, too, I do feel that Wasserstein’s “Heidi” is not dated at all and is as relevant today as it was then when it opened to great critical acclaim in 1989. It won the Pulitzer and also the Tony.

And I saw the original production, but I liked this one much better. The performances of Elizabeth Moss in the title role and the redoubtable Bryce Pinkham as her gay best friend were both awards-worthy, and thankfully Moss has been nominated for a Tony for Best Actress. Pinkham however was not, although he did get an Outer Critics nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play. The Drama Desk ignored it completely.

I wonder if the shows’ unexpected, premature closing had something to do with the unjust lack of awards consideration “Heidi” has gotten.

Elizabeth Moss was simply magnificent last night, shining like a golden  sun and immensely relatable as the hapless heroine Heidi. Moss’ monologue ending with the famous line “I feel stranded” was a bravura tour-de-force of the highest order.

And Pinkham held his own in a 360 degree turn from his usual villainous musical rogues (“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and “Ghost”.) as a very warm, relatable doctor. His Dr. Peter Patrone goes from campy to bitchy to saintly in an arc than every gay man was experienced since the ’60s, ending with yes, a penultimate scene dealing with AIDS in the late ’80s. The  hyper-versatile Pinkham captures every nuance, pulse and throb of pain and joy that Peter undergoes.

The house was packed last night. The audience applauded every scene. That’s something that rarely happens with a straight play.

I urge you to try to see “Heidi” before it closes on Sunday. Maybe there will be enough of a demand to see its’ beautiful life extended.

TONY Award Nominations FINALLY Announced!

TONY 2015 1The TONY Award nominations FINALLY were announced this morning, and this year particularly, it seems like we were waiting for them forever! And of course, the classy jazzy ballet musical “An American in Paris” got the most nominations, tied with “Fun Home.” Next came “Something Rotten” with ten.

Most egregious snubs were “Heidi Chronicles” again being left out except for “Mad Men”s Elizabeth Moss who gets to compete against Dame Helen Mirren for Best Actress in a Play. The Dame takes this one, hands down. Carrie Mulligan also scored a nomination for “Skylight.”

“Finding Neverland” produced by Harvey Weinstein got a big goose egg this morning and so did “Dr. Zhivago.” “Dr. Zzzzz…” as its’ being called was as deadly as, well, a big bomb, which is what it is…

Also left out of the Supporting or Featured Actor in a Play was the stellar Bryce Pinkham from the doomed “Heidi Chronicles.” But included were Julie White for Best Featured Actress in a Play for “Airline Highway” and T. Scott Freedman also for “Airline Highway” and Victoria Clark for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Mamita in “Gigi.” Patricia Clarkson, whom I flat out adore, got nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Play for “Elephant Man” and Alessandro Nivola got nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play also for “Elephant Man”.

Bradley Cooper, the biggest star in contention, also got nominated for “Elephant Man..” The well-reviewed, sold-out hit show is now closed. It was a limited run. Does that leave the door open for Ben Miles, the new hot Brit star who is onstage for SIX hours as Thomas Cromwell in “Wolf Hall, Pts. 1 & 2”? Miles’ co-stars Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn and Nathaniel Parker as King Henry VIII also got nominated in the Supportiiig categories.

Here’s the complete list below ~Courtesy of Theatermania.com

Best Play
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Disgraced
Hand to God
Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two

Best Musical
An American in Paris
Fun Home
Something Rotten!
The Visit

Best Revival of a Play
The Elephant Man
Skylight
This Is Our Youth
You Can’t Take It with You

Best Revival of a Musical
The King and I
On the Town
On the Twentieth Century

Best Book of a Musical
An American in Paris, Craig Lucas
Fun Home, Lisa Kron
Something Rotten!, Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell
The Visit, Terrence McNally

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Fun Home, Music: Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics: Lisa Kron
The Last Ship, Music & Lyrics: Sting
Something Rotten!, Music & Lyrics: Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
The Visit Music: John Kander, Lyrics: Fred Ebb

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Steven Boyer, Hand to God
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Ben Miles, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Bill Nighy, Skylight
Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Geneva Carr, Hand to God
Helen Mirren, The Audience
Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Ruth Wilson, Constellations

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Ken Watanabe, The King and I
Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Beth Malone, Fun Home
Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
Chita Rivera, The Visit

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Matthew Beard, Skylight
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
Richard McCabe, The Audience
Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You
Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
Julie White, Airline Highway

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris
Max von Essen, An American in Paris

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Victoria Clark, Gigi
Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Bob Crowley, Skylight
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It with You

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris
David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
Michael Yeargan, The King and I
David Zinn, Fun Home

Best Costume Design of a Play
Bob Crowley, The Audience
Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It with You
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
David Zinn, Airline Highway

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century
Catherine Zuber, The King and I

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Paule Constable and David Plater, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Natasha Katz, Skylight
Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Donald Holder, The King and I
Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
Ben Stanton, Fun Home
Japhy Weideman, The Visit

Best Direction of a Play
Stephen Daldry, Skylight
Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It with You
Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God

Best Direction of a Musical
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
John Rando, On the Town
Bartlett Sher, The King and I
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Best Choreography
Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Best Orchestrations
Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, An American in Paris
John Clancy, Fun Home
Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!
Rob Mathes, The Last Ship


Recipients of Awards and Honors in Noncompetitive Categories

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Tommy Tune

Special Tony Award
John Cameron Mitchell

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Cleveland Play House, Cleveland, Ohio

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
Stephen Schwartz

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Arnold Abramson
Adrian Bryan-Brown
Gene O’Donovan


Tony Nominations by Production

An American in Paris – 12
Fun Home – 12
Something Rotten! – 10
The King and I – 9
Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two – 8
Skylight – 7
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – 6
Hand to God – 5
On the Twentieth Century – 5
The Visit – 5
You Can’t Take It with You – 5
Airline Highway – 4
The Elephant Man – 4
On the Town – 4
The Audience – 3
The Last Ship – 2
Constellations – 1
Disgraced – 1
Gigi – 1
The Heidi Chronicles – 1
It’s Only a Play – 1
This Is Our Youth – 1

 

Judith Roberts Triumphs in funny, uplifting “Airline Highway”,

Judith Roberts 2First time Broadway playwright Lisa D’Amour is VERY lucky indeed to have the magnificent 80-year-old actress Judith Roberts in the central role of Miss Ruby in “Airline Highway” which just opened on Broadway.

In what is essentially a two-act introduction to her character’s entrance, a one-time stripper-turned-night-club manager/hostess, Miss Ruby is talked about constantly and referred to for the entire length of the play. The residents of the Hummingbird Motel, (too much like the “Hot L Baltimore” for my tastes) a motley crew of down-and-outers, strippers, drag queens, hookers, drug addicts, dealers, some homeless, you get the picture, form “a sub-culture”, according to a teenage sociologist, who wanders in, and they are planning to throw a funeral party for Miss Ruby who is in “the last ten hours” of her long life.

It’s a messy mixture of overlapping dialogue and immature insights, yet it builds and builds to Miss Ruby’s finale entrance in HUGE red wig on a hospital gurney. And  Roberts as Ruby doesn’t disappoint. In several inspiring set-pieces delivered literally flat on her back from the gurney, Ms. Roberts, in a part she seems to have been waiting for all her career, wakes up to tell her friends and revelers, “Am I in a parking lot?” Which she is.

And it forms a part of the Airline Highway of the title, a bereft scummy suburb of New Orleans, and it’s Jazz Festival week.It’s a seamy, swampy section the Big Easy, a city were they Mardi Gras never ends.

You can hear a pin drop as Miss Ruby delivers several fiery speeches culminating with her exclaiming “I am never going to die!” And of course, not too long after, she does.

Sad, sassy, silly,messy and massively redundant, “Airline Highway” builds  its improvisatory, Steppenwolf-style to Miss Ruby’s penultimate shining moments. And thank god Judith Roberts is there to deliver on their promise!

She renders “Airline Highway” inspiring.

T.Todd Freeman as Sissy Na-Na, the prerequisite black drag queen, makes this stereotypical role as fun and well-rounded as it could possibly be.

And the great Julie White does a complete 360 as a washed-up stripper prostitute in a dramatic role which she is a complete surprise in. She won a Tony for “Little Dog Laughed” playing a comic role, which is her usual metier.

Both Freeman and White received Drama Desk nominations for Best Featured Actor and Actress in a Play, but it is the un-sung Judith Roberts, who triumphs in the end in her uplifting life-affirming arias even as her life is ending.

TONY Eligibility Committee Meets for Last Time this season

And now…the esteeemed Tony Awards nominating committee has made its’ final determinations as to categories. Just to be clear, these are simply guidelines to allow the Tony Voters to know who is going to go into which category SHOULD they be lucky enough to be considered for an Award.

I would also like to point out that Dame Hilary Mantel has SUDDENLY popped up as co-author of “Wolf Hall Pts. 1&2” which the Drama Desk who didn’t nominate her at all or “Wolf Hall” for Best Play, or the Outer Critics Circle, which did, did not mention her as co-author here-to-fore, nor is she listed that way in the program.

But what this new categorization does is almost makes it certain that “Wolf Hall” will win Best Play. There’s nothing like a Dame. Ask Dame Helen Mirren who is sure to win Best Actress in a Play for “The Audience” AGAIN playing the current Queen of England.Wolf Hall 2

TONY AWARDS ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE MEETS

FOR THE FOURTH AND FINALTIME DURING THE 2014-2015 SEASON

TO DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY

 

New York, NY (April 24, 2015) – The Tony Awards Administration Committee met today for the final time this season to determine the eligibility of 18 Broadway productions for the 2015 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards®, presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. The Tony Awards Administration Committee has met a total of four times throughout the 2014-2015 season to decide the eligibility for the 69th Annual Tony Awards.

 

The 18 productions discussed were Fish in the Dark, The Audience, On the Twentieth Century, The Heidi Chronicles, Skylight, Hand to God, Gigi, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two, An American in Paris, It Shoulda Been You, Finding Neverland, The King and I, Fun Home, Living on Love, Doctor Zhivago, Something Rotten!, Airline Highway and The Visit.

                                

The committee made the following determinations:

 

Andy Karl, Mark Linn-Baker and Michael McGrath will be considered eligible in the Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical category for their respective performances in On the Twentieth Century.

 

Jason Biggs and Bryce Pinkham will be considered eligible in the Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Play category for their respective performances in The Heidi Chronicles.

 

Steven Boyer and Geneva Carr will be considered eligible in the Best Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Play categories for their respective performances in Hand to God.

 

Victoria Clark, Dee Hoty and Howard McGillin will be considered eligible in the Best Actor/Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical categories for their respective performances in Gigi.

 

Hilary Mantel and Mike Poulton will be considered co-authors and jointly eligible in the Best Play category for Wolf Hall Parts One & Two.

 

Ben Miles will be considered eligible in the Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category for his performance in Wolf Hall Parts One & Two.

 

Paule Constable and David Plater will be considered jointly eligible in the Best Lighting Design of a Play category for Wolf Hall Parts One & Two.

 

Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope will be considered eligible in the Best Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical categories for their respective performances in An American in Paris.

 

Bob Crowley and 59 Productions will be considered jointly eligible in the Best Scenic Design of a Musical category for An American in Paris.

 

Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky and Bill Elliott will be considered jointly eligible in the Best Orchestrations category for An American in Paris.

 

Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris and Sierra Boggess will be considered eligible in the Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical category for their respective performances in It Shoulda Been You.

 

Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly will be considered eligible in the Best Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category for their respective performances in Finding Neverland.

 

Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe will be considered eligible in the Best Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical categories for their respective performances in The King and I.

 

Christopher Gattelli will be considered eligible in the Best Choreography category for The King and I.

 

Judy Kuhn will be considered eligible in the Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical category for her performance in Fun Home.

 

Beth Malone will be considered eligible in the Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category for her performance in Fun Home.

 

Anna Chlumsky and Jerry O’Connell will be considered eligible in the Best Actor/Actress in a Featured Role in a Play categories for their respective performances in Living on Love.

 

Tam Mutu and Kelli Barrett will be considered eligible in the Best Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical categories for their respective performances in Doctor Zhivago.

 

Michael Scott-Mitchell and Sean Nieuwenhuis will be considered jointly eligible in the Best Scenic Design of a Musical category for Doctor Zhivago.

 

Brian d’Arcy James and John Cariani will be considered eligible in the Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category for their respective performances in Something Rotten!

 

Bruce Willis and Mary-Louise Parker will announce the 2015 Tony Award Nominations LIVE on Tuesday, April 28th from the Paramount Hotel’s Diamond Horseshoe in New York City. The Tony Award Nominations can be viewed LIVE on “CBS This Morning” and in their entirety, atwww.TonyAwards.com.

 

The 2015 Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, on Sunday, June 7th, 2015 (8:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET/PT time delay) on the CBS Television Network, live from the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Tony Awards, which honors theater professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, has been broadcast on CBS since 1978. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

 

A limited number of tickets to the 2015 Tony Awards will be made available to the general public. Tickets will be available at http://www.TonyAwards.com starting on April 28, 2015.

 

For more information on the Tony Awards, visit TonyAwards.com and Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards and follow @TheTonyAwards on Instagram and Twitter.

 

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2015 Drama Desk Awards NOMINATIONS Announced today at 54 Below by Judith Light & Jessie Mueller

In shock and awe, as the Drama Desk announced their award NOMINATIONS for the Best of the Best of the Theater season 2014-15. I have so much respect for what these dedicated people do. The Nominating Committee sees something like over 270 plays a year!!! It staggers me the level of commitment to theater that these people maintain.

And headed for the eighth year(I think) by the valiant, unstoppable Barbara Siegel (yes, she’s married to the famous Scott) once again this year, the nominations excite and confound me. I’m glad for instance that Ben Miles and Lydia Leonard were both nominated for Best Actor In a Play and Best Supporting Actress In a Play for “Wolf Hall” for playing respectively Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn.

But where oh where was “The Heidi Chronicles”?!? And any recognition for Elizabeth Moss’ and Bryce Pinkham’s terrific performances? I liked this revival better than I liked the original production, which I thought was horribly anti-gay.(But it made David Hyde-Pierce’s career in the same role as Pinkham.) But Pinkham and Moss did both get nominated for the Outer Critic’s Circle. I hope they repeat at the Tonys.

They probably will as will Ben Miles and Lydia Leonard. You see, the Drama Desk has the daunting task of nominating EVERYTHING that can be seen in any given year on any stage in New York City. Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway. Which is why I have so much respect for them.

In other words, quality theater can be rewarded no matter how small or how big the stage it occurs on is or how many people see it. Of course, Superstars like Dame Helen Mirren in “The Audience” and Bradley Cooper in the now closed “Elephant Man” were nominated for Best Actress and Best Actor in a play. Mirren will totally win this award, as she will win many, many others this season, and for Best Actor I think it’s between Cooper and Miles. But more on that later.

Past Drama Desk(and Tony) winners Judith Light and Jessie Mueller announced the nominees at ceremony today in the swank boite 54 Below.

2014-2015 DRAMA DESK AWARD NOMINATIONS

Outstanding Play Clare Barron, You Got Older Lisa D’Amour, Airline Highway Anthony Giardina, The City of Conversation Stephen Adly Guirgis, Between Riverside and Crazy Elizabeth Irwin, My Manãna Comes Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Jack Thorne, Let the Right One In Outstanding Musical An American in Paris Hamilton Fly By Night Pretty Filthy Something Rotten The Visit Outstanding Revival of a Play The Elephant Man Fashions for Men Ghosts The Iceman Cometh Tamburlaine the Great The Wayside Motor Inn Outstanding Revival of a Musical Into the Woods The King and I On the Town On the Twentieth Century Pageant Side Show Outstanding Actor in a Play Reed Birney, I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man Stephen McKinley Henderson, Between Riverside and Crazy Ben Miles, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2 Bill Pullman, Sticks and Bones Alexander Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Outstanding Actress in a Play Brooke Bloom, You Got Older Kathleen Chalfant, A Walk in the Woods Kristin Griffith, The Fatal Weakness Jan Maxwell, The City of Conversation Helen Mirren, The Audience Carey Mulligan, Skylight Tonya Pinkins, Rasheeda Speaking Outstanding Actor in a Musical Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten! Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris Jeremy Kushnier, Atomic Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton Matthew Morrison, Finding Neverland Ryan Silverman, Side Show Outstanding Actress in a Musical Kate Baldwin, John & Jen Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century Leanne Cope, An American in Paris Erin Davie, Side Show Lisa Howard, It Shoulda Been You Chita Rivera, The Visit Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play F. Murray Abraham, It’s Only a Play Reed Birney, You Got Older K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway Jonathan Hadary, Rocket to the Moon Jason Butler Harner, The Village Bike Jonathan Hogan, Pocatello José Joaquin Perez, My Mañana Comes Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You Beth Dixon, The City of Conversation Julie Halston, You Can’t Take It with You Paola Lázaro-Muñoz, To the Bone Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2 Julie White, Airline Highway Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Christian Borle, Something Rotten! Peter Friedman, Fly By Night Josh Grisetti, It Shoulda Been You Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton Brad Oscar, Something Rotten! Max von Essen, An American in Paris Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Carolee Carmello, Finding Neverland Tyne Daly, It Shoulda Been You Elizabeth A. Davis, Allegro Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton Luba Mason, Pretty Filthy Nancy Opel, Honeymoon in Vegas Elizabeth Stanley, On the Town    Outstanding Director of a Play Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2 Anne Kauffman, You Got Older Lila Neugebauer, The Wayside Motor Inn Austin Pendleton, Between Riverside and Crazy Joe Tantalo, Deliverance John Tiffany, Let the Right One In Outstanding Director of a Musical Carolyn Cantor, Fly By Night Bill Condon, Side Show John Doyle, The Visit Thomas Kail, Hamilton Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten! Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris Outstanding Choreography Joshua Bergasse, On the Town Warren Carlyle, On the Twentieth Century Steven Hoggett, The Last Ship Austin McCormick, Rococo Rouge Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris Outstanding Music Jason Robert Brown, Honeymoon in Vegas Michael Friedman, The Fortress of Solitude John Kander, The Visit Dave Malloy, Ghost Quartet Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton Sting, The Last Ship Outstanding Lyrics Jason Robert Brown, Honeymoon in Vegas Fred Ebb, The Visit Michael Friedman, The Fortress of Solitude Karey Kirkpatrick & Wayne Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten! Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion Outstanding Book of a Musical Hunter Bell & Lee Overtree, Found Karey Kirkpatrick & John O’Farrell, Something Rotten! Craig Lucas, An American in Paris Terence McNally, The Visit Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton Kim Rosenstock, Will Connolly, & Michael Mitnick, Fly By Night Outstanding Orchestrations Christopher Austin, An American in Paris Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Allegro Larry Hochman, Something Rotten! Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton Rob Mathes, The Last Ship Don Sebesky, Larry Blank, Jason Robert Brown, & Charlie Rosen, Honeymoon in Vegas Outstanding Music in a Play Cesar Alvarez, An Octoroon Danny Blackburn & Bryce Hodgson, Deliverance Sean Cronin, Kill Me Like You Mean It Bongi Duma, Generations Freddi Price, The Pigeoning Arthur Solari & Jane Shaw, Tamburlaine the Great Outstanding Revue Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging! Just Jim Dale Lennon: Through a Glass Onion Lonesome Traveler Outstanding Set Design Bob Crowley, An American in Paris Christine Jones, Let The Right One In David Korins, Hamilton Mimi Lien, An Octoroon Scott Pask, The Visit Daniel Zimmerman, Fashions for Men Outstanding Costume Design Bob Crowley, An American in Paris Bob Crowley, The Audience Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2 Paul Tazewell, Hamilton Andrea Varga, The Fatal Weakness Catherine Zuber, Gigi Outstanding Lighting Design Howell Binkley, Hamilton Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Paule Constable & David Plater, Wolf Hall, Parts 1 & 2 Maruti Evans, Deliverance Natasha Katz, The Iceman Cometh Ben Stanton, Our Lady of Kibeho Outstanding Projection Design 59 Productions, An American in Paris Roger Hanna & Price Johnston, Donogoo Darrel Maloney, Found Peter Nigrini, Our Lady of Kibeho Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Austin Switser, Big Love Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical Peter Hylenski, Side Show Scott Lehrer, The King & I Scott Lehrer & Drew Levy, Honeymoon in Vegas Brian Ronan, The Last Ship Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton Jon Weston, An American in Paris   Outstanding Sound Design in a Play Nathan Davis, The Other Mozart Ien Denio, Deliverance Ian Dickinson (for Autograph), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Gareth Fry, Let the Right One In John Gromada, Lives of the Saints Matt Tierney, Our Lady of Kibeho Outstanding Solo Performance Christina Bianco, Application Pending Jonny Donahoe, Every Brilliant Thing Tom Dugan, Wiesenthal Mona Golabek, The Pianist of Willesden Lane Joely Richardson, The Belle of Amherst Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion Unique Theatrical Experience Catch Me! Everybody Gets Cake The Human Symphony Queen of the Night A Rap Guide to Religion Special Awards: Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theatre.   For 2014-15, these awards are: This year the nominators chose to bestow a special award for outstanding ensemble to the actors who so brilliantly shared a room in the world of A. R. Gurney’s The Wayside Motor Inn: Kelly AuCoin, Jon DeVries, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Rebecca Henderson, Marc Kudisch, Jenn Lyon, Lizbeth Mackay, David McElwee, Ismenia Mendes, and Will Pullen. To Bess Wohl, the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award: For establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater, and having a breakthrough year with the eclecticAmerican Hero, Pretty Filthy, and Small Mouth Sounds. Her writing expresses sensitivity, compassion, and humor with a sure hand. To John Douglas Thompson: For invigorating theater in New York through his commanding presence, classical expertise, and vocal prowess.  This season he demonstrated exceptional versatility in Tamburlaine the Great, and The Iceman Cometh. To Ensemble Studio Theatre: For its unwavering commitment to producing new works by American playwrights since 1968, and enriching this season with productions of When January Feels Like Summer, Winners, and Five Times in One Night. EST’s Youngblood program fostered and nurtured Hand to God, setting Tyrone off on his devilish path to Broadway.              To Andy Blankenbuehler: For his inspired and heart-stopping choreography in Hamilton, which is indispensible to the musical’s storytelling. His body of work is versatile, yet a dynamic and fluid style is consistently evident. When it’s time to “take his shot,” Blankenbuehler hits the bull’s-eye.   Note: Eligibility and award category designations for the productions under consideration this season were determined by the Drama Desk Board of Directors. Because of the abundance of work throughout the season, the Board also authorized increasing the number of nominees allowed in select categories.   Hand to God was considered in the 2011/2012 season in its first production at Ensemble Studio Theatre. New elements were considered in the MCC production in the 2013/2014 season. There were no new elements in the Broadway transfer.   Fun Home was considered in its run at the Public Theatre in the 2013/2014 season. It received nominations for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical, Outstanding Music, Outstanding Lyrics and Outstanding Book of a Musical.   Disgraced was considered in its Off-Broadway premiere at Lincoln Center in the 2012/2013 season, and only new actors and technical staff were eligible in the Broadway transfer.   The 39 Steps was considered in its initial Broadway production in the 2007/2008 season and won for Unique Theatrical Experience.   Nominations by Numbers   13        Hamilton 12        An American in Paris 9          Something Rotten! 7          The Visit 6          The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 5          Honeymoon in Vegas 5          Side Show 5          Wolf Hall 4          Deliverance 4          Fly by Night 4          The Last Ship 4          Let the Right One In 4          On the 20th Century 4          You Got Older 2          Airline Highway 3          Between Riverside/Crazy 3          The City of Conversation 3          It Shoulda Been You 3          On the Town 3          Our Lady of Kibeho 2          Allegro 2          The Audience 2          The Elephant Man 2          Fashions for Men 2          The Fatal Weakness 2          Finding Neverland 2          The Fortress of Solitude 2          Found 2          The Iceman Cometh 2          The King and I 2          The Lion 2          My Mañana Comes 2          Pretty Filthy 2          Tamburlaine the Great 2          The Wayside Motor Inn 2          You Can’t Take It With You 1          Application Pending 1          Atomic 1          The Belle of Amherst 1          Big Love 1          Catch Me! 1          Donagoo 1          Everybody Gets Cake 1          Every Brilliant Thing 1          Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging! 1          Generations 1          Ghost Quartet 1          Ghosts 1          Gigi 1          I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard 1          The Human Symphony 1          Into the Woods 1          It’s Only a Play 1          John & Jen 1          Just Jim Dale 1          Lennon: Through a Glass Onion 1          Lonesome Traveler 1          Kill Me Like You Mean It 1          Lives of the Saints 1          An Octoroon 1          The Other Mozart 1          Pageant 1          The Pianist of Willesden Lane 1          The Pigeoning 1          Pocatello 1          Queen of the Night 1          The Rap Guide to Religion 1          Rasheeda Speaking 1          Rocket to the Moon 1          Rococo Rouge 1          Skylight 1          Sticks and Bones 1          To the Bone 1          The Village Bike 1          A Walk in the Woods 1          Wiesenthal  

Jessie Mueller a Former Drama Desk Winners(and Tony winners, too) looked lovely and elegant in complementary shades of blue.(see picture below). And Mueller, looking every each the poised and coiffed star that she has become, enthused, “It’s so exciting sitting in the audience instead of being on stage and seeing all these wonderful plays and musicals. Each one so different from the others. It’s thrilling. I love it!”

 Jessie & Judith

Outer Critics Circle Announce Nominations for Bway/Off-Bway

65th Annual Awards

Outer Critics Circle Announce

2014-15 Season Nominees

 

Something Rotten!

Heads the List with 12 Nominations!

Followed by

9 for “On the Twentieth Century,”

8 for “An American in Paris” & 7 for “Wolf Hall”

 

The First Broadway/Off-Broadway Award Nominees of the Season!

 

 

Outer Critics Circle, the organization of writers and commentators covering New York theater for out-of-town newspapers, national publications and other media beyond Broadway, announced today (April 20, 2015) its nominees for the 2014-15 season in 24 categories. Broadway stars Raúl Esparza and Katie Finneran presided over the (11AM) announcement ceremony at Manhattan’s Friars Club.

 

Celebrating its 65th season of bestowing awards of excellence in the field of theater, the Outer Critics Circle is an association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television stations, and theatre publications in America and abroad. The winners will be announced on Monday, May 11th. The annual Gala Awards Dinner and presentation of awards to the winners will be held on Thursday, May 21st (4PM) at the legendary Sardi’s Restaurant.

 

 

 

Outer Critics Circle

2014-2015 Award Nominations

 

 

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY

The Audience

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Wolf Hall

 

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL

An American in Paris

It Shoulda Been You

The Last Ship

Something Rotten!

The Visit

 

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY

Between Riverside and Crazy

The City of Conversation

The Nether

Rasheeda Speaking

The Village Bike

 

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL

A Christmas Memory

Disenchanted

The Fortress of Solitude

Hamilton

Lonesome Traveler

 

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Hamilton

It Shoulda Been You

The Last Ship

Something Rotten!

The Visit

 

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Hamilton

It Shoulda Been You

The Last Ship

Something Rotten!

The Visit

 

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

The Elephant Man

Fashions for Men

The Heidi Chronicles

Skylight

You Can’t Take It With You

 

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Into the Woods

The King and I

On the Town

On the Twentieth Century

Side Show

 

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

Stephen Daldry    The Audience

Marianne Elliott    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Scott Ellis   The Elephant Man

Scott Ellis    You Can’t Take It With You

Jeremy Herrin    Wolf Hall

 

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

Scott Ellis    On the Twentieth Century

Thomas Kail    Hamilton

Casey Nicholaw    Something Rotten!

David Hyde Pierce    It Shoulda Been You

Christopher Wheeldon    An American in Paris

 

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER

Joshua Bergasse   On the Town

Andy Blankenbuehler    Hamilton

Warren Carlyle    On the Twentieth Century

Casey Nicholaw    Something Rotten!

Christopher Wheeldon    An American in Paris

 

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

Bunny Christie    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Bob Crowley    An American in Paris

Scott Pask    Something Rotten!

David Rockwell    On the Twentieth Century

Michael Yeargan    The King and I

 

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

Gregg Barnes    Something Rotten!

Bob Crowley    The Audience

William Ivey Long    On the Twentieth Century

Christopher Orem    Wolf Hall

Catherine Zuber    The King and I

 

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN

(Play or Musical)
Paule Constable    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Jeff Croiter     Something Rotten!

Rick Fisher     The Audience

Natasha Katz     An American in Paris

Japhy Weideman    The Visit

 

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Reed Birney    I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard

Bradley Cooper    The Elephant Man

Stephen McKinley Henderson    Between Riverside and Crazy

Ben Miles    Wolf Hall

Alex Sharp    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

 

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Greta Gerwig     The Village Bike

Jan Maxwell    The City of Conversation

Helen Mirren    The Audience

Elisabeth Moss    The Heidi Chronicles

Tonya Pinkins    Rasheeda Speaking

 

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Christian Borle    Something Rotten!

Brian d’Arcy James    Something Rotten!

Robert Fairchild    An American in Paris

Peter Gallagher    On the Twentieth Century

Tony Yazbeck    On the Town

 

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Kristin Chenoweth    On the Twentieth Century

Leanne Cope    An American in Paris

Tyne Daly    It Shoulda Been You

Kelli O’Hara    The King and I

Chita Rivera    The Visit

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Paul Jesson     Wolf Hall

Richard McCabe   The Audience

Alessandro Nivola   The Elephant Man

Nathaniel Parker    Wolf Hall

Bryce Pinkham     The Heidi Chronicles

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Annaleigh Ashford   You Can’t Take It With You

Patricia Clarkson   The Elephant Man

Francesca Faridany   The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Julie Halston   You Can’t Take It With You

Lydia Leonard   Wolf Hall

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

John Cariani   Something Rotten!

Josh Grisetti   It Shoulda Been You

Andy Karl   On the Twentieth Century

Paul Alexander Nolan   Doctor Zhivago

Max von Essen   An American in Paris

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Heidi Blickenstaff   Something Rotten!

Victoria Clark   Gigi

Megan Fairchild   On the Town

Ruthie Ann Miles    The King and I  

Mary Louise Wilson   On the Twentieth Century

 

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE

Joe Assadourian     The Bullpen

Jim Dale    Just Jim Dale

Tom Dugan    Wiesenthal

Cush Jumbo    Josephine and I

Benjamin Scheuer    The Lion

 

JOHN GASSNER AWARD

(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)

Ayad Akhtar     The Invisible Hand

Halley Feiffer     I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard

Elizabeth Irwin     My Mañana Comes

Markus Potter     Stalking the Bogeyman

Benjamin Scheuer     The Lion

 

 

Nominations Talley for 3 or more:

 

Something Rotten! 12; On the Twentieth Century 9; An American in Paris 8; Wolf Hall 7; It Shoulda Been You

 6; The Audience 6; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 6; Hamilton 5; The Elephant Man 5; The King and I 5; The Visit 5; On The Town 4; You Can’t Take It With You 4; The Heidi Chronicles 3; The Last Ship 3

 

***Please note: Disgraced, Fun Home and Hand to God received nominations and or awards from Outer Critics Circle in previous seasons and therefore were not considered for this year.

 

 Wolf Hall 1

Spring is Finally Here! The Inn at 7 Central, Provincetown!

Spring has FINALLY arrived in NYC and after a long, hard winter and what can only be described as a late spring, why not check out my video visit to the Inn at 7 Central in Provincetown? Where it’s always summer! The day we shot this it was 88 degrees!

Of Two “New” French Musicals on Bway, “Gigi” Bubbles to the Top

Gigi 1Of the two “brand new” French musicals on Broadway, “Gigi” is by far my favorite of the two. If I had to pick. And I do. This being theater awards season and all.

I just loved “Gigi” more than I did “An American in Paris”. Both opening inexplicably within days of each other on the Great White Way. And both based on the Oscar-winning movie musicals, both set in Paris, both directed by the great Vincente Minnelli, and both films starring the ever-soignee Leslie Caron.

I was utterly captivated by this “new” “Gigi” now starring the tiny little Disney starlet perky Vanessa Hudgens. I was really ready to not like what this revival of “Gigi”, one of my favorite films of all time, portended. A French “High School Musical” which is Ms. Hudgens’ prior claim to fame.

But it completely captivated me.  Why? Well, it was almost like discovering a new Lerner and Loewe musical from when they were in their prime.

“Gigi” was based originally on a novella by the great French writer Collette, which was then turned into a play(without music) starring the young and then-unknown Audrey Hepburn. It was a hit in 1951 and launched Hepburn’s career..

Then Vincente Minnelli and Lerner and Loewe decided to musicalize it  this time as a movie, and voila! It won NINE Academy Awards including Best Picture, and was an international hit movie(as was “An American in Paris” also a superb film, but more on that later.)

THEN, in a little-known side-bar to American Musical Comedy history, it was made into a Broadway musical adding in more music in the early ’70s with Alfred Drake and Agnes Moorehead and it flopped. Taking with it some wonderful songs “Paris is Paris Again”. “A Toujours”, “I Never Want to Go Home Again” and more.

Not to be heard again, until now. This current “Gigi” has got a lot of very good things just right. It’s got a je ne sais quoi adaptation  by Heidi Thomas, who has captured the great elan this souffle MUST have. She has retained all the famous numbers, but er, re-arranged them all over the place.

Giving songs that were sung by Maurice Chevalier, for instance, “Thank Heavens for Little Girls” to the non-pareil Tony Winner Victoria Clark. Clark is having ANOTHER great Broadway moment as Mamita, the role made famous in the movie by legendary British comedianne Hermione Gingold. Clark, also scores with a solo that was formerly Gigi’s, “Say a Prayer.” Her role as Gigi’s gran-mere is emphasized here and her golden soprano used to perfection. This version of “Gigi” seems to be being told from the grandmother’s very sympathetic point of view.

Of course, you really have to squint in the  delightfully dark Belle Époque settings of Derek McLane ( atmospherically lit to perfection by Natasha Katz, who also has lit “An American in Paris”!) to see that “Gigi” is the story of a young girl being raised by her grandmother and aunt to be a high-class prostitute. The Disney-i-facation is apparent here, because it’s so subtle, so INFERRED. A tween Hudgens fan, might rightly assume the Gigi’s gran-mere is overly concerned with getting Gigi a very nice apartment.

Victoria Clark is mightily aided in this dramatic re-interpretation by the delicious Dee Hoty as Gigi’s Aunt Alicia, and Clark’s sister-in-crime. In fact, they BOTH sing “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” the first time we hear it. And we hear it a lot. It is to their vast credit that “Gigi” is as witty and insouciant this time around. The duo never cease to delight and surprise.

Keeping up the male end of things is the incredibly agile, incredibly young and incredibly short Gaston of Corey Cott. Ms. Hudgens, as I said, is quite tiny, too, so they seem made for each other. Playing a world-weary bon-vivant is a bit of a stretch for youngster Cott ( a 40-something Louis Jourdan played him so memorably in the movie), but Cott is just right here in joining in the joie de vivre of Mamita and Gigi as they (and then all of Paris) celebrate “The Night They Invented Champagne.”

Cott also hits a dramatic high-point, this time on a moonlit park bench, with the title song “Gigi.”

Far less successful is the unfortunate Howard McGillin, who has to fill Chevalier’s huge Gallic shoes. His & Mamita’s “Yes I Remember It Well” is sung with an umbrella in a rain shower. It was all wet. He seems to be apologizing for his performance every time he steps onstage.

But McLane’s setting, Katz’ ever-versatile lighting and Catherine Zuber’s exuberant costumes carry along youngsters Cott and Hudgens til, yes, we watch them grow up right before our eyes, as they become the stage stars they have to be to make this “Gigi” work. That’s not the original Collette’s plot, but it is enjoyable nonetheless.

I love Old Fashioned Book Musicals, with characters rather than concepts,and heavenly music that bubbles you out the door, and if you do, too, “Gigi” is the new-old musical for you.

Could “Wolf Hall Pts 1 & 2” Win All the Tonys???

Could the astoundingly popular British six-hour smash hit “Wolf Hall Pts. 1 & 2” win all the Tonys it’s sure to be nominated for in less than two weeks? It certainly could. It’s massive length, and its massive cast of nearly two dozen imported Royal Shakespearean actors is based on the equally massively successful and acclaimed novels by Dame Hilary Mantel.Wolf Hall 1 TONY 2015 1“Wolf Hall” and its’ successor “Bring In the Bodies” BOTH won the prestigious Mann Booker awards in Britain. And though you would think the six-hour long marathon length would daunt theater-goers, it was a success in Stratford-Upon-Avon, where it appropriately started, then in the West End, when it transferred, and now on Broadway,

Anglophiles seem to be coming out of the wood-work lapping it up as a day well-spent time-travelling to the uttterly corrupt court of King Henry VIII. It has already been adapted into a critically acclaimed hit by Mike Poulton at London’s Royal Shakespeare Company, and its current Broadway transfer has grossed almost $2 million in previews since March 20; it opened April 9. And the novels themselves have sold over three million copies world-wide

It’s also currently airing on PBS starring Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell, here the protagonist. With overwhelming stats like these, I think it’s going to get nominated for every Tony Award in the book. Including and especially  Best New Play, Best Actor (Ben Miles ~ Thomas Cromwell), Best Supporting Actress (Lydia Leonard ~ Anne Boleyn) and Best Supporting Actor (Nathaniel Parker ~ King Henry VIII) and you can throw in Best Director, and all the technical awards, too.

I wasn’t sure about this  TONY sweep happening, although all my critical colleagues were throwing their hats very high into the air with the best reviews of the season, until I saw a 90 minute Q&A at the New School’s auditorium in Greenwich Village.

Hosted by the jovial and expert Richard Ridge, Parker, Miles and Ms. Leonard utterly charmed and beguiled me, as they participated in this, one of the best symposiums I’ve ever attended. Hosted by SAG and Broadwayworld.com, the Tudor trio & Ridge created what was one of the most delightful afternoons chats I’ve ever been witness to.

Also invited were Drama Desk members, and all were thrilled by what they were hearing as Parker, Miles and Ms. Leonard regalled us with a totally complete picture of just how “Wolf Hall” transformed into  two stage plays from those very thick British novels.

And all three were unstinting in their generosity in their replies to Ridge’s apt questions. They were three actors talking from their hearts to an audience full of actors(The Screen Actors Guild) and they couldn’t’ve been more charming, intelligent, completely forthcoming and utterly winning.

Ben Miles, Lydia Leonard and Nathaniel Parker may have arrived here as virtual strangers on our shores, but they are going to leave nominated for every acting award they’ll be eligible for. The Drama Desk and the Tonys all announce their choices within the next two weeks. I can’t wait!

Classic Cape Cod Restaurant “The Lobster Pot”!

A video visit to the Classic Cape Cod restaurant “The Lobster Pot” now in its’ 47th year, with a guided tour by the owner/manager Shawn McNulty. You won’t be able to watch this without getting REALLY hungry! Camera ~ Jack Siberine Editing~ Kevin Teller

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