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Archive for May, 2016

Dreamy, Hypnotic, Superlative!Original Cast CD of “Bright Star” Is All That and More!

Bright Star 1Carmen Cusack2Four Stars!+++ This year’s Outer Critics Circle winner of Best Musical “Bright Star” now has its’ Original Cast CD available and it’s a beauty!Dreamy, hypnotic, superlative, this gem of a recording captures everything that is great and swoon-worthy about this stupendous, original show. Music and lyrics by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, who are now my favorite Bway duo. And their great leading lady, Carmen Cusack’s magnificent voice wails, swoops and soars into Bway history as she makes her astounding Bway  debut.

Country and Western, too, since “Bright Star” is first and last a bluegrass musical. I have to admit to not being a fan of this well-worn genre, but now I am! That’s how transportative the music of “Bright Star” is! And if you’re already a country and western afficionado, well, “Bright Star” will be right up your Nashville alley!

The story of a young woman in the earlier part of the last century living in the rural South and trying to find herself, and love, in a society that can only be called repressive, I am so glad to report that “Bright Star”s trills and thrills have all been carefully and lovingly recorded for posterity, and you’ll be able to listen to its’ musical joys over and over again. As I’m doing right now.

It’s the soundtrack of a life and starts with the killer “If You Knew My Story” which introduces the full throated Ms. Cusack right at the top of the show, wailing in her husky, mesmeric contralto and leaning against the porch post of her A-frame shack that’s about to spin her and us into Musical Comedy history.Bright Star 3

The level of achievement of all involved is so high, it’s breath-taking. I cried my way through the first act the last time I saw it, and I can’t help listening to Carmen Cusack’s  rueful, country wail without thinking of the tragedy that awaits her stalwart, brave character.

And did I mention that Steve Martin and Edie Brickell Bright Star 2wrote this wonderful, catchy, plaintive music that never veres far from the banjo Martin is so proud of playing at the drop of a hat. “Bright Star” justifies this mystifying transition of his. From stand up comic to great Bway composer. I want to go out and buy all their CDs  now. I’m a fan. And “Bright Star” Original Cast will make you a fan, too.

Carmen Cusack is not alone in her musical whirl. Paul Alexander Logan and A.J.Shively also shine as the young men in her life, and all sing like there’s no tomorrow.

“Way Back in the Day”, “Bright Star”, “The Sun Is Gonna Shine Again”, “I Am Blinded” and “At Last” all soar and are so darn catchy, you’ll be humming all of them in your head til the cows come home. And this is from a critic who was born and raised in the Bronx!

# Bright Star CD

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“Tuck Everlasting” Closed Today.

Tuck Everlasting 2Much to my great surprise, in that its’ closing was not hyped per usual, “Tuck Everlasting” closed today. Hard on the heels of the announcement of “American Psycho”s going down the Bway drain. I imagine that both shows closing so precipitously lost all their investments which would add up to millions, though I don’t have the figures in front of me.

“Tuck” was so bad I didn’t even review it. I have a limit to which I can spend two hours plus of my valuable time, trying to describe just what is bad about a bad show. “Tuck” was one of those shows. I’m trying to record all my responses to the bad ones, and there were plenty this season, on Twitter. I can manage two sentences, but two hours is just too much. Especially when there are so many shows that are exemplary and worth the time and the hype. My twitter handle btw is @haveafabulous. That’s the tag line I’ve been using as my sign-off for the past 28 years on my TV show. Which, if you’ve never seen it, is a web-series now on Youtube at www. youtube.com/StephenHoltShow.

I did think I tweeted “Tuck-Will it even last til the Tonys?” And no, it didn’t.

Here’s a link to a fuller recounting, but notice, like for “American Psycho” no figures are included.

http://www.playbill.com/article/broadway-musical-tuck-everlasting-closes-today

“Bright Star” & “The Humans” Times Two!

Bright Star 1Seeing “Bright Star” for the second time this past Saturday  was just astounding! I was shocked that I found myself crying through the appropriate sections of the hyper-emotional first act! I was totally wiped out, and was shocked that I responded that intensely. But WHAT an experience!

Seeing a show for the second time, especially one that you liked as much as I did “Bright Star”, is always a slightly scary proposition. Will it hold up? Will you still like it as much as you did the first time? Well, I liked “Bright Star” MORE. I didn’t think it was possible, but I did. And I can’t WAIT until the Original Cast Soundtrack comes out this week! Can’t WAIT!

Carmen Cusack in the title role just continued to astound and astonish. From the first notes of her opening number “If You Knew My Story”, I was just swept away. And never came back til the intermission! The story of a young, bright girl in the rural South of the 1920s, who has the heart as big as all the world is tragic and frightening as it unfolds, as “Bright Star”s emotional roller-coaster continues to flatten you, lift you up,lurch you this way and that, and ends with the powerful image of a suitcase/satchel being thrown off the train and into the night. You’ve GOT to see it!

And “The Humans!” I was so lucky as a Voting Member of the Drama Desk to get to see it also for a second time yesterday and it, too, seems to have grown. That’s the beauty of live theater. It’s alive! And can grow and change and flower in the most astonishing ways..

“The Humans” with its’ visually dead, almost sinister, mundane duplex set of the heroine’s apartment in Chinatown, seemed darker, more foreboding, which only adds to its’ impact.

The resplendent Jayne Howdyshell and the terrific Reed Birney as the mother and father of the attendant Irish Catholic clan continue on their march into Awards Season history, and I can’t wait to see the results. “The Humans” has also grown into a kind of phenomenon, as it, too, has taken the lead in the “Best Play of the Year” sweepstakes. I thought it was a battle between “The Humans” and “Eclipsed” but now I think it’s “The Humans” to lose.

When theater pieces are as good as “Bright Star” and “The Humans” you really CAN’T see them enough! I can’t wait to encounter both of them, again!

“Bright Star” Wins Best Muscial & Best Music from Outer Critics Circle!

Bright Star 1This morning, I’m happy to say, my fave of faves “Bright Star” won Best Musical and Best Music for its’ composers, and Broadway first times, too. Steve Martin and Edie Bricknell.

And Here’s the rest of them! Hot off the presses!

66th Annual Awards

Outer Critics Circle

Announce

2015-16 Award Winners!

“She Loves Me” Tops list with 4 Awards

Followed by

“Long Day’s Journey into Night” with 3 Awards! 

——————————————————————————————————–

New York, NY  (May 9, 2016) Outer Critics Circle, the organization of writers and commentators for media covering New York theatre announced today its award winners for the 2015-16 season in 25 categories.

 

Celebrating its 66th season of bestowing awards of excellence in the field of theatre, the Outer Critics Circle, is an association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, web sites, radio and television stations, and theatre publications in America and abroad.

 

 

Outer Critics Circle

2015-2016 Award Winners

 

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY

The Humans

 

 

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL

 Bright Star

 

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY

 The Christians

 

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL

 Dear Evan Hansen

 

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

 Dear Evan Hansen

OutstANDING NEW SCORE

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

 Bright Star

 

 

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

She Loves Me

 

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

 

* Ivo van Hove     A View From the Bridge

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

* Michael Arden     Spring Awakening

 

 

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER

Sergio Trujillo     On Your Feet!

 

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

 David Rockwell     She Loves Me

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

 

Jeff Mahshie     She Loves Me

 

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN

(Play or Musical)
Justin Townsend     American Psycho the Musical

 

OUTSTANDING PROJECTION DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

 Finn Ross     American Psycho the Musical

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY

* Frank Langella     The Father

 

 

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

 

* Jessica Lange     Long Day’s Journey

 

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Alex Brightman     School of Rock the Musical

* Danny Burstein     Fiddler on the Roof

Robert Creighton     Cagney

Ben Platt     Dear Evan Hansen

Benjamin Walker     American Psycho the Musical

 

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

 Cynthia Erivo     The Color Purple the Musical

 

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

 

* Michael Shannon     Long Day’s Journey Into Night

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY (TIE VOTE!)

* Pascal  Armand Eclipsed &Judith Light     Thérèse Raquin

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

 

* Christopher Fitzgerald     Waitress

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

 

* Jane Krakowski     She Loves Me  

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE

 

 

* James Lecesne     The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey

 

JOHN GASSNER AWARD

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

 

* Marco Ramirez     The Royale

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

James Houghton     Signature Theatre Company

 

Winners Talley for 3 or more:

She Loves Me – 4; Long Day’s Journey Into Night – 3;

 

***Please note: The musical “Hamilton” was nominated for and won in several award categories for its Off-Broadway production last season.  The previous Off-Broadway productions of “Disaster” and “Blackbird” were considered for nominations by the Outer Critics Circle and therefore were not reconsidered for this year.  Only new cast members’ performances in these productions were taken into account for recognition in the 2015-16 season.  Due to OCC’s nomination deadline, the producers of the new Broadway musical “Shuffle Along,” asked to be considered with next season’s entries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TONY Nominations Out! “Hamilton” Breaks Record! “Bright Star” Gets 5!!!

Nominations for the 2016 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards®
Presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing

 


Best Play

Eclipsed

Author: Danai Gurira

The Father

Author: Florian Zeller

The Humans

Author: Stephen Karam

King Charles III

Author: Mike Bartlett

Best Musical

Bright Star

 

Hamilton

 

School of Rock—The Musical

 

Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

 

Waitress

Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

 

Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

 

Blackbird

 

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

NOISES OFF

 


Best Revival of a Musical

The Color Purple

Fiddler on the Roof

She Loves Me

Spring Awakening


Best Book of a Musical

Bright Star

Steve Martin

Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda

School of Rock—The Musical

Julian Fellowes

Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

George C. Wolfe

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

Bright Star

Music: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Lyrics: Edie Brickell

Hamilton

Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda

School of Rock—The Musical

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Glenn Slater

Waitress

Music & Lyrics: Sara Bareilles


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Frank Langella, The Father
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
Mark Strong, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Laurie Metcalf, Misery
Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed
Sophie Okonedo, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Michelle Williams, Blackbird


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Alex Brightman, School of Rock—The Musical
Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton


Bright Star 3Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in aBright Star 1

 

 

Musical

Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Jessie Mueller, Waitress
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Reed Birney, The Humans
Bill Camp, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
David Furr, Noises Off
Richard Goulding, King Charles III
Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Pascale Armand, Eclipsed
Megan Hilty, Noises Off
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Andrea Martin, Noises Off
Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton
Christopher Jackson, Hamilton


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed


Best Scenic Design of a Play

Beowulf Boritt, Thérèse Raquin
Christopher Oram, Hughie
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
David Zinn, The Humans

 

 

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Es Devlin & Finn Ross, American Psycho
David Korins, Hamilton
Santo Loquasto, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
David Rockwell, She Loves Me


Best Costume Design of a Play

Jane Greenwood, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Michael Krass, Noises Off
Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
Tom Scutt, King Charles III


Best Costume Design of a Musical

Gregg Barnes, Tuck Everlasting
Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me
Ann Roth, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Paul Tazewell, Hamilton


Best Lighting Design of a Play

Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Justin Townsend, The Humans
Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge


Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Howell Binkley, Hamilton
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening
Justin Townsend, American Psycho

 

Best Direction of a Play

Rupert Goold, King Charles III
Jonathan Kent, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Joe Mantello, The Humans
Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed
Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Direction of a Musical

Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
John Doyle, The Color Purple
Scott Ellis, She Loves Me
Thomas Kail, Hamilton
George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

 

Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
Savion Glover, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof
Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea
Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan


Best Orchestrations

August Eriksmoen, Bright Star
Larry Hochman, She Loves Me
Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
Daryl Waters, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

 

* * *

 

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

 

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

Sheldon Harnick

Marshall W. Mason

 

Special Tony Award

National Endowment for the Arts

Miles Wilkin

 

Regional Theatre Tony Award

Paper Mill Playhouse

Millburn, NJ

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Brian Stokes Mitchell

 

 

 

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre

Seth Gelblum

Joan Lader

Sally Ann Parsons

 

* * *

 

Tony Nominations by Production

Hamilton – 16

Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed – 10

She Loves Me – 8

Long Day’s Journey Into Night – 7

Eclipsed – 6

The Humans – 6

Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge – 5

Bright Star – 5

King Charles III – 5

Noises Off – 5

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible – 4

The Color Purple – 4

School of RockThe Musical – 4

Waitress – 4

Blackbird – 3

Fiddler on the Roof – 3

Spring Awakening – 3

American Psycho – 2

The Father – 2

Dames at Sea – 1

Disaster! – 1

Hughie – 1

Misery – 1

On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan – 1

Thérèse Raquin – 1

Tuck Everlasting – 1

 
#TonyAwards
www.TonyAwards.com

 

Bright Star 5

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