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Tonys ~ After The Ball Is Over

Alex Sharp Wins TonyWell, it was sweet and bitter, too. But that last half hour of the Tonys packed an emotional wallop, the likes of which, I’m struggling to remember. It was VERY dramatic. But then that’s what the the-a-ter is all about, isn’t it?

I didn’t expect Josh Groban, one of my favorite of today’s singers, to wipe me out so totally as he did with his historic and heartfelt rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” then it was two moving speeches from two winners I had predicted Producer Andre Bishop of “The King and I” and Alex Sharp for “Curious Case of the Dog in the Night Time.”

Alex Sharp aced it again tonight and lived up to his name. He WAS Sharp. And not missing a beat. They cast him in this while he was still in school at Julliard or as he put it “someone without a resume.”

A favorite moment was watching Bradley Cooper’s face when Sharp won. He was squirming,trying not to look upset But he WAS! He, and fellow nominees and cast-members of “The Elephant Man” Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola, all flew over from London, where it’s a hit, to come in to the Tonys and LOSE big time. But I still say it would have won a lot more if it was still running.It won nothing! And it was a very good production. Clarkson and Nivola, meanwhile, looked happy just to be there.

The Tonys tonight all seemed to go to people and shows that were actually STILL RUNNING ONSTAGE. Note to Producers of shows like “The Elephant Man” ~ Keep your hit show on the boards through Tony Time!

And then came the shock of “Fun Home,” which is a break-through Lesbian musical, winning four awards1 I thought it would split with “An American in Paris” and win Best Book for Lisa Kron (yay!) and Best Music and Lyrics for the first female composing/writing team to ever win a Tony. Yes, I predicted all that. And amidst all the British-ness this year, “Fun Home” is an all-American show.

But NO ONE expected Michael Cerveris to win Best Actor in a Musical. And then for “Fun Home” to win Best Musical! Well, it really needed it. “An American in Paris” which I thought would win, was, I guess, seen by Tony Voters as a show that didn’t need it.It’s making millions at the Box-Office, and “Fun Home” is in the tiny-ish(by comparison), round Circle-In-the-Square.

And “Fun Home” which is SO gay, out, loud and proud,  it really DID need the Award. And all the other awards it won tonight,, too, including Best Director of a Musical, Sam Gold. To keep running and reaching that elusive WIDER audience. So YAY for Team “FUN”!

I bet they’re all having fun tonight!

And that PARADE of producers going up to the stage to accept the award for “Fun” was ENDLESS! It kept going and going and they kept coming and coming. I heard the main producer say something like “Wait! There’s more!”

Tony Predictions 2015. “American in Paris”& “Curious Case…”Will Sweep

Elephant ManMirren AudienceTony 2015And the Tony(s) will go to….Most likely,to the most liked “An American in Paris” the tony (pun intended)  re-imagining of the great Gene Kelly/Leslie Caron cinematic starrer of 1951,directed by Vincente Minnelli, it won the Best Picture Oscar & many  others and I think this million-dollar box-office bonanza for Broadway will make Tony voters vote for it. And I think it’s got legs.

It will sweep its’  Best Actor in a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Robert Fairchild and Max Von Essen in, too. As well as Best Director of a Musical and Best Choreographer. Christopher Wheeldon has brought ballet to Broadway in a way that I can’t really remember. And Fairchild has a growing well of buzz about him. Doing the seemingly impossible and making you forget Gene Kelly in the same part, if only for a moment. When he won the Drama Desk Award earlier this week, in this same category, he thanked Gene Kelly, which I thought was a nice, classy touch.

The fact that Fairchild is a ballet dancer who has suddenly turned into a Broadway triple threat here, singing and acting, too, well, it’s catnip to the Tony voters. It doesn’t hurt that his beautiful ballerina sister Megan Fairchild is kicking up her talented heels as the leading lady Miss Turnstiles in “On the Town” a few blocks south on Broadway, too.

Broadway stalwarts Michael Cerveris in “Fun Home” and Brian D’Arcy James in “Something Rotten” will likely be seen as having other chances. And who can believe the full-throated, full-throttle D’Arcy James as an Elizabethan LOSER? But I think he’ll lose here. And I think “Something Rotten”( to the core) will be just too low-brow for the middle-brow Tony Voters. And Fairchild is the astonishment of the season.

The Drama Desk gave “Rotten” only one award for Christian Borle in Featured Actor. And he was very good, perhaps the best thing in “Rotten” as a rock-star Shakespeare. But Borle has already won a Tony (for “Peter and the Starcatcher” a few years back), leaving the excellent Frenchie, Max Von Essen, who isn’t French, to build his own Stairway to Paradise in that category.

Best Actress in a Play and Musical are slam-dunks for Dame Helen Mirren for “The Audience” and the very popular Kristen Chenoweth for over-exerting herself to the max in “On the 20th Century.”

Best Play will be British import “Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time” which will sweep all its’ many nominated categories Best Play, Best Direction of a Play. Best Lighting, Best Sound Design, Best Dog…(sorry, I REALLY didn’t like this dogs’ lunch myself. It gave me a headache. But that’s the sign of a true predictor. You can see what’s going to inevitably win and predict what you see, even if it made you feel like taking a Xanax, desperately…)

“Fun Home” may get Best Music and Best Book of a Musical for Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, respectively. “An American in Paris” is re-cycling mucho Gerswhin, so is not nominated in the Best Music category, which maintains that the music be original. And nobody liked Craig Lucas’ book for “American” and everybody likes Lisa Kron’s inventive work for “Fun Home.”

Best Revival of a Play I think will be the lush, opulent, but just right, re-interpretation of “The Elephant Man.” Now wowing the West End in London, it also featured sublime support from Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola as well as a dazzling star turn from Bradley Cooper in the title-role.It seems incredible that recent Julliard grad Alex Sharp is going to beat Superstar Bradley Cooper in the Best Actor in a Play race, but he’s won every other award in sight this season for “Curious Case…” Timing is everything on Broadway, and I think that if the sold-out hit “Elephant Man” was still running HERE, Bradley Cooper would’ve won for his tortured portrayal of John Merrick.

There seems to a groundswell that surrounds certain performers as Tony draws nigh(tomorrow night on CBS) and I feel that with Chenoweth, Sharp,  Fairchild, and Mirren.

I also feel that buzz surrounding Annaleigh Ashford for her dreadfully over-done, bad ballet dancer in “You Can’t Take It With You.” Supporting or as they like to say on Broadway Featured actor categories are always tricky to predict. But Ashford seems to have the momentum, inexplicably. to me, at least.

And Best Revival of a Musical is most likely going to be “The King and I”  at Lincoln Center. Well-done and sturdy, it lacks the two leading performances the over-rated and over-cast Kelli O’Hara and the barely understandable Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, playing the King of Siam. But everybody and everything else in it is quite well done.

This means my faves “On the Town” and “Gigi” will come away empty-handed. And so I think, will “Something Rotten” and “Hand to God.” But “Wolf Hall, Pts. 1 & 2” may land its’ solitary Tony win by gaining Henry VIII’s NathaAn American in Paris 1Wolf Hall 1niel Parker a nice, silver trophy to take back to Blighty, when the six-hour two part marathon of the season finishes its’ limited run the first week of July.

So tune in tomorrow night at 8pm to CBS to see how right or wrong I was.

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





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.


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

Weinstein’s “Sin City” Controversial Poster Of Eva Green

There’s MUCH more to this just released poster of the Weinstein’s upcoming “Sin City”, but decency forfends. Just go to Thompson on Hollywood at Indiewire for the full effect. This new film noir Is sub-titled “A Dame To Kill For” and opens Aug.22.

The great Anne Thompson thinks it’s a ploy to stir up the conservative MPAA which rates movies. And I think she’s right. Harvey strikes again!


Early Oscar Predictions! Anthony Del Col & Stephen Holt

The latest Oscar news! Canadian Kulture Vulture of Rogers TV, the ultra-sharp Anthony Del Col, the co-creator of “Kill Shakespeare,” was in town for Comic Con ’12 and we got to talking about “Argo,” “The Master,””Les Misearbles,” the mysterious Snuggles4 at www.goldderby.com and many other Oscar dillys, dallys & doozies!! Enjoy!

Batman Opens. I stay home.

“The Dark Knight Rises” is opening to the general public in a matter of minutes. The midnight screenings in IMAX are going for $100 a pop. So says the Wall Street Journal. I could care less. I’m glad that people EN MASSE can still get so excited over a movie. But I’m just shrugging it off…

Anyway, I couldn’t get in if I wanted to this weekend it seems it’s TOTALLY sold out!

I can wait.

I didn’t like “The Dark Knight” particularly either. Though of course, the screen just ignited whenever Heath Ledger’s The Joker appeared, and posthumously, he totally deserved his Oscar. Sad. And Frightening.

The only reason I’d want to see this film is Anne Hathaway’s Cat Woman. Oh, and Marion Cotillard’s Miranda Tate, who seems to be Batman’s wife in this.

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone raved about the two women’s performances, but as I looked over all the Top Critic reviews I could stand on Rotten Tomatoes, NOBODY mentions Annie or Maid Marion except to say they’re THERE.That’s not good for Oscar.

The only one whose buzzing about them is Sasha. Still, there’s “Les Miz” where that TRAILER! That trailer for “Les Miserables” with Annie singing “I Dreamed a Dream” just hits it out of the ballpark! And if Catwoman isn’t an Oscar-ish role, the doomed Fantine in “Les Miz” IS. So Catwoman and the mega-hype and the mega-millions that “The Dark Knight Rises” is going to inevitably make is not going to hurt her Oscar chances, but I don’t think ANYbody in TDKR is going to get Acting Nods for this one. Just based on how the major critics are reacting.

Rex Reed’s review was so negative I couldn’t bare to read it. And of course, there’s the whole Marshall Fine~Death Threats scandal that forced Rotten Tomatoes to close down its’ comments section on TDKR. I am NOT going to go any further into THAT brouhaha, but you can read what Sasha has to say about it at http://www.awardsdaily.com.

I don’t think Marshall Fine will ever be FIRST with a negative review of ANYthing ever again. Oscar Grouch Jeffrey Wells loved it sez Sasha, but again, he, even if it loves something, he spoils it rotten in his reviews, so I guess since I AM going to see this film eventually, I’m just staying away from what everyone has to say as much as one possibly can in this Bat Blitz were going through. Just read the headline captions of the Top Critics at http://www.rottentomatoes.com That tells you everything you need to know, without spoilage.

Me? I wasn’t even INVITED to see it! I did see TDK in IMAX at at press screening, and thought it was too dark and TOOOOO long. But there was wonderful Heath giving a performance for the centuries…

It was like he was having a nervous breakdown and Christopher Nolan(the director) just recorded it. It’s like the camera was pressing him to madness. Or was he just going mad anyway? Poor Heath…

I guess the question is will the Academy having snubbed TDK, which caused SUCH a furor back in the day, will they nominate it NOW? Now that it’s the last one, and it’s finished? Maybe….

They’re NOT nominating it several years back for Best Picture is what caused the Academy to change that category to Ten. Then change it again.

Will they try to make amends now? Well, the overall favorable reviews indicate they just might.

Me? I’ll wait til the stampede of the crowds is over.

This also begs the question ~ Will the Academy FINALLY nominate Christopher Nolan? He’s been snubbed, notoriously, over and over and over again. With only five Best Director slots, will he get in or remain in the Comic Book Ghetto for several years more? Until he does something AWAY from Batman? The fact that the actors and actresses are not being praised(except for Sasha) then I don’t think it will win Best Picture, no matter if it surpasses “The Avengers” which was just total crap-ola.

And “Spiderman”? It’s like it didn’t even open…

And the weather in NYC was back in the heavenly 70s for a most welcome change! It’s been over 100 one way or the other for what seems like a month!

Oscar & Rooney Mara’s “Dragon” grrrl ~ Inevitability or a Near Miss?

So, now it’s out there FINALLY, for all the world to see. But is David Fincher’s version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” a day late and a dollar short? It’s ridiculously late in the season opening and the oppressive(to some journalists, like Jeff Wells www.hollywood-elsewhere.com and David Denby of the New Yorker) EMBARGO of reviews may have left everything too late this year for this terrific thriller-diller to make the gigantic awards impact it perhaps would’ve had otherwise. And box-office? Well, the jury’s still out on this one. But by  Monday, we’ll know. Or rather, we’ll know MORE.

But we do know this. It’s a damn shame that Rooney Mara’s magnficicent avenging angel portrayal of Lisbeth Salander may not get the awards recognititon, she, at least, thoroughly deserves for her transformative work in this her starring debut in a studio feature film.

The Feel-Bad Movie for Christmas, it was initially advertised as, in an early trailer, and now it’s Christmas and I, unexpectedly, feel badly for Rooney Mara. THAT’s how startlingly good she is in this. She just darkly dazzles you. You can’t forget her, and the film dies a little when she’s not on.

But then the Swedish films all felt that way, too.And Noomi Rapace as Salander was beyond brilliant.

Likewise, you FEEL for this great character and Mara’s great portrayal. You WANT her to make things right. You want her to save the day. And of course, she, like all great Operatic heroines(I keep comparing her to Brunnhilde) does exactly that. I wouldn’t’ve been surprised at hearing a Hoya-Ta-Ho!

This pint-sized Swedish Valkryie saves Mikael Blomkvist’s ass many, many times in this suspenseful thriller, and Mara’s creating her own Best Actress suspense, too.

The question is ~ Will she be nominated or won’ t she? She certainly DESERVES to be. Her performance is that good, that overwhelming an achievement.I’m awe-struck and performances this monumentous are hard for the Academy to ignore. Especially in the Best Actress category where this seldom happens. Attention. Must. Be. Paid.

And degree of difficulty? I mean, all those piercings?!?! And having to bleach her eyebrows, learn karate and how to ride a motorcycle and speak with a Swedish accent?!? And oh, yes, all those tattoos! Dragon and otherwise.

The tattoos, however, are just THERE. They are not dwelt on. They’re just part of who she is. What she looks like. And oh yes, she likes girls. She USUALLY sleeps with them…

You see, the Best Actress race is considered locked and loaded with five powerful performances that have been kudo-thumped nearly all season. Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”, Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs”, Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn” Viola Davis in “The Help” and to that Oscar lock-box has been added just this week Tilda Swinton in “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin.” SOMEbody has to go to make Room for Rooney? But who?

Frankly, I could do without Meryl Streep’s obnoxious “Iron Lady,” a weak movie, about an arch-conservative monster of a woman, who eventually ends up demented with Alzheimer’s, but y’know what? I found the portrayal so accurately LOATHSOME I felt like Thatcher deserved what she was getting. I lived in England during her “reign” and it was awful what she did to that country. See “Billy Elliot” on Bway or the movie, to relive the miner’s strike for one small example. And no, I couldn’t separate Thatcher’s politics from Streep’s portrayal. And I’m hearing that the left wing Academy can’t either. Technically brilliant though her performance may be. Streep has Thatcher down to a “T”. So much so it seems like an impersonation rather than a performance.

It would be a GREAT shock if she didn’t get nominated and Rooney Mara did. But the Mara has the debut-ingenue factor on her side. The Academy has famously nominated and sometimes even rewarded spectacular debuts, which Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander is…This is certainly a bravura performance. She carries on her thin, tiny shoulders this three-hour behemoth of a thrilling blockbuster. No. Mean. Feat.

Oh, and she’s naked, too. And gets raped. Anally. That rape is something I can’t get out of my mind. And as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone www.awardsdaily.com

always points out, the Academy’s overwhelmingly male voters LOVE to nominate the cute, young NAKED girl. This could also apply this year to Michelle Williams’ magnificent Marilyn Monroe.

Her Marilyn is lovely, lost, beauty personified. And Rooney’s Lisbeth is spikey, frightening. But then Meryl is frightening, too. As Thatcher was.

And Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs” is FRIGHTENED. She’s a woman, posing as a man, in 19th century Dublin, and she scared to death that she is going to be  found out. And her performance is necessarily inward. Close has lowered her voice several octaves and she moves and sounds like a man. A scared rabbit of a man. Timorous. Self-effacing. Albert Nobbs doesn’t want anybody to look at him/her too closely, lest they notice that he doesn’t have an Adam’s Apple or any trace of a beard. I found it an incredible portrayal, but people are freaked out by the movie itself.

Which simply is the story of a transgendered person. Hillary Swank WON an Oscar for “Boy’s Don’t Cry” playing another trans-female-to-male. But for some reason, “Albert Nobbs” for all its’ 19th century setting, is confusing people even more. Not the critics. The critics are RAVING. And Close has been nominated for a Golden Globe and a SAG award.

Also, Close, as observed previously, has been nominated FIVE times before and “Albert Nobbs” would be her sixth and she’s NEVER won. She’s got a great bank of unpaid affection stored at the Academy, and they could pay her back with a career nod for “Nobbs”. Or is she going to be the one to be bumped by Rooney Mara’s bi-sexual bopper?

And then there’s Tilda. Tilda, Tilda, Tilda, who is in the unique position, like Close, of having had to become a PRODUCER to get the projects she wants to appear in on to the screen. And “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin” is a film that was so disturbing, so devisive, I NEVER thought Tilda would be back in this race. I thought it would be TOO MUCH.

But her protrayal of a mother who wishes she never had given birth to the monster child, Kevin, who, as a teenager becomes a school shooter, and in the process, dooms his mother, particulary, to a living hell, is beyond a doubt the pinnacle of Swinton’s already stunning career as an actress.

And ironically, it’s super-publicist and Oscar strategist extraordinaire, Cynthia Swartz, who is helping this tiny indie from Oscilloscope Studios make its’ way forward into the Oscar campaign, and Swartz is also repping Mara! Can she do for Rooney what she seems to be so effectively doing for Swinton? Or is it just too late to get the Oscar mojo going for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Could only ONE of Swartz’ clients get in? Could Mara K.O. Swinton?

And one shocking fact I just discovered the SAG nominating committee did NOT get sent DVD screeners of “Tattoo”! So no wonder they didn’t vote for nominations for it! They didn’t SEE it! And yes, there were screenings, but they were overpacked, because of the lack of the screeners, and many couldn’t get in. Ditto “War Horse”. Ditto “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

Talk about being late to the party! Or are these films so good it won’t matter, but for sure, one of those aforementioned six ladies is NOT going to the Oscar Ball come February. They only have five slots, so we’ll wait and we’ll see.

Back in New York, it’s freeeezing! TIFF is just about over, but the Oscar race is just beginning!

I’m back in New York from the increasingly chilly weather of Toronto, and I hate to leave TIFF, as always. It’s like the circus is packing up and all the excitement is dying down…til next year…OR til the New York Film Festival starts, which is Monday! The press screenings I mean.

Which like TIFF, in some kind of weird film festival tradition are almost always held at ridiculous hours of the morning!

But I digress! I come back to find that while my own personal TIFF is now done, the Oscar race is only just beginning! But you all knew that already!

Jeff Wells of www.hollywood-elsewhere.com is still there, blogging his brains out. And having a completely different perspective on the race than I do. And that goes for Oscar goddess Sasha Stone of www.awardsdaily.com

who is comfy and warm in sunshine-y L.A….

Sasha has a particularly interesting take on the Best Actor race. As does Jeff. But both of them leave out Gerard Butler and his career-changing performance in “Machine Gun Preacher” completely! I beg to differ.

The night I left I was delighted to see ET Canada do a whole segment on Gerard and his Oscar chances. And the films’ too!

And I also have to beg to differ about Brad Pitt and “Moneyball.”

“Moneyball”? REALLY? A baseball movie? I mean, they DO like to keep nominating him for the star-power he brings to things…but if he’s going to be nominated this year for anything it’s Terence Malick’s “A Tree of Life”…which is serious, and pretentious enough for the Academy.

Or maybe in  this case, toooo pretentious. I predict that first 45 mins. of primordial ooze is something that is NOT going to keep those “Tree of Life” screeners from being ejected from Academy voters’ DVD players…

However Sasha and Jeff ARE right about George the Clooney being everywhere and charming everyone and everything in sight. I didn’t get to see EITHER of his two TIFF movies “The Ides of March” and “The Descendants” which everyone says is the better of the two.

But I don’t personally think that David Cronenberg’s TIFF bomb “A Serious Judgement” is going to get any serious Oscar consideration whatsoever. And that neither of its’ leading men, Viggo Mortensen or Michael Fassbender are going to be nominated for Best Actor or ANYthing for this film.

Anthony Del Col, and also Critic of Critics Thelma Adams join me at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

for some VERY spirited Oscar buzz talk from TIFF. Thank you Anthony! Thank you Thelma!

Thelma’s segment is not up yet, but stop-the-presses Anthony is! And it’s great! Take a look as we try to parse Tilda Swinton’s Oscar chances for “We’ve Got to Talk About Kevin.”

It was Anthony’s idea to sit-in with me for a running Oscar commentary at TIFF. This is Anthony Del Col of “Kill Shakespeare” fame and he’s VERY good at this!

As he is at everything! We taped two complete episodes which equals something like six videos in You Tube time and I can’t WAIT for you to see them all!

I also have to point out that “The Ides of March” was underwhelming everyone I spoke to. Especially Anthony and Thelma, as you’ll see. I don’t think “Ides” is an Oscar slam-dunk by any means, though Oscar god Dave Karger says so.

If the TIFF tea leaves are being read right by me & co., it’s “The Descendants” all the way. Which means also if Ryan Gosling is nominated for anything, or more accurately for any of the two of his films that are out now, it’s going to be “Drive” that drives up people’s (and Oscar voters) temperatures and not “Ides.”

When you’ve got two films in Oscar play at a place like TIFF, one is usually going to eclipse the other, and I think that’s what happening with “Ides” and “Descendants” and “Drive.” The two “D”(entitled) movies are faring better on the TIFF buzz circuit, I would say.

But it WAS interesting in that there was no clear front-runner AT ALL. Not like “The King’s Speech” was last year and others like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “No Country for Old Men” were in other years’ at TIFF.

So I’m back, dear readers, dear cineastes, dear theatre-lovers of literature, and tomorrow night the BROADWAY season starts with a revival of “Follies” one of Stephen Sondheim’s greatest, so when the autumn breeze starts freezing the trees, I feel like TIFF’s warmth was one big fever dream!

TIFF on Tuesday

It’s Tuesday morning at TIFF, and this is the day the Toronto International Film Festivals really changes. It’s the day all the Americans leave and basically turn the Festival back over to the Canadians. It’s so quiet in the TIFF Bell Lightbox this morning. The lobby looked deserted. Tumbleweeds could be rolling through it. It’s really scary, in the sense that, why am I still here?

Well, in the first place, you just don’t want TIFF to end, ever. And the atmosphere once it starts rolling is intoxicating. I’ve been here over a week now. And I still love it.

The first weekend is craziness personified. And yes, Brad and Angelina were here. That was for “Moneyball.” Hardly an Oscar movie it seems and if you don’t like baseball, which I DON’T, you won’t like this movie, so I’m told. Then Saturday seemed to be George Clooney day. I did see him from the Media Lounge’s TV screen. Almost a movie screen, it’s so big. But then it’s TIFF where everything is a movie screen let’s face it. Including the walls, the interior walls of the lobby.

Images are being projected everywhere. It’s trippyy, and delightful. But it is something akin to sensory overload. But again, I like it.

They used to have a 24-hour TV channel here in Toronto that just broadcast festival news for the entire length of TIFF, and before. Heaven! But they don’t have it any more. So all I can really check on my TV now is the weather, which every day is predicted to rain and the sunshine is dazzling. THANK GOODNESS!

I’m dressed for summer! I never want this lovely warm weather  to end! But it’s Canada, and last year about this time there was suddenly a cold snap, and BOY, did it get chilly! FAST! And I wasn’t dressed for that.

But even though it’s TIFF Blue Tuesday, there’s still PLENTY to do.

With George Clooney having two movies here, he certainly was a presence, even though I only saw him on the screen in the media lounge, as I said. People STILL love him and I tried to catch his “Descendants” movie this morning at 9AM(!?! I HATE those early screenings!) but I missed it.

So here I am talking to YOU.

And I’ll just have to catch up with “Descendants” at the New York Film Festival.

The Weinstein Co. is having a quiet festival, which is odd. Oh, except for Madonna. Who was walking the Red Carpet yesterday for “W.E.” which is the film she directed. And yes, I didn’t see that one either.

I have a lot to catch up on.

There is no one film that has a glorious, uproarious, across the board consensus. Like “The King’s Speech,” “Slumdog Millionaire”, and “No Country for Old Men” did in previous TIFFs all of whom went on to win the Best Picture Oscar.

So that means, well, that we’re going to an actual race, with many contenders, or that simply The Big One, the eventual Best Picture winner is simply not here, and will open later this year.

My favourite is still “Machine Gun Preacher.”

And now I have to go watch this year’s “Pitch This” which this year, Anthony Del Col of last year’s winner “Kill Shakespeare” which you all are now VERY familiar with who read this blog and watch my show, Anthony is coaching TWO hopefuls, and afterwards we’re interviewing everyone in sight. Including Anthony, again, and Mariangiola Castrovilli, the red-headed Italian Zsa Zsa Gabor.

So there’s PLENTY to do. Even if I missed George’s BIG Oscar movie, which is the “Descendants” everybody here seems to think and NOT “The Ides of March.” Which seems to have disappointed  every one who’s seen it.

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