a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Best Musical Excerpt so far! “I’m Not a Loser”! Garrett Lee, who is a nominee tonight. Surrounded by a tap-dancing,of course, chorus of pink fish with pink Afros.

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Laurie Metcalf wins her second Tony two years in a row. This time for play “B” in “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women.”

This was bookend by a number from “Mean Girls” which looked cheap and rather stupid, but it’s about high schoolers…so what do you want?

Then a rousing trio of songs from “My Fair Lady.” Lauren Ambrose sang “Rain in Spain” and “I Could’ve Danced All Night” in loverly, unexpected soprano. I think she’s the winner in this category for which she is nominated. Norbert Leo Butz then leads a strutting chorus of drag queen(?) cockneys in “Get Me to the Church on Time.”

Bruce Springsteen wins a special Tony. Dignified and brief acceptance speech.

Lindsey Mendes wins Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Carrie Pipperidge in “Carousel.”

Andrew Garfield at the Tonys 1John Grobran & Sarah Bareilles 1Here we go again! Welcome to the Stephen Holt Show live bloggin’ the Tony Awards! This year one of my tip top favorites is the co-host Josh Groban. Like me, and you, he loves the Theater. So this should be a very good fit. Two grand pianos right next to each other, abutting, Josh and Sarah Bareilles singing that they’ve never won any awards. “This is one’s for the people who lose.” They are joined by chorus or “Ensemble Members” for every show on Broadway! Nice! Really lovely!

Carrie Washington in an extremely low cut silvery gown. Handing out Best Leading Actor in a Musical FIRST! IT’s Andrew Garfield! Of course! Beautiful, rousing, GLBTQ speech. Heart-breaking! So glad this is the first one given out tonight. I was in tears.

“Let’s bake a cake for everyone to have a cake!”

Andrew Garfield 2

Stay Tuned! Josh Groban is cohosting with Sarah Bareilles! Should be epic!

“Angels in America,” the staggeringly beautiful and NECESSARY revival of the Pulitzer Prize winning play from 25 years ago, won big at the Drama Desk Awards tonight, garnering Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Actor in a Play, Andrew Garfield, and Outstanding Featured  Actor in a Play, Nathan Lane.Spongebob 1

“SpongeBob SquarePants” was the unlikely winner on the musical side of things, being named Outstanding Musical, as well as Outstanding Actor and Featured Actors, Ethan Slater and Gavin Lee. “SpongeBob” also received Outstanding Director of a Musical for Tina Landau. It also won three more awards, totaling six, making it the big winner of the night.

The two and a half hour presentation at Town Hall dragged in the first hour of nothing but technical, ensemble, special citations, etc. which seemed more like an hour and a half. Then predictably picked up considerably when it got to the major acting awards in what must’ve been the last hour, which flew by like 45 minutes. Michael Urie was once again, the wise and witty host for the third year in a row of the distinguished ceremonies that were held at New York’s Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street.

Spongebob 2

Jessie Mueller won Outstanding Actress in a Musical for “Carousel.”  She was the stand-out  and certainly scored  the most memorable moment of the evening,  when she accepted barefoot and with virtually no speaking voice at all! This may have hurt her awards’ chances, when she goes up against Lauren Ambrose for her Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” for Best Actress in a Musical next Sunday night at the Tonys at 8pm on CBS.

“My Fair Lady” also won Outstanding Revival of a Musical and Outstanding Sets of a Musical. Andre Bishop, Artistic Director of Lincoln Center, where the acclaimed revival is being presented, accepted the award.

Andrew Garfield, who won Outstanding Actor for his tortured performance as the AIDS victim Prior Walter in  “Angels, ” gave a truly rousing speech, and thanked playwright Tony Kushner. “You’ve changed me,” he said.  I was incredibly touched by this speech, one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen given by an awards recipient. And this indelible moment has probably assured Garfield a win at the Tonys in this same category next week.

Two time Academy Award Winner, British acting legend, Glenda Jackson will probably join him in the TONYS winners circle next week, as she won Outstanding Actress in a Play for “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women,” which also won for Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play.

Glenda Jackson 1

For a complete list of winners go to http://www.dramadesk.org. Also, http://www.playbill.com

A simply monumental two-part revival, a stunning production of “Angels in America” is now on Broadway and outdoes the original (production) by a mile. I didn’t like it then. I like it now. British director Maryanne Elliot has done the impossible, making the old new again. It’s been 25 years, unbelievable, but true, since the original “Angels” ravaged Broadway audiences and won a Tony AND a Pulitzer. And established itself as the primo play on AIDS. A play that could cross over to straight audiences and make them care and feel about a disease that they didn’t want to even admit WAS a disease.Movie star-turned-actor Andrew Garfield is turning in one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen on a stage. And Garfield’s pain as the dying Prior Walter is palpable. The original actor who played it won a Tony as likely the astounding Andrew will, too. But I didn’t like him. I’m not going to even mention his name.

Garfield’s pain as his frail body is savagely torn apart from this dreadful disease is almost unbearable to watch, but Garfield MAKES you watch it for four full hours that just fly by. His skill and power and the heights of dejectedness and horror are hard to watch, but impossible to forget and admire. Who knew that “Spider-Man” had it in him? His high-pitched screeches and guttural roars of anger and helplessness are moving beyond belief. But he’s funny, too. He lisps and swishes and throws shade with the best of them.

His lover even leaves him in Part One. He is totally abjectly alone. But somehow he finds the inner strength of one tough drag queen to survive. And we love him for it. His struggle is our struggle.

He is matched on the dark side of the human race by the despicable Donald Trump mentor lawyer Roy Cohn, who also becomes afflicted with AIDS(this part is true). The homophobic Cohn who participated in witch hunts during the McCarthy era, against Communists, AND homosexuals, now becomes sick with AIDS himself. And it gives bona fide Broadway superstar, Nathan Lane a chance to chew up the scenery and even move us in a very grand manner that may also give Lane yet another Tony.

Cohn is playwright Tony Kushner greatest creation, I feel. It’s the character of the dying, hateful Cohn, who rages and rages against the dying of his light in the grip of the strangulating Reagan era, that is truly the great coup de theatre of Kushner and Nathan Lane makes you hate him and love him in equal measure.AIDS was allowed to flourish Kushner reminds us, because then President Reagan denied its’ existence. Even though he had a gay son himself. Reagan’s presidency is  an equivalent metaphor to AIDS, the disease, unchecked, that was allowed to kill so many, many of my friends, nearly an entire generation of gay men was wiped out.It is in the culminating, overwhelming image that concludes Angels Pt. One that director Elliot’s stupendous work is most fully realized. A grotesque bag lady (Amanda Lawrence) transforms startlingly into not a beautiful angel one would expect to haunt our poor hero Prior on what seems to be his death-bed, but a human cockroach descending surrounded by other similar insects.

Garfield screams in wholly justified horror as this vision from hell  envelopes him with its dirty, frightening wings and hisses”The great work begins.”

And on Sunday I see Part Two.

 

 

The Outer Critics Circle Award Winners have just been announced this morning and of all things “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” won Best New Broadway Play! I’d like to point out that Jamie Parker, who is playing the grown-up Harry, is familiar to Broadway audiences as one of the “History Boys” a few seasons back.

He’ll now be famous as Harry Potter forever. He’s nominated for a Tony for Best Actor in a Play, too. Best Actor in a Play for the Outer Critics was won by Andrew Garfield, formerly a filmic Spider-Man, in “Angels in America.”

Lauren Ambrose, a fan favorite for her series-long role as a troubled teen in “Six Feet Under” and a marvelous Juliet in Shakespeare in the Park several seasons back, won Best Actress in a Musical for “My Fair Lady.” Norbert Leo Butz also won for his Supporting Performance as Eliza Doolittle’s much-sauced dustman father Alfred P. Doolittle. Bartlett Sher also won for Best Director and “My Fair Lady” itself as Best Revival of a Musical.Lauren Ambrose 1

 

“Harry Potter” scored four times in the technical categories for lights, costumes, back-drop scenic effects and sound.

Below is a list of the complete winner ~

Outstanding New Broadway Play
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Outstanding New Broadway Musical
SpongeBob SquarePants

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play
Admissions

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical
Desperate Measures

Outstanding Book Of A Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Tina Fey, Mean Girls

Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alexander Ebert of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, the Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, T.I., David Bowie, Tom Kenny and Andy Paley, and Tom Kitt, SpongeBob SquarePants

Outstanding Revival Of A Play (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Angels in America

Outstanding Revival Of A Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
My Fair Lady

Outstanding Director Of A Play
John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Outstanding Director Of A Musical
Tina Landau, SpongeBob SquarePants
Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady

Outstanding Choreographer
Justin Peck, Carousel

Outstanding Set Design (Play or Musical)
Christine Jones, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical)
Catherine Zuber, My Fair Lady

Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical)
Neil Austin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Outstanding Projection Design (Play or Musical)
Finn Ross and Ash Woodward, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Outstanding Sound Design (Play or Musical)
Gareth Fry, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Outstanding Orchestrations
Jonathan Tunick, Carousel

Outstanding Actor In A Play
Andrew Garfield, Angels In America

Outstanding Actress In A Play
Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women

Outstanding Actor In A Musical
Ethan Slater, Spongebob Squarepants

Outstanding Actress In A Musical
Lauren Ambrose, My Fair Lady

Outstanding Featured Actor In A Play
Nathan Lane, Angels In America

Outstanding Featured Actress In A Play
Laurie Metcalf, Three Tall Women

Outstanding Featured Actor In A Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, My Fair Lady

Outstanding Featured Actress In A Musical
Lindsay Mendez, Carousel

Outstanding Solo Performance
Billy Crudup, Harry Clarke

John Gassner Award (Presented For An American Play, Preferably By A New Playwright)
Jocelyn Bioh, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play

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