a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Anything Goes’

Funniest Documentary Ever Made! Monday, May 20 at 9pm on PBS! Of course, it’s “Mel Brooks: Make a Noise!”

Dear Readers, dear cineastes, dear lovers of theatre, you’re a in for a real, rich treat! You’ll never be able to stop laughing! I swear! “Mel Brooks: Make a Noise!” is coming your way on Monday, May 20. Stop the presses! Save the date! Circle it in red on your calendar! It’s something that I’ve never seen before on American Masters. It’s non-stop funny! It captures Brooks quite completely at his laugh-out-loud best. It’s hysterical. How many documentaries do you see that tickle your funny-bone? Almost none. So hooray for “Make A Noise”!

The new documentary on the comedy legend premieres nationally
Monday, May 20 at 9pm (ET/PT) on PBS (check local listings)
On DVD From Shout! Factory May 21, 2013

Oy! It’s soooo funny! I’ve already watched it TWICE! I can’t stop! Documentarian Robert Trachtenberg firmly restores Mel Brooks to the position from which his last Broadway flop, the musical of “Young Frankenstein” toppled him a few years back. He’s the American King of Comedy, a giant in the industry, a comic legend, and all those other great descriptions which really almost do not do him justice.

Except for the omission of “Mel Brooks: Young Frankenstein:The Musical” which would’ve been its ending, “Mel Brooks:Make a Noise” is well-nigh perfect. But it would have been too sad to end this joyous, mirthful man’s life story there.

It’s instructive that when Brooks’ career hits his mid-life low point, Trachtenberg even makes his flops look and sound funny.

And there’s a lot of news here, too. Like for instance, that the young Melvin Kaminsky started out as a drummer, among other things.

That his first taste of show business was his Joe uncle, a cab driver, took him to see his first Broadway show at nine. “Hey, Mel. I’ve got two tickets to a brand new Broadway show.” the original “Anything Goes” with Ethel Merman. And they even have a brief black and white clip of Merman onstage singing “Blow, Gabriel Blow” in 1934!

Brooks’ comment “It was thrilling! Thrilling! We were sitting in the last row of the second balcony. There were no mikes. Ethel Merman was still too loud and she was two miles away!”

And so this brilliant doc rolls on and on like a comic juggernaut, that REFUSES to stop making you life out loud at every turn.

We find out that his father died when he was two and that he was raised in “real poverty” in Willlamsburg, Brooklyn, with his three brothers. And a mother whom he adored.

We find that he was in World War II. That he had a first marriage, and three children.

That his marriage to Oscar-winning actress Anne Bancroft was one of the most enduring, true love stories in Hollywood history.

That he has trouble sleeping, stays up to three most nights and reads the classic.

Joan Rivers”You’re shocked to find out that this man is an intellectual.”

And on and on and on in a career that has so many highs its’ riduculous. “The Producers”(on film and on Broadway), “Blazing Saddles”, “Young Frankenstein”(The movie, not the musical) and everything else in between.

I have a Mel Brooks anecdote myself. I was sitting in the Broadway restaurant Angus McIndoe’s when “Young Frankenstein: The Musical” was about to close. Several years ago, and I said to my friend, “There’s Mel Brooks!” And he seemed totally absorbed in something. And he seemed very sad.

I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, he was so intent in his concentration, and that I realized that he was walking around to each picture on the walls and I saw that he was saying a silent “good-bye” to each one. Like he was saying “Good-bye” to Broadway. Like he felt he would never be back there again. And for the record, he hasn’t been. At least not yet. One thing “Mel Brooks: Make A Noise” makes clear is that you can never guess what Mel Brooks is going to do next. Can a musical version of “Blazing Saddles” be far behind?

SO in its own BIG way, American Masters “Make a Noise” is bringing about yet another great Mel Brooks come-back. He’s doing a huge promotional tour in support of this stupendous doc.

He can still make us laugh. We want him to. We need him to, that’s for sure.

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Second Half of Live-Blogging the Tonys!

9pm- The Second Half of the Tonys. They’ve hardly given out any awards and all the musical numbers have really, embarrassingly tanked. Oh, except Neil Patrick Harris’ Opening Number.

Best Featured Actress in a Musical! Nikki M. James! She’s hysterical crying!I am so THRILLED for her! She became a true star in that moment and this incredible, tearful speech!  The crowd! Goes! Wild! NOW SHE’s the WINNER of the night! Totally Surprised, she couldn’t stop crying! Very moving! I’m over the moon for her! I told her she would win! The Oscar messenger strikes again! You can go to see me telling her so  at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Andrew Rannells brings down the house with “Book of Mormon’s “I Believe!” a wise choice, because it’s just a solo, so no crowded chorus bumping into each other. Rannells was better tonight than he even was in the show! And they said “Fuck” at one point! And of course it got bleeped! But they said it! IOW, they did the show as it was actually performed. The Melissa Leo effect.

9:18 PM – Brooke Shields got bleeped ! John Larroquette! Wins Best Featured Actor in a Musical!

9:21 Now, Bono and the Edge. What are THEY going to do??? Bono “We used to be members U2” Yikes! They mention the NY Post! Michael Riedel must’ve just jumped through the roof of the press room! “We just wanted to keep the excitement level high at the New York Post!” Lolol…Longest intro of the night! They sound apologetic. OH NO! They are going to do a number from “Spiderman” Oy!…Boring…OMG! The number was as boring as their intro! I haven’t seen it yet, but that’s their best number? At least it was just a duet, so no stumbling. No bodies falling. That was a very bad song, not well done. Ugh! I’m not looking forward to seeing this monstrosity. “Inept” is what Michael Riedel kept saying on “TheaterTalk” and yes, that’s exactly what that number was…”If theWorld Should End” If only that song would end. Oh! It finally did.

My battery ran out.

But I’m back ~ 10:04 ~ “War Horse” just won Best Play. 😦

Wish a play with great PLAYWRITING in it had won…My Tony Predictors Scott Siegel and Sherry Eaker got this right on my TV show. We also got Best Revival of a Play, “Normal Heart” right. “The Motherfucker With A Hat” which hasn’t won anything so far, was robbed.

Larry Kramer moved me to tears with his beautiful SHORT speech. “Our day will come”….He really did the right thing. Short, sweet. Memorable. I’ll never forget it.

The musical numbers have been getting better.

10:11pm- “Anything Goes” probably just won the remaining awards with their concluding tap number that was very well done. Nobody bumped into each other.

But it’s now heading towards the 45 min. mark. Time left, I mean. I can’t believe I’m counting the time til it’s over.

Patina Miller shined it on with her choir of jiving and jumping nuns….They’ve really set up Sutton Foster to win…:( Still thinks she’s miscast as Reeno Sweeney, the bawdy barfly who’s the famous lead in “Anything Goes.” Ethel Merman haunts that role, those songs, those long-held notes. Patti Lu Pone was DIVINE in the ’80s revival at Lincoln Center, when it wasn’t THREE EFFING hours long, as it is now!

Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones just got a standing ovation. What are they doing here tonight? Oh, introducing an embarrassingly fast montage of scenes from EVERY SINGLE PLAY that opened on Broadway this year! Even “Elling”!?!?

10:24pm ~ Neil Patrick Harris does a VERY good rendition of “Company/Side by Side” with Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert and Martha Plimpton in his chorus! Embarassing for Patti…

Best Revival of a Musical “Anything Goes” Boo! I enjoyed “How to Succeed” MUCH better. It was simply better done. “The truly magnificent Sutton Foster”…???? The passable, just OK Sutton Foster is more like it. Sheesh! Poor Patina!

Best Actress in a Play! Frances McDormand! In a jean jacket! I predicted this and so did Sherry Eaker. “I love my work!” No make-up a red-and-black striped dress under the jean jacket. I always heard she was a biker. This is her in her no bull-shit biker chick mode. She names and thanks every single member of her cast. Sincere. She burns a serious hole in the screen. Good for her. And she didn’t say “F**k” to do it, Melissa…

And Sutton Foster wins Best Actress, as expected and she reveals she’s going out with Bobby Cannavale! OMG! She breaks out crying thanking her dresser, “who’s leaving me” cries, sobs “AND IT’S A GOOD THING!” Well, if she’s with BC now…I’ll have to hold out hope for her, as an actress. I did totally like her in “The Drowsy Chaperone” and also “Young Frankenstein” but her Reeno Sweeny is more like Judy Moody.

God! What if it’s Bobby who wins Best Actor? As I predicted! Then they would be the first couple to win Tonys in the Same Night? Bobby has been right, front and center all night in the shots and cut-aways and he talked about “The Motherfucker with a Hat.” He’s a great actor. Period.

Paul Shaeffer of the David Letterman show introduced the original songstress of “It’s Raining Men” which he, I forgot, wrote. He comes out and this leads in to FINALLY a number from “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” which FINALLY won one award, Best Costumes, for the same two dazzling designed who won an Oscar for the same category.

Mark Rylance wins Best Actor in a Play. An incoherent speech about walking through walls.  Yuck. Sherry Eaker got this right, too! Bobby Cannavale and Al Pacino and Joe Mantello both lost to this jerk. Why? Why? Why? He’s not even the most famous person in this category. I guess his earlier performance in “La Bete” impressed the Tony Voters. That was earlier this season.

Norbert Leo Butz wins Best Actor in a Musical. Sherry Eaker and Scott Siegel BOTH got this right, too. Nice speech. Norbert’s second Tony. Also the second Tony in recent memory for Mark Rylance. Guess the Tonys just do NOT vote like the Oscar voters do, and take previous wins into account AGAINST the nominee. Like for instance, this year with Geoffrey Rush losing for “The King’s Speech” basically, I think, because he already won in the Best Actor category for “Shine!”

Chris Rock says that “Best Musical is like taking a hooker to dinner” LOLOL…Best line of the evening. Book of Mormon wins! Well, I got that one right. Josh Gad is nowhere to be seen.

It ran over by four minutes, according to my computer. See ya next year! I’m going away for awhile. Or rather next week! Give me the Oscars any day.

Bobby Cannavale Trimuphs at Drama Desk Awards!

I’m very happy this morning to report that that great underestimated(but not by me) actor Bobby Cannavale won the Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Play for “The Motherfucker with a Hat.” It was richly deserved. Congratulations, Bobby!

And now on to the Tonys!

Also winning big was “Book of Mormon” with five wins, but none of them in the acting categories.

And now on to the Tonys!

Are the Drama Desks a bellweather for the Tonys? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

I think this does help Norbert Leo Butz who won for “Catch Me If You Can” as the beleaguered good guy FBI agent Hanratty. Tom Hanks played him in the movie. This was the only award that “Catch Me” got…

Will the Tonys follow suit? Perhaps. But the fabulous Butz already has WON a Tony and recently for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Do the Tony voters take that into consideration? I think they do. But this does help him.

Another head-scratcher was the lovely Laura Benanti who won in the VERY competitive Best Featured Actress in a Musical category for the long-closed “Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

I saw it and reviewed it, not favorably. It was a mess. But Laura was very, very good as the MOST nervous of all the Nervous women. The Drama Desk notably does not care if a show is closed or not. Laura is nominated for a Tony, too. Along the Patti LuPone from “Nervous.”

The Tonys DON’T usually give one of their most-prized awards(since they are seen on National television) to a show that’s closed. And Laura has also won, and recently, for “Gypsy.”  Tammy Blanchard, who was not nominated for a Drama Desk (for “How to Succeed…”) and Nikki M. James(“Book of Mormon”) was nominated for BOTH are all competing in that red hot category.

The patchy “Anything Goes” got five Drama Desk Awards including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Choreography for director Kathleen Marshall.

More on all hoopla this later. I have to dash to the Waldorf to interview Christopher Plummer for HIS new movie “Beginners” which Focus is going to push hard for to get Plummer another nomination, and maybe his long-over due Oscar. We’ll see what category they put him in. A beautiful performance as a man coming out of the closet at 75, he could win in Supporting. We’ll see…

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