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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.

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Outer Critics Circle Announce Awards! 24 yr. old Alex Sharp beats Bradley Cooper!

Alex Sharp 1The Outer Critics Circle whose members comprise Theater critics whose reviews reach readers outside the boundaries of NYC announced their winners this morning. And surprise of surprises, the 24 year-old recent Julliard graduate Alex Sharp of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” beat out Hollywood Superstar Bradley Cooper for “The Elephant Man”!

I would’ve thought that the super-famous Cooper would’ve easily taken Best Actor in a Play, but no. The lacerating, dangerous portrayal of an autistic child (Sharp) in “Curious Incident” won the day! It helps Sharp’s “Curious Incident” that is it a hit and still running and Cooper’s “Elephant Man”, though it boasted rave reviews and a sold-out run is now closed. It successfully completed its’ limited run, but Voters’ attention spans are notoriously short, as Harvey Weinstein has always said.

Weinstein himself came a cropper at the Outer Critic’s Circle as it did with the Tony Nomination with a win of a goose egg for “Finding Neverland.”.

Helen Mirren, of course, won Best Actress in a Play for her superb return to the role of Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s “The Audience.”  And she’ll win the Drama Desk and Tony, too, I’m betting. No one can touch her.

The superlative “An American in Paris” won four awards including Best Musical. Its’ lead Robert Fairchild won Best Actor in a Musical for making us all forget Gene Kelly in the role, if only for a moment.

“A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” won the most Outer Critics Circle Awards with five including Sharp for Best Actor, Best Play and Best Lighting, Set and Sound Design and Best Direction of a Play.

“The King and I” won Best Revival of a Musical, and Ruthie Ann Miles won Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Kristin Chenowith’s over-the-top exertions in the exhausting “On the Twentieth Century” (which seemed at least 100 years long) won Best Actress in a Musical over Bway legend Chita Rivera which is very sad indeed. Rivera is 82 and this towering performance in Kander and Ebb’s last musical “The Visit” is a milestone for her and for the American Musical Theater. It’s just dispiriting that she was passed over for great stirring performance.

The Outer Critics Circle is the last major awards to be announced before the Drama Desks are given out the last day of May. There is an overlap in the memberships of these two groups, and they may be pointing the way, belle-weathers, if you will to the Tonys in June.

Interestingly “Something Rotten” came away empty-handed.

Broadway’s Michael Cerveris, Nick Cordero, Raúl Esparza, Katie Finneran,  Montego Glover, William Ivey Long and Jefferson Mays will serve as gala award presenters at the upcoming 65th Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony on May 21st (4PM) at the legendary Sardis Restaurant. In addition to being acclaimed stage performers, the stars are also former recipients of the esteemed Outer Critics Circle Award.

Celebrating its 65th 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.

The complete list is as follows ~

(Winners names are in bold preceded by an asterisk. *)

 

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 Oram    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

 

Winners Talley for 3 or more:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – 5; An American in Paris – 4; Hamilton – 3; The King and I – 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.

 

 

 

 

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

“American Sniper” Sound & Fury Signifying It Will Win Both Sound Oscars

Here I go again, cut and pasting a reply to yet ANOTHER tumultuous, magnificently written piece on “American Sniper”s chances now that it’s become Ben-Hur. Read, by all means, what Sasha Stone has to say at http://www.awardsdaily.com. She’s been doing this day after day. I don’t know how she does it, but she does it. She’s one of our great writers. She sets the bar so high, and then keeps raising it!Younger EddieBradley Cooper 2

And here is what I said in my reply to this hot button topic ~(PS: I was in a bus crash today, which I wrote about but didn’t get posted in this section. Don’t know how to move it to here. Tech-tarded still. After all these years.)

“ANOTHER brilliant, impassioned piece of writing from Sasha, analyzing this past weekend’s rather astounding events at the box-office.

Sasha hasn’t dragged politics in to this year’s Oscar race, the movies themselves have, like it or not.

Tom O’Neill was raving about “American Sniper” on Entertainment Tonight for “livening up the Oscar race.” It DID look pretty boring and predictable, more so than ever, with Moore, Arquette and Simmons having all their categories, Best Actress and the two Supporting categories laid down in Grauman’s Chinese cement already.

But now comes “American Sniper” and SUDDENLY there’s actually something to DEBATE about. Something to write about for the blogosphere. But they are not Academy voters.

The Academy still has many members who DON’T EVEN HAVE A COMPUTER!?!? But are too ashamed to admit it, and the average age is 80 or 85. Not 62. As they are saying. Just attend an actual academy screening and the number of walkers and wheelchairs lined up at the back is staggering.

That said, “AS” doesn’t have a chance with the Left-leaning Academy. R U kidding me? It will never win Best Picture. They will think. “It’s gotten the $. It doesn’t need the awards” but it just might get something. Like the two sound awards! Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

Now, as far as Best Actor, if the sudden attention being paid to Bradley Cooper, translates into actual votes(and I wonder about that), it’s Michael Keaton who gets hurt by this. And the people who were going to vote for Eddie Redmayne are still going to vote for Eddie Redmayne.

He’s playing a heroic, triumphant character, a real person, a genius, Stephen Hawking, who’s ALIVE. IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING.And he’s playing a CHARACTER. Not himself, or a version of himself as Michael Keaton is doing in “Birdman.”

Bradley Cooper may win an Oscar some day, but no GG, SAG, etc. percursor love, kills his chances but allows him to take “steak eater” votes away from Keaton. Everybody knows he’s going to get a Tony for Best Actor this year for “Elephant Man” on Broadway, and every other award, too. They’ll let that be enough for him for this year. And vote for Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything.”

And watch out for “Grand Budapest”! It could win the SAG Ensemble this Sunday and then everything will be up for grabs! Topsy-Turvy!”

Oscar News ~ “American Sniper” Breaks Records at the Box-Office

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Once again, Sasha Stone proves she has her finger on the pulse of Hollywood. ANOTHER wonderful piece on the ASTOUNDING, RECORD-SHATTERED Box-Office Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” is having. It may pass $100 million VERY soon.  And surprised by these developments, this is how I responded to all this sudden brou-haha in http://www.awardsdaily.com’s comment section.

“Well, this is news. Records-breaking over what I thought was just going to be a routine shoot’em up, rah-rah war picture. And to think this debuted the same day as “Selma” at the AFI fest in LA, and “Selma” got all the excitement and standing Os! And “American Sniper” was regarded with…well…a sort “Meh” response.

And now look what’s happened! What was the difference? Well, “Sniper” was a finished film and Warner Bros., who know what they’re doing with an Oscar campaign, IMMEDIATELY started getting those screeners out to all and sundry. Paramount who helmed “Selma”s sorry lot,  couldn’t, because the film wasn’t “finished” yet. So sad, so sad.

And they both debuted the same day!

WHAT a difference!And as far as Bradley Cooper is concerned, I was frankly SHOCKED, SHOCKED by his nomination. He chose to do a Mo’nique and do zero campaigning, because he is in New York starring on Broadway, in the VERY unusual part, for him, as the Elephant Man himself.

And he’s superb in it He very well may get a Tony.But Cooper has chosen to go the class-y way this year. No campaigning and BOOM! He gets nominated anyway. Could he upset Keaton/Redmayne? I wonder….I can’t believe he’s better in “AS” than he is in “Elephant Man.”

So it’s “Kudos To Cooper Year” everywhere you look. This is his third nomination in THREE years! VERY rare. I guess they like him, they really like him.

A.C.E. announce! The Importance of Editing to Oscar

Nightcrawler 2The A.C.E. or the Eddies, the Editing organization that the public may not know about, but the industry sure does, just announced their nominees and this year in their two film categories there were 11(!) nominations.  Six in Drama and Five in Musical/Comedy, like the Golden Globes. There was a tie in the Drama category, but they’re not saying who or which film. Including “Nightcrawler”, they were “Gone Girl,” “Boyhood”, “Imitation Game” and “Whiplash.” And the also surprising last minute, late comer to the race,  Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.”

The importance of editing as the central or key aspect in film-making today and in the awards season race, can not be underestimated. And also, no Best Picture has won without at least an Eddie nomination, Which is bad news for “Selma”.

If I had it to do over again, I’d study film-editing myself. Sometimes you feel like you’ve missed your calling and I think about trying to start to learn how to edit everyday. But I digress…

The guilds are the first REAL sample of how the industry is feeling this year about the Oscars. All the other awards so far are mainly voted on by CRITICS! And there are NO critics or press in the Academy.

There ARE press agents, but they only are allowed to nominate five pictures for Best Film, as one small for instance. When the nominations are announced they THEN get to vote in all the categories, but this is Phase I, the nomination phase. In fact, Academy members are nominating right now as we speak.

And next to the VAST Actor’s Branch, the second branch that really has a say, I think, is the Editor’s Branch. Not all the members of A.C.E. are IN the editors branch, by the way, but it’s a pretty good indicator.

And what’s surprising about today’s announcements, is what was left in that wasn’t expected, like for instance “Nightcrawler” (on my year’s 10 Best List for sure) and also the late opening Clint Eastwood “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper.

Nobody expected either of them to make it and that means they may make it into the Best Picture race at the Oscars. Left out was “Selma”. Which is kind of shocking, with all the supposed momentum that is building for it. But maybe it’s not. Also left out, I’m sorry to say was my fave “The Theory of Everything.” Watch for the Oscar nominations to correct that in two weeks.

But Jake Gyllenhaal has started really picking up nomination speed with nods from the Golden Globes, SAG, and the Broadcast Film Critics. And now this.”Nightcrawler” has LEGS! As many legs as a centipede, it seems.

http://www.hitfix.com has the rest with spirited analysis by their great Kris Tapley and Gregory Ellwood. The complete list is there.

And on Monday, the Producer’s Guild is set to announced its’ list of ten nominees for Best Picture. The PGA as it’s called was the first group to vote for “The King’s Speech,” when they voted for their winner that year when everyone else up to that point was going “The Social Network,” a film that I STILL intensely dislike. I still think of it as “The Joy of Typing.”

The PGA even more than the A.C.E. Eddies are ALLLL mostly Academy Members. They have ten slots and use a preferential ballot, like the Oscars do.

So films that are on the edge of the Oscar bubble, like for instance “Gone Girl,” “Nightcrawler”, “American Sniper,” “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods”, “A Most Violent Year” or “Whiplash” will find their hopes either raised or dashed on Monday.

I think frontrunners like “Boyhood”, “Birdman”, “Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” will all be on the Producer’s List. And “Selma”, too, even though it was left off the A.C.E. Eddie’s today.

Never underestimate the importance of film editors. They silently run the show, and year after year do great unsung work that is respected and admired by the industry. These are the first voters we’ve heard from who REALLY count.

So who do these Eddie Nods help? For sure, Jake Gyllenhaal’s bid to get in to the extremely tight Best Actor Oscar race. It could help give “Nightcrawler” Best Picture cred, too. And don’t forget the wonderful 60-year-old-but-still-glamourous Rene Russo, who could get swept into the Supporting Actress race. Why not? She certainly deserves it.

And what of Bradley Cooper and “American Sniper”? Well, we shall see what we shall see.

 

 

 

Oscar Changer “Selma” Gets Standing O at AFI Fest

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Last night’s double whammy of a double bill at the AFI Fest in LA netted a standing ovation from the industry/cinephile crowd for “Selma,” reports Steve Pond at the Wrap. http://www.thewrap.com. And a kind of meh reaction to Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” which followed it.

Chris Tapley of HitFix http://www.hitfix.com one of the foremost Oscarologists(and one of the youngest,too) thinks that this could be an Oscar game changer and that “Selma” a Martin Luther King biopic, co-produced by Oprah Winfrey and starring David Oyelowo could be a best picture contender as well as a Best Actor nomination in that crowded race. Oyelowo plays Martine Luther King.His star has been consistantly rising in the past two years.

Also interesting and exciting is filmmaker Ada DuVernay’s chance at a Best Director nod. This would be the first and only time an African-American woman could be up in that male-dominated category.

“Selma”s standing ovation was in stark contrast to the rather tepid reaction to Eastwood’s Oscar ontender “American Sniper” which immediately followed it.

So on the Oscar roller coaster, I would have to say that “Selma” is definitely on an Up this morning, and “American Sniper” is a Down.

Tapley praised Bradley Cooper’s performance in “Sniper” but aren’t we being Bradley Cooper’ed to death recently? With Oscar nominations in the past two years. for “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle”? And “Elephant Man” opening shortly on Broadway, starring again, yes, Bradley Cooper.

We shall see. And I’ll still be surprised if Steve Carrell makes it into the over-crowded Best Actor race with his rabbity, two-dimensional Henry E. DuPont in “Foxcatcher.” Too many Oscar seeking movies with leading actor wannabees and virtually no actresses. As usual…

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