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Posts tagged ‘Jefferson Mays’

Bryce Pinkham Returns to “Gentleman’s Guide…” on Bway and Stops the Show!

Bryce Pinkham 1What a thrill to report that “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” last year’s quadruple TONY winner has leading man Bryce Pinkham back on board as the dastardly(not really) Monte Novarro! And the show itself is as fresh as a daisy, and Bryce stopped the show cold with the infamous “Trio” number! No! Really! The audience which was packing the Walter Kerr that night couldn’t stop cheering and clapping! Talk about the Roar of the Crowd! He and his two delicious, new leading ladies joined him in mirth, slamming doors, and song and the crowd went wild! How exciting was that! And the show is nearing the two-year-old point in October, AND it’s recouped all its’ investment! No mean feat on Broadway these days!

Scarlett Strallen is the all-too-pink, absolutely delightful Sibella, and as Pinkham sang the magnificent love song to her with superlatives hitting the High C’s “You’re deceitful! You’re delectable!” Ms. Strallen seemed to justify and personify every trilled adjective.

Catherine Walker was right up there vocally and humourously as a more mature Phoebe D’yasquith, all in blue, and decorous as well as decorative as she and Stallen BOTH presue Pinkham in that slammingly funny “Trio.”

They were a delight to watch and applaud and cheer and the  howling audience surely did!

And of course, Jefferson Mays playing something like 8 or 9 D’yquiths, all of whom, but one, or is it two? I’m losing count as the body count of despicable D’ysquiths soars, as does Mays’ legendary, unbelievable performance(s) in ALLLLL those roles  It’s still a  dizzying comic tour-de-force as he, Pinkham, Stallen and Walker keep you laughing even though I’ve seen the show THREE times now, and have worn out the Original Cast CD playing it over and over and over.

Under the equally legendary Darko Tresnjak’s STILL perfectly pitched direction, not a moment of hilarity is missed. My sides literally ached from laughing!

Just when you think you’ve seen the ultimate D’ysquith slaughter( by our hero Monty Navarro/Pinkham) there’s another hysterical murder. The bees persuing Henry D’Ysquith (yes, Mays AGAIN!) this time around are all depicted as a golden-yellow swarm on the upstage back projection by the excellent Aaron Rhyne. They seem to be eating  Mays alive as he writhes in bee-stung agony upside down!

Then of course there the hilarious, plus-sized, busomy Lady Hyacinth D’Ysquith, the most despicable, globe-trotting do-gooder that makes you never want to donate to a charity again.

I guess my favorite D’Ysqithian death is when in the course of about five minutes, or less, Lady Salome D’Ysquith Pumphrey is despatched as she plays Hedda Gabler’s famous climax, Monty having put a real bullet in her stage gun. I couldn’t stop laughing! Or was it screaming at this point?

And one had to wonder all over again at the stamina, nuance, and mischief that Bryce Pinkham displays throughout. A master comedian as well as a nearly operatic singer with a tenor voice that can only be described as plangent as his magnificent voice soars above the mayhem and murder in Steven Lutvak’s and Robert L. Freeman’s wonderfully apt songs.

My favorite being Bryce’s “I Am Standing Here With Poison in My Pocket”. It’s an ice-skating murder.

Don’t try to figure it out! Just go and enjoy the incredible “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” again and again. As Darko Tresnjak prepares a National Tour and I can easily see it being done all over the world! And running forever and ever. Congratulations once again to all concerned!

 

 

Elizabeth Williamson, new Associate Artistic Director, Hartford Stage

It is my great pleasure, dear readers, dear cineastes, dear lovers of theatre to introduce you to the very exciting and dynamic Elizabeth Williamson, the newly appointed associate artistic director of the Hartford Stage. Elizabeth has studied in London under Mark Wing-Davey, who is now the Head of NYU’s great Grad Acting program, and also at L’Ecole Jacques le Coq theatre in Paris, as well as being the Dramaturg at the Hartford Stage under the direction of Darko Tresnjak.

Elizabeth was the dramaturg and very involved with the development of Matthew Lopez’ new play “Reverberation” which I liked so much when I saw it in Hartford earlier this year. Her parents were both poets and she has a very bright future in the American Theater in front of her.

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Tony Predictions Part Four

Tony Predictions Part Four

And continuing on and hopefully concluding, my four-part Tony Predictions, we now come to another hotly contended category, Best Actor in a Musical.

I think although he tied in a surprise at the Drama Desk Awards, with Jefferson Mays, who does 8 or 9 different roles in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” I think former host of the Tonys, Neil Patrick Harris is going to get the ultimate tribute and thank you from the Tony Voters here for his box-office busting drag turn as Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” which I also think is going to get Best Revival of a Musical.Neil Patrick Harris is everywhere on TV, too, talking, talking, talking. He’s campaigning. He wants it. He lost 20 pounds for this role. He’s got the momentum. He’ll get it.

“Beautiful” is going to garner its’ beautiful leading lady Jessie Mueller, who sings almost non-stop, and is hardly ever off-stage playing a marvelously understated Carole King, it’s going to garner Jessie her first Tony as Best Actress in a Musical as well it should. Subtlety and under-playing are not usually awards bait, but in this case, Jessie Mueller is the complete package.

Best Actor in a Play is going to be the its-his-time-to-shine Bryan Cranston, almost as much for his unforgettable Walter White in “Breaking Bad.” And “All the Way” the three-hour political play about LBJ will win Best Play. It also won both these awards at the Drama Desks. This is the year when everybody just wants to THROW as many awards willy nilly at Bryan Cranston as they possibly can. Lucky duck.

Best Actress in a Play will be Audra McDonald for her impeccable “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille” in which though she sings a dozen or more of Billie Holiday’s greatest hits, although she is in the Best Actress in a PLAY category. It’s more than a little unfair to the dramatic actresses who are nominated in this category who just got there by their acting chops. Tyne Daly it’s a shame that you’re up against the unstoppable Awards magnet Audra McD. who will break all kinds of records by winning her SIXTH Tony award tomorrow night.

Audra was nominated in the CORRECT category for the Outer Critics Circle, Best Actress in a Musical, and she won that, too! Like Cranston, there’s no stopping her.

In the Supporting Actors, or Featured as they are called by the Tonys, only James Munroe Inglehart, as the larger-than-life Genie in “Aladdin”, is the only sure thing here in all four categories.

It’s really tricky predicting the other awards here. For Best Featured Actress in a Play it COULD be Celia Keenan-Bolger, for the long-closed revival of “A Glass Menagerie.” Celia has been nominated for a Tony three times and she’s beloved, but she’s up against first time nominee British actress Sophie Okenado making her Broadway debut for “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Sophie’s main problem is her competition is not just Celia Keenan-Bolger, but also her cast-mate Anika Noni Rose as her sister-in-law in “Raisin.” One of these two, probably Sophie, could take this and be the only award that “Raisin” is apt to win. The Tony voters notoriously snubbed Denzel Washington, who let’s face it, is why this great play is being revived so soon after it was just on the Great White Way with P. Diddy. And Felecia Rashad, who won in the Best Actress Category.

Also, in contention, is Mare Winningham for “Casa Valentina” as the real-woman house-mother to a hotel-full of straight transvestites in the Catskills in the 1960s. Any of these women are worthy. And could win. But there’s no clear front-runner here. If “degree of difficulty” comes into play as it often does at the Oscars, the crippled Laura of Celia Keenan-Bolger “Glass Menagerie” might take it. It’s really hard to call this one. But it also should be noted that Mare Winningham WON in this category for the Outer Critics Circle Awards. She tied with Andrea Martin for “Act One” who is not nominated for a Tony. And Celia Keenan-Bolger was not nominated for the OCC. And Celia has picked up some other precursor awards, too, it must be noted, which gives her the edge.

And Sophie Okenado and Anika Noni Rose might cancel each other out, being from the same show, “Raisin”, and “Raisin” wasn’t as acclaimed as “A Glass Menagerie” was.

It’s also hard to call the other Featured Actress in a Musical category winner. It was so close at the Drama Desk it was ANOTHER tie between Lauren Worsham and Anika Larsen for “Gentleman’s Guide…” and “Beautiful” respectively. It could either of these two, who were also profiled together in the New York Times. I’m going to do a coin toss and say it’s Anika.

She plays Carole King’s wise-cracking best friend and co-composer and rival song-writer. It’s a more substantial, and layered role. So I think Ms. Larsen takes this one.This most competitive category is rounded out by Linda Emond in “Cabaret” playing the Lotte Lenya role. And Lena Hall, playing a transgender MAN (who turns back into a woman!) in “Hedwig:And the Angry Inch.” And the stealth candidate is Adriane Lenox, who sings two sizzling songs in “After Midnight” and just steals the whole show. Full disclosure, she was my vote for the Drama Desk in this category.ANYbody could win and surprise in both these Featured Actress categories, really.

And then there’s Best Featured Actor in a Play, where we have the irresistible (to Tony Voters) Mark Rylance as Lady Olivia in the unforgettably delightful Elizabethan mounting of “Twelfth Night.” Even though this show is long closed and Rylance already has already won Tonys aplenty, I think he’s going to win again, against Reed Birney’s terrific, but evil transvestite Charlotte in “Casa Valentina.”

Rylance, who will inevitably recite an obscure poem when he wins, even if he’s there to accept(he may be in London), and bore the audience to death, also has the added bonus of being nominated in the Best Actor in a Play category for his “Richard III” which was performed in rep, with the glittering “Twelfth Night.”

In conclusion, I’d like to point out that though “A Gentleman’s Guide…” seems poised to win the most Tonys, its’ creative team are the ones that are going to carry the day, but none of its’ supremely talented performers look like they are going to win. The competition is THAT tough this year.

Jefferson Mays won the Outer Critics Circle and tied with Neil Patrick Harris for Best Actor in a Musical. And the terrific Bryce Pinkham as Monte Navarro, our hero,or anti-hero, as the most lovable serial killer ever is going to split the “A Gentleman’s Guide..” votes with Mays and they are both going to get steam-rolled by the Neil Patrick Harris juggernaut. Lauren Worsham, in the all-over-the-place, Best Featured Actress in a Musical category,tied with Anika Larsen in this category. Is her adorable, innocent, coloratura ingenue going to surprise and trounce Larsen. She might. She is cuteness and purity and good girl personified.

So don’t miss the Tonys tonight on CBS at 8pm. Hosted by the always watchable Hugh Jackman it will feature production numbers from all the the nominated musicals and a few more extra-special bits, too.

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Bryce Pinkham, the Gentleman of ” A Gentleman’s Guide…”

The super-hot new leading man/matinee idol on Broadway this season is Bryce Pinkham, the titular gentleman of “A Gentleman Guide to Love and Murder”, which just won 7 Drama Desk Awards drops by “The Stephen Holt Show” at the Drama Desk Awards themselves. Bryce is nice. No really, he is not anything like the villainous characters he has played on Broadway in “Ghost” and now the kinder, gentler semi-villain, semi-hero of “A Gentleman’s Guide…” which has earned him a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. He talks about this and his background as a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Videography ~ Jack Siberine

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Gentleman’s Guide Sweeps Drama Desk Awards with 7!!!

Gentlemen's 1Gentlemen's Guide 2Gentleman's Guide Sweeps Drama Desk Awards with 7!!!

It was quite a big night for wit and brilliance on Broadway as the super-smart “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” swept the Drama Desk Awards tonight with seven wins at a gala awards presentation at Town Hall. The glamourous packed audience roared its’ approval.

It won Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical Jefferson Mays, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Lauren Worsham, Best Director of a Musical Darko Tresnjak, Best Book of a Musical Robert L. Freedman, Best Lyrics Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman, Best Projection Design in a Musical Aaron Rhyne.

I only wish it could’ve been a three way tie, and the stupendous Bryce Pinkham, who was also nominated for Best Actor in a Musical, could’ve won, too. And Lisa O’Hare should’ve been nominated, too, for her super-slinky Sibella.And may I say, Steven Lutvak should’ve won for his glittering score. And so should the set and costumes, too! I’m such a fan! I hope it sweeps the Tonys, also! I think it will.

The unusual,odd occurance of a double tie, something that has never happened before in my memory as a Voting Member of the Drama Desk, happened tonight as Best Actor in a Musical, the most hotly contended of all the categories, except perhaps Best Musical, got BOTH Neil Patrick Harris of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” AND Jefferson Mays, as I said, Best Actor in a Musical Awards.

And in Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Lauren Gorsham, as the colortura soprana ingenue Phoebe in “A Gentleman’s Guide…” tied with Anika Larsen, of “Beautiful” who plays Carole King’s wise-cracking best friend and rival composer. Interestingly both actresses were profiled together in a New York Times article that combined the two lovely young performers and strangely predicted the tie in their category.

Audra McDonald won Best Actress in a Play for “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille” for her searing, elegiac performance of the late Billie Holliday in the last days of her life. Many thought she was in the wrong category since she sings over a dozen of Holiday’s greatest hits in the show that is presented as if it were in a supper club as the audience is grouped in small cocktail tables on what is usually the floor of the orchestra of the Circle in the Square theater.

But it mattered not what category she was in to the Drama Deskers, who voted her Best Actress in a Play anyway! Didn’t think they would, but they did! Damn the semantics! Full speed ahead to the Tonys! Where she might become the very first performer to ever win SIX!?! If she wins there, too. If she won this big award, from the persnickety Drama Desk voters, (she already won the Outer Critics Circle), she’ll win the Tony, too, I think. DONE!

How many Drama Desk Awards has she won? More than Tonys even, I bet!

Best Actress in a Musical was Jessie Mueller as Carole King in “Beautiful,” a juke box musical consisting of Carole King’s many many hit songs.

Best Actor in a play went to Bryan Cranston in “All the Way” which also won Best Play.

All these performers in the major categories, Audra McDonald, Brian Cranston and Jessie Mueller could very well repeat at the Tonys NEXT Sunday night June 8. But who will win Best Actor in a Musical? Will both Jefferson Mays and Neil Patrick Harris tie again? This is something that has never happened at the Tonys. Stay tuned!!!

A complete list of the winners, as well as the nominees, is below. The winner are highlighted in bold.

http://www.DramaDeskAwards.com
DRAMA DESK AWARD NOMINEES FOR THE 2013-2014 SEASON
(WINNERS IN BOLD)

Outstanding Play
Nell Benjamin, The Explorers Club
Steven Levenson, Core Values
Conor McPherson, The Night Alive
Richard Nelson, Regular Singing
Bruce Norris, Domesticated
Robert Schenkkan, All the Way
John Patrick Shanley, Outside Mullingar

Outstanding Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Aladdin
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Fun Home
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Rocky
The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Revival of a Play
I Remember Mama
London Wall
No Man’s Land
Of Mice and Men
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Model Apartment
Twelfth Night*

*Shakespeare’s Globe Production

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Les Misérables
Violet

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Hamish Linklater, The Comedy of Errors
Ian McKellen, No Man’s Land
David Morse, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
Chris O’Dowd, Of Mice and Men
Daniel Radcliffe, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Denzel Washington, A Raisin in the Sun

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Barbara Andres, I Remember Mama
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Laurie Metcalf, Domesticated
J. Smith-Cameron, Juno and the Paycock
Harriet Walter, Julius Caesar

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch TIE!
Adam Jacobs, Aladdin
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder TIE!
Steven Pasquale, The Bridges of Madison County
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Violet
Idina Menzel, If/Then
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County
Margo Seibert, Tamar of the River
Barrett Wilbert Weed, Heathers: The Musical

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, Casa Valentina
Chuck Cooper, Choir Boy
Peter Maloney, Outside Mullingar
Bobby Moreno, Year of the Rooster
Bill Pullman, The Jacksonian
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Betty Buckley, The Old Friends
Julia Coffey, London Wall
Diane Davis, The Model Apartment
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The Glass Menagerie
Jan Maxwell, The Castle
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Rory O’Malley, Nobody Loves You
Bobby Steggert, Big Fish

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, Little Miss Sunshine
Anika Larsen, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (tie)
Adriane Lenox, After Midnight
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Laura Osnes, The Threepenny Opera
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Lauren Worsham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (tie)

Outstanding Director of a Play
Joe Calarco, A Christmas Carol
Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Thomas Kail, Family Furniture
Bill Rauch, All the Way
Anna D. Shapiro, Domesticated
Julie Taymor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Bartlett Sher, The Bridges of Madison County
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Alex Timbers, Rocky
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Outstanding Choreography
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Steven Hoggett, Kelly Devine, Rocky
Danny Mefford, Love’s Labour’s Lost
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Sonya Tayeh, Kung Fu

Outstanding Music
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Andrew Lippa, Big Fish
Steven Lutvak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Alan Menken, Aladdin
Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, Heathers: The Musical
Jeanine Tesori, Fun Home

Outstanding Lyrics
Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, and Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Michael Friedman, Love’s Labour’s Lost
Michael Korie, Far from Heaven
Lisa Kron, Fun Home

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Chad Beguelin, Aladdin
Robert L. Freedman, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, Murder for Two
Lisa Kron, Fun Home
Douglas McGrath, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Marsha Norman, The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Orchestrations
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
John Clancy, Fun Home
Larry Hochman, Big Fish
Steve Sidwell, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Michael Starobin, If/Then
Jonathan Tunick, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Outstanding Music in a Play
Lewis Flinn, The Tribute Artist
Elliot Goldenthal, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Rob Kearns, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle
Tom Kochan, Almost, Maine
Nico Muhly, The Glass Menagerie
Duncan Sheik, A Man’s a Man

Outstanding Revue
After Midnight
I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Musik from the Weimar and Beyond
Le Jazz Hot: How the French Saved Jazz
Til Divorce Do Us Part
What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined

Outstanding Set Design
Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Richard Hoover, Small Engine Repair
Santo Loquasto, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Ian MacNeil, A Doll’s House
Donyale Werle, The Explorers Club

Outstanding Costume Design
Constance Hoffman, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Zane Pihlstrom, Nutcracker Rouge
Loren Shaw, The Mysteries
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night
David C. Woolard, The Heir Apparent

Outstanding Lighting Design
Christopher Akerlind, Rocky
Jane Cox, Machinal
David Lander, The Civil War
Peter Mumford, King Lear
Brian Tovar, Tamar of the River
Japhy Weideman, Macbeth

Outstanding Projection Design
Robert Massicotte and Alexis Laurence, Cirkopolis
Sven Ortel, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Aaron Rhyne, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Shawn Sagady, All the Way
Austin Switser, Sontag: Reborn
Ben Rubin, Arguendo

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Kai Harada, Fun Home
Peter Hylenski, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical
Peter Hylenski, Rocky
Brian Ronan, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Dan Moses Schreier, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Jon Weston, The Bridges of Madison County

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
M.L. Dogg, The Open House
Katie Down, The Golden Dragon
Paul James Prendergast, All the Way
Dan Moses Schreier, Act One
Christopher Shutt, Love and Information
Matt Tierney, Machinal

Outstanding Solo Performance
David Barlow, This is My Office
Jim Brochu, Character Man
Hannah Cabell, Grounded
Debra Jo Rupp, Becoming Dr. Ruth
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned
John Douglas Thompson, Satchmo at the Waldorf

Unique Theatrical Experience
Charlatan
Cirkopolis
Mother Africa
Nothing to Hide
Nutcracker Rouge
The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Vol.

Special Awards Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theater. For 2013-2014, these awards are:

To Soho Rep.: For nearly four decades of artistic distinction, innovative production, and provocative play selection.

To Veanne Cox: For her ability to express the eccentricities, strengths, and vulnerabilities of a range of characters, and notably for her comedic flair as evidenced in this season’s The Old Friends and The Most Deserving.

To Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award: For his visionary directorial excellence. This season’s The Golden Dragon and The Mysteries exemplify his bold and strikingly original imagination.

To the ensembles of Off-Broadway’s The Open House and Broadway’s The Realistic Joneses and to the creator of both plays, Will Eno: For two extraordinary casts and one impressively inventive playwright.

The Open House: Hannah Bos, Michael Countryman, Peter Friedman, Danny McCarthy, and Carolyn McCormick

The Realistic Joneses:Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, and Marisa Tomei

Individual artists and productions singled out for these special awards are not eligible in their competitive categories.

PRODUCTIONS WITH MULTIPLE AWARDS

7 A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

3 Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

2 Twelfth Night*

2 After Midnight

2 All The Way

2 The Bridges of Madison County

2 The Glass Menagerie

2 Hedwig and the Angry Inch

2 Rocky

*Shakespeare’s Globe Production

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Drama Desk Award Predictions

Drama Desk Award Predicitons

Yes, the Drama Desk Awards are coming up fast! They are handed out on June 1 next Sunday at Town Hall.

And here are my intrepid predictions! I think critic’s fave “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Valor” (pictured above ^) Will sweep and get the Best Musical Award and all the others in that musical category. Best Music, Best Lyrics, Best Book, Best Orchestrations(the great Jonathan Tunick, natch.)

And in the hardest fought battle Best Actor in a Musical, I think the Drama Desk-ers being all critics are going to also choose actor’s actor Jefferson Mays for his eight(or nine) roles in “A Gentlemen’s Guide…” over the much more famous Neil Patrick Harris in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Though when the Tonys come up the following week, we could see this reversed.

“Hedwig” will get Best Revival of a Musical. And I think “All the Way” though I LOATHED it myself will get Best Play. THREE HOURS OF HAM! I mean, I like ham. But THREE HOURS!?!?

However, I think the Drama Desk-ers will vote for it. Though something less known might surprise here. It could be anything, if it’s not the obvious Tony front-runner.

Best Actor in a Play will PROBABLY be Bryan Cranston in “All the Way” as LBJ. Another Tony front-runner. Chris O’Dowd in “Of Mice and Men” could be the surprise upset here. And this would REALLY be a surprise.

Best Actress in a Play may very well go to Tyne Daly for “Mothers and Sons”. Though with Audra McDonald in this category, too, it could be Audra. Though the Drama Desk-ers, being all critics through and through. and sticklers for detail, may balk at the Five-Time Tony Winner being put in this category though she sings an endless amount of memorable period songs. Audra won the Outer Critics Circle but she was in Best Actress in A Musical there, not Best Actress in a Play.

Best Actress in a Musical will also be Tony front-runner Jessie Mueller for “Beautiful:The Carole King Musical” where she’s amazingly effective as the ugly ducking who becomes a swan/superstar.

Best Revival of a Play will be “Twelfth Night.” It’s no longer running, but that won’t bother the Drama Desk-ers, who don’t take that into consideration, the way the Tony voters do.

Best Revue will be “After Midnight.”

The Drama Desk Awards are the only awards in all of theater, let it be said, that honor Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway equally, on an even playing field.

And the prestige of these awards has increased since the press are no long allowed to vote for the Tony Awards!

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How I Adore “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”!

Seeing “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” for the SECOND time, I couldn’t believe how much I loved it ~ more! I saw it when it first opened this past winter, and I adored how tuneful, how witty and how inventive it was and how ingeniously staged and performed it was by all hands on deck. I thought it was too rich, too lushly melodic, too good, too period perfect(It’s 1908), or too perfect. Period. For Broadway in this loud, flat day & age, but guess what?

It survived the long, horrid winter we’ve had and has come up this Spring blooming with Award nominations! So the SECOND time I saw it, “A Gentleman’s …” was even more delightful, if that’s actually possible, because you just relax and luxuriate in its’ glorious excesses of gorgeousness. malevolence,melody & wit!

WIT! How many musicals on Broadway have this, my most prized delectation! And how I miss it!

Not since Lerner & Lowe have we heard this wealth of sharp lyrics, luxuriant melodies and the rebirth of patter songs. I kept thinking of Rex Harrison’s immortal Henry Higgins all through this juggernaut of tongue-twisting fun. It harks back to the best of George Bernard Shaw, too, in its spot-on depiction of life high and low in Edwardian England. And it’s also thoroughly British, which I love, Anglo-phile that I am.

The opening tableau of a grim, gleeful, rain-soaked chorus all in black sets the tone with “A Warning to the Audience” that “you’d best depart!” at once, if they don’t like murder and mayhem. They re-unite merrily in Act Two’s Opening asking “Why Are All the D’Ysquiths Dying?”

You see, our redoubtable hero, Monty Navarro (the stupendous Bryce Pinkham) is impoverished and grief-stricken at the outset. He is reeling, coming from his beloved mother’s funeral. A strange old woman named Miss Shingle,(pictured above^) whom he doesn’t know from Adam, turns up to comfort him in his Dickensian, down-at-heels bed-sit in a grimy, smoke-stack spewing part of London (kudos to scenic designer Alexander Dodge) to tell him that “You’re a D’Ysquith!” And consequently the heir to a vast fortune, but unfortunately there are eight other D’Ysquiths in the way to his ascendancy to the Earldom of Chislehurst.

The marvelous Jane Carr (the apple of Maggie Smith’s eye in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”) turns up here as Miss Shingle, evincing a perfect Cockney accent, and a twinkle in her mischievous eye, to set the plot a-rolling and the pots a-boiling.

She quickly transfers that deadly twinkle to the bereft down-and-outer Monty’s big baby blues and hence a dastardly, dashing, handsome devil of a villain is born.

I.E. The plot is to bump off the eight people standing in his determined way. I don’t think I’ve ever loved a social-climber quite so much!

Monty sings: I am standing here with poison in my pocket,
One eye on the target, one eye on the clock. It
Better happen soon before I lose my nerve and run.
If I had a knife I could have grabbed him,
Then discreetly knocked him on
The head and stabbed him,
Not to mention what I would have done,
If I had had a gun.

And one after the other, in one hilarious set piece after the next, each one a knock-out, literally. (Kudos again to the inventive Mr. Dodge. His back-projections are as hilariously apt as his front-projections) The D’Ysquiths all begin to fall like nine (or rather eight) pins in an East End bowling alley. That they all are played by the incredible Jefferson Mays is simply beyond astounding. And each one of the doomed D’Ysquiths are meticulously differentiated from the other. He’s a one-man cast of thousands ~ of dead people.

In case all of this is sounding a tick familiar, “A Gentleman’s Guide…” is based on the book “Kind Hearts and Coronets” that the famous movie starring Alec Guinness is also based upon. And Jefferson Mays fills the bill quite, quite well.

Mr. Jefferson Mays is, of course, the esteemed Tony recipient of “I Am My Own Wife,” where once again he showed his chameleon versatility playing multiple roles in a one-man show. Though sweating and spitting up a storm in Act One, he nevertheless engages the audience’s affection and admiration as the bodies pile one upon the other in seemingly endless succession, all them bodies his. And who knew he could sing and dance like that?

D’Ysquithian highlights abound as we await the next deliciously daffy dispatch of one dastardly aristocrat after the other. Without spoiling just how hilariously they all go to meet their maker, there’s one patriotic, and also homo-erotic, number called “It’s Better With a Man” that both Mr. Pinkham and the inevitable Mr. Mays seem to take particular purple relish in.

Bryce Pinkham, Broadway’s newest, hottest leading man, has a lilting tenor, arched eye-brows and chiseled cheekbones. Plus he has the difficult job of making all the many murders of Mr. Mays, be sympathetic, and also empathetic, as well as sexy, as he slashes, and stabs and poisons his way to the top. You root for him to be the sociopath that he becomes. Pinkham has been seen before buried in the chorus of “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” and also playing the third lover in the musical “Love’s Labour’s Lost”in the park this past summer. You’ll remember him as the hot guy in silver lame hot pants, and on roller-skates. An agile triple-threat, he.

Keeping the sex count as high as the body count are the beauties battling for his affections, the pink-obsessed blonde Sibella (Lisa O’ Hare) and the brunette soubrette Phoebe(Lauren Worsham). The brilliant director of all this madness is the meticulous Darko Tresnjak and the bloody good music & lyrics are by the two and only Steven Lutvak and Robert L.Freedman(who also penned the tart, smart book). All of these are the gentleman, who will guide you through love and murder, and all are astonishingly making their auspicious Broadway debuts!

And they’ve all been nominated for Tonys! And Drama Desks! And the Outer Critics Circle Awards, too! Ten or eleven! Almost as high as the count of murders! And surely on the way to topping and copping all the awards for “Best Musical of the Year”! Sometimes quality is rewarded on Broadway! T</em>hank the Theater Gods! YAY!

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