Manuel here still recovering for a wonderful Pride weekend which I'm greedily extending for two more days with Bette Midler tonight and Fun Home tomorrow. Needless to say, movies and musicals, and movie musicals are on my mind. Thankfully, Amy Heckerling is here to tide me over, stoking Clueless fandom by letting us know she's finished writing the book for a stage musical adaptation of her 1995 film (though dampening the excitement a bit by confessing it's a jukebox musical to be directed by ??, of Rock of Ages fame). And so, since she acknowledged casting would be a big hurdle before we see "As if!" being uttered on stage, I thought we could help her out brainstorming names for the central three performances.
Entries in Broadway and Stage (151)
The Film Experience is enormously proud to hand the site over to Ann Dowd (The Leftovers, Masters of Sex). She will be guest blogging all day. - Editor.
-by Ann Dowd
The awareness, the love story, for me began in high school. Acknowledging it came later. I’m talking about falling in love with acting and committing to the life with all its ups and downs.
You know, you do a play in high school and you think “Wow, this is kind of great.” For me it was playing Adelaide from Guys & Dolls -- it just about did me in with joy. But it never occurred to me, and I’m sure this is true for many others who didn’t grow up in a theater environment, that you could choose to be an actor. It just wasn’t an option.
I was in premed for four years in college. But I also took acting classes each year and that's where I found peace and some sense of fufillment. There it was, that feeling again, a deep love. The role that changed my perspective on whether or not I could really be an actress as a life choice was Sonya in Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. It was that quiet voice again which said, "I want to live in her life."
It’s a simple thing, from my perspective now years later, about knowing whether you want to do this and whether you can commit for life. And that’s in this question:
Can I step into the life of another human being in an open and truthful way without judgment?
There’s a connection that happens when you’re acting that transcends just about anything. When that happens — and it doesn’t always — but if it’s deep and it happens enough there’s an awareness that you could really live this life with all its ups and downs. So I made the change in senior year of college, auditioned for an acting school, got in, and essentially never looked back. It was very hard, many ups and downs. But there was never a question of “can I do it?” It was that I had to do it. Plain and simple — it was the only thing that made sense to me.
For Those Starting Out
Many young actors starting out want advice — “how do I get an agent?” is usually the question — and I'm afraid I don't have much advice on that issue. When I look back now 30 years, when I think of what a young actor needs to be successful in this business, for me it comes down to the following: a fierce energy, a single mindedness, a refusal to consider failure or giving up as an option, and an unshakable belief that you have a rightful place in this work. Youth has that in it's favor.
And I can offer this: stay deeply connected to your love of acting. Put your head down and keep going, even if there aren’t roles, or if they go well or don’t go well. In the moments when you’re alone, slow it all down. Step away from technology as much as you can, observe and listen to life as it unfolds. Live your life. Work on your relationships. You will need all of those things as actors. You need perspective. If you have personal issues, seek the help you need to get through them — you need an understanding of suffering and pain but you do not need to spend your life doing that to make the work good!
Attend to your life in other words. Know and believe that it’s going to work out. If you love what you’re going to do and you do the work to get better as an actor,then you’re going to get the support you need.
I know that sounds naive but I honestly believe it’s true.
Next: The Leftovers
Each member of Team Experience was asked to celebrate a dream pick for the Emmys. Here's Jose...
At first, Ruth Wilson’s Alison Bailey in The Affair seems to be the kind of person you'd never really notice. And yet for some strange reason we, like the male lead (played by Dominic West) are immediately drawn to her, perhaps because of how she seems careless and worried at the same time, or perhaps because of her effortless beauty which she seems to carry with shame, as if she’s concealing something. Whatever the reason, Alison owes her appeal to the magic of Wilson who in less than a year had a two-punch breakout success with this show (for which she won the Golden Globe) and her Tony nominated Broadway turn in Constellations.
Wilson is a two time Olivier Award winner so her breathtaking ease onstage was no surprise to people who knew her work in the West End, audiences on our side of the pond however were given the opportunity to discover a fresh new face that Hollywood had been using for silly or underchallenging supporting roles in films like The Lone Ranger and Saving Mr Banks. What remains most surprising about Wilson is that without any physical transformation she makes you truly believe she is the two very different women she's playing in The Affair and Constellations.
The same is true even within The Affair, which often repeats events from two sides (a "he said/she said" kind of thing) so Wilson has to approach each scene in a two different ways. When the events are seen through Alison's perspective they carry an aura of both helplessness and tenacity in the face of adversity, but those same moments seen through the eys of her lover, sometimes practically turn her into a femme fatale.
Whichever version of events you believe, trust this: We are only starting to discover what Wilson can do.
Nathaniel R: HELLO Margaret and Jose. Ready for our fashion lineups?
Margaret: Harmonizing anyone?
Jose: Actually I was changing into the gown from The King and I to get in the mood
Margaret: Why not start with the adorably mismatched hosts? If someone had warned me we'd be seeing formal shorts on the red carpet I would have been thoroughly disapproving, and yet looking at Alan Cumming's cheeky little mug I can't help but enjoy it.
Dancin’ Dan here with a quick run through one of the Tony front-runners in preparation for this weekend’s festivities! As a big fan of Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I was… concerned when it was announced that there was a stage adaptation in the works. Some books just don’t feel like they would translate to the stage, and this, with its singular first-person narration, certainly felt like one.
Given that not everyone can live in or even visit New York regularly and even those of us who do, can't see all the Tony nominees given our budgets, here's a list of ten plus smart movie choices if you'd like to feel tangentially invested in the upcoming Tony Awards (Sunday night! - should we live blog?) without actually having seen any of the shows! If you only have time for one movie make it an Ann Miller, Leslie Caron, or Gene Kelly movie as they're the unofficial mascots of this Tony season each having starred in two of the movies related to current Broadway hits.
If you can't make it to Broadway
Congratulations! You've already won. You don't have to watch the super dull Finding Neverland (2004) again because it's Broadway adaptation didn't earn a single nomination! On a sadder note if you want to play along at home and you love good movies, the Doctor Zhivago (1965) adaptation has already shuttered since the Tony voters shunned it (yeah, it wasn't good) so you don't get to watch that classic again at home ...at least for this project.
10 Saved! (2004) + Meet the Feebles (1989)
If you can't make it to NYC to see the blasphemous/hilarious Hand To God about a confused young man living with his religious mother who believes his hand puppet is possessed by the devil, try a religious satire and a filthy puppet movie instead. For maximum effect play these movies simultaneously side by side. (You may substitute any preferred religious comedy in place of Saved but dirty puppet movies are hard to come by)
Nine more movies (and Tony thoughts) after the jump...