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Entries in Broadway and Stage (193)

Thursday
Jun162016

Hamilton Mania, Pixar Short, Gay Rage, New Musical

• Variety Zac Efron possibly joining headliner Hugh Jackman in the new PT Barnum movie musical The Greatest Showman on Earth
Universal Studios Wicked, the movie has a release date. More on this tomorrow
Playbill Tony Kushner writing an adaptation of West Side Story for a remake by Steven Spielberg! Since that's my favorite movie of all time I feel very weird about this. Strangely the article stays that Kushner is "currently adapting the screenplay of August Wilson's Pulitzer-winning drama Fences" which would be really bad news for the movie since it's already done filming ;) 
• My New Plaid Pants ...reacts to the news with a shout out to PT Barnum look-alike Jim Broadbent

• THR The British Independent Film Awards, which helped Ex Machina along last awards season, and are adding award categories this year will try a new system to coincide with what voters have seen and where there are conflicts of interest. Interesting.
EW Tyler Hoechlin will play Superman for the CW
The Stake Batman v Superman gets a new trailer for its expanded DVD edition. It's LONGER now?!? Jesus Christ. 
• THR That Noah Galvin interview we discussed is still prompting news stories. Apparently ABC is coming down hard on him. Guess they're sensitive about Modern Family!  
• NYT She Loves Me will be the first Broadway show streamed live. One night only June 30th. It will cost you $10 instead of the normal $100+
• Vanity Fair on the making of the new Pixar short "Piper". The buzz is true. The short is super adorable / impressive after a patchy run for the most recent Pixar shorts
Awards Daily Oscar nomination frontrunners thus far?
• Facebook if you missed Jeffery Self's live feed "It's Awesome to be Gay" with lots of LGBT actors and performers all five parts are available to watch! I haven't finished watching it but there's much talking, funniness, and even some musical numbers. Loved Jordan Firstman singing "Smile," Brian Jordan Alvarez's story about Kevin Spacey, and Drew Droege and Sam Pancake talking about playing gay characters on TV, Darryl Stephens unconventional queer awakening via Prince's Under the Cherry Moon and more... 

Hamilton Mania
I was finally able to see the insanely popular  Hamilton on Broadway last night. For this I must thank the very talented Rory O'Malley (who broke through with Book of Mormon five years back) that's us on stage after the show to your left) who plays King George III. We met because of Into the Woods and this blog and long story.

King George III is such a fun role with perfect little comic interludes to comment on all the chaos in America. (That's the role Jonathan Groff originated but he had to leave the show early due to Looking and other commitments). Otherwise the original cast is still with the show -- for another couple of weeks at least. Good news: they'll be filming it soon for posterity! There will also be a Hamilton mixtape of cut songs and covers and a documentary later this year since people are insatiable.

We had excellent seats -- I nearly smacked the actor Josh Charles in the face (who happened to be sitting next to us) before the show while trying to send a selfie with too little wi-fi. The show lived up to the hype. Great energy, fun, and memorable music and an incredibly finessed marriage of content, form, and theme. 

Politics
Tis the season. With the recent tragedy in Orlando it's hard to not focus on politics, and how broken the GOP is, basically serving only as meat puppets for the NRA who are holding us all hostage (and executing thousands of people each year) via lax gun laws. So here are a few political pieces worth reading/watching:

BET an amazing open letter to straight people from Dominick Pupa which was banned from Facebook -- I guess because it upset sensitive straight people who don't like being reminded of the existence of gays? Not sure how Facebook can justify removing it
•  The Daily Beast "Admit it..." a thought provoking piece on religion and mass killings and theocratic community's culpability 
Gawker the essential Rich Juzwiack on Anti-Gay hatred and gay resistance 

Wednesday
Jun152016

A Post-Script Thank You for Broadway's Diversity

I'm finally seeing Hamilton tonight so allow me this theater diversion before we get back to the Emmys and summer movies!

Though the Tony Awards were celebrated for their diversity Sunday night, I knew this sort of thing would crop up afterwards. A site called The Conversation wonders if the diversity of Broadway is overstated. It's an interesting piece with valuable stats even if it seems odd to pursue that impulse in such a strong year for theatrical diversity. Leading up to the Tony Awards I saw a few other articles suggesting that Hamilton was distorting the public perspective about this as well. It's true that Shuffle Along, Hamilton, The Color Purple, and Eclipsed, all nominated popular shows featuring all black casts (and in Hamilton's case latina, black, and asian actors), happened to fall in the same season which is not entirely usual. And, as with cinema, we still have the issue of people thinking of diversity in a binary way (black & white) which is a problem.

But before we give in to negative thoughts (wayyyy too easy), let's give Broadway its due. It is far more diverse than other showbiz mediums and not just this season. Let's take Best Actress in a Play/Musical as an example. One leading actress winner in the 89 year history of the Oscars has been a woman of color - Halle Berry in Monster's Ball (2001) and three leading actress winners in the 67 year history of the Emmys (regular series awards): Viola Davis in How To Get Away with Murder (drama), Isabel Sanford for The Jeffersons (comedy) and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (comedy).

more after the jump...

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Monday
Jun132016

Tony Winners for 2016

A lot of us needed that awards show last night - a celebration of passion, talent, and love for community - given the horrific events of the weekend.

In the opening number the musical acting nominees joined James Corden on stage (from left to right: Benanti, Corden, Krakowski, Miranda, Goldsberry, Levi, and Danielle Brooks

The Tonys were particularly defiantly joyous Sunday evening with an exuberant production, which featured a fun curveball of having each performing cast do a miniature version of a classic showtune outside the theater before or after they performed their shows number onstage inside. Other highlights included: Audra McDonald doing a high kick while pregnant; James Corden's bit with the Tony accountants; Frank Langella being more concerned with the tragedy in Orlando than his Tony; and a hilarious view of the nominees through the prism of their guest star work in the Law & Order franchise. Poor Danny Burstein! Or, rather, 'well employed Danny Burstein' who guest starred on Law & Order so many times it was like watching a man age in time lapse photography...

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Thursday
Jun092016

Stage Door: Tony Predictions

We've already talked Tony Presenters & Performances so let's delve into predictions for the show this Sunday night on CBS.

Best Musical
Bright Star (REVIEWED
Hamilton
School of Rock
Shuffle Along
Waitress

Will Win: Hamilton in a cakewalk though Shuffle Along has ardent fans so it probably would have won in a year without a juggernaut like Hamilton

Best Play
Eclipsed by Danai Gurira -- closes June 19th
King Charles III by Mike Bartlett - already closed
The Father by Florian Zeller (REVIEWED
The Humans by Stephen Karam

Will Win: The Humans has been nabbing all the precursor prizes so it's got the momentum.
Possible Spoiler: ...if there's a surprise look to Eclipsed

more after the jump...

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Wednesday
Jun082016

Tony Awards Presenters & Broadway Carpool

The Tony Awards hit this weekend with James Corden, former Tony winner and current star of The Late Late Show,  hosting. Sundays ceremony will feature performances from the following musicals: Bright Star, The Color Purple (adapted from the film), Fiddler on the Roof, Hamilton, On Your Feet (the Gloria Estefan musical) School of Rock (adapted from the film), She Loves Me, Shuffle Along, Spring Awakening, and Waitress (adapted from the film).

But which stars of stage and screen will be presenting and which actually belong there?  Since the Tony Awards are televised they tend to give TV & film stars the honors of presenting even though they really ought to pair them with stage giants to make the festivities more attuned to the actual honors being handed out. That minor quibble aside at least the stars chosen to present generally have some sort of Broadway connection.

This year's presenters in the order of how much Broadway stage cred they have after the jump... but first the utter delights of "Broadway Carpool" with James Corden & Lin-Manuel Miranda. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Audra McDonald and Jane Krakowski absolutely kill it with the singing and comedy in the back seat once they get to Les Miz...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun062016

Stage Door: Steve Martin & Edie Brickell's "Bright Star"

In Stage Door we talk theater, usually making some form of movie connection because that's how we do things...

I don't know anything about Bluegrass music but I wouldn't have connected it to the Melodrama form. If I tried to tell you the plot of Steve Martin's Broadway show "Bright Star," you wouldn't even believe it, so I shan't. Let's just say that if the plot were a movie it would be a silent film with wild eyed pantomiming it's so BIG with oversized emotional rug-pulling. I was just crazy about the music but the book not so much. (On the night I attended it was all worth it because Steve Martin made a surprise appearance. There he was as the curtain raised for Act 2, playing on his banjo. He was loving it and so was the very very appreciative crowd. How lucky that he picked our night to show up!)

Aside from the Original Score which just won the Drama Desk Award, the show's MVP is its Tony nominated lead actress Carmen Cusack who plays her character, beautifully, at two separate ages as a gangly uninhibited teenager and a much stiffer heartbroken woman in her 30s; when she fuses their temperaments at the end into the same woman, it's divine. Her voice can soar gorgeously and crash down to earth with equal potency. The Original Cast Recording is now available which might be the best way to experience the otherwise uneven night of theater. The highlight of this particular lucky night out on Broadway was the surprise appearance of Steve Martin playing his banjo as Act 2 began. He was loving it and so were his appreciative surprised fans in the theater that night. I was lucky enough to be among them. 

Bright Star is up for 5 Tonys: Musical, Book of a Musical, Score, Actress, and Orchestrations. 

More Theater
54 Below Molly Pope is doing a one night show in July based on A Star is Born. She's a stunning live performer -it's pricey but I have to be there
NY Times An ode to Broadway replacements Heather Headley & Marin Mazzie
NY Post Michael Riedel predicts a mini Hamilton backlash at the Tonys. It will lose in at least a few categories 
Theater Mania Once frequent Oscar nominee Marsha Mason is directing a production of Steel Magnolias in Pennsylvania (now running through June 18th). Jessica Walter is playing Ouiser which is great casting, don't you think? 
Broadway Blog Cheyenne Jackson has a new album out "Renaissance"

 

 

P.S. Jason and I also caught American Psycho again the day before it closed and during intermission, while chatting with Pushing Daisies / Hannibal TV genius Bryan Fuller (who also enjoyed the show) we all met a crazy fan who was wearing an American Psycho dress . A second time through I'm even more convinced of its brilliance. The Tonys really stiffed it but at least it picked up 3 well deserved Drama Desk Awards (Lighting, Projections, Design) 

Monday
Jun062016

The Furniture: Decorating Madness in A Streetcar Named Desire

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...

The 70th Tony Awards are in just a few days. I certainly can't be trusted with predictions, but I’ll make one guess. The award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play probably won’t be split three ways. That sort of near-impossible result has only occurred once, all the way back in 1948. The 2nd Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play was shared by Judith Anderson, Katharine Cornell, and Jessica Tandy. Tandy won for the original broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Of course, she didn’t get to be in the movie and so we will leave her behind. Elia Kazan’s film of Tennessee Williams’s masterpiece premiered less than two years after its Broadway run ended. Its success was that instant. It won four Oscars, though all but one was for acting. That fourth prize, of course, was for production design. [More...]

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