Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And the Nominees Are...2013 TONY AWARD NOMINEES

Here are the 2013 Tony Award Nominations! I think this is a good list, but there are some very obvious snubs (and definitely some things that got nominated that maybe shouldn't have been). Post in the comments people who you think should have been nominated or people that were that shouldn't have been!

Best Play
The Assembled Parties
Author: Richard Greenberg
Lucky Guy
Author: Nora Ephron
The Testament of Mary
Author: Colm Toíbín
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Author: Christopher Durang

Best Musical
Bring It On: The Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Kinky Boots
Matilda The Musical

Best Revival of a Play
Golden Boy
The Trip to Bountiful
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Revival of a Musical
The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella

Best Book of a Musical
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Joseph Robinette
Kinky Boots
Harvey Fierstein
Matilda The Musical
Dennis Kelly
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Douglas Carter Beane

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
A Christmas Story, The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Hands on a Hardbody
Music: Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
Lyrics: Amanda Green
Kinky Boots
Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper
Matilda The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
Tracy Letts, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
Patina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Carrie Coon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Andrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical

Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, The Nance
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
David Rockwell, Lucky Guy
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Scott Pask, Pippin
David Rockwell, Kinky Boots

Best Costume Design of a Play
Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
Ann Roth, The Nance
Albert Wolsky, The Heiress
Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy
Donald Holder, Golden Boy
Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary
Japhy Weideman, The Nance

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots
Kenneth Posner, Pippin
Kenneth Posner, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella
Hugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical

Best Sound Design of a Play
John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful
Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
Leon Rothenberg, The Nance
Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Jonathan Deans and Garth Helm, Pippin
Peter Hylenski, Motown The Musical
John Shivers, Kinky Boots
Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella

Best Direction of a Play
Pam MacKinnon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy
George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy

Best Direction of a Musical
Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Diane Paulus, Pippin
Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical
Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Chet Walker, Pippin

Best Orchestrations
Chris Nightingale, Matilda The Musical
Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots
Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook, Motown The Musical
Danny Troob, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella

Monday, April 22, 2013

TONY Nominations Predictions 2013!

So the Tony Award nominations will be announced (by Sutton Foster and Jesse Tyler Ferguson) on April 30th, so here is my prediction of who will be nominated for some of the biggest awards. I also will have a wild-card pick per category if there is someone/or a show that could very well score a surprise nomination, even if it isn't necessarily likely.

Kinky Boots
Hands on a Hardbody
WILD-CARD: Bring It On! The Musical

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
WILD-CARD: Jekyll & Hyde

Rob McClure (Chaplin)
Bertie Carvel (Matilda)
Matthew James Thomas (Pippin)
Billy Porter (Kinkt Boots)
Brandon Victor Dixon (Motown)
WILD-CARD: Santino Fontana (Cinderella)

Patina Miller (Pippin)
Laura Osnes (Cinderella)
Lilla Crawford (Annie)
Carolee Carmello (Scandalous)
Stephanie J. Block (The Mystery of Edwin Drood)
WILD-CARD: Deborah Cox (Jekyll & Hyde)

Will Chase (Mystery of Edwin Drood)
Jim Norton (Mystery of Edwin Drood)
Andy Karl (Mystery of Edwin Drood)
Terrence Mann (Pippin)
Gabriel Ebert (Matilda)

Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots)
Andrea Martin (Pippin)
Keala Settle (Hands on a Hardbody)
Ann Harada (Cinderella)
Kate Finneran (Annie)

Diane Paulus (Pippin)
Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots)
Charles Randolph-Wright (Motown)
Warren Carlyle (Chaplin)

Chet Walker (Pippin)
Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots)
Peter Darling (Matilda)
Josh Rhodes (Cinderella)

Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots)
Douglas Carter Beane (Cinderella)
Doug Wright (Hands on a Hardbody)
Dennis Kelly (Matilda)

Kinky Boots
Hands on a Hardbody
A Christmas Story, The Musical
WILD-CARD: Chaplin

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
The Nance
The Other Place
The Assembled Parties
WILD-CARD: I'll Eat You Last

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Golden Boy
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The Heiress

Tom Hanks (Lucky Guy)
Tracy Letts (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf)
Nathan Lane (The Nance)
Alan Cumming (Macbeth)
Alec Baldwin (Orphans)

Jessica Chastain (The Heiress)
Holland Taylor (Ann)
Amy Morton (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf)
Laurie Metcalf (The Other Place)
Fiona Shaw (The Testament of Mary)

Danny Burstein (Golden Boy)
Richard Kind (The Big Knife)
Jonny Orsini (The Nance)
Tony Shalhoub (Golden Boy)
Tom Sturridge (Orphans)

Judith Ivey (The Heiress)
Elizabeth Marvel (Picnic)
Debra Monk (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)
Cady Huffman (The Nance)
Condola Rashad (The Trip to Bountiful)

Pam MacKinnon (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)
Nicholas Martin (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike)
Jack O'Brien (The Nance)
Bartlett Sher (Golden Boy)
Michael Wilson (The Trip to Bountiful)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Is DC the New IT Theatre Town?

Today marked the announcement of ANOTHER major musical making its out of town tryout in Washington, DC. Ahrens and Flaherty's LITTLE DANCER (based on the dancer in Degas' paintings) will premiere in October 2014 at the Kennedy Center.

This announcement follows the announcement of the first major revival of SIDE SHOW, directed by Bill Condon (Chicago, Dreamgirls), will premiere at the Kennedy Center only a few months earlier in June 2014.

IF/THEN, the new musical from the entire creative team behind NEXT TO NORMAL, starring Idina Menzel (Rent, Wicked), will premiere in November 2013 at DC's National Theatre ahead of a spring Broadway opening.

Lastly, Arena Stage will be having the pre-Broadway premiere of THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN starring Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella.

Having lived in DC for the past few years, this is the most "pre-Broadway" or big name productions I have seen or heard of. The only major production to come from DC recently was last year's FOLLIES (starring Bernadette Peters) at the Kennedy Center.

This begs the question of whether or not DC is becoming the new IT theatre town, in the vein of Chicago or Seattle? As someone hoping to pursue a career in theatre in DC, I hope this is the case, but I have to assume that these premieres are more than just coincidence.

I don't particularly have any answers, but I'd love to hear if any of my readers have any thoughts?

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Martin Luther King Jr. inspired hundreds of thousands of people with his charismatic speeches and drive to fight racial inequality. Arena Stage's production of resident playwright Katori Hall's THE MOUNTAINTOP didn't have me wanting to climb to the mountaintop when the curtain closed.

Katori Hall's inventive play, which won an Olivier Award in London and played on Broadway with Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s last night before his assassination in a motel room in Memphis. When a newly employed maid pays a late-night visit to Dr. King's room, their back and forth explores what MLK truly stood for and how he could prepare himself for the impending tragedy.

While I thought the play was unique and interesting, I was taken out of the experience by an uncharismatic MLK. Bowman Wright, who portrayed Dr. King, skillfully portrayed the human elements of the Civil Rights leader, but when he needed to be passionate and show the side of MLK that inspired thousands, I was left uninspired. The actor didn't seem to connect with the character as I had hoped he would.

Joaquina Kalukango, the brilliant actress who portrayed the maid Camae, found every comedic note with ease and was far and away the highlight of the production. While this was great, it was unexpected in a play about Martin Luther King.

The set was very plain, a 1960's motel room, that was structured as a box set. It wasn't revolutionary but it was exactly what this simple play needed. The plain set served as a perfect foil for the excellent projections that were innovative and brought this production to a "magical" level.

Overall, the play had extremely strong production values that were brought down by a sub-par performance and average direction.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

REVIEW: Another "Five Years"

Last night I had the opportunity to see another incarnation of Jason Robert Brown's THE LAST FIVE YEARS, this time at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. Had I not just seen Second Stage's phenomenal revival in New York (read my review here), I think I would have found last night a lot more magical.

The first thing that stuck out to me when I walked into the space was the gorgeous set, designed by Daniel Conway. For such a minimalist musical, he created a complex, interesting space, that was highlighted by a stream of papers flying in an upward spiral from the desk on stage. 

Once the musical started, the show was similar to both other productions of this show I've seen. The same story, the same music, all surrounding the five year relationship between the novelist Jamie and actress Cathy. 

After the vocal powerhouse that was the performance by Betsy Wolfe and Adam Kantor, this production was a let down vocally. Erin Weaver, who plays Cathy, has a sort of frail voice that didn't lend itself to the strong ballads like "Still Hurting." Unfortunately her acting in the beginning of the show, where Cathy is a wreck emotionally, was bland and she didn't seem broken up by her break-up with Jamie at all. She was much stronger, at least in terms of acting, in the character songs like "Summer in Ohio" and "I Can Do Better Than That."

James Gardiner, who played Jamie, was stronger than Weaver was both vocally and in his acting. He was funny and likable, until he needed to be the villain of the story. Was he perfect? No. But what actor ever is? His rendition of "The Schmuel Song" had me cracking up the whole time, and I liked how he differentiated his performances from the canon version of the show (by Norbert Leo Butz).

Overall, this was a pretty good regional production of a great show. I wonder how I would have reacted if this was the first production of the show I saw. It definitely was worth the time though and if you can make it out to Arlington, worth the price of admission.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Didn't Romeo and Juliet Kill Themselves Already? Apparently Not.

It was announced this week (on April Fool's Day to be precise) that Shakespeare's ROMEO & JULIET will be returning to Broadway in the fall with Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean  and Condola Rashad (Stick Fly) in the eponymous roles.

I really hoped this was an April Fool's joke. It wasn't.

The new production will open at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in the fall with David Leveaux (Arcadia) directing.

Now, I appreciate Shakespeare's play for what it did for theatre and for its artistic value, but I feel like we have seen it plenty and really don't need another production of it. (Doesn't every high school have one anyway?)

But getting past the fact that the production exists (which I can eventually accept), what really bugs me is that they cast two actors who are almost double the age of the characters! As a college actor, there are plenty of super talented actors around who are totally capable (and much more age appropriate) to play these iconic roles. I feel like I'd be ok with Zac Efron and Selena Gomez as Romeo and Juliet more than this.

Ok. That's a lie. But still...

And moving on from that, there is ANOTHER professional production being done in NYC in the fall starring Elizabeth Olson at Classic Stage Company (an Off-Broadway theatre). I think this production is smarter, as Olson is relatively closer to Juliet's age, but it's still ANOTHER production of ROMEO & JULIET.

So what I leave you with is this. I thought these characters are dead. Is it really necessary to have multiple productions of this same play, in the same city, with completely inappropriate actors? I think not.

P.S. Folger Theatre in DC just announced they'd be doing a production as well. Lovely.

Monday, April 1, 2013

THE TONY'S ARE COMING! With Sutton and Jesse!

So today is opening day for baseball fans, but also the real start of Tony Award season, as USA TODAY just announced that Sutton Foster (Anything Goes, Bunheads) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family, Spelling Bee) will announce the 2013 Tony Award nominees on April 30th at the New York Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

The TONY's will be broadcast on June 9th on CBS.

I think these two are a great choice to announce the awards, as they are two of Broadway's most famous alums as of late, but both are ineligible for any Tony's because they are both on hit TV series and haven't been on stage this year.

So the speculation and guessing of who will be nominated kicks in to high gear now.

It's Hard to Get to Broadway: A Prince Dies Young

Over the past year, it seems that getting a show to Broadway has become a major source of gossip on news websites like the New York Times and New York Post. This weekend, another highly anticipated show, THE PRINCE OF BROADWAY, was delayed indefinitely.

The show, which had trouble securing its Multi-million dollar budget, has been delayed twice already on the Great White Way.

The PRINCE OF BROADWAY is following in the footsteps of the ill-fated REBECCA, but without the legal drama.

Is it getting harder to get original musicals on Broadway? It seems the answer is yes.

After seeing a plethora of movie-adapted musicals recently (I.e. Matilda, Newsies, Once, Sister Act) and much less successful adaptations, like Leap of Faith, it seems that there is no magic formula.

So what does this mean for the state of Broadway? People don't want to invest because chances of getting back your investment, let alone making a profit, are slim. This is making it increasingly difficult especially to fund new musicals.

I was excited for PRINCE OF BROADWAY, and it's sad to see unique ideas dying so early.