Posted in theater, Tony Awards, Tony winner

TONY (W)rap

I was wrong
Hamilton came on strong

Not seven
But eleven

Statuettes for lighting,
Orchestrations, and fighting

Cast and Lin
All win

Hamilton‘s got a token
Record’s still unbroken

Hamilton– 16 nods, 11 wins– trails
The Producers– winning 12– prevails

Their twelve wins no one’s topped
Even with just 11, Ham can’t be stopped

Try and get a ticket to see it, now– no!
That’s okay, it’ll still be there when you do go


It’s an annual ritual at VevlynsPen.com to have me flail around guessing who the winner will be on TONY’s big night. I am often wrong, and occassionally right. Congratulations, for instance, to Roundabout’s She Loves Me for a best for sets designed by David Rockwell.

But the business of TONY is a double-edged sword. The awards celebration attracts audiences– Hamilton, we might point out, did not need the boost– andthose not getting an award are dubbed TONY losers. Yes, I know, a TONY nominee is not a loser, but if you don’t win it…. well you know. It is in the musical category that productions are particularly vulnerable. (Plays are on their own time-table; very rarely would one last even 500 performances, although it may find a revival every few years.)

Not every musical is as resilient as Something Rotten! which chugs along with only the one lonely TONY winner, Christian Borle, in its cast. From this year’s crop, On Your Feet!, the Emilio and Gloria Estefan musical, has its own special appeal, and is selling tickets through next April.

American Psycho The Musical succumbed before awards night. The luminous Bright Star is closing before the July 4th holiday on June 26th; as CBS news confirms, it did not win the awards needed to keep the public’s interest. Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Broadway Sensation of 1921, and all that Followed is telling its story through October 9th at this point. We’ll see if it gets a second wind if and when Audra McDonald returns from her intermission from the show.

Since I mentioned plays, aka non-musical ones, earlier, it is good to remember that Eclipsed might have had a longer run had it gotten more love from TONY. The Father, which won a TONY for Frank Langella’s star turn, closed on schedule on father’s day.The Humans, this year’s best play will stay open at least through the end of the year at the Helen Hayes.

What can the TONYs do to help Broadway more? Should we all ease up a little on thinking of a TONY win as the pinnacle of a production’s success? In other, maybe TONY should matter less and the play be the thing…..

Posted in musical theater

Somthing Rotten! Plays On

An ad for Something Rotten!
An ad for Something Rotten!

Somthing Rotten! makes (up) musical theater history! For the record, Somthing Rotten! did not win the 2015 Tony for Best New Musical. You can make it up to them:
Somthing Rotten! soldiers on at the St. James with its scrappy fairytale of the genesis of musical theater eight times a week. The idolized charismatic Shakespeare and his rivals the unsung Bottom brothers (they do sing, it’s a musical) are its center and its firmament. Catch up with Something Rotten!, again or for the first time now. It’s musical theatre history in the making.

For our review, click here.

Selling tickets through May at http://rottenbroadway.com/

Our Theater Blog: TandBOnTheAisle

Brian d’Arcy James is having the time of his life.

In the context of Something Rotten!, at the St. James Theatre for what is destined to be a very long run, his jubiliation seems unwarranted.

1. 3566Nick Bottom, the character James so winniningly inhabits, is a failed playwright, who has lost the patronage of Lord Clapham (Peter Bartlett.)  Nick’s deep envy of Will Shakespeare’s (Christian Borle) meteoric success gnaws at him.

To help with the family finances, Nick’s wife Bea (Heidi Blickenstaff) disguises herself as a boy in order to work at menial labor. She says woman should be allowed to work; “it’s the ’90s, soon it will be 1600; there’s a woman on the throne….” Nick’s writing partner is his brother, Nigel (John Criani), a talented young man who admires Shakespeare.

Something Rotten B-Roll

Nick is reduced to  paying a soothsayer, Nostradamus (Brad Oscar), for ideas from theatre-future. The result of the collaboration between Nick and…

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Posted in comedy, dance, drama, musical theater, theater

Post Tonys: Double “Jeopardy®”** Part II

 Ken Watanabe and Kelli O'Hara in "The King and I"
Ken Watanabe and Kelli O’Hara in “The King and I”

My streak continues, so handicapping the Tonys should definitely not be my day job. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time did get Tony attention and commendations I anticipated, including one for its superlative direction by Marianne Elliott. Likewise, I got it right when I predicted that LCT’s The King and I was the Best Musical Revival of 2015. For Kelli O’Hara, 6th tine is the charm!

Here is my post-Tony Double Jeopardy (the run-up is here and here) column:

1. Christian Borle took one for the team.

  • How long will Something Rotten! contine its reign at the St James?
  • Was it wrong to wish this charmer of a musical would walk away with most of its 10 nods?
Oscar Williams, Zell Steele Marrow Sydney Lucas- photo credit Joan Marcus
Oscar Williams, Zell Steele Marrow Sydney Lucas in a scene from “Fun Home”- photo credit Joan Marcus.

2. I labelled it “the new kid on the block,” but never thought this Broadway transfer would run away with so many of the big prizes, including for Best Musical of 2015.

  • What is Fun Home?
  • How many Tonys did Fun Home win?
  • Answer to the answer: Didn’t you see it coming when Sam Gold won for Best Direction of a Musical, Lisa Kron got the Tony for the Best Book and Kron and Jeanine Tesori won for Best  Lyrics and Music?
  • Bonus #2: This win, for the Best Leading Actor in a Musical in Fun Home, is Michael Cerveris’s 2nd Tony. In which Roundabout production did Michael Cerveris win his first Tony?

3. Chita Rivera stars with Roger Rees in Kander & Ebb’s final collaboration, the adaptation of a wry Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s satire.

  • What is The Visit?
  • Can this dark musical win the hearts of Broadway audiences?
  • Bonus #1: Is an City Center Encores! production in its future?
  • 2nd Bonus: Will The Visit ever be a long-running Broadway staple, like say Kander & Ebb’s Chicago?

4. The Night They Invented Champagne is an anthem to celebratory cork popping.

  • What is Gigi at the Neil Simon Theatre?
  • Can putting its best foot forward, as the production of Gigi did on the Tony telecast, help this tuneful revival survive and perhaps thrive on Broadway?

5. A frequent contender for the Award, Kelli O’Hara had five nominations before her win for Best Leading Actress in a Musical on June 7, 2015, which was also a grand night for her co-star and the LCT production.

  • What is The King and I at the Beaumont?
  • Who is Ruthie Ann Miles?

6. Quirky and unusual themes were well-rewarded at the Tonys this year.

  • What is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time?
  • For which other recent production did Marianne Elliott win a Tony for Best Direction?
  • Bonus answers: When did Alex Sharp, this year’s Best Leading Actor in a Play, graduate Julliard?
  • Additional Bonus referencing “quirky-themed”: See Fun Home, #2 above

7. The broadcast on CBS on June 7, 2015 joyously showcased New York’s major creative industry: Broadway, it’s synonymous with NYC.

  • What is the 69th Annual Tony Award television show?
  • Who are Kristen Chenowith and Alan Cumming?

FidgetyFeet from "An American in Paris"

8. Gene Kelly starred in the movie from which this original musical was created, and Christopher Wheeldon, who won the Best for his original choreography.

  • What is An American in Paris?
  • Is it destined for a long stay at the Palace?

9. In the end, it’s about the performances, the staging, the costumes, the content.

  • What is your favorite Broadway show, now and for all time?
  • How many of the current productions have you/will you see(n)?

**Jeopardy® is a trademark for a game show invented by Merv Griffin.

 

Posted in Tony Awards

Tony Double Jeopardy®**

 

3494He left the cast of Hamilton to star in this musical nominated for a Tony Best.

KevinDelAguila  and ChristianBorle Photo 1.(c)O&M Co.
KevinDelAguila and ChristianBorle Photo 1. (c)O&M Co.

He won a Tony for Peter and the Starcatcher and has a nomination for a supporting role in this Tony season.

He plays the Maurice Chevalier role to Victoria Clark’s Mamita now, but once upon a time, he was a “Phantom.”

He is a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and now is on stage at The Palace Theatre 8 shows a week.

Bomus Round:

This musical transferred from The Public Theater in time Tony nominations.

Second Bonus Round:

Kander and Ebb’s last collaboration finally reaches Broadway after taking a long circuitous route in out-of-town tryouts.

Find the answers at http://wp.me/p5jq0w-sQ

Watch the 2015 Tony Awards on Sunday, June 7th.

**Jeopardy® is a trademark for a game show invented by Merv Griffin.

Posted in 2015 Tony Awards

Tony Double Jeopardy®** Answers (or are they actually Questions?)

2. 3562Who is Brian d’Arcy James?
How many Tonys (out of its 10 nominations) will Something Rotten! win?

Will Brad Oscar and Christian Borle be speaking after June 7th?
Who is Christian Borle?

 

Who is Howard McGillin?
Why did the Tony committee ignore much of Gigi’s good qualities?

FairchildCopeBalletWho is Robert Fairchild?
Can An American in Paris win for Best Musical over Something Rotten!?

 

 

 

The family in "Fun Home." Photo by Joan Marcus.
The family in “Fun Home.” Photo by Joan Marcus.

Bonus Round:
What is Fun Home?
When will Hamilton open on Broadway?

 

 

Second Bonus Round

Chita Rivera and the cast of "The Visit." Photo Credit: Thom Kaine
Chita Rivera and the cast of “The Visit.” Photo Credit: Thom Kaine

What is The Visit?
Will Chita Rivera’s Clara prevail on Tony night, winning over the yet un-crowned Kelli O’Hara?

Watch the 2015 Tony Awards on Sunday, June 7th.

For the  Double Jeopardy quiz, go here: http://wp.me/p5jq0w-s5.

To see this critic’s Tony picks, please visit VevlynsPen.com

**Jeopardy® is a trademark for a game show invented by Merv Griffin.

 

 

Posted in musical, musical comedy, musical theater

Something with a breakfast theme

Brian d’Arcy James is having the time of his life.

In the context of Something Rotten!, at the St. James Theatre for what is destined to be a very long run, his jubiliation seems unwarranted.

1. 3566Nick Bottom, the character James so winniningly inhabits, is a failed playwright, who has lost the patronage of Lord Clapham (Peter Bartlett.)  Nick’s deep envy of Will Shakespeare’s (Christian Borle) meteoric success gnaws at him.

To help with the family finances, Nick’s wife Bea (Heidi Blickenstaff) disguises herself as a boy in order to work at menial labor. She says woman should be allowed to work; “it’s the ’90s, soon it will be 1600; there’s a woman on the throne….” Nick’s writing partner is his brother, Nigel (John Criani), a talented young man who admires Shakespeare.

Something Rotten B-Roll

Nick is reduced to  paying a soothsayer, Nostradamus (Brad Oscar), for ideas from theatre-future. The result of the collaboration between Nick and the psychic is the creation of the world’s first Musical. When Lord Clapham withdraws his support, Shylock (Gerry Vichi) offers his patronage, and complications ensue.

2. 3562Something Rotten!, with a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell and music and lyrics by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick, is a joyous compiliation of Bard and Broadway jokes, wonderful dance and song numbers. Casey Nicholaw directs and provides the jubilant choreography in Something Rotten!

“Welcome to the Renaissance” is the anthem with which the Minstrel (Michael James Scott)  guides us into Something Rotten!

Rounding out the cast are the delightful Kate Reinders as Brother Jeremiah’s (Brooks Ashmanskas) daughter and Nigel’s love interest, Portia; along with a superb swing chorus in Something Rotten!

As for Tony nods, Something Rotten! has garnered 10 well-earned nominations, two of which have gone to Nicholaw for direction and dance-making. Something Rotten! is up for the Best New Musical of 2015 Award  Brian d’Arcy James got the nomination for Best Lead Actor; Brad Oscar and Christian Borle (a winner for Peter and the Starcatcher) are in competition for the Best Featured Actor distinction.

Something Rotten! is something deliciously witty, clever and entertaining.

For tickets and more information about Something Rotten!, please visit  http://rottenbroadway.com/.