The Oscars never had to deal with this one. If a “black” film gets nominated for Best Picture, it’s an event. With the Tony Awards administration committee’s decision that “Shuffle Along” is a new musical (not a revival) it now competes with the hit “Hamilton” resulting in two “black” shows battling for best new musical of the season.
That’s my prediction, anyway: Hamilton,” which features an all-black cast save one character (a white King George III — the oppressive monarch) will be seeking votes again the all-black “Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed,” which is its complete title.
Audra McDonald who, as Nathan Lane has said wins a Tony Award every time she leaves her apartment — debuts 9 tonight (EST) on HBO recreating her — of course — Tony Award-winning Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for “Lady Day at the Emerson’s Bar and Grill.”
It’s not the best of plays with music. Set in a small Philadelphia jazz club at the end of Billie Holiday’s career (nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and music partner Lester Young), and four months before her death, she rambles about her ups and downs — mostly downs. But this is essentially a tour de force performance by one of Broadway’s greatest performers and for those who couldn’t get to Broadway to see it, HBO has preserved it by reuniting McDonald and her Lady Day Broadway director Lonny Price for the event.
The Broadway performance earned McDonald her sixth Tony Award, more performance wins than any other actor. She is the only person to win all four acting categories.
The program will repeat and is on demand. For more details, click here.
Usually a Broadway show that wins only one Tony Award, or just got nominated for one Tony, emphasizes the positive. Not “Something Rotten.” It ran a full-page ad in the NYTimes proclaiming itself a “Loser,” after taking home only 1 of the 10 awards for which it was nominated.
An excellent article recently published in the NYTimes explores the producers chutzpah. Reporter Michael Paulson writes, ” ‘The “Rotten!’ ad was devised the day after the Tony Awards, when the show’s dejected marketing team gathered at the offices of its advertising agency, SpotCo, to figure out what to do next.”
After all, the irony of the whole thing is “Something Rotten” is about two struggling playwrights who are desperate to best their chief rival — Will Shakespeare — and the only Tony the show got was for Christian Borle, who plays Shakespeare.
So the producers of the show that was nominated for “Best Musical” decided to point out what great company they were in including other “losers” that didn’t take home the Best Musical award, such as “West Side Story,” “Grease,” “Mama Mia!” and “Wicked.”
“You’re always hoping that you’re going to win, but if you don’t, you have to think about how to position your show,” Kevin McCollum, the lead producer of “Rotten!” told the NY Times. “Very few shows have the confidence to go with the headline ‘Loser!,’ but it illustrates that we’re confident enough to acknowledge our loss and celebrate those that came before us.”
The Broadway theater community is celebrating its 2014-’15 season tonight by awarding coveted Tony Awards. But producers aren’t letting grass grow under their feet with.
Two full-page ads are in the NYTimes Sunday Arts&Leisure section (June 7) promoting David Mamet’s new play “China Doll” starring Al Pacino and a revival of “Fiddler on the Roof” from the “creative team of ‘South Pacific’ and ‘The King and I.'” (Does that mean Kelli O’Hara is playing Golda? Please, no.) The remarkable Danny Burstein is said to be playing Teyve. Please, yes.
“China Doll,” a two-hander also featuring Fran Kranz, is directed by Pam MacKinnon. According to the Page 3 ad and is a “strictly limited engagement — 14 weeks only.” Pacino plays a rich guy who buys an new airplane for his young fiancée as he prepares to go into semiretirement. Then he gets a phone call …
The “Fiddler” revival will be directed by Bartlett Sher. Previews begin Nov. 17, opening night Dec. 17. It will be Broadway’s sixth production of the musical based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem with music by Jerry Bock (music), lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein.
With 12 Tony Award nominations each, “An American in Paris” and “Fun Home” are tied for the most. “Something Rotten!’ earned 10 and “The King and I” got 9. The play with the most nominations was “Wolf Hall Parts One & Two” with 8.
If you’re wondering why Bruce Willis is hosting this morning’s Tony Awards nominations announcement (with Tony-winner Mary-Louise Parker) it’s because a little star power never hurts AND he’s making his Broadway debut next season in a stage adaptation of “Misery.”
Parker, who earned a Tony Award in 2001 for “Proof,” will star in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s “Heisenberg” this May.