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.
New TV shows and returning series used to be a big deal every Fall when I was growing up. Not so much any more with cable introducing new shows year-round and Netflix releasing entire series in one day. We can still count on PBS and Lincoln Center to come up with a Fall spectacular and it’s a New York Philharmonic concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s bloody musical “Sweeney Todd” airing 9-11:30 p.m. today (Sept. 26) on Channel 13 in New York. (Check local listings for air dates and times in other locations.)