2015-2016 Tony Awards

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The Original BJ
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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:26 pm

I watched the live stream of She Loves Me on Broadway HD (which is available for viewing until July 7, and then apparently will go back up at some point after it's been edited together a bit more). I'd never seen the musical before, and though it certainly has its charming, well-known numbers, it's possible that after seeing so many movie versions of this story I can't say I desperately needed to sit through yet another iteration. And for something that's such a trifle, I found it far too long, with a lot of unnecessary side plots and musical numbers that seemed to distract from the central romance (which here, as in other incarnations, is quite winning).

Laura Benanti, though, is an absolute treasure -- she sings like an angel, and finds a whole bunch of humor in lines of dialogue that wouldn't necessarily even be funny, but for the way she plays them. Jane Krakowski felt a bit underused to me, but remains a delightful musical comedienne in her showcase numbers.

And the Tony-winning set design -- particularly the parfumerie set which opens and closes on itself to function as both exterior and interior -- is totally nifty.

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby flipp525 » Thu Jun 23, 2016 8:50 pm

I've been away from the board finishing my book and getting it ready for publication (OMG my cover is incredible!). But I had to pop in to say that I saw Long Day's Journey Into Night last weekend and was incredibly impressed. It was such a profound, moving production. The set, lighting design (which I thought was particularly effective) and the staging were all superb. Gabriel Byrne was a surprise for me in his role as Tyrone. I was prepared to sort of go through the motions with his performance, but I thought he was outstanding, even heartbreaking later on in the play. John Gallagher, Jr. doesn't find as many shades in Edmond as I would've liked, but he was fine in the role. Physically perfect, more than performance-wise, if that makes any sense. And, as Tee pointed out, Michael Shannon does wonders with the meaty Jamie role. He would've been a worthy winner for this.

But Jessica Lange simply blew me away. I have to say this overtakes Cate Blanchett's performance in A Streetcar Named Desire for the best I've ever seen. I was almost overcome by her performance (I lost track of how many times I cried during some of her moments on stage). She absolutely nails the character of Mary Tyrone and deftly handles the quick, mercurial changes of her throughout the almost four-hour play. Her last moments on stage are completely haunting and I'll never forget them as long as I live. A Tony Award richly deserved.
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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:50 am

You're right, Magilla -- it turns out what will be airing on PBS in the fall will be a behind-the-scenes documentary of the show, not this filmed version.

But I hope the film of the show will air sooner rather than later -- as Hamilton seems set to run for a very long time, I imagine the show wouldn't have to close for the producers to feel like, at some point, a PBS airing wouldn't impact their bottom line very much.

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:02 am

The way I read it they are going to film two performances of the show which is typically what they do for PBS broadcasts, splicing together the best parts of each for the TV airing, which means it will be with the current cast. Usually, however, the show is not broadcast until the show leaves Broadway. Since Hamilton isn't likely to leave for years, this could be an exception where it is broadcast while still selling out, maybe around this time next year as part of the promotion for the 2017 Tonys.

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:56 pm

It was announced today that Hamilton will be filmed within the next few weeks with the original cast, to air on PBS in October (although whether that means the current cast, or the opening night cast I guess remains to be seen, as Jonathan Groff has already left the show.)

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:09 pm

This was one of the better Tony telecasts in some time, I thought. Nearly all the numbers showcased their productions quite well -- even an old stand-by like Fiddler on the Roof, not something that would be high on my list to rush out and see yet again, reminded me of the emotional pull it has at its core that has made it so enduring. The one exception would be School of Rock -- perhaps this is just the Webber-phobe in me speaking, but I found that number completely grating, and couldn't imagine what three hours of that would be like.

I found the Bright Star number quite strong musically -- that show has really been struggling to find an audience, and I'm hopeful at least Steve Martin's pull will get a production out to LA at least. And it struck me while watching them both sing onstage together -- is there another Broadway singer who is a better fit for Sara Bareilles's style of music than Jessie Mueller?

There was some irony in the fact that Audra McDonald presented Best Actress in a Musical, after she had been omitted in that category, but you have to imagine that after six trips to the podium, she's more than happy to cheer for everyone else. That woman remains unbelievable -- most people couldn't dream of doing kicks like that on our best days, and she does it seemingly effortlessly while pregnant.

I felt a little bad for Danny Burstein -- he's gotta be thinking, if Tevye couldn't do it for me, what ever will? But at the same time, he's got many years ahead of him, and getting plum roles season after season these days, so hopefully his turn will come around eventually. And even though Odom was attached to the huge juggernaut, his individual performance was very strong, and clearly worthy of recognition.

Even with Broadway's favorite son a lock to win, Best Book of a Musical still couldn't merit a presentation on the actual telecast. Did everyone just think Lin-Manuel Miranda would have enough airtime on the show as it was?

James Corden seemed to strike the right tone throughout -- sort of like Ellen did hosting the Emmys after 9/11, he was able to recognize the pain and anger many in the audience (and at home) were feeling, while reminding everyone that it was still okay to laugh and celebrate the achievements of the year even on a day clouded by darkness.

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:39 am

OscarGuy wrote:The One Day More number makes me wonder. Has any other show and any other song been performed on the Tonys more frequently?


More in one night, probably not. More in repeated shows, I don't think so. At least three last night, "There's No Business Like Show Business" from Annie Get Your Gun, "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" from Guys and Dolls and "All That Jazz" from Chicago pop up fairly frequently.

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:11 am

Can we please stop with the Oscar shaming over race? When was the last time they had a four-person slate that could have conceivably all won Oscars in one day? It's not that common in general, but with the sorry state of great film roles available for actors of color, it's not exactly their fault that they have so little to choose from. Blame Hollywood, not the Oscars.

I think Waitress came off incredibly well. The Sara Bereilles piano solo seemed pointless, but that final number was rousing. I think all the musicals, including School of Rock, came off fairly well with the exception of She Loves Me and Shuffle Along. Are there two leads in musical history with such diametrically opposed vocal styles? He was very traditional and also a tad bit strained while she was overly operatic and, while talented, left a grating impression.

I think the opening number was fantastic. Corden wore thin very quickly, though. His ebullient performance was distracting and overstayed its welcome. The One Day More number makes me wonder. Has any other show and any other song been performed on the Tonys more frequently?
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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:15 am

I dozed off between Langella's win or maybe it was Lange's, and the awards for best revivals so I missed Jessie Mueller. The little I've seen of Waitress though, I suspect I didn't miss much. My initial reaction to its Best Musical nomination was that American Psycho was slighted. Considering what happened yesterday, though, it was good that Psycho didn't get anywhere near the awards ceremony.

I thought the match-up of The Producers and The Full Monty was more balanced than the match-up between Hamilton and everything else. I'm not so sure Shuffle Along would have won had Hamilton not been in the mix. Yes, it won the Drama Guild, but Bright Star, won the Outer Critics. Neither one can hold a candle to Hamilton.

None of the televised acceptance speeches came close to Langella's. I had to hear on the news that Miranda's poem to his wife was also a tribute to Orlando. It didn't strike me that way during his reading of it.

While Corden was an improvement over Cumming and Chenoweth last year, a little Corden goes a long way. The opening in which he sang a little of this, a little of that, was overkill. His deprecating introduction of la Streisand at the end was way too much. I did like the previously filmed cab sequence. How fortuitous was it that he, Miranda, McDonald, Ferguson and Krakowski got to sing "One Day More" from Les Misérables on a night such as that?

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:19 am

Some quick thoughts:

After last year's bracing unpredictability, this was about the most surprise-free Tonys in years. No complaints, as the winners seem all deserving. But last year was a lot more fun.

The average age of the four straight-play acting winners must be double or triple the average for the musical quartet. Perhaps not unrelated: all four musical winners were black, a Tony first. Take that, Oscars.

Hamilton, like The Producers, didn't even leave a crumb for the perceived second-place contender (Shuffle Along here, The Full Monty back then). Also like The Producers, best actress was its one big miss. The one award the show might have won (enabling it to tie Producers) but didn't was set design.

Speeches were largely good; Frank Langella's probably the best.

James Corden did very well with both the necessarily somber opening moment and with the comedy; after last year's grating Chenoweth/Cumming turn, a major relief.

Most shows came off reasonably well in the excerpts -- School of Rock excluded -- with Jessie Mueller and Cynthia Erivo impressing with pipes. But She Loves Me proved a show is better picking one strong number than doing a medley. (Side note: I knew Jane Krakowski a little during Grand Hotel, so I know she's no youngster...which makes those splits she did even more extraordinary.)

Was CBS so happy about showcasing a huge musical hit AND their Late Late Show host that they put their stopwatches away? I can't remember a Tony show being allowed to run that long.

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:12 pm

Maybe it's the feeling of sheer inevitability hanging over this year that has kept anyone from weighing in on the now-only-28-hours-away Tonys?

For sure, Hamilton for best musical is in Book of Mormon/The Producers territory for absolute certainty -- our first such sure thing in the category in the last five years. As BJ notes, the main question is how far the Hamilton sweep extends. Book/score/directing/costumes/lighting/orchestrations seem more than likely, and scuttlebutt in the Times round-up is the show also wins both supporting categories (Diggs and Goldsberry), though both Krakowski and Brooks have champions on the female side. Choreography is not out of the question, though prevailing sentiment is for Shuffle Along to get that one consolation prize (Shuffle Along's Drama Critics' win suggests it might have been a big winner in any other season, but that's the way things roll). And best actor does seem a face-off between Burstein, with his accumulated credits, and Odom.

Actress in a musical seems sure to go to Erivo, and The Color Purple is likely to win a very contested revival field. (Reviews were so good for the show itself that one wonders: if the show had been this well-mounted in its original production, might it have left Jersey Boys in the dust?) Set of a musical might be one of the best races on the musical side, with Hamilton-inertia possibly carrying the day, but many people seemingly enchanted by the design of She Loves Me.

Last year, the play side of the competition was the predictable one, but this year it holds the most suspense. Not for best play, which will almost surely go to The Humans. But best actor is competitive, with Frank Langella favored, but Mark Strong and maybe Gabriel Byrne in the mix. Best actress is likely but not quite certain for Jessica Lange (Lupita Nyong'o's coming to Broadway is something voters might want to endorse). It's entirely possible the supporting trophies will go to veterans Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell -- but Michael Shannon in the always-impressive Jamie role in Journey is an upset possibility, and either Wife #1 or Wife #3 could win for Eclipsed. Best director seems likely to to go to Ivo Van Hove, in recognition of his double-barrelled Arthur Miller season...but there's a chance voters will default to multi-winner Joe Mantello for directing the season's best new play. And best revival could go to A View from the Bridge -- widely thought the most innovative production -- but voters sometimes favor the show still running, which could advantage Long Day's Journey, or even The Crucible. (View & Journey have both previously won in the revival category.)

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby Big Magilla » Sat May 14, 2016 6:05 am

This is a very good question. I scoured the internet for the answer and came up nil. Of all the possible Tony trivia questions this once has apparently not occurred to anyone until now.

Not the shortest Tony nominated performance, but the shortest appearance by a Tony winner and top billed star has to be Helen Hayes' brief appearance as the mother of Bert Convy's (Hildy Johnson) fiancé in the second iteration of the 1969 revival of The Front Page. She got as much attention as Robert Ryan in a highly lauded performance as Walter Burns.

I saw 1776 on Broadway in the early 70s after some of the original cast had left. The Richard Henry Lee character has only one song and is gone for a large part of the play but he does have a brief second non-singing scene upon his return and stays for the remainder of the play. Interestingly it was Gregg Edelman in the far more visible Edward Rutledge role who won the Drama Desk award and received a Tony nod in a featured role in the 1997 revival.

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby The Original BJ » Fri May 13, 2016 11:26 pm

Adriane Lenox won the Tony for Best Featured Actress for one scene in Doubt, in a part that can't have had that much more stage time than Groff's.

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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby FilmFan720 » Fri May 13, 2016 10:12 pm

dws1982 wrote:I bet the Richard Henry Lee role in 1776 (for which Ron Holgate won the Tony) is up there; He may be around in the background some, but I think he's only got the one number. (Unless the movie changed the stage version significantly, that is.)


No, you are right, he disappears pretty much 20 minutes into the show.

Also, Marge in Promises, Promises, which has won two actresses a Tony, is probably around the same.
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Re: 2015-2016 Tony Awards

Postby dws1982 » Fri May 13, 2016 9:38 pm

I bet the Richard Henry Lee role in 1776 (for which Ron Holgate won the Tony) is up there; He may be around in the background some, but I think he's only got the one number. (Unless the movie changed the stage version significantly, that is.)


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