2014 Tony Nominations

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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby dws1982 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:19 pm

Even a packed house in its Kennedy Center theatre would only translate to a 65% full house if it takes the St. James. If they really want to transfer, they'd be better off trying to book a smaller house like the Belasco or the Lyceum. Or maybe in a non-profit with a subscriber base? Otherwise, it seems like an enormous gamble.

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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby flipp525 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:06 pm

dws1982 wrote:The DC production got very good reviews, but it hasn't sold particularly well. The original show was a flop that played less than 100 performances. It's not very well-known to the general public. And they're wanting to put this revival in one of the biggest theaters on Broadway? Is someone looking for a tax write-off?

I saw Side Show this past Sunday (in a 100% packed house) and there was nothing floppish about it. From what I understand, Bill Condon has fleshed out the cinematic quality of the show and made it more of a biopic than it was in its previous Broadway incarnation. Actors who before were simply gesturing toward their deformities are now fully outfitted as whatever "freak" they're portraying. It's really an evocative choice and it worked really well for me and my companion. By putting the supposed "freakishness" on display, it kind of forces the audience to live in the world of the spectacular and not simply imagine that an able-bodied actor has three legs or another person is completely covered in hair (as happens in, say, The Elephant Man). It more realistically casts the audience as paying members of the grueling freak show from which the sisters are attempting to escape. I also thought the Hilton Sisters' backstory was more integrated into the plot of the show.

One of the sections of the show which I think most benefited from a more overt display of verisimilitude was the closing tableau which featured several members of the cast of [I]Freaks[I] It was almost unsettling how perfectly the production designers were able to capture the look and feel of the actors in that film. The most heartbreaking moment of the show is when Daisy and Violet learn the name of the movie for which they've been scouted.

The Hilton Sisters' voices were just incredible, soaring to the rafters of the Eisenhower Theater at The Kennedy Center, especially during the penultimate "I Will Never Leave You" which is probably the best song of the show. Erin Davie (playing the Alice Ripley role of Violet Hilton) was especially memorable.

The Original BJ, he might not be a big name, but the guy who played "Sir" was very recognizable. I can't come up with his name right now, but I've seen him in countless things on film and television throughout the years. (Edited to add: Robert Joy)

Side-note: Matthew Hydzik, who plays the now more overtly gay Buddy, is an absolute dead-ringer for Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) who, I might add, has been fucked by one of my next-door neighbors.

Also, BJ, my good friend Brad Oscar is currently in the Broadway production of Phantom. Hope you enjoy.
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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:17 pm

I go back a pretty long way with Side Show -- my wife did the workshop of it in 1996 -- and I can tell you from the start it's been very divisive. I quite liked it, but a friend of ours -- a writer with perfectly good taste -- said he put it in Springtime for Hitler territory. I think alot of people just can't get past feeling creepy about it. The Broadway production tried to be considerably softer than the workshop had been -- make it more a love story -- which I thought only weakened the material without making it more of an audience pleaser. (As a friend of mine says -- I'll paraphrase as delicately as I can -- "If you're going to fornicate with an animal, there's no sense putting it halfway in") And even with that there were plenty of Broadway voices (including the insufferable Michael Riedel) who trashed the show relentlessly.

The show has always had passionate supporters, as well, and they seem to feel it'll just take the right production to turn the show into a magical hit (the same, hopeless quest people have had over the decades about Allegro, Anyone Can Whistle and Merrily we Roll Along). I think BJ has it right: this is a cult show and will never be anything else, and the fate of cult shows in massive Broadway houses is not a pretty one.

BJ, I doubt anything can make you actually LIKE Phantom, but if you see it in NY you'll at least have the benefit of Prince's staging (assuming it's still intact, which one can't presume after a quarter century of deterioration). I was shocked when I watched the movie, to realize how silly the plot was...but while I was watching the show on stage, I was steadily wowed by Prince's work. For me, he's one of the true artists of the stage, a good deal of whose work has given me great pleasure over the past 40 years.

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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:52 pm

dws1982 wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:Bill Condon's revival of Side Show, which I saw at La Jolla last fall, and which is currently at the Kennedy Center, has its eye on London and then, if all goes well, New York. (Also news from a friend of mine in that cast.)

This one is supposedly looking to transfer into the St. James after Bullets Over Broadway closes. (Which it probably will fairly soon.) What a strange gamble. The DC production got very good reviews, but it hasn't sold particularly well. The original show was a flop that played less than 100 performances. It's not very well-known to the general public. And they're wanting to put this revival in one of the biggest theaters on Broadway? Is someone looking for a tax write-off?

Also, Phantom of the Opera played its 11,000th(!!) performance last night. Supposedly the current Phantom and Christine--Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess--are the best combo they've had in the lead roles in ages.


I'm rooting for Side Show, but I fear that this revival has flop written all over it. Even with good reviews, it's still mostly a theater-folk cult musical rather than anything with broad appeal, and there's not a single name in the cast. Not even a Broadway-only name. And the material is, by tourist standards, strange and dark. I applaud the creative team's efforts at trying to rework this show, but I certainly wouldn't be shocked to see this one come and go pretty quickly on Broadway.

I'll be in NY in a couple weeks, and the Norm Lewis/Sierra Boggess combo has me intrigued enough that I'm honestly considering finally -- FINALLY -- seeing Phantom of the Opera. (I mean, there really aren't many options on Monday nights!)

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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby dws1982 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:31 pm

The Original BJ wrote:Bill Condon's revival of Side Show, which I saw at La Jolla last fall, and which is currently at the Kennedy Center, has its eye on London and then, if all goes well, New York. (Also news from a friend of mine in that cast.)

This one is supposedly looking to transfer into the St. James after Bullets Over Broadway closes. (Which it probably will fairly soon.) What a strange gamble. The DC production got very good reviews, but it hasn't sold particularly well. The original show was a flop that played less than 100 performances. It's not very well-known to the general public. And they're wanting to put this revival in one of the biggest theaters on Broadway? Is someone looking for a tax write-off?

Also, Phantom of the Opera played its 11,000th(!!) performance last night. Supposedly the current Phantom and Christine--Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess--are the best combo they've had in the lead roles in ages.

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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:45 am

Greg wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:but Oliver! winning best picture was a stunning upset (it was the first time the DGA had ever failed to predict best director, and film/director were of course often in tandem).


I would have thought that Oliver! being such a big nominations leader would have meant its winning Best Picture would not be a big surprise, regardless of its director not winning the DGA.

Mary Poppins, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Bonnie and Clyde/Guess Who's Coming to Dinner had all led nominations (as did Anne of a Thousand Days a year later) without being best picture favorites. Except for 1967, the DGA winner in all those years won best picture along with best director. (And in the 1966 case, Woolf had whomped A Man for All Seasons, 13 nods to 8.)

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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby Greg » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:27 am

Mister Tee wrote:but Oliver! winning best picture was a stunning upset (it was the first time the DGA had ever failed to predict best director, and film/director were of course often in tandem).


I would have thought that Oliver! being such a big nominations leader would have meant its winning Best Picture would not be a big surprise, regardless of its director not winning the DGA.
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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:56 am

I've probably seen most, if not all of these, live. I've re-visited a couple of them, just finished watching the 1971 awards of which there has never been anything like, and probably never will be. I had hoped against hope that the 1996 awards would pick up where the '71 awards ended and present the original stars of the musical winners for the ensuing 25 years, but it wasn't to be.

It would be nice if they released this one on DVD with interviews with the presenters, performers and winners who are still with us, but that is likely just another pipe dream. The cost of securing the musical rights would alone probably be so prohibitive as to make it impossible, which is likely why these shows were dropped on YouTube.

For the record, there were four non-winners of the Best Musical Tony represented. The first winner in the category was 1949's Kiss Me, Kate. 1947's Finian's Rainbow won three Tonys including one for David Wayne who was the first representative performer seen. 1948's High Button Shoes won for Best Choreography, but any excuse to have Nanette Fabray reprise "Papa, Won't You Dance With Me" is just fine with me.

Gwen Verdon was kept busy enough without having to have had to reprised a snippet of her show-stopping Can-Can in the Cole Porter musical, but if they wanted to throw a bone to the show they should have had Lilo reprise the show's seldom heard title song, still considered too risqué to be sung on screen when the tepid film version was done in 1959. Lilo, by the way, is still with us at 89, and for all we know can still do a high kick.

Mame was not a winner for Best Musical - it lost to Man of La Mancha - but Angela Lansbury's song was inevitable. Why have her as a host and not ask her to sing something?

Most conspicuous by their absence were Rosalind Russell, Best Actress in a Musical winner for Wonderful Town represented here by co-star Edie Adams, and three-time winner Mary Martin, two of whose shows were winners - South Pacific and The Sound of Music.

The weakest winner represented was Redhead which would not have won if the Tonys had followed strict season eligibility periods as they do now. It would have lost handily to Gypsy which lost in the following year's two-way tie between Fiorello! and The Sound of Music.

The oldest performer was one of the strongest of the evening - 82 year-old Stanley Holloway belting out "I'm Getting Married in the Morning" from My Fair Lady. He was 92 when he died ten years later, the same year as Virginia Vestoff (Abigail Adams in 1776), the youngest of the evening's performers to die at 42.

Still with us, however, are triple-threat co-hosts, presenters and performers Lauren Bacall (93) and Angela Lansbury (88); presenter and performer Carol Channing (93); performers Patricia Morison (99); Nanette Fabray (93); William Daniels (87); Robert Morse (83); Florence Henderson (80); Leslie Uggams (the baby of the group at 71) and winners Hal Linden (93); Helen Gallagher (88 next week); Rae Allen (88); Hal Prince (86); Stephen Sondheim (84); Brian Bedford (79) and Paul Sand (79).

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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:38 am

Thanks, Greg for sparing me the effort of writing all that out.

The odd part about it was, Jack Albertson certainly qualified as an obvious guess, but Oliver! winning best picture was a stunning upset (it was the first time the DGA had ever failed to predict best director, and film/director were of course often in tandem). So, I always had to wonder if some trickery were involved (like, maybe they shot the moment later in the evening and edited it into the broadcast -- not that that was a technologically easy thing to do in 1969).

As someone said at the time, though, if they'd really wanted to seem psychic, they'd have mentioned the best actress tie.
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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby Greg » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:18 am

I was curious and Googled it. This is what I found on Wikipedia:

Controversy was created on Oscar night when Johnny Carson and Buddy Hackett announced in a sketch on the evening's Tonight Show, which was recorded three hours before the awards ceremony, that Oliver! would be the winner for Best Picture and that Jack Albertson would win for Best Supporting Actor. Columnist Frances Drake claimed that most observers believed Carson and Hackett "were playing a huge practical joke or happened to make a lucky guess."[3] As Carson recalled it on the air years later, it created a huge controversy and people at Price Waterhouse were fired. Referring to it as "The Great Carson Hoax," PricewaterhouseCoopers stated in a 2004 press release that it was "later proven that Carson and Hackett made a few lucky guesses for their routine, dispelling rumors of a security breach and keeping the integrity of the balloting process intact."[4] The Academy later hired Carson five times to host the ceremony.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/41st_Academy_Awards
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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby FilmFan720 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:51 pm

Mister Tee wrote:and featured an Alan King joke that would be incomprehensible to all but Oscar-philes ("The results are so secret, even Buddy Hackett and Johnny Carson don't know them").


OK...explain please
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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:25 pm

This may be one of those things about which I was the last to know, but in case others are equally in the dark and would be interested: I've discovered that YouTube has a great number of past Tony shows available for viewing, back to the first years of national broadcast (1967 was when it first showed up on network). I saw all of these in their original airings -- I assume Magilla and Mike Kelly did, as well -- but for those much younger, it's a chance for you to see a lot of people you may know only as names in books: Noel Coward, Lunt and Fontanne, even people like Groucho Marx or Zero Mostel as presenters.

I've only watched the first couple of years, but I've come across plenty of memorable stuff: the 1967 show was hosted by Mary Martin and Robert Preston (while they starred in I Do! I Do!), and featured Hal Prince as practically a baby; on the '68 show, they did excerpts from long-run shows, and one of the daughters in the Fiddler number is Bette Midler; the '69 show begins by announcing it's sponsored by Virginia Slims (this a year or so before TV banned cigarette ads), and featured an Alan King joke that would be incomprehensible to all but Oscar-philes ("The results are so secret, even Buddy Hackett and Johnny Carson don't know them"). And if you've never seen the '71 show -- it was the 25th Tony anniversary -- it's a chance to see a huge number of original stars recreating some of the biggest show-stoppers in Broadway history till then (Vivian Blaine singing Adelaide's Lament, Gwen Verdon with Whatever Lola Wants, Robert Preston doing Trouble, Paul Lynde on Kids, Kiley the Impossible Dream, etc.)

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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby dws1982 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:15 am

Rock of Ages is playing at about 70-75% capacity but the grosses are only about 50-55% of the potential gross. So the tickets they are selling are being sold, on average, at pretty big discounts. Jersey Boys is about similar in terms of capacity, but 60-65% in terms of potential...doesn't look great, but the film version may bump that up for awhile. Chicago is another long-runner that may be reaching the end of the line--about 65-70% in terms of capacity, and around 50% in terms of potential. All or most of these might make it to the fall or so on the basis of summer grosses, but once the tourists leave town after Labor Day, it'll be tough. Based on grosses, I'd guess that the producers are a bit nervous about Les Miserables as well. It's doing better than any of these other shows, but for the most popular musical in the world (give or take Phantom), I'd expect a higher gross.

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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:13 am

To highlight a clear generation gap, Mister Tee, I'll acknowledge that most people in my circles who are into musical theater have seen Rock of Ages (myself included). It's dumb, but it has its laughs, and a "score" comprised of a lot of the catchiest pop hits from the '80's. It's nothing artful, but it's a far better time than the absolutely atrocious film version.

That said, I think a lot of the points you made -- that the show doesn't exactly appeal to the same demographic as many musicals and thus seems like a different beast entirely, and that it doesn't FEEL like it's lasted that long -- perhaps suggest that it's the kind of show where box office and ubiquity don't necessarily go hand in hand with cultural impact. Which is to say, despite a long run on Broadway, a movie version, a production installed in Las Vegas, and a successful tour, Rock of Ages doesn't feel remotely as much of a popular cultural touchstone as some other recent musicals. (Which is to say, if you asked the average person to name a contemporary Broadway musical, they might say Wicked, Book of Mormon, Hairspray, even another jukebox show like Mamma Mia, but I doubt too many would first think of Rock of Ages.)

And I actually didn't know the Broadway production was rumored to be on its last legs either, though it's had a longer run than I'd have ever expected back when it opened.

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Re: 2014 Tony Nominations

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:26 pm

The Original BJ wrote:
Okri wrote:BJ, where would you rank something like Rock of Ages? It'll have a ridiculously long shelf-life. It's already played a jaw-dropping 2,000 performances. It's not that expensive and has already seen the light of day in the UK, Canada, Australia, and the Phillipines.


Oh yeah, Rock of Ages definitely would qualify at the very least in the "big cultural hit" category, perhaps the ginormous blockbuster category depending on how long it runs. (It's a bit newer, so it slipped my mind.)

Serious question: has anyone you know ever seen Rock of Ages? I've never heard anyone mention it.

Follow-up question: Does the 2000 performance mark even mean that much anymore? To invoke "old-guy" perspective: when I first looked at the Broadway long-run list (mid-60s), there were only 5 shows that had passed 2000, three of them non-musicals (Life with Father, Tobacco Road, My Fair Lady, Abie's Irish Rose, and Oklahoma!). The decade added three more to the list (Fiddler, Dolly, La Mancha), but in subsequent decades the group exploded -- to 31 at present count. And the list includes shows you're hard pressed to remember ran that long, including Rock of Ages, but also nothing-burgers like Mary Poppins and Smokey Joe's Cafe. It all feels inflationary -- like the unadjusted movie grosses, or home run totals in the steroid era.

Rock of Ages seems to me much in the same category as Beatlemania -- another show that appealed to a rock and roll niche that wasn't Broadway's normal demographic. Beatlemania had a rather unbelievable run of its own -- over 900 performances -- and maybe 2000 is just the current equivalent. (I doubt Rock of Ages'll get far past the 2000, by the way: it's spoken of as one of many shows unlikely to make it all the way to Fall)


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