Tag Archives: tony awards

Superlative Sunday :: my thoughts on the 2017 Tony Awards

11 Jun

Short answer: ugh.

Dear Evan Hansen and Hello Dolly! took the big prizes of the night (Musical/Actor/Featured Actress [plus Book/Score/Orchestrations] and Revival of a Musical/Actress/Featured Actor [plus Costume Design] respectively). I care negative amounts about Hello Dolly! most of the time, and Bette Midler is kind of a shoe-in for things at this point, I feel like.

And I don’t think I can accurately describe how continually unenthusiastic I am about Dear Evan Hansen. Ben Platt seems like a nice kid! He’s talented! But holy cow, you guys, this show seems like an amalgamation of everything that I hate most. The Tony Awards performance is traditionally a number or medley but the Dear Evan Hansen performance was just… Evan Hansen singing about being lonely while surrounded by images of social media (oooh deeeeeeep social media isolates us) and at the end the other people show up to echo him. Yikes.

I have no opinions about any of the plays who won things. Those two musicals won most of the awards, but The Great Comet raked in scenic design and lighting design (eh, that makes sense to me, it was hard to sit through the number but it was at least visually interesting) and Come From Away got direction. Shrug.

Next year, maybe, will be better.

–your fangirl heroine.

yuck

Theatre Thursday :: a cursory unbiased view of the 2017 Tony nominees for Best Musical

8 Jun

By “cursory unbiased” I mean… based entirely on having listened to each of the cast recordings one time on YouTube.

I really wanted to like them, I really, really did. And maybe the Tony performances, which I do intend to watch this year, will change my mind. But I… am cynical and hardened and a modernist but also not into pretentiousness and nothing hit me correctly. Maybe it’s time and place or maybe after the last couple years of things that actually somewhat interested me my standards were up. Or maybe I just have very specific taste.

But here we go.

Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812… well, I went into this one a little biased, maybe, because I have friends who saw this and did not give a great review. I wanted to give it a chance anyway, though. And I’ll admit that of the four albums, it did leave the most distinctive impression, which is to say I’ve found bits (very small bits, like one or two sentences’ worth) of some of the songs lingering in my mind and it didn’t immediately make me scream “derivative.” But it doesn’t know what it wants to be, aside from sort of smug. More than any other musical I can think of off the top of my head, it has its head stuck up its own ass; it’s desperate to prove to you how clever it is. “It’s a complicated Russian novel! Everybody has nine names!” and etc. It fluctuates between vaguely baroque and modern electronica-fusion, old-fashioned language and modern slang, in a way that isn’t wholly consistent. And it has an annoying habit of randomly deciding that in the middle of a song, the characters are going to suddenly start singing their stage directions. All of which is to say, I could also definitely hear how, when I was younger and more pretentious myself, I could have probably gotten into this. But I’m past that stage at this point.

Dear Evan Hansen was one I’d heard nothing but good about. A musical about a kid with anxiety! Celebrities keep going to it and posting pictures on Instagram. Dear Evan Hansen de-ameliorated itself to me before the opening number was even over, though, because… we already have Next to Normal. We didn’t need this, too. The opening song, in my read, is virtually the same as Next to Normal‘s “Just Another Day” – “I am a mother and I am singing about my stressful family situation with my children and nobody’s happy and everybody’s nervous and oh, look drugs!” I also legitimately did not realize that it was two different women singing for a while; I thought Evan Hansen must have an older brother. Nope. Evan Hansen has peripheral friends, who are roped into a plan I had to Wikipedia to make sense of because I genuinely also thought for a second that maybe he was anxious because he was gay and in the closet. Nope. Evan Hansen is anxious because he is, but then he does something horrible, with the intention of being… inspirational? Important? Whatever it was, once I got the plot summary I was actually horrified. And that pretty well killed my enjoyment.

I wasn’t expecting to love Groundhog Day, because I had a feeling that it was going to be the other kind of smug: not pretentious, but “musicals for straight men.” Smirky and tongue-in-cheek and based on a movie that’s about dudes so it’s accessible. And it’s totally straight, you guys. It was exactly what I expected. It’s a vibe that traces back to things like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which I don’t dislike (but that’s a lot of it due to Norbert and Sherie on the album), and it strikes me as just really… mediocre. It’s not trying to be anything more than sort of funny and ironic. It’s filling a niche that didn’t need filled. Also, the protagonist is a thoroughly unlikable person. What happened to musicals about people we actually liked?

Then Come From Away, which I’d heard the least about. It’s based on the true story of a tiny town in Newfoundland that housed 38 planes that got diverted on 9/11. It’s an ~ensemble piece~ and a ~quaint small town musical~ and even though it’s Newfoundland and not England like a lot of the other ones (Billy Elliot, Kinky Boots, etc.) it’s got pretty much the same feeling. Except there’s also the fact of it in my honest opinion being too soon to make a musical about 9/11, especially a true story. It capitalizes on the sentiment evoked by the tragedy, which, okay, I’m sure that’s cathartic for someone but it felt weird to me. Also like an excuse for people to do various folksy accents and regionalisms and to trot out a few scenes for stock characters. (The gay men, Kevin and Kevin – hilaaaaaarious. No. Really not.) The tunes aren’t particularly original, to my ears, but they weren’t offensive. It just felt like I’d pretty much dealt with it before.

Maybe they prove me wrong on the Tonys, though. Anyone. Please, prove me wrong.

–your fangirl heroine.

welp

Theatre Thursday :: the 2017 Tony nominees

4 May

Or: I am woefully out of the damn loop.

I saw earlier this week that the theatre people I follow on Instagram were posting about nominations going up and I got excited. It’s that time of year again! But then I realized, I know virtually nothing right now. I have friends who saw Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and didn’t have stellar things to say. I know who of the theatre people I follow was in what or what their friends were in. I know who I know is good from prior audience experience.

I think I’m going to have to set aside time to listen to everything this year. I think I’m just going to have to.

I’ll report back.

–your fangirl heroine.

varied20interest

Superlative Sunday :: the 2015 Tony Awards and how I feel about them

8 Jun

So I… have not watched the Tonys yet.  We’re doing that tomorrow night, because like last year, tonight was Game of Thrones, and in retrospect I wish we had been watching the Tonys, but there you have it.

I won’t even presume to talk about plays, knowing nothing, but as the musicals go, I just watched the ~2 minute videos on the Tonys YouTube page.

Fun Home (Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical [Michael Cerveris], Best Direction of a Musical [Sam Gold], Best Book of a Musical [Lisa Kron], Best Original Score [Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron])
This is based on the Alison Bechdel graphic novel and from what I can tell these awards were all deserved.  It’s staged differently than many things, it’s obviously an interesting story, I like Jeanine Tesori, I’m into it.  I totally want to see this, which is a really exhilarating feeling given the thoroughly uninspiring natures of seasons past.

Something Rotten! (Best Featured Actor in a Musical [Christian Borle])
This looks like… I would see it on tour but it wouldn’t be worth traveling for more than a few hours, depending on the cast.  I do love Christian Borle, though, so I’m happy he got an award, and it has Brian d’Arcy James and Heidi Blickenstaff and that’s always a good time, too.

An American in Paris (Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical [Natasha Katz], Best Orchestrations [Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott])
It looked like Vintage Manic Pixie Dream Girl, honestly.  I don’t know what it really is.  But it looked like that to me.  It was pretty, though.

The King and I (Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical [Kelli O’Hara], Best Featured Actress in a Musical [Ruthie Ann Miles], Best Costume Design of a Musical [Catherine Zuber])
It’s a classic sort of show, it was very nice to look at, and hey, A+, the Asian roles were played by Asian actors in the video I saw!  Also, I am so so happy for Kelli O’Hara, who is wonderful.

–your fangirl heroine.

omg noooooooooooope

Theatre Thursday :: a Tony awards stats roundup

25 Jul

A similar stats roundup to last week.  Basically just copypasting all the stats from previous analyses (plus this year’s stats) into one convenient post.

Revivals

29 out of 218 revivals nominated (or 13.3%) have been either partially written or directed by women.

9 out of 56 revivals winning (or 16%) have been either partially written or directed by women.

Special award

42 out of 158 winners or winning teams (or 26.5%) were female or part-female.

Choreography

63 out of 228 (or 27.6%) or nominees have been women or teams partially composed of women.

12 out of 67 winners (or 18.1%) have been women.

Direction of a play

11 out of 223 nominees (or 4.9%) have been women.

4 out of 45 winners (or 8.8%) have been women.

Direction of a musical

25 out of 225 nominees (or 11.1%) have been women.

2 out of 58 winners (3.4%) have been women.

Sound design

Zero.

Lighting design

33 out of 238 nominees (or 13.8%) have been women or teams including women.

9 out of 53 winners (or 16.9%) have been women or teams including women.

Scenic design

19 out of 301 nominees (or 6.3%) have been women.

5 out of 76 winners (or 6.5%) have been women.

Costume design

135 out of 266 nominees (or 50.7%) have been women.

36 out of 76 winners (or 47.3%) have been women or teams including women.

Play

24 out of 253 nominated plays (or 9.5%) have been in part written by a woman.

4 out of 66 winning plays (or 6.0%) have been in part written by a woman.

Musical

23 out of 198 total nominated scores (or 11.6%) have been in part composed by a woman.

3 out of 54 winners (or 5.5%) have been in part composed by a woman.

30 out of 143 total nominated books (or 20.9%) have been in part written by a woman.

3 out of 49 winners (or 6.1%) have been in part written by a woman.

 

By far the highest percentages go to the costume design category; aside from that only special award, choreography, and book of a musical even go beyond 20% in the nominees category and only revivals, special award, choreography, and lighting design go beyond 10% in the winners category.  Yeesh.

–your fangirl heroine.

not nefarious at all

Superlative Sunday :: the 2014 Tony Awards and how I feel about them

8 Jun

Spoiler: I didn’t actually watch the Tonys this year.  I watched all of the performances from shows, but that’s it.  Game of Thrones was on and I have my reasons and I’m very emotional so ssh.  As such, I’m only talking about the musicals, because… yeah.  I’m awful and I need to be more up on current theatre but I’m just not.  I admit this.

After Midnight (Choreography [Warren Carlyle])
Yes, it was nice choreography!  The Cotton Club and 1920s-30s Harlem are very cool and I enjoy the style of music/dance/performing/aesthetic/etcetera, so I’d be interested in this.

Aladdin (Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical [James Monroe Iglehart])
Well, I admit my thoughts when watching the video were basically “can my friends summon dancing girls out of nowhere?  No, and I don’t want them to, that’s weird and vaguely uncool,” but dude seemed to be a good performer.  Showy in the way the genie always is, but good.  Also the choreography sure did look like Casey Nicholaw.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical [Jessie Mueller], Sound Design [Brian Ronan])
Yeah, I could see how she’d be the winner.  The performance on the Tonys didn’t really involve any acting per se, but she was a good singer and quite into it and that’s part of the battle.  I don’t really know.  I feel so uneducated about this stuff anymore.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Best Musical, Book, Costume Design [Linda Cho], Direction [Darko Tresjnak])
I can’t actually find the video of this performance.  Whoops.  I know I DVR’d it, I just can’t be bothered to go looking for it right now and the video preview I just watched instead is making me ambivalent.  Love and murder?  Period costumes?  Okay, I’m there.  But it also looks a little farcical for my tastes usually, so I’m not in a hurry.

The Bridges of Madison County (Score, Orchestrations [Jason Robert Brown])
Not… that they performed because not nominated for best musical, but I’m mentioning it because I’ve seen a tumblr friend enthuse and I somehow didn’t realize until now it was Jason Robert Brown so I care about looking into it now.

If/Then (didn’t win anything, but)
Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey, Michael Greif, I’m interested.

Well, at least not every new musical this year is based on a movie or a book that then had a movie subsequently?

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Revival, Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical [Neil Patrick Harris], Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical [Lena Hall])
Yeah, I would totally.  It’s been a while since I saw the movie, but I remember finding it interesting and liking it.  So the production on stage would be interesting too and it was a very attention-grabbing performance!  Which is something.

Les Miserables (didn’t win anything, but)
I… just… if you’re going to revive Les Mis do something… different?  Also, I am still really tired of digitally projected backdrops.  Not that the performers weren’t talented or anything.  It just didn’t grab me particularly.

Violet (didn’t win anything, but)
Sutton Foster is always talented as hell.  So that’s something.  And everyone else seemed so also.

–your fangirl heroine.

hold it in

Theatre Thursday :: the Tony Awards and women, part twelve.

19 Sep

This week, Best Revival, which has only existed since 1977 and has only been split for musical and play since 1994.  Looking at both the directors of the pieces and the writers of the piece.

Nominations
1980: Peter Pan, music by (Mark “Moose” Charlap, with additional music by Jule Styne,) lyrics written by Carolyn Leigh, with additional lyrics by Betty Comden (and Adolph Green)
1980: The Little Foxes, written by Lillian Hellman
1982: A Taste of Honey, written by Shelagh Delaney
1990: Sweeney Todd, directed by Susan H. Schulman
1991: Peter Pan, music by (Mark “Moose” Charlap, with additional music by Jule Styne,) lyrics were written by Carolyn Leigh, with additional lyrics by Betty Comden (and Adolph Green)
1997: (play) The Diary of Anne Frank, adapted by Wendy Kesselman
1997: (musical) Once Upon a Mattress, music by Mary Rodgers(, lyrics by Marshall Barer and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer)
1998: (musical) The Sound of Music, directed by Susan H. Schulman
1999: (musical) Little Me, (music by Cy Coleman,  book by Neil Simon,) lyrics by Carolyn Leigh
2000: (musical) Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Gale Edwards
2000: (musical) The Music Man, directed by Susan Stroman
2001: (play) The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, written and directed by Jane Wagner
2001: (musical) Bells Are Ringing, directed by Tina Landau
2004: (play) A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry
2004: (musical) Wonderful Town, directed by Kathleen Marshall
2008: (musical) Grease, directed by Kathleen Marshall
2009: (play) Mary Stuart, directed by Phyllida Lloyd
2010: (musical) Ragtime, directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge
2012: (play) Wit, written by Margaret Edson and directed by Lynne Meadow

Wins
1986: Sweet Charity(, music by Cy Coleman,) lyrics by Dorothy Fields (and book by Neil Simon)
1991: Fiddler on the Roof, (original direction by Jerome Robbins,) direction reproduced by Ruth Mitchell
1999: (musical) Annie Get Your Gun, directed by Graciela Daniele
2006: (musical) The Pajama Game, directed by Kathleen Marshall
2009: (musical) Hair, directed by Diane Paulus
2011: (musical) Anything Goes, directed by Kathleen Marshall
2012: (musical) Porgy and Bess, directed by Diane Paulus
2013: (play) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, directed by Pam McKinnon
2013: (musical) Pippin, directed by Diane Paulus

29 out of 215 revivals nominated (or 13%) have been either partially written or directed by women.

2 out of 215 revivals nominated (or 9%) were both written and directed by women.

11 out of 215 revivals nominated (or 5%) have been partially written by women.

18 out of 215 revivals nominated (or 8% have been nominated by women.

9 out of 55 revivals winning (or 16%) have been either partially written or directed by women.

1 out of 55 revivals winning (or 1.8%) have been partially written by women.

8 out of 55 revivals winning (or 14%) have been directed by women.

–your fangirl heroine.

this bsns is too srs