Broadway Season Wraps. Award Season Begins.

The last two weeks were the busiest of the entire year in New York theater, with the opening of the last TEN shows of the Broadway season. Below reviews of those shows, plus one high-profile Off-Broadway,  and the theater awards and nominations already announced.  If that were not enough, there was news of several new shows, some closings, and a show that was going to close, but has been saved.

The Week in New York Theater

Theater Awards

pulitzer_front_logo

StephenMcKinleyHendersoninBetweenRiverside

2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Between Riverside and Crazy,by Stephen Adly Guirguis

Pulitzer finalists:

Father Comes Home from the War by Suzan-lori Parks

Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison

tonysstatue

2015 Special Tony Awards: John Cameron Mitchell
Isabelle Stevenson (Humanitarian) Tony:  Composer Stephen Schwartz
The 2015 Regional Tony Award:  Cleveland Playhouse, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

2015 Tony Nominations: Which Are Eligible, Which SHOULD Win

outercriticscirclelogo

2015 Outer Critics Circle Nominations: Something Rotten, On The 20th Century Lead.

DramaDeskAwardslogo60th

2015 Drama Desk Award Nominations: Hamilton, An American in Paris Most Nominated

dramaleaguelogo

2015 Drama League Award Nominations

LucilleLortellogo

(previously announced: 2015 Lucille Lortel Award nominations)

The Week(s) in New York Theater Reviews
(*Critic’s Picks)

AmericaninParis2

*An American in Paris

Both Gigi and An American In Paris are adapted from Oscar-winning 1950’s movie musicals directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Leslie Caron. Both take place in Paris. Both have revised books, tuneful songs, able performers, pleasing designs. So why does An American in Paris feel so fresh, and Gigi…not?

The short answer: the dancing. First-time Broadway director Christopher Wheeldon has turned An American in Paris into a modern ballet.

Full review of An American in Paris

It Shoulda Been You Brooks Atkinson Theatre

It Shoulda Been You

The singular accomplishment of “It Shoulda Been You,” a musical comedy about a wedding that tries hard to be a farce, is that it abruptly swerves in a completely unexpected direction, and yet still manages to be the most predictable show on Broadway.

Even more astonishing is how much top-notch theatrical talent – David Hyde Pierce making his Broadway directorial debut; performers including Tyne Daly, Sierra Boggess, Harriet Harris, Montego Glover;  veteran designers – has gone into what feels like a vanity production…

Full review of It Shoulda Been You

FindingNeverlandcCarolRosegg 2

Finding Neverland

Is it pointless to pan Peter?…Shortly after Peter and the Starcatcher and Peter Pan Live on NBC, we now get Finding Neverland, a musical adaptation of the 2004 film about how playwright J.M. Barrie came to create Peter Pan….In the movie mogul’s first foray as the lead producer of a Broadway show, Harvey Weinstein has chosen the route of “giving people what they expect.”…Something, in other words, big and flashy. What you are really seeing when you watch such stage effects is, above all, money being spent.

 

Full review of Finding Neverland

 

TheKingandI2_OHaraandchildren

*The King and I

From the very first moments of Lincoln Center’s ravishing The King and I, it feels like a privilege just to be sitting in the audience. ..It is hard to imagine a better Anna than Kelli O’Hara …O’Hara has found her match in Ken Watanabe…The King and I may not be universally viewed as among the best American musicals….Perhaps one reason is its implicit politics.

Full review of The King and I

Fun Home12

*Fun Home

Fun Home is, yes, a musical about a lesbian cartoonist whose closeted father killed himself, but it is also about how we try to figure out the puzzle of our parents; about how we reassemble our childhood; about memory itself. It remains the inventive, entertaining, in places exhilarating, and almost inexpressibly heartbreaking show I saw Off-Broadway at the Public Theater a couple of years ago. And it is now one of those rare Off-Broadway musicals that actually improves when it transfers to Broadway. This is not despite the theater-in-the-round layout of the Circle in the Square, but in some measure because of it.

Full review of Fun Home

DZ10 Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett and Company - Photo by Matthew Murphy

Doctor Zhivago

I had hoped that a major benefit of winning the Cold War would be no longer having to sit through a show like Doctor Zhivago, a musical adaptation of Pasternak’s novel that presents the Russian Revolution largely as the story of a good-looking couple’s long-simmering adulterous affair and the mean Communists who get in their way.

Doctor Zhivago does weave in a whirlwind tour of Russian history of the early twentieth century, but its heart seems to be in a different era – the Broadway of the 1980’s, when musicals were pseudo-operatic, self-serious and soapy, yet somehow ran forever.

Full review of Doctor Zhivago

This is a musical

This is a musical

Something Rotten
By the end of the show, despite the cleverness of its concept, Something Rotten as executed simply hasn’t added up to a completely satisfying musical. Its choreography seems too repetitive, its rock score sounds too generic, its tone is confused – as often peppy or sappy as subversive or satiric – and its plot is all over the place: Too much of what unfolds during its 150-minute running time feels like filler….Still, there are a whole host of amusing and inspired touches, the kind you might expect from a show directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, who directed and choreographed both The Book of Mormon and Aladdin, and, ten years ago, choreographed Monty Python’s Spamalot.

Full review of Something Rotten

TheVisit3a

The Visit
When the wealthiest woman in the world returns to her bankrupt hometown in The Visit, reactions range from “Her dress, her jewels…like a great film star!” to “half-Jewish, half-gypsy, 100% illegitimate: All her money won’t erase those stains” to “She’s come back to save us.” Audience reaction to Chita Rivera in the role is more uniform, welcoming back to Broadway the performer who originated such characters as Anita in West Side Story, Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie , Velma in Kander and Ebb’s Chicago, and Aurora in Kander and Ebb’s Kiss of the Spiderwoman….

At its best, the musical provokes some disturbing questions, and offers a kind of gruesome, Expressionist beauty…But it may also disappoint and confuse theatergoers expecting the kind of dark but vibrantly entertaining shows, like Cabaret and Chicago, with which Kander and Ebb built their popularity.

Full review of The Visit

Airline Highway Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Airline Highway
Airline Highway, Lisa D’Amour’s loving look at the makeshift family of misfits that hang out at a seedy motel along the old Airline Highway in New Orleans, is not a musical, but it is full of music. The characters often break out into song — and the play itself seems a lesson in jazz.
There is a feel of improvisation, although everything is scripted. And, while the individual performers get their moments for solos, the play comes off as a collective composition of overlapping voices. The 16 performers work together so effectively in creating the community that hangs around the Hummingbird Motel, that they surely deserve a Tony Award for great ensemble acting.

Full review of Airline Highway

LivingonLove10

Living on Love
“Living on Love,” which marks opera singer Renee Fleming’s Broadway debut, portraying a temperamental Diva married to an oversexed Maestro, has some of the best-delivered songs on the Great White Way, although there are only a handful of them, mostly snippets. The show is not a musical. It is a very dopey comedy, the sort of dopey comedy you could have watched on the dinner theater circuit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the 1950s…. Why does this play have so much in common with the musical It Shoulda Been You – a premise that makes no sense, an overlong plot full of holes, jokes that aren’t funny, a supposed theme of love that tells us nothing about love, a starry cast forced to try too hard, even a gay surprise that smacks of pandering – and yet, I find “Living on Love” so much less annoying? It’s sometimes even…enjoyable.

Full review of Living on Love

Grounded Public Theater/Anspacher Theater

Grounded

“Grounded,” a play directed by Julie Taymor and starring Anne Hathaway as a drone pilot, could not be more newsworthy: It is opening at the Public Theater just days after the news that a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed an American aid worker held hostage by Al Qaeda…Since it debuted two years ago, George Brant’s one-character play has been produced in theaters all over the United States..It’s my guess I would have liked “Grounded” better in almost any of its other productions…No one would deny that Julie Taymor’s “Grounded” is visually arresting.  But it is also dramatically arrested. Her emphasis on the special effects is distracting and (excuse me) overkill.

Full review of Grounded

New York Theater News

HelenHayesTheaterin2007

Second Stage has closed the deal to buy the Helen Hayes Theatre for $24.7 million, the fourth nonprofit to own a Broadway house.

Amazing Grace

King Charles III, which just won the British Olivier Award for Best Play, will open on Broadway Nov. 1, 2015 starring Tim Pigott-Smith.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daryl Roth and George C. Wolfe have been appointed to the mayoral panel charged with strengthening city’s theater district. The Theater Subdistrict Council gives out grants “with the goal of promoting the production of new theater work, developing new audiences, and showcasing Broadway’s role in the history of American theater.”

The four Alison Bechdels of Fun Home (l to right): Alison Bechdel, Emily Skeggs (Middle Alison),  Sydney Lucas (Small Alison), Beth Malone (Alison)

The four Alison Bechdels of Fun Home (l to right): Alison Bechdel, Emily Skeggs (Middle Alison), Sydney Lucas (Small Alison), Beth Malone (Alison)

Grounded Review: Anne Hathaway as a reluctant drone pilot

Grounded Public Theater/Anspacher Theater“Grounded,” a play directed by Julie Taymor and starring Anne Hathaway as a drone pilot, could not be more newsworthy: It is opening at the Public Theater just days after the news that a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed an American aid worker held hostage by Al Qaeda, which brought to public consciousness once again, as one news report put it, “the perils of a largely invisible, long-distance war waged through video screens, joysticks and sometimes incomplete intelligence.”

Since it debuted two years ago, George Brant’s one-character play has been produced in theaters all over the United States (including last year in Tribeca) and as far away as New Zealand; there are more than a half dozen opening just within the next few weeks in places like Portland and Wappingers Falls and South Brisbane.

The production at the Public is undoubtedly the highest profile, featuring both a major movie star and one of the best-known theater directors in the world.

Yet, it’s my guess I would have liked “Grounded” better in almost any of its other productions.

This is not because of the acting. Hathaway is fine as the initially cocky unnamed ace fighter pilot, who becomes credibly unmoored as the show progresses.

She tells us how she loved everything about her job, from the poetry of flight –“You are alone in the vastness and you are the blue” – to the macho camaraderie of a pilot bar, where she could “drink with my boys” and tell stories about flying. But then, as she tells us, she meets a civilian, they have a one-night stand and fall in love; she gets pregnant, which means she’s “grounded”: The military forbids pregnant women from flying. She and her boyfriend get married, she gives birth – but when she returns to work, she is informed she will be reassigned to operate military drones from a windowless trailer outside Las Vegas. “Driving to war like it’s shift work, like I’m punching the clock,” she says. She is not happy – she derides her new role as being stuck in the “Chair Force” – but she adjusts. The way she adjusts worries her supportive husband – and the audience as well.

Brant’s script seems less concerned with specific U.S. drone policy and practice than with issues that are as much cultural as political, all worth contemplating – the psychological effect that such remote-control killing has on individual members of the armed forces, the rise of a surveillance culture in daily life, the loss of privacy.

But Hathaway’s performance and Brant’s script seem themselves nearly grounded in order to allow Julie Taymor her flight into visual spectacle. There are moments here that recall Taymor’s eye-catching production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which inaugurated the Theatre for a New Audience’s Polonsky Shakespeare Center two years ago. At one point in that production, Puck seemed to pour himself slowly from the ceiling. In the very first moment in her “Grounded,” a steady stream of (what we eventually learn is) sand pours very slowly from the ceiling onto Anne Hathaway’s helmet, ominously lit by Christopher Akerlind. Sand covers the stage as well, in a deliberately disorienting set designed by Riccardo Hernandez.  Much of what Taymor does visually in “Grounded,” though, is in collaboration with projection designer Peter Nigrini, as you can see in the photographs below.

Now, I’ve been a fan of Nigrini’s work in such shows a Fela and Here Lies Love. Here, there are straightforward projections such as of Hathaway’s face on a backdrop of reflective black glass. But most is much fancier.  Everything the pilot says seems to be illustrated, sometimes quite literally — she talks of driving through the desert between her suburban home and the air force base where she works, and there she is standing on a moving desert road, with a yellow stripe down the middle and sand on both sides. She mentions Las Vegas — we get a jazzy Las Vegas.  There are startling images, sometimes vertiginous, and often accompanied by smoke effects, loud bursts of sound, and flashing lights. The overall effect is to make you feel as if you’re trapped in a video game — which, one might argue, is a conceptual fit with the script. But one senses the director is giving us this ride for its own sake. Her illuminated trip into the pilot’s mind crowds out the trip the audience should be making in our own minds, a journey guided by the pilot’s words, and the feelings they provoke.

No one would deny that Julie Taymor’s “Grounded” is visually arresting.  But it is also dramatically arrested. Her emphasis on the special effects is distracting and (excuse me) overkill.

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged.

Grounded

Public Theater

425 Lafayette Street

Julie Taymor (Director)
Riccardo Hernandez (Scenic Design)
Christopher Akerlind (Lighting Design)
Will Pickens (Sound Design)
Peter Nigrini (Production Design)
Elliot Goldenthal (Original Music and Soundscapes)

Cast: Anne Hathaway

Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission

Ticket prices: “start at $90″

Grounded is scheduled to run through May 24, 2015

Living on Love Review: Renee Fleming on Broadway, Singing (Sort Of), Acting (Sort Of)

LivingonLoveReneeFlemingandTrixietop“Living on Love,” which marks opera singer Renee Fleming’s Broadway debut, portraying a temperamental Diva married to an oversexed Maestro, has some of the best-delivered songs on the Great White Way, although there are only a handful of them, mostly snippets. The show is not a musical. It is a very dopey comedy, the sort of dopey comedy you could have watched on the dinner theater circuit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the 1950s.

That’s not a random choice of time and place: The play credited to Joe DiPietro as his “adaptation” of Garson Kanin’s 1985 “Peccadillo,” is supposed to take place in 1957, and for some reason it has a number of cracks about Fort Lauderdale.

It’s not clear to me why somebody needed to adapt a play that’s only 30 years old, written by the author of such classic screwball as Born Yesterday and Adam’s Rib, but it’s the least of my bafflements.

The bigger mystery: Why does this play have so much in common with the musical It Shoulda Been You – a premise that makes no sense, an overlong plot full of holes, jokes that aren’t funny, a supposed theme of love that tells us nothing about love, a starry cast forced to try too hard, even a gay surprise that smacks of pandering – and yet, I find “Living on Love” so much less annoying? It’s sometimes even…enjoyable.

I asked much the same question about An American in Paris and Gigi – why they are so much alike, and yet I loved An American in Paris. That had some clear-cut answers, most especially: The dancing. Here it might well be the singing…and the singer.

The Diva that Fleming portrays is supposed to be selfish, self-regarding to the point of delusion, and over-the-hill. She wears one elegant outfit after another, and carries around a little Pomeranian named Puccini (portrayed by Trixie; is it a bad omen for this show that this is the same Trixie that played Mr. Woofles in Bullets Over Broadway?) The Diva and the Maestro, her equally self-centered husband (portrayed by Douglas Sills), have decided to write their memoirs to make some money, and perhaps revive their careers. They become locked in a battle of wills and ghost writers. For his memoir, Maestro has hired Iris as a ghost writer. (It’s an indication of the level of the humor in “Living on Love” that Maestro, who has an Italian accent thicker than Chico Marx’s, keeps on saying “spooky helper” instead of ghost writer and calls Iris “Irish” about 30 times.) Iris is a nebbishy if sexy low-level editor at his publishing house (Anna Chlumsky, best-known as the blonde campaign manager in Veep.) The Diva retaliates by hiring the nebbishy if sexy Robert (Jerry O’Connell), who was previously the Maestro’s ghost writer, the seventh one he fired. The Diva and Maestro put the unsubtle make on their respective ghost writers, but Robert and Iris eventually find they have much in common. He has aspirations to be a great writer, she a great editor. He is working on the great American novel, which he’s entitled “The Great American Novel.” (This joke should embarrass LoPietro, who has revealed to the world his ignorance of the novel by Philip Roth entitled “The Great American Novel.”)

Fleming has a couple of funny if obvious bits. Sample:

Diva: So tell me about yourself. But not too much

Robert:Well, I was raised on a farm..

Diva: Too much.

It’s hard to picture her either as nasty or self-absorbed; she seems amiable, a good sport. But decades of talk show culture have conditioned us to accept amiable and good sport as reflecting the essence of American values. Fleming at least never breaks character, the way Johnny Carson routinely did (although it’s hard to say that she ever enters character either.)

And, most pleasing of all, she sings. Effortlessly. Beautifully. Briefly – a couple of bars of “La Boheme” and “Tosca.” The only song she sings in its entirety is Irving Berlin’s “Always”

And she’s not alone. A highlight of “Living on Love” is the odd and persistent appearances of the Maestro and Diva’s two butlers, Bruce and Eric (Blake Hammond, who was one of the best things about First Date, and Scott Robertson, also a Broadway veteran.) They have a shtick I won’t spoil that pays off more than it should. But even better, intermittently, they sing – substantial excerpts from The Barber of Seville, La Boheme, Carmen, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers (in French!) They even sit at the piano and do a stomping Makin Whoopee, the 1920’s jazz song made popular by Eddie Cantor. There’s something somehow completely shameless about the insertion of these musical interludes, and something even more entertaining about them, and it suggests what “Living on Love” could have been at its best, and why it’s not the worst show on Broadway.

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged

Living on Love

At The Longacre Theater

By Joe DiPietro, based on the play “Peccadillo” by Garson Kanin; directed by Kathleen Marshall; sets by Derek McLane; costumes by Michael Krass; lighting by Peter Kaczorowski; sound by Scott Lehrer; wig and hair design by Tom Watson; music consultant, Rob Fisher

Cast: Renée Fleming (Raquel De Angelis), Douglas Sills (Vito De Angelis), Anna Chlumsky (Iris Peabody), Jerry O’Connell (Robert Samson), Blake Hammond (Bruce), Scott Robertson (Eric) and Trixie (Puccini).

Running time: 2 hours, including intermission.

2015 Tony Award Nominations: What’s Eligible, What SHOULD Be Nominated

tonysstatueWhat’s easiest to predict about the Tonys this year is that the predictions and objections will start as soon as the nominations are announced, which this year is on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

But why wait?

Here is the list of eligible shows in four categories, and my list of which of them should (not will) be nominated, with links to my reviews.

Eligible for Best Play

Airline Highway

The Audience

Constellations

The Country House

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Disgraced

Fish in the Dark

Hand to God

Living on Love

The River

Wolf Hall

Which should be nominated for Best Play

Airline Highway: Marking the Broadway debut of playwright Lisa d’Amour, the first woman to have an original play on Broadway in two year, this play works as an ensemble piece, with some terrific actors, about a group of people whom society calls losers who have created a family for themselves in an old hotel along a rundown road in New Orleans.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Using breathtaking stage effects and movement, this adaptation of a novel gives us an entertaining look into the life of a brilliant autistic teenager, portrayed by the extraordinary young actor Alex Sharp.

Disgraced: This Pulitzer Prize winning play by Ayad Akhtar provides an important look at a clash of world views as well as a deeply satisfying dramatic experience.

Hand to God. Marking the Broadway debut of playwright Robert Askins, this little play that could started Off-Off Broadway, and is both genuinely funny and thought-provoking about the nature of morality and religion.

Eligible for Best Musical

An American in Paris

Doctor Zhivago

Finding Neverland

Fun Home

Holler If Ya Hear Me

Honeymoon in Vegas

It Shoulda Been You

Last Ship

Something Rotten

The Visit

Which should be nominated for Best Musical

An American in Paris. Director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has adapted this old Technicolor movie musical freshly, turning into a new Gershwin ballet. Craig Lucas adds a darkened book.

Fun Home is a moving, inventive adaptation of lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about her childhood, and especially her relationship with her closeted father who committed suicide. Name another show that explores the father-daughter connection with such insight and feeling.

Last Ship. Sting’s deeply personal musical about the problems facing the shipbuilding community where the rock star grew up is a noble effort that deserves to be acknowledged.  If the book didn’t always make sense, the songs are sure to live on, one way or another.

Something Rotten. Though overstuffed and unwieldy as a narrative, it is the only musical comedy this season where I actually laughed, which is at least good for a nomination.

The Visit. The last musical written by Kander and Ebb, starring Chita Rivera, deserves to be acknowledged.

Eligible for Best Revival of a Musical

Gigi

The King and I

On the Town

On The Twentieth Century

Side Show

What should be nominated for Best Revival of a Musical

The King and I

On the Town

On The Twentieth Century

Side Show

This has so few eligible candidates I don’t feel the need to explain the individual choices, except to say that this is going to be one of the toughest categories to choose a winner.

Eligible for Best Revival of a Play

A Delicate Balance

The Elephant Man

The Heidi Chronicles

It’s Only A Play

Love Letters

The Real Thing

*Skylight

This is Our Youth

You Can’t Take it With You

What should be nominated for Best Revival of a Play

The Elephant Man. This deserves a nomination on the strength of the acting alone, especially Patricia Clarkson

The Heidi Chronicles. The script was more dated than many would admit, and, despite all the awards when it debuted, this would not turn out to be Wendy Wasserstein’s best, but the producers are to be admired for risking the revival of a show that represents a significant milestone in both social and theatrical history,

Love Letters. This was a small, lovely, touching and insightful play about love by A.R. Gurney, who after having written some 50 plays over 50 years (admittedly only three of them on Broadway) deserves some acknowledgement and respect.

This is Our Youth. This three-character play had a dynamic cast, especially Kieran Culkin, and still has something to say about young adults in our culture.

You Can’t Take it With You. While admittedly an old chestnut done frequently in American high schools, this production featured so many terrific performances (such as Annaleigh Ashford) that that alone makes it worthy of nomination.

(In looking over the plays in this category, I am surprised to realize that it’s the weakest of the four categories I have considered.)

Remember, this is not my prediction of what the Tony nominating committee will pick. It’s what I would pick if I were a one-man Tony nominating committee.

*Skylight is the only show I have not yet seen (I was invited to a performance that is a few days after the nominations are announced), so cannot choose it.

Airline Highway on Broadway

Airline Highway, Lisa D’Amour’s loving look at the makeshift family of misfits that hang out at a seedy motel along the old Airline Highway in New Orleans, is not a musical, but it is full of music. The characters often break out into song — and the play itself seems a lesson in jazz.

There is a feel of improvisation, although everything is scripted. And, while the individual performers get their moments for solos, the play comes off as a collective composition of overlapping voices. The 16 performers work together so effectively in creating the community that hangs around the Hummingbird Motel, that they surely deserve a Tony Award for great ensemble acting.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged

The Visit on Broadway with Chita Rivera

When the wealthiest woman in the world returns to her bankrupt hometown in The Visit, reactions range from “Her dress, her jewels…like a great film star!” to “half-Jewish, half-gypsy, 100% illegitimate: All her money won’t erase those stains” to “She’s come back to save us.” Audience reaction to Chita Rivera in the role is more uniform, welcoming back to Broadway the performer who originated such characters as Anita in West Side Story, Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie , Velma in Kander and Ebb’s Chicago, and Aurora in Kander and Ebb’s Kiss of the Spiderwoman.

Full review in DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged

2015 Drama Desk Award Nominations: Hamilton, An American in Paris Most Nominated

DramaDeskAwardslogo60th

Hamilton and An American in Paris received the most nominations for the 60th annual Drama Desk Awards, which honors achievement by professional theater artists on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway.

The Complete List:

Outstanding Play
Clare Barron, You Got Older
Lisa D’Amour, Airline Highway
Anthony Giardina, The City of Conversation
Stephen Adly Guirgis, Between Riverside and Crazy
Elizabeth Irwin, My Manãna Comes
Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Jack Thorne, Let the Right One In

Outstanding Musical
An American in Paris
Hamilton
Fly by Night
Pretty Filthy
Something Rotten!
The Visit

Outstanding Revival of a Play
The Elephant Man
Fashions for Men
Ghosts
The Iceman Cometh
Tamburlaine the Great
The Wayside Motor Inn

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Into the Woods
The King and I
On the Town
On the Twentieth Century
Pageant
Side Show

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Stephen McKinley Henderson, Between Riverside and Crazy
Ben Miles, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Bill Pullman, Sticks and Bones
Alexander Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Brooke Bloom, You Got Older
Kathleen Chalfant, A Walk in the Woods
Kristin Griffith, The Fatal Weakness
Jan Maxwell, The City of Conversation
Helen Mirren, The Audience
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Tonya Pinkins, Rasheeda Speaking

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
Jeremy Kushnier, Atomic
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Matthew Morrison, Finding Neverland
Ryan Silverman, Side Show

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, John & Jen
Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Erin Davie, Side Show
Lisa Howard, It Shoulda Been You
Chita Rivera, The Visit

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
F. Murray Abraham, It’s Only a Play
Reed Birney, You Got Older
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
Jonathan Hadary, Rocket to the Moon
Jason Butler Harner, The Village Bike
Jonathan Hogan, Pocatello
José Joaquin Perez, My Mañana Comes

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You
Beth Dixon, The City of Conversation
Julie Halston, You Can’t Take It with You
Paola Lázaro-Muñoz, To the Bone
Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Julie White, Airline Highway

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
Peter Friedman, Fly by Night
Josh Grisetti, It Shoulda Been You
Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton
Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
Max von Essen, An American in Paris

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Carolee Carmello, Finding Neverland
Tyne Daly, It Shoulda Been You
Elizabeth A. Davis, Allegro
Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Luba Mason, Pretty Filthy
Nancy Opel, Honeymoon in Vegas
Elizabeth Stanley, On the Town

Outstanding Director of a Play
Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Anne Kauffman, You Got Older
Lila Neugebauer, The Wayside Motor Inn
Austin Pendleton, Between Riverside and Crazy
Joe Tantalo, Deliverance
John Tiffany, Let the Right One In

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Carolyn Cantor, Fly by Night
Bill Condon, Side Show
John Doyle, The Visit
Thomas Kail, Hamilton
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Outstanding Choreography
Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
Warren Carlyle, On the Twentieth Century
Steven Hoggett, The Last Ship
Austin McCormick, Rococo Rouge
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Outstanding Music
Jason Robert Brown, Honeymoon in Vegas
Michael Friedman, The Fortress of Solitude
John Kander, The Visit
Dave Malloy, Ghost Quartet
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Sting, The Last Ship

Outstanding Lyrics
Jason Robert Brown, Honeymoon in Vegas
Fred Ebb, The Visit
Michael Friedman, The Fortress of Solitude
Karey Kirkpatrick & Wayne Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Hunter Bell & Lee Overtree, Found
Karey Kirkpatrick & John O’Farrell, Something Rotten!
Craig Lucas, An American in Paris
Terence McNally, The Visit
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Kim Rosenstock, Will Connolly, & Michael Mitnick, Fly by Night

Outstanding Orchestrations
Christopher Austin, An American in Paris
Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Allegro
Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!
Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
Rob Mathes, The Last Ship
Don Sebesky, Larry Blank, Jason Robert Brown, & Charlie Rosen, Honeymoon in Vegas

Outstanding Music in a Play
Cesar Alvarez, An Octoroon
Danny Blackburn & Bryce Hodgson, Deliverance
Sean Cronin, Kill Me Like You Mean It
Bongi Duma, Generations
Freddi Price, The Pigeoning
Arthur Solari & Jane Shaw, Tamburlaine the Great

Outstanding Revue
Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging!
Just Jim Dale
Lennon: Through a Glass Onion
Lonesome Traveler

Outstanding Set Design
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
Christine Jones, Let the Right One In
David Korins, Hamilton
Mimi Lien, An Octoroon
Scott Pask, The Visit
Daniel Zimmerman, Fashions for Men

Outstanding Costume Design
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
Bob Crowley, The Audience
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Paul Tazewell, Hamilton
Andrea Varga, The Fatal Weakness
Catherine Zuber, Gigi

Outstanding Lighting Design
Howell Binkley, Hamilton
Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Paule Constable & David Plater, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
Maruti Evans, Deliverance
Natasha Katz, The Iceman Cometh
Ben Stanton, Our Lady of Kibeho

Outstanding Projection Design
59 Productions, An American in Paris
Roger Hanna & Price Johnston, Donogoo
Darrel Maloney, Found
Peter Nigrini, Our Lady of Kibeho
Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Austin Switser, Big Love

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Peter Hylenski, Side Show
Scott Lehrer, The King and I
Scott Lehrer & Drew Levy, Honeymoon in Vegas
Brian Ronan, The Last Ship
Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton
Jon Weston, An American in Paris

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Nathan Davis, The Other Mozart
Ien Denio, Deliverance
Ian Dickinson (for Autograph), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Gareth Fry, Let the Right One In
John Gromada, Lives of the Saints
Matt Tierney, Our Lady of Kibeho

Outstanding Solo Performance
Christina Bianco, Application Pending
Jonny Donahoe, Every Brilliant Thing
Tom Dugan, Wiesenthal
Mona Golabek, The Pianist of Willesden Lane
Joely Richardson, The Belle of Amherst
Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion

Unique Theatrical Experience
Catch Me!
Everybody Gets Cake
The Human Symphony
Queen of the Night
A Rap Guide to Religion

Special Awards: Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theater.

For 2014-15, these awards include the following:

This year the nominators chose to bestow a special award for outstanding ensemble to the actors who so brilliantly shared a room in the world of A.R. Gurney’s The Wayside Motor Inn: Kelly AuCoin, Jon DeVries, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Rebecca Henderson, Marc Kudisch, Jenn Lyon, Lizbeth Mackay, David McElwee, Ismenia Mendes, and Will Pullen.

To Bess Wohl, the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award: For establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater, and having a breakthrough year with the eclecticAmerican Hero, Pretty Filthy, and Small Mouth Sounds. Her writing expresses sensitivity, compassion, and humor with a sure hand.

To John Douglas Thompson: For invigorating theater in New York through his commanding presence, classical expertise, and vocal prowess. This season he demonstrated exceptional versatility in Tamburlaine the Great and The Iceman Cometh.

To Ensemble Studio Theatre: For its unwavering commitment to producing new works by American playwrights since 1968, and enriching this season with productions ofWhen January Feels Like Summer, Winners, and Five Times in One Night. EST’s Youngblood program fostered and nurtured Hand to God, setting Tyrone off on his devilish path to Broadway.

To Andy Blankenbuehler: For his inspired and heart-stopping choreography in Hamilton, which is indispensible to the musical’s storytelling. His body of work is versatile, yet a dynamic and fluid style is consistently evident. When it’s time to “take his shot,” Blankenbuehler hits the bull’s-eye.

The winners in the competitive categories will be announced on May 31 in a ceremony at Town Hall, with Laura Benanti as the host.

Hamilton2

AnAmericaninParis4FairchildandCope

Nominations by Numbers
13 Hamilton
12 An American in Paris
9 Something Rotten!
7 The Visit
6 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
5 Honeymoon in Vegas
5 Side Show
5 Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two
4 Deliverance
4 Fly by Night
4 The Last Ship
4 Let the Right One In
4 On the Twentieth Century
4 You Got Older
2 Airline Highway
3 Between Riverside/Crazy
3 The City of Conversation
3 It Shoulda Been You
3 On the Town
3 Our Lady of Kibeho
2 Allegro
2 The Audience
2 The Elephant Man
2 Fashions for Men
2 The Fatal Weakness
2 Finding Neverland
2 The Fortress of Solitude
2 Found
2 The Iceman Cometh
2 The King and I
2 The Lion
2 My Mañana Comes
2 Pretty Filthy
2 Tamburlaine the Great
2 The Wayside Motor Inn
2 You Can’t Take It With You
1 Application Pending
1 Atomic
1 The Belle of Amherst
1 Big Love
1 Catch Me!
1 Donagoo
1 Everybody Gets Cake
1 Every Brilliant Thing
1 Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging!
1 Generations
1 Ghost Quartet
1 Ghosts
1 Gigi
1 I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard
1 The Human Symphony
1 Into the Woods
1 It’s Only a Play
1 John & Jen
1 Just Jim Dale
1 Lennon: Through a Glass Onion
1 Lonesome Traveler
1 Kill Me Like You Mean It
1 Lives of the Saints
1 An Octoroon
1 The Other Mozart
1 Pageant
1 The Pianist of Willesden Lane
1 The Pigeoning
1 Pocatello
1 Queen of the Night
1 The Rap Guide to Religion
1 Rasheeda Speaking
1 Rocket to the Moon
1 Rococo Rouge
1 Skylight
1 Sticks and Bones
1 To the Bone
1 The Village Bike
1 A Walk in the Woods
1 Wiesenthal

Something Rotten on Broadway

By the end of the show, despite the cleverness of its concept, Something Rotten as executed simply hasn’t added up to a completely satisfying musical. Its choreography seems too repetitive, its rock score sounds too generic, its tone is confused – as often peppy or sappy as subversive or satiric – and its plot is all over the place: Too much of what unfolds during its 150-minute running time feels like filler….Still, there are a whole host of amusing and inspired touches, the kind you might expect from a show directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, who directed and choreographed both The Book of Mormon and Aladdin, and, ten years ago, choreographed Monty Python’s Spamalot.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene soon. Photographs below. Click on any to see them enlarged.

Doctor Zhivago on Broadway

I had hoped that a major benefit of winning the Cold War would be no longer having to sit through a show like Doctor Zhivago, a musical adaptation of Pasternak’s novel that presents the Russian Revolution largely as the story of a good-looking couple’s long-simmering adulterous affair and the mean Communists who get in their way. Doctor Zhivago does weave in a whirlwind tour of Russian history of the early twentieth century, but its heart seems to be in a different era – the Broadway of the 1980’s, when musicals were pseudo-operatic, self-serious and soapy, yet somehow ran forever.

Complete review on DC Theatre Scene. Photographs below (Click on any to see it enlarged.)

Watch #MakeItFair Video: Celebrity entertainers promote gender equality in the arts…and everywhere

Seventy women including Rita Wilson, Mamie Gummer and Kathleen Chalfant promote gender equality in the arts and entertainment through this three-minute #MakeItFair Video. (They sing at the end)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 14,342 other followers