The Tony Awards May Finally Include Off-Broadway!

OffBroadwayTonyAn announcement on the Tony Awards website means that the Tonys, which has never honored Off-Broadway, may finally begin to do so, at least in a small way.

“The Awards Administration Committee has announced that starting with the 2013-2014 season, New York-based theatre companies can now be eligible to receive the Regional Theatre Award.

“Each year, the Tony Awards Administration Committee presents the American Theatre Wing’s Tony Award® to a regional theatre on the recommendation of the American Theatre Critics Association.”

The Regional Theater Tony began in 1976. Below is a list of the theaters that have received the award.

Now that it will be open to theaters in New York City, some of the most likely candidates, in my opinion, will be those producing some of the best work on Off-Broadway. The two I see as most deserving are:

Playwrights Horizons, which has launched many noteworthy plays, including five that won the Pulitzer Prize, and many that transferred to Broadway. Among the best-known: Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park; Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife; Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles’  Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy ‘and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George; Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation.

The Signature Theater was founded in 1991 with the idea of focusing each season on a single playwright. Since opening the Pershing Square Signature Center, they’ve expanded their mission, but kept their focus on playwrights.Among their accomplishments is reviving the career of such previously neglected dramatists as Horton Foote. (The Man From Atlanta, The Orphans Home Cycle.) An important aspect of the theater is their commitment to keep ticket prices affordable. Most tickets are $25 — 20 percent of the cost of a typical Broadway show, and half of most other Off-Broadway fare.

There are several other first-rate Off-Broadway theaters — New York Theater Workshop, MCC Theater, Vineyard Theater – and a few Off-Off Broadway as well, most notably The Flea and LaMama. And — why neglect Brooklyn — St. Ann’s Warehouse. (I would be loathe to include those theaters that produce much good work Off-Broadway but also have a presence on Broadway, or routinely transfer shows there — they already get plenty of chances for Tonys.)

It’s important to emphasize that the Regional Tony, unlike most of the Tonys, goes to a producing theater, not a specific show.

 

The Tony Regional Theater Awards:

2013: Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, Massachusetts
2012: Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.
2011: Lookingglass Theatre Company, Chicago, Ill.
2010: Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford, Conn.
2009: Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA
2008: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, IL
2007: Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA
2006: Intiman Theatre, Seattle, WA.
2005: Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Minneapolis, MN
2004: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati, OH
2003: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN
2002: Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, MA
2001: Victory Gardens Theatre, Chicago, IL
2000: Utah Shakespearean Festival, Cedar City, UT.
1999: Crossroads Theatre Company, New Brunswick, NJ
1998: Denver Center Theatre Company, Denver, CO
1997: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley, CA
1996: Alley Theatre, Houston, TX
1995: Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam, CT
1994: McCarter Theatre, Princeton, NJ
1993: La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, CA
1992: Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL
1991: Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT
1990: Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle, WA
1989: Hartford Stage Company, Hartford, CT
1988: South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, CA
1987: San Francisco Mime Troupe, San Francisco, CA
1986: American Repertory Theatre, Cambridge, MA
1985: Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL
1984: Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, CA
1983: Oregon Shakespearean Festival Theatre, Ashland, OR
1982: Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MN
1981: Trinity Square Repertory, Providence, RI
1980: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Louisville, KY
1979: American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco, CA
1978: Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT
1977: Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, CA
1976: Arena Stage, Washington, D.C.

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2013 Tony Award Winners: Kinky Boots, Pippin, Woolf, Vanya Sonia

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Tony Awards Statuette“Kinky Boots” was the big winner of the 67th annual Tony Award, scoring six Tonys including best musical and best leading actor Billy Porter. “Pippin” won best musical revival. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ” won  three of its five nominations, including best revival of a play, and, surprise selection, best leading actor, Tracy Letts, who won out in a category that included Tom Hanks and Nathan Lane. “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike” won Christopher Durang his first Tony for best play.  “Matilda” won just four awards out of its 12 nominations, most craft awards, although Gabriel Ebert did win best featured actor. The “Nance” did surprisingly well, winning three of its five nominations.

Much remarked upon: The 2013 Tony Awards seemed to be the Year of the Woman. Both directing awards went to women, and Cyndi Lauper was the first woman to win for the best score Tony without being in a songwriting team with a man. And, another milestone,  half  the acting awards were won by African-American performers.

Winners in  bold face with asterisk * and logos.

BEST PLAY

by Richard Greenberg
by Nora Ephron
by Colm Tóibín
by Christopher Durang

BEST MUSICAL

kinkybootslogoBring It On: The Musical

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Harvey Fierstein
Dennis Kelly

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE

Music and Lyrics:
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Music:
Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
Lyrics:Amanda Green
Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

2013 Best Actor Play: Tony Tom Hanks, Nathan Lane, Tracy Letts, David Hyde Pierce, Tom SturridgeTracyLettsTom Hanks Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane The Nance
*Tracy Letts Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge Orphans

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

BestActressPlayNominees2013
CicelyTysonhsLaurie Metcalf The Other Place
Amy Morton Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor Ann
*Cicely Tyson The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

BestActorMusicalTonyNominees2013
hs_porterBertie Carvel Matilda The Musical
Santino Fontana Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rob McClure Chaplin
*Billy Porter Kinky Boots
Stark Sands Kinky Boots

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

BestActressMusicalTonyNominees2013hs_millerStephanie J. Block
 The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello
 Scandalous
Valisia LeKae
 Motown The Musical
*Patina Miller
 Pippin
Laura Osnes
 Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

BestFeaturedActorPlayTonyNominees2013hs_vanceDanny Burstein
 Golden Boy
Richard Kind
 The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen
 Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub
 Golden Boy
*Courtney B. Vance
 Lucky Guy

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Best Featured Actress in a Play Tony Nominees 2013: Carrie Coon, Shalita Grant, Judith Ivy, Judith Light, Condola Rashadhs_lightCarrie Coon
 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant
 Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey
 The Heiress
*Judith Light
 The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad
 The Trip to Bountiful

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Best Featured Actor Musical Nominees: Charl Brown, Keith Carradine, Will Chase, Gabriel Ebert, Terrence Mann

hs_ebertCharl Brown

Motown The Musical

Keith Carradine
 Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase
 The Mystery of Edwin Drood
*Gabriel Ebert
 Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann
 Pippin

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

BestFeaturedActressMusicalTonyNominees2013hs_a_martinAnnaleigh Ashford
Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark
 Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
*Andrea Martin
 Pippin
Keala Settle
 Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward
 Matilda The Musical

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

logo-Woolf*Pam MacKinnon
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher
Golden Boy
George C. Wolfe
Lucky Guy

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

pippinlogo2Scott Ellis
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Jerry Mitchell
Kinky Boots
*Diane Paulus
Pippin
Matthew Warchus
Matilda The Musical

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

kinkybootslogoAndy Blankenbuehler
 Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling
 Matilda The Musical
*Jerry Mitchell
 Kinky Boots
Chet Walker
 Pippin

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

kinkybootslogoChris Nightingale
 Matilda The Musical
*Stephen Oremus
 Kinky Boots
Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook
 Motown The Musical
Danny Troob
 Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

nancelogo*John Lee Beatty
The Nance
Santo Loquasto
The Assembled Parties
David Rockwell
Lucky Guy
Michael Yeargan
Golden Boy

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

matildalogo*Rob Howell
Matilda The Musical
Anna Louizos
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Scott Pask
Pippin
David Rockwell
Kinky Boots

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

nancelogoSoutra Gilmour
Cyrano de Bergerac
*Ann Roth
Albert Wolsky
The Heiress
Catherine Zuber
Golden Boy

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

cinderellalogoGregg Barnes
Kinky Boots
Rob Howell
Matilda The Musical
Dominique Lemieux
Pippin

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY

luckyguylogo2*Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer
Lucky Guy
Donald Holder
Golden Boy
Jennifer Tipton
The Testament of Mary
Japhy Weideman
The Nance

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

matildalogoKenneth Posner
Kinky Boots
Kenneth Posner
Pippin
Kenneth Posner
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
*Hugh Vanstone
Matilda The Musical

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY

nancelogoJohn Gromada
The Trip to Bountiful
Mel Mercier
The Testament of Mary
*Leon Rothenberg
The Nance
Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg
Golden Boy

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

kinkybootslogoJonathan Deans & Garth Helm
 Pippin
Peter Hylenski
 Motown The Musical
*John Shivers
 Kinky Boots
Nevin Steinberg
 Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

SPECIAL TONY AWARD® FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE

Bernard Gersten*
Paul Libin*
Ming Cho Lee*

REGIONAL THEATRE AWARD

Huntington Theatre Company*
huntington

ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD

Larry_Kramer

Larry Kramer*

TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Career Transition For Dancers
William Craver
Peter Lawrence
The Lost Colony
The four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway – Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro
  Tony Nominations by Production

“Kinky Boots” – 13
“Matilda The Musical” – 12
“Pippin” – 10
“Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” – 9
“Golden Boy” – 8
“Lucky Guy” – 6
“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” – 6
“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” – 5
“The Nance” – 5
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” – 5
“Motown The Musical” – 4
“The Trip to Bountiful” – 4
“The Assembled Parties” – 3
“A Christmas Story, The Musical” – 3
“Hands on a Hardbody” – 3
“The Testament of Mary”- 3
“Bring It On: The Musical” – 2
“The Heiress” – 2
“Orphans “- 2
“Ann” – 1
“Annie” – 1
“The Big Knife” – 1
“Chaplin” – 1
“Cyrano de Bergerac” – 1
“The Other Place” – 1
“Scandalous” – 1

Lilly Award Winners 2013: Women in the Theater Lois Smith, Paula Vogel, Jessica Hecht, etc.

The fourth annual Lilly Awards, named after playwright Lillian Hellman, honored the following women in the theater earlier this week:
actress Lois Smith
actress Jessica Hecht
sound designer Jill Du Boff
playwright Paula Vogel
playwright Laura Marks
playwright Tonya Barfield
playwright and actress Jiehae Park
theater producer Julie Crosby
director Lear De Bessonet.

Also awarded a Lilly were architect Denise Scott Brown, who in 1991 was denied a Pritzker Prize in effect because of her gender; and Emilie “Mimi” Kilgore, who in 1978 founded the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize to honor women who have written works for the theater. (Susan Smith Blackburn was Kilgore’s sister, who had died in 1977)

Smith and Kilgore won lifetime achievement awards.

Julia Jordan, Marsha Norman and Theresa Rebeck founded the Lilly Awards in 2010.

Click on any photo to see it enlarged and to read the caption

Lois Smith’s bio:
Lois Smith studied acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors’ Studio. She is a two-time Tony-nominee for her work in Steppenwolf’s Buried Child and The Grapes of Wrath. She is an ensemble member of Steppenwolf. She made her Broadway debut in 1952 in the comedy Time out for Ginger. Oother Broadway credits include: The Iceman Cometh (1973) and Orpheus Descending (1957). In 2006, she won a Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Obie, and Lucille Lortel Awards for her performance in The Trip To Bountiful (Signature). Other recent NYC theater credits include Heartless (Sam Shepherd, Signature), After the Revolution (Amy Herzog, Playwright’s Horizons), and The Illusion (Tony Kushner, Signature). Smith made her film debut in 1955 East of Eden opposite James Dean, and appeared in such seminal films as Five Easy Pieces (National Society of Film Critics Award), Fried Green Tomatoes, The Pledge, Minority Report, Twister, How to Make an American Quilt, Fatal Attraction, Next Stop Greenwich Village, and Dead Man Walking. Her TV credits include: soap operas (Another World, Somerset, The Edge of Night, All My Children, One Life to Live), prime-time dramas (The Defenders, Dr. Kildare, Route 66, thirtysomething, The Practice, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Desperate Housewives, ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Cold Case and True Blood), and sitcoms (Just Shoot Me!and Frasier). Her career has spanned five decades working continuously in theater, film and television and is still going strong.

2013 Astaire Award Winners: Pippin and Motown

Pippin Music Box TheatreEricLaJuanSummersPippin and Motown were the winners in the 2013 Fred & Adele Astaire Awards celebrating dance on stage and on screen.

The two Broadway musicals shared the award for outstanding choreographer of a Broadway show.

Charlotte d’Amboise won for her dancing in the role of Fastrada, King Charlemagne’s second wife (Pippin’s stepmother) in “Pippin”

Eric LaJuan Summers won for his roles in “Motown: The Musical.” He plays six different characters, from Rick James to one of the five Jackson brothers, but is most notable as the early 50’s gyrating rocker Jackie Wilson.  As I wrote in my review, his gymnastic shimmying and electrifying yelps while performing one of Gordy’s first hits, “Reet Petite,” is the most thoroughly thrilling of the many showstoppers in “Motown.”

Here is the full list of nominees, with the winners in boldface with an asterisk. The 31st Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards were held June 3 at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show:

*Charlotte d’Amboise (Pippin)
Taylor Louderman (Bring It On)
Laura Osnes (Cinderella)
Patina Miller (Pippin)
Andrea Martin (Pippin)
Lesli Margherita (Matilda)
Stephanie Pope (Pippin)

Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show: 
*Eric LaJuan Summers (Motown)
Rob McClure (Chaplin)
Andy Mills (Cinderella)
Billy Porter (Kinky Boots)
Charlie Sutton (Kinky Boots)

Outstanding Choreographer of a Broadway Show (a tie):
Andy Blankenbuehler (Bring It On)
Warren Carlyle (Chaplin)
Peter Darling (Matilda)
Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots)
Josh Rhodes (Cinderella)
Sergio Trujillo (Hands on a Hardbody)
*Chet Walker (Pippin)
*Patricia Wilcox & Warren Adams (Motown)

Outstanding Choreographer in a Feature Film
*Sidi Larbi Cherkaouit (“Anna Karenina”)
Alison Faulk (“Magic Mike”)
Mia Michaels (“Rock Of Ages”)
Mandy Moore (“Silver Linings Playbook”)
Poonam Shyam (“Trishna”)
Jamal Sims, Christopher Scott, Chuck Maldonado and Travis Wall (“Step Up Revolution”)

The Tony Awards 2013 — TV commercials with Annie, Cinderella, Matilda

AnnieandMatilda

TV commercial for 2013 Tony Awards Broadcast

TV commercial for 2013 Tony Awards Broadcast

The four new TV spots promoting the Tony Awards show on June 9th all have three things in common: Annie, Cinderella, Matilda, and the diner they’re sitting in (which is sometimes identified as the Edison Diner, aka the Polish Tea Room.) In some versions, their waiter is Richard Kind, who plays the thug-like Hollywood studio boss in The Big Knife. In one the cast of The Jersey Boys make a cameo appearance — and, since none of these commercials are longer than 40 seconds, we’re talking a cameo that lasts three seconds.

2013 Tony Award Picks: Who SHOULD Win

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TONYMUSICALLEADSThe Nance Lyceum Theatre

The most important question for me about the 2013 Tony Awards is not: Is Kinky Boots a shoe-in for the bulk of its 13 Tony Award nominations, more than any other show this season?

Or: Will Matilda, with 12 nominations, dominate the night?

Or: Will Tom Hanks be the lucky guy he’s always been and win a Tony for his Broadway debut?

The question is: Why do so many theatergoers care what 435 people think?

There are just 868 voters for the Tony Awards. As theater critic (and Tony voter) Jeremy Gerard pointed out last week in his diatribe against “Phony Tony Voting“, many of these voters are from out-

of-The Trip to Bountiful Stephen Sondheim Theatretown and don’t even see all the shows they’re voting on. Who are Matilda Sam S. Shubert Theatrethese voters? Many are theater artists; most seem to be in the business of commercial theater. Only 25 are critics; the rest of the critics are excluded under the Orwellian/Alice in Wonderland argument that we can’t be impartial since we’ve gone public with our opinions. Meanwhile, the decision-making is allowed into the hands of people who have a financial interest in the outcome.

In his article, Gerard also argues it is “rotten… that, after 67 years, the Tonys still exclude off-Broadway while claiming to celebrate the best of American theater.”

So why are the Tony Awards given so much more importance than any of the many, many other theater awards that have sprouted up since the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theater were Tony Awards Statuetteestablished in 1947? The answer is simple: The Tony Awards show is the only one that is televised on a broadcast network. It is the only opportunity each year for millions of theater lovers to catch up on what’s happening on New York stages. Its influence is profound: Billy Porter, nominee this year for best performance of an actor in a leading role in a musical, says it was watching Jennifer Holliday perform in the 1982 Tony Awards that persuaded the then-12-year-old Pittsburgh native to become a professional performer.

Below are my picks for the 2013 Tony Awards — by which I mean, whom I would choose among the nominees. These are not my predictions of who will actually win: How can I guess what 800-odd people who haven’t even seen all the shows will vote for? And why should I, since I have seen all the shows?

BEST PLAY

vanyalogo2Nominees: The Assembled Parties; Lucky Guy; The Testament of Mary; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

I would be happy to see either Vanya Sonia or The Assembled Parties win this category. Both moved and amused me. Both are extraordinarily well-acted. I even admired the sets of each.

BEST MUSICAL

Nominees: Bring It On: The Musical; A Christmas Story, The Musical; Kinky Boots; Matilda The Musical
This is not as much of a slam-dunk for me as it apparently will be for many Tony voters. I liked “A Christmas Story” almost as much, and it is a warmer show. But there’s an inventiveness in the design of “Matilda” and a cleverness in the lyrics that distinguishes it.

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Nominees: A Christmas Story, The Musical; Kinky Boots; Matilda The Musical; Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Joseph Robinette

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE

Nominees: A Christmas Story, The Musical; Hands on a Hardbody; Kinky Boots; Matilda the Musical
christmasstorylogo
This is a tough decision, because the show with some of the cleverest lyrics, Matilda, doesn’t have the most memorable score, while the shows with some rocking tunes, Hands on a Hardbody and Kinky Boots, have lyrics that are often unimpressive.

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY

Nominees: Golden Boy; Orphans, The Trip to Bountiful; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
logo-L
My choice: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
This brings up an almost-philosophical issue: Does a production deserve more credit for making the most of  an outdated or otherwise inferior script or are we duty-bound to honor the best script? The production of the creaky “Golden Boy” was wonderful; there is much as well to recommend The Trip to Bountiful with its “non-traditional” high-quality cast.
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
Nominees: Annie; The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Pippin; Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" The suspects stand on stage so that the audience can choose the murderer.

This is my most reluctant choice, because I  don’t consider Drood musical theater so much as a unique theatrical experience (a Drama Desk but not a Tony category), but the revival was seamlessly executed with a stellar cast including Chita Rivera.  It’s clear in whose hands this award will actually wind up: Pippin. I have to concede that the production of Pippin worked wonders on what I consider a dud of a script, thanks in particular to the circus performance.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Nominees: Tom Hanks Lucky Guy; Nathan Lane The Nance; Tracy Letts Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; David Hyde Pierce Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; Tom Sturridge Orphans
The Nance Lyceum TheatreMy choice: Nathan Lane, The Nance
 This is Lane’s 19th show on Broadway and his fourth Tony nomination (He won two of the previous three.) For this role as a closeted vaudeville performer from the 1930’s, Lane delivers the kind of performance for which he is best known — the song-and-dance comedian with the perfect timing — but goes deeper and darker when his character is off the stage. All four of the other nominees deliver quality performances, and it would not be a travesty if Letts was honored for his spot-on performance as the bizarrely playful and bitter George, even though it is his Broadway acting debut.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Nominees: Laurie Metcalf The Other Place; Amy Morton Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Kristine Nielsen Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; Holland Taylor Ann; Cicely Tyson The Trip to Bountiful
The Trip to Bountiful Stephen Sondheim Theatre
My choice: Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
This is the category that should convince any serious theatergoer how wrong-headed it is to turn theater art into a competition. Every single one of these actresses gave a performance that knocked me out. A particular shout-out to Kristine Nielsen, who I feel was robbed of her rightful Tony by being put in this category instead of featured actress.
But Cicely Tyson managed to make something fresh out of a role that could too easily make you pity the character rather than empathize and admire her.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Nominees: Bertie Carvel Matilda The Musical; Santino Fontana Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella; Rob McClure Chaplin; Billy Porter Kinky Boots; Stark Sands Kinky Boots
ChaplinEthel Barrymore TheatreMy choice: Rob McClure, Chaplin
McClure’s performance reminds me of the joke about Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels. McClure delivered the song, dance and acting at the same level as the other nominees but also rode backwards on a bicycle on a high wire.
A shout-out to Billy Porter, who does a wonderful job with a hackneyed character.
Bertie Carvel, who gives an impressive if off-putting performance as a sadistic headmistress, is in my view a featured actor — which is how he was categorized by the Drama Desk Awards.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Nominees: Stephanie J. Block The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Carolee Carmello Scandalous; Valisia LeKae Motown The Musical; Patina Miller Pippin; Laura Osnes Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Diana Ross (Valisia LeKae)

Diana Ross (Valisia LeKae)

My choice: Valisia LeKae, Motown
This is a difficult category, not just because the talent is so plentiful, but because the shows are so beneath them. I’ll admit to coming up with my choice in part through process of elimination, but something magical happened during LeKae’s scene playing Diana Ross in her first solo concert, bringing audience members to the stage to sing “Reach Out and Touch.”  As lovely and impressive as the other nominees’ performances were, I don’t recall any such similar moment in them.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Nominees: Danny Burstein Golden Boy; Richard Kind, The Big Knife; Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy; Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy
My choice: Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Richard Kind

Richard Kind

Those who’ve been able to catch the 1955  movie of “The Big Knife,” with Rod Steiger’s absurdly over-the-top portrayal of the thug-like movie studio head, can even more appreciate Kind’s performance, which is modulated and credible before it becomes explosive; he seems to inhabit the role.

I do give a shout-out to Tony Shalhoub who performed the single most memorable gesture of the entire season — as his son reverently but ambivalently picks up the new violin, Shalhoub quickly places the suddenly materialized violin pad on his son’s shoulder, a simultaneously hilarious and touching moment.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Nominees: Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; Judith Ivey,The Heiress; Judith Light, The Assembled Parties; Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful

Cicely Tyson and Condola Rashad

My choice: Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful
An impossible category, all are so good. I’m going with Rashad precisely because she wasn’t flashy; she held her own against all these Hollywood stars with a modest, controlled performance that so fit the character that she seemed to be the character.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Keith Carradine

Keith Carradine

Nominees: Charl Brown, Motown The Musical; Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody; Will Chase,The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical; Terrence Mann,Pippin

My choice: Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Andrea Martin

Andrea Martin

Nominees: Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots;  Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella; Andrea Martin,Pippin; Keala Settle Hands on a Hardbody; Lauren Ward Matilda The Musical

My choice: Andrea Martin Pippin
Shout-out to Keala Settle, who has an amazing voice.

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Nominees: Pam MacKinnon Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; Bartlett Sher,Golden Boy; George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy

My choice: Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Matilda 10Nominees: Scott Ellis The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Jerry Mitchell Kinky Boots; Diane Paulus Pippin; Matthew Warchus Matilda The Musical
My choice: Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Nominees: Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical; Peter Darling,Matilda The Musical; Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots; Chet Walker, Pippin
My choice: Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

cinderellalogoNominees: Chris Nightingale Matilda The Musical; Stephen Oremus Kinky Boots; Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook Motown The Musical;  Danny Troob Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
My choice: Danny Troob, Cinderella
The orchestrations gave new luscious life to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s wonderful score. I could just as easily vote for Ethan Popp and Bryan Cook for Motown.

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

Nominees: John Lee Beatty The Nance; Santo Loquasto The Assembled Parties; David Rockwell Lucky Guy; Michael Yeargan Golden Boy

Burlesque, 1937

My choice: John Lee Beatty The Nance

Beatty supplemented his usual solid realistically detailed set (The Hell’s Kitchen apartment of Nathan Lane’s character) with an inventive interpretation of a vaudevillian theater, both from the stage and backstage, sometimes simultaneously.
A shout-out to Santo Loquasto, who solved the problem of presenting a huge apartment on the Upper West Side by suggesting its immensity with rotating rooms.

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Nominees: Rob Howell Matilda The Musical; Anna Louizos The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Scott Pask Pippin; David Rockwell
Kinky Boots
My choice: Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

The Heiress: Judith Ivey, Dan Stevens, David Strathairn, Jessica Chastain

Nominees: Soutra Gilmour Cyrano de Bergerac;  Ann Roth The Nance; Albert Wolsky The Heiress; Catherine Zuber Golden Boy

My choice: Alberet Wolsky, The Heiress
The costumes in all these shows were spot-on, and I could be happy with any of them winning. I”m going for the lush late 19th-century plushness of the costumes for “The Heiress” by Wolsky, the octogenarian who has worked on 20 Broadway shows since 1963 and never even been nominated before. (Hey, this isn’t the S.A.T.’s, ok? Sentiment can be a factor in the grading. )

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Cinderella on Broadway starring Santino Fontana and Laura OsnesNominees: Gregg Barnes Kinky Boots; Rob Howell Matilda The Musical; Dominique Lemieux Pippin; William Ivey Long Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
My choice: William Ivey Long, Cinderella
The other designers offered flamboyance. Long also gave us magic; at least three times a character changes before our eyes from one costume into another in what goes by so quickly it seems like a cinematic special effect.

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY

Seth Numrich and Danny Burstein in Lincoln Center Theater production of "Golden Boy"

Nominees: Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer Lucky Guy; Donald Holder Golden Boy; Jennifer Tipton The Testament of Mary;Japhy Weideman The Nance

My choice: Donald Holder, Golden Boy
Shout-out to Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Matilda Sam S. Shubert TheatreNominees: Kenneth Posner Kinky Boots; Kenneth Posner Pippin; Kenneth Posner; Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella; Hugh Vanstone Matilda The Musical
My choice: Hugh Vanstone, Matilda
The designers are what make Matilda feel so magical, and its lighting is central to establishing the mood of each scene. I would be leaning toward Vanstone even if I didn’t feel that this veteran designer of 19 Broadway shows, who has never won a Tony, was cheated out of the Tony last year because the show for which he was nominated, “Ghost,” got such a poor reception in New York (in sharp contrast to the response in the UK).
Shout-out to Kenneth Posner, prolific and spot-on lighting designer with some 50 Broadway shows to credit, who has won the Tony before and will again.

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY

poster for Golden Boy on Broadway

Nominees: John Gromada The Trip to Bountiful; Mel Mercier The Testament of Mary; Leon Rothenberg The Nance; Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg; Golden Boy

My choice: Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Jonathan Deans & Garth Helm Pippin; Peter Hylenski Motown The Musical; John Shivers Kinky Boots; Nevin Steinberg
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

"The Temptations"

My choice: Peter Hylenski Motown The Musical
I won’t say that the sound design is the single best thing about Motown The Musical, but it enhanced what is the best thing about the musical, the show-stopping numbers.
Tony Awards Statuette

Drama Desk Winners 2013 — Matilda, Virginia Woolf, Vanya Sonia Masha and Spike, Pippin

DramaDeskAwardWinners2013 The big winners of the 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards included Matilda, which won the most number of awards, five, including Outstanding Musical, and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, which won three, including Outstanding Play, Outstanding Director of a Play, and leading actor. The other three leading actor awards went to Cicely Tyson (Trip to Bountiful), Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), and Laura Osnes (Cinderella). Other shows singled out for honors: Pippin, Here Lies Love, and Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike.

Complete list of winners (boldface with an asterisk*) :

Outstanding Play
Annie Baker, The Flick
*Christopher Durang, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Joe Gilford, Finks
Richard Greenberg, The Assembled Parties
Amy Herzog, Belleville
Deanna Jent, Falling
Richard NelsonSorry

Outstanding Musical
A Christmas Story: The Musical
Giant
Hands on a Hardbody
Here Lies Love
*Matilda
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
The Other Josh Cohen

Outstanding Revival of a Play
*Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Golden Boy
Good Person of Szechwan
The Piano Lesson
The Trip to Bountiful
Uncle Vanya

Outstanding Revival of a Musical or Revue
Passion
*Pippin
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
The Golden Land
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Working: A Musical

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, Uncle Vanya
Daniel Everidge, Falling
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Shuler Hensley, The Whale
Nathan Lane, The Nance
*Tracy Letts, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Maria Dizzia, Belleville
Amy Morton, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Julia Murney, Falling
Vanessa Redgrave, The Revisionist
Miriam Silverman, Finks
*Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Eric Anderson, Soul Doctor
Brian d’Arcy James, Giant
Jim Norton, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
*Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Steve Rosen, The Other Josh Cohen
Ryan Silverman, Passion
Anthony Warlow, Annie

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Giant
Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Lindsay Mendez, Dogfight
Donna Murphy, Into the Woods
*Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Jenny Powers, Donnybrook!

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Chuck Cooper, The Piano Lesson
Peter Friedman, The Great God Pan
*Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Aaron Clifton Moten, The Flick
Brían F. O’Byrne, If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Tasha Lawrence, The Whale
*Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Kellie Overbey, Sleeping Rough
Maryann Plunkett, Sorry
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful
Laila Robins, Sorry

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Stephen Bogardus, Passion
John Bolton, A Christmas Story: The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
*Bertie Carvel, Matilda
John Dossett, Giant
Andy Karl, The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Melissa Errico, Passion
*Andrea Martin, Pippin
Jessie Mueller, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Christiane Noll, Chaplin: The Musical
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Kate Wetherhead, The Other Josh Cohen

Outstanding Director of a Play
Lear Debessonet, Good Person of Szechwan
Sam Gold, Uncle Vanya
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, Restoration Comedy
*Pam MacKinnon, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Lynne Meadow, The Assembled Parties
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, The Piano Lesson

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
John Doyle, Passion
*Diane Paulus, Pippin
Emma Rice, The Wild Bride
Alex Timbers, Here Lies Love
Matthew Warchus, Matilda

Outstanding Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Warren Carlyle, A Christmas Story: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda
Josh Rhodes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Sergio Trujillo, Hands on a Hardbody
*Chet Walker and Gypsy Snider, Pippin

Outstanding Music
Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green, Hands on a Hardbody
*David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, Here Lies Love
Michael John LaChiusa, Giant
Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, A Christmas Story: The Musical
David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, The Other Josh Cohen

Outstanding Lyrics
Amanda Green, Hands on a Hardbody
Amanda Green and Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bring It On: The Musical
Michael John LaChiusa, Giant
Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
*Tim Minchin, Matilda
David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, The Other Josh Cohen

Outstanding Book of a Musical
*Dennis Kelly, Matilda
Sybille Pearson, Giant
Joseph Robinette, A Christmas Story: The Musical
David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, The Other Josh Cohen
Jeff Whitty, Bring It On: The Musical
Doug Wright, Hands on a Hardbody

Outstanding Orchestrations
Trey Anastasio and Don Hart, Hands on a Hardbody
Larry Blank, A Christmas Story: The Musical
Bruce Coughlin, Giant
Larry Hochman, Chaplin: The Musical
Steve Margoshes, Soul Doctor
*Danny Troob, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Outstanding Music in a Play
César Alvarez with The Lisps, Good Person of Szechwan
Jiří Kadeřábek, Mahir Cetiz, and Ana Milosavljevic, Act Before You Speak: The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
*Glen Kelly, The Nance
Eugene Ma, The Man Who Laughs
Steve Martin, As You Like It
Jane Wang, Strange Tales of Liaozhai

Outstanding Revue
Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking!
*Old Hats
Old Jews Telling Jokes

Outstanding Set Design
*Rob Howell, Matilda
Mimi Lien, The Whale
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy
David Zinn, The Flick

Outstanding Costume Design
Amy Clark and Martin Pakledinaz, Chaplin: The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
*William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Chris March, Chris March’s The Butt-Cracker Suite! A Trailer Park Ballet
Loren Shaw, Restoration Comedy
Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Outstanding Lighting Design
Ken Billington, Chaplin: The Musical
Jane Cox, Passion
Kenneth Posner, Pippin
*Justin Townsend, Here Lies Love
Daniel Winters, The Man Who Laughs
Scott Zielinski, A Civil War Christmas

Outstanding Projection Design
Jon Driscoll, Chaplin: The Musical
Wendall K. Harrington, Old Hats
*Peter Nigrini, Here Lies Love
Darrel Maloney, Checkers
Pedro Pires, Cirque du Soleil: Totem
Aaron Rhyne, Wild With Happy

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical (three-way tie)
*Steve Canyon Kennedy, Hands on a Hardbody
*Scott Lehrer and Drew Levy, Chaplin: The Musical
*Tony Meola, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Brian Ronan, Bring It On: The Musical
Brian Ronan, Giant
Dan Moses Schreier, Passion

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Ien DeNio, The Pilo Family Circus
Steve Fontaine, Last Man Club
Christian Frederickson, Through the Yellow Hour
Lindsay Jones, Wild With Happy
*Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary
Fergus O’Hare, Macbeth

Outstanding Solo Performance
Joel de la Fuente, Hold These Truths
Kathryn Hunter, Kafka’s Monkey
Bette Midler, I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers
Julian Sands, A Celebration of Harold Pinter
Holland Taylor, Ann
*Michael Urie, Buyer & Cellar

Unique Theatrical Experience
Bello Mania
Chris March’s The Butt-Cracker Suite! A Trailer Park Ballet
*Cirque Du Soleil: Totem
That Play: A Solo Macbeth
The Fazzino Ride
The Man Who Laughs

Outstanding Ensemble Performance
This year the nominators chose to bestow a special ensemble award to the cast of Working: A Musical. “Marie-France Arcilla, Joe Cassidy, Donna Lynne Champlin, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Nehal Joshi, and Kenita R. Miller created a memorable ensemble of marvelously gifted singer-actors working together in pure artistic harmony.” Individual cast members receiving this award are ineligible for acting awards in the competitive categories.

Special Awards
Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and significant contributions to the theater. For 2012-2013, these awards are:
The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), Isaac Robert Hurwitz, Executive Director and Producer: for a decade of creating and nurturing new musical theater, ensuring the future of this essential art form.
Wakka Wakka (Gabrielle Brechner, Kirjan Waage, and Gwendolyn Warnock): for sophisticated puppet theater, as represented by this season’s SAGA, that explores with wit, imagination, and insight serious issues of our times.
Jayne Houdyshell: for her artistry as an exceptionally versatile and distinctive Broadway and Off-Broadway performer.
Samuel D. Hunter: His empathic and indelible The Whale affirms his arrival as a distinguished dramatist who depicts the human condition.
Maruti Evans, the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award: for his ingenious lighting designs, reflecting an exquisite and bold theatrical aesthetic. This season’s The Pilo Family Circus and Tiny Dynamite confirm his incandescent creativity.

PRODUCTIONS WITH MULTIPLE WINS

 Matilda
- 5

 Pippin
- 4

 Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
- 3

 Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – 3

 Here Lies Love – 2

PRODUCTIONS WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS:
Giant
Hands on a Hardbody
Matilda
Passion
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
A Christmas Story: The Musical
Chaplin: The Musical
Pippin
The Other Josh Cohen
Bring It On: The Musical
Here Lies Love
Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The Assembled Parties
Falling
Golden Boy
Good Person of Szechwan
Sorry
The Flick
The Man Who Laughs
The Piano Lesson
The Trip to Bountiful
The Whale
Uncle Vanya
Belleville
Chris March’s Butt-Cracker Suite! A Trailer Park Ballet
Cirque Du Soleil: Totem
Finks
Kinky Boots
Old Hats
Restoration Comedy
Soul Doctor
The Nance
Wild With Happy

The Drama Desk Awards, which are given annually in a number of categories, are the only major New York theater honors for which productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway compete against each other in the same category. Formed in 1949 by a group of New York theater critics, editors, reporters, and publishers, the organization was born out of the desire to educate the community on vital issues concerning the theater.

 

The Ride. Unique Theatrical Experience?

TheRide2This year Sondheim and Chekhov and Tom Hanks and Vanessa Redgrave share honors with a bus. The Drama Desk Awards nominating committee has selected “The Ride” as one of the choices in “Unique Theatrical Experience,” one of its 29 award categories.

The Ride passes by Father Duffy Square

The Ride passes by Father Duffy Square

“The Ride” is a 75-minute tour through midtown Manhattan on a sightseeing bus. This is its “third season” – the trips began in October, 2010 – and, because the bus is full of illustrations by an artist named Charles Fazzino, it is now called the Fazzino Ride. It differs from other Manhattan sightseeing bus tours in two ways.  The bus itself, which the owners prefer to call a mobile theater, is specially constructed, so that passengers sit on three rows on the right side of the bus, and face the left side, which is a series of big picture windows bordered by blinking colored lights and video monitors. The most impressive technical achievement of the bus is its ability to impersonate a subway train. For a couple of blocks along Eighth Avenue, the lights turn blindingly white and blink rapidly, the sound system grinds, roars, rattles and barks, and the bus violently rocks the passengers back and forth. It is a spot-on and queasy simulation. No word yet on whether The Ride will next simulate a mugging.

The second distinguishing feature of The Ride is that, along the route, the passengers are treated to brief performances by a tap-dancer, break dancer, rapper, Broadway belter, ballet couple, and jazz duo – each introduced as if they were accidentally passing by.

TheRidetapdancer2

TheRidecloseupIn-between the performances and the simulation, the two tour guides offer the typical sightseeing patter of corny jokes, half-hearted quizzes, and interesting trivia mixed in with deliberate or inadvertently inaccurate information about New York City.  (Purists need look no further for errors than the bus itself, which misspells “The Book of Mormon.”) The best thing about the ride is the reaction and interaction from (the real) passersby. Two young men started dancing as if they were part of the professional entertainment.

Is this a unique theatrical experience? To break this down: It’s certainly an experience.  Is it theatrical? That depends on what the word means. To the creators of The Ride, theatrical apparently doesn’t mean pertaining to the theater: Although the tour begins and ends on 42nd Street at Eighth Avenue, the heart of the theater district — and though the bus itself is illustrated with the names of many Broadway shows (most of them no longer open), the two tour guides offered no information about Broadway.

Is it unique? One can argue that the Ride symbolizes, if not embodies, most of what Broadway has become – an entertainment, full of genuinely talented performers, geared to tourists.

The other nominees in the category:

Bello Mania

Bello Mania

Bello Mania
Chris March’s The Butt-Cracker Suite! A Trailer Park Ballet
Cirque Du Soleil: Totem
That Play: A Solo Macbeth
The Man Who Laughs

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged

2013 Outer Critics Circle Awards – Vanya Sonia, Kinky Boots, Here Lies Love, Nathan Lane, Cicely Tyson

Vanya and Sonia, best Broadway play, Kinky Boots, best Broadway musical, best actress Cicely Tyson, best ator, Nathan Lane

Clockwise from upper left: Vanya and Sonia, Outer Critics Circle best Broadway play, Kinky Boots, best Broadway musical and Billy Porter best actor in a musical; Nathan Lane, best lead actor in a play for The Nance; Cicely Tyson, best lead actress in a play for The Trip to Bountiful

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” won outstanding new Broadway play, “Kinky Boots” new Broadway musical,  “Pippin” best musical revival, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” best play revival in the 63rd annual Outer Critics Circle Awards. Complete list (Winners in bold with an asterisk):

 

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY

Grace

Lucky Guy

The Nance

The Testament of Mary

* Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

 

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL

Chaplin: The Musical

A Christmas Story

Hands on a Hardbody

*Kinky Boots

Matilda the Musical

 

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY

Bad Jews

Cock

* My Name is Asher Lev

Really Really

The Whale

 

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL

February House

Dogfight

Giant

* Here Lies Love

Murder Ballad

 

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Cinderella

Chaplin: The Musical

Dogfight

Kinky Boots

* Matilda the Musical

 

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Chaplin: The Musical

Dogfight

Hands on a Hardbody

Here Lies Love

* Kinky Boots

 

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Golden Boy

Orphans

The Piano Lesson

The Trip to Bountiful

* Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

 

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Annie

Cinderella

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Passion

* Pippin

 

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

Pam MacKinnon   Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Nicholas Martin   Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

* Jack O’Brien   The Nance

Bartlett Sher   Golden Boy

Michael Wilson   The Trip to Bountiful

 

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

Warren Carlyle   Chaplin: The Musical

Scott Ellis   The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Jerry Mitchell   Kinky Boots

* Diane Paulus   Pippin

Alex Timbers   Here Lies Love

 

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER

Warren Carlyle   Chaplin: The Musical

Peter Darling   Matilda the Musical

Jerry Mitchell   Kinky Boots

Josh Rhodes   Cinderella

* Chet Walker   Pippin

 

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

John Lee Beatty   The Nance

* Rob Howell   Matilda the Musical

David Korins   Here Lies Love

Scott Pask   Pippin

Michael Yeargan   Golden Boy

 

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN

(Play or Musical)

Amy Clark & Martin Pakledinaz   Chaplin: The Musical

Gregg Barnes   Kinky Boots

Dominique Lemieux   Pippin

* William Ivey Long   Cinderella

William Ivey Long   The Mystery of Edwin Drood

 

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN

(Play or Musical)
Ken Billington   Chaplin: The Musical

Paul Gallo   Dogfight

Donald Holder   Golden Boy

Kenneth Posner   Cinderella

* Kenneth Posner   Pippin

 

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Tom Hanks   Lucky Guy

Shuler Hensley   The Whale

* Nathan Lane   The Nance

Tracy Letts   Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

David Hyde Pierce   Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

 

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Tracee Chimo   Bad Jews

Amy Morton   Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Vanessa Redgrave   The Revisionist

Joely Richardson   Ivanov

* Cicely Tyson   The Trip to Bountiful

 

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Bertie Carvel   Matilda the Musical

Santino Fontana   Cinderella

Rob McClure   Chaplin: The Musical

* Billy Porter   Kinky Boots

Matthew James Thomas   Pippin

 

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Lilla Crawford   Annie

Valisia LeKae   Motown: The Musical

Lindsay Mendez   Dogfight

* Patina Miller   Pippin

Laura Osnes   Cinderella

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Danny Burstein   Golden Boy

Richard Kind   The Big Knife

Jonny Orsini   The Nance

Tony Shalhoub   Golden Boy

* Tom Sturridge   Orphans

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Cady Huffman   The Nance

Judith Ivey   The Heiress

Judith Light   The Assembled Parties

* Kristine Nielsen   Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Vanessa Williams   The Trip to Bountiful

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Will Chase   The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Dan Lauria   A Christmas Story

Raymond Luke   Motown: The Musical

* Terrence Mann   Pippin

Daniel Stewart Sherman   Kinky Boots

 

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Annaleigh Ashford   Kinky Boots

Victoria Clark   Cinderella

Charlotte d’Amboise   Pippin

* Andrea Martin   Pippin

Keala Settle   Hands on a Hardbody

 

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE

Bette Midler   I’ll Eat You Last

Martin Moran   All the Rage

Fiona Shaw   The Testament of Mary

* Holland Taylor   Ann

Michael Urie   Buyer & Cellar

 

JOHN GASSNER AWARD

(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)

Ayad Akhtar   Disgraced

Paul Downs Colaizzo   Really Really

Joshua Harmon   Bad Jews

Samuel D. Hunter   The Whale

* Aaron Posner  My Name is Asher Lev

 

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Irish Repertory Theatre

Charlotte Moore, Artistic Director and Ciarán O’Reilly, Producing Director

in recognition of 25 years of producing outstanding theater

 

Winner’s Talley for 2 or more:

Pippin 7; Kinky Boots 3; Matilda The Musical 2;  My Name Is Asher Lev 2 ;The Nance 2; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike 2;

 The Outer Critics Circle is an organization of critics and journalists from out-of-town, national and online publications.

Broadway and Off-Broadway Theater Artists Talk About Their First Time

For Keith Carradine, it was going to the opening of “Hair” when he was 19. For Andrea Martin, it was seeing Chita Rivera at 12; for Jay Armstrong Johnson it was “Disney on Ice” at age four.  Michael Urie’s life changed at age 17 thanks to Alf’s Dad (explanation below). Tim Minchin thinks it might have been listening to Gilbert and Sullivan with his grandmother, or maybe “Jesus Christ Superstar.” But then there were also the Beatles, the Kinks, the Stones, Deep Purple, and William Shakespeare.

This season’s nominees for theater awards, attending a reception 2013 Drama Desk Award nominees, answered the question: Was there a show or performer that made you decide to become a theater artist?

Billy Porter

Billy Porter

Billy Porter, nominated for Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle awards as best lead performer in a musical for his role in “Kinky Boots.”

Jennifer Holliday performing from Dreamgirls on the  Tony Awards broadcast in 1981 when he was 12 years old.

Andrea Martin

Andrea Martin

Andrea Martin,nominated for Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards as best featured actress for her role in Pippin.

“Chita Rivera in her nightclub performances in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where I used to go for summers with my family. I thought: Here’s a spunky ethnic woman….Maybe I have a chance”.

Playwright Doug Wright

Playwright Doug Wright

Doug Wright, nominated for a Drama Desk Award for the book for the musical “Hands on a Hardbody.” His previous works include the book for the musical “Grey Gardens,” and the play “I Am My Own Wife,” which earned for him a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

“I grew up in Dallas, Texas, and my parents took me to a production of “Life With Father” by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, when I was about eight years old. That was the first grown-up play I ever saw, and I fell in love. That a writer could concoct whole worlds, and these brilliant collaborators – actors, designers – could realize them on stage, was intoxicating to me. I fell in love with the medium right away”

But why did he want to be a writer rather than one of the actors or designers?

“To be an actor, you need a part. To be a producer, you need a play; same with a director. But to be a writer, all you need is an idea, a paper, a pencil and some time.

I thought it the best way to seize my own destiny in a perilous profession.”

Those are pretty heady thoughts for an eight-year-old.

“I think I came to that later on.”

Keith Carradine

Keith Carradine

Keith Carradine, who has been nominated for a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for best performance by a featured actor in a musical for his role as the oldest contestant in “Hands on a Hardbody,” which won nine Drama Desk Award nominations, the highest number (tying with “Giant”)

“The Los Angeles production of “Hair” at the Aquarius Theater when I was 19. I was there opening night and that was that: I thought I have to be up there, I have to be a part of that. Actually, I wound up in that show about six months later.”

Joel de la Fuente

Joel de la Fuente

Joel De La Fuente, nominated for a Drama Desk Award as best solo performance for “We Hold These Truths”

“I always loved the theater, but I never saw people who looked like me on stage, so I never thought there was a place for me. So it wasn’t until I performed in a play called A Storm Is Breaking by James Damico when I was 19 that I realized I had to be a performer.”

Daniel Everidge

Daniel Everidge

Daniel Everidge, who has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award as best actor in a play for his role as an adult with autism in “Falling”

“When Shuler Hensley was in Oklahoma, I realized for the first time that a big manly person could be in musicals, and it kind of made my whole world make sense at that point.”

Ironically Shuler Hensley is nominated in the same category as Everidge this year, for his role

KealaSettle

Keala Settle, who won a Theatre World Award and is nominated for both a Tony and a Drama Desk Award as best actress in a featured role in a musical for her role a religious contestant in “Hands on a Hardbody.”

“When I first saw The Sound of Music, it changed my life. I wanted to be Maria.”

Michael John LaChiusa and Sybille Pearson

Michael John LaChiusa and Sybille Pearson

Michael John LaChiusa, nominated for a Drama Desk Award outstanding music, and Sybille Pearson, composer and book writer of “Giant,” which received a total of nine nominations, the highest number of any show.

He: Wizard of Oz when he was about three years old

She: Brigadoon

Donna Murphy

Donna Murphy

Donna Murphy, nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her role as the witch in “Into The Woods” at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

“I knew I wanted to be a performer before I saw any show, but in fifth grade I saw a production of “The Tempest,’ and I experienced the power of what they were doing.”

Aaron Clifton Moten

Aaron Clifton Moten

Aaron Clifton Moten, who played a smart, not fully socialized movie theater usher in The Flick nominated for a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play

“Cool Hand Luke,” the movie starring Paul Newman, which he saw when he was eight.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Bring It On

Lin-Manuel Miranda, nominated for outstanding lyrics for Bring It On, was hooked when he was cast in six musicals at age 12.

Jay Armstrong Johnson

Jay Armstrong Johnson

Jay Armstrong Johnson, a member of the ensemble of “Working” that was collectively won a 2013 Drama Desk Award, was hooked at 4 by Disney on Ice. “I saw Aladdin do a back-flip on the ice. I thought that was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. That was the moment I realized I wanted to be a performer.”

Richard Kind

Richard Kind

Richard Kind, who has been nominated for a Tony for best performance by a featured actor in a play for his role as the mean movie mogul in “The Big Knife”

Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the Roof and Robert Preston in The Music Man, which he saw when he was 10 and 14 respectively. “Larger than life. They’re big. They grab attention and say ‘look at me, look at me.’”

Tim Minchin

Tim Minchin

Tim Minchin has been nominated for a Tony and a Drama Desk as the composer of “Matilda,” which has been nominated for 12 Tony,  seven Drama Desk and five Outer Critics Circle awards.

“I loved anyone who tells stories in a unique way.”

MichaelUrie

Michael Urie, nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for outstanding solo performance for “Buyer and Cellar,”  decided to become a performer when at the age of 17 he saw Max Wright (who played Alf’s Dad on TV) portray Sir Andrew Aguecheek in the 1998 Broadway production of “Twelfth Night.” “I never understood a word of Shakespeare. I understood everything he said, and it made me want to become an actor, a Shakespearean actor. It gave me the drive to pursue a career. I’ve never met him, but I don’t know what I would say if I did.”

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