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Theatre World Award Winners on Their First Time

At the 74th annual Theatre World Awards, luminous performers, including this year’s winners — a dozen honored for their New York stage debuts — talked about when they first knew they would be professional performers.

“My father owned a theater when I was growing up, so I never knew a life without the theater,” says Hailey Kilgore, who is one of the winners in 2018 for her role as Ti Moune in Once Upon This Island.

“Around 20, life sort of hit me in the face, and I said I’m going to do something,” says Harry Hadden-Paton, a 2018 winner for portraying Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged.

Also, Wesley Taylor, explains how he lost his embarrassment over not being Daniel Day Lewis.

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2018 Theatre World Award Winners for Spectacular NY Stage Debuts

The Theatre World Awards for outstanding New York stage debuts during the 2017-2018 theatrical season have been given to:

Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Jamie BrewerAmy and the Orphans

Noma Dumezweni, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Johnny FlynnHangmen

Denise GoughAngels in America

Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady

Hailey KilgoreOnce on This Island

James McArdleAngels in America

Lauren Ridloff, Children of a Lesser God

Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants

Charlie Stemp, Hello, Dolly!

Katy Sullivan, Cost of Living

 

The 74th Annual Theatre World Awards Ceremony will be held on the set of the Tony nominated Broadway Revival of Once on This Island on Monday afternoon, June 4, 2018 beginning at 2:00 p.m at Circle in the Square.

Ring IN The Old: Saluting Broadway Stars, aged 91 to 105

Here again, celebrating the new year by saluting a dozen Broadway veterans, aged 91 to 105. Click on any photograph to see it enlarged and read the caption.

Why, you may ask, is Betty White, 95, not in this gallery? She’s never been on Broadway. Now’s the time, Betty!

Favorite New York Stage Performances in 2017

My ten favorite individual performances in New York stage shows that opened in 2017 are listed alphabetically, with explanations for my choices largely excerpted from my reviews, but let’s begin with three noteworthy ensembles:

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Sondheim Originators on His Advice to Them

Len Cariou, one of the five performers who recently reminisced about having originated roles in musicals by Stephen Sondheim, recalls getting the script for “Sweeney Todd” and thinking “You’ve got to be kidding!”  At the end of the first preview, although it was plagued by technical glitches, Sondheim came backstage and exclaimed about the audience: “The understood it! They f— understood it,” and performer and composer hugged. By that time Cariou had long since come around: “We realized this was one of the great musicals of all time, a work of genius.”

Cariou and the others — Harvey Evans, Pamela Myers, Kurt Peterson and Teri Ralston, who variously originated roles in “Anyone Can Whistle,” “Company,” “Follies,” “A Little Night Music,” and “Sweeney Todd,” (and performed in the original “West Side Story” and “Gypsy”)  — gathered over the weekend to talk for 90 minutes about their experiences with the composer who changed their lives. The video below is an 18-minute excerpt, answering the question: What advice did Sondheim give you?

“I don’t remember his giving us too many notes,”says Harvey Evans, who performed in the original Broadway productions of West Side Story, Gypsy, Anyone Can Whistle and Follies. “I wish he had given me more personal help.” But he did give them stories.

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RIP Barbara Cook, 89

Barbara Cook, the self-proclaimed poor, naive Southern Belle who became the reigning soprano in the Golden Age of Broadway and then a cabaret and concert hall star of the first magnitude, has died at age 89.

Broadway will dim its lights in her honor on Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.

Read my review of her memoir published just last year., about a life full of 19 Broadway shows, 45 albums, 40 yrs of sobriety — and one glorious golden voice that never failed her.

She would tell students: “Concentrate on what you’re trying to say with this song; the words have to matter.”

 

Barbara Cook in Mostly Sondheim

Broadway Newcomers Sum Up The Season

Current and past winners of the Theatre World Awards, given to exceptional performers making their Broadway or New York stage debuts, offer their take on the season just past, sometimes in a single word.

The following were interviewed outside the Imperial Theater (current home of “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812”) where the 73rd Annual Theatre World Awards were held on June 5, 2017.

Carlo Alban from “Sweat”

Jon Jon Briones from “Miss Saigon”

Barrett Doss from “Groundhog Day”

Amber Gray from “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812”

Raymond Lee from “Vietgone”

plus past winners, Phillip Boykin, Geneva Carr and Jonny Orsini.

2017 Tony Nominees: A Closer Look…and Listen.

Below are 2017 Tony Award nominees who spoke at the Meet the Nominees press reception the day after the announcement, grouped more or less show by show. Click on individual photographs to read sometimes extensive captions that quote what they said about their show or their career or the theater in general.

More to come.

Ring IN The Old: Broadway Stars, aged 90 to 104

For those understandably saddened by the premature deaths of so many beloved performers in 2016, here is a gallery of a dozen beloved theater artists who are still living — some still working — ages 90 to 104. Some are better known for their screen roles, one is not a performer at all, but all have been involved in Broadway productions. Click on any photograph to see it enlarged and read the caption.

Why, you may ask, is Betty White, 94, not in this gallery? She’s never been on Broadway. Now’s the time, Betty!

The Wit of Carrie Fisher (Oct 21, 1956 – Dec 27, 2016)

 

carrie-fisher-on-resentment

Instant gratification takes too long.

Two of the saddest words in the English language are, ‘What party?’

I was street smart, but unfortunately the street was Rodeo Drive.

You know how they say that religion is the opiate of the masses? Well, I took masses of opiates religiously

You know how most illnesses have symptoms you can recognize? Like fever, upset stomach, chills, whatever.
Well, with manic depression, it’s sexual promiscuity, excessive spending, and substance abuse – and that just sounds like a fantastic weekend in Vegas to me!

Having waited my entire life to get an award for something, anything…I now get awards all the time for being mentally ill. It’s better than being bad at being insane, right? How tragic would it be to be runner-up for Bipolar Woman of the Year?”

I do believe you’re only as sick as your secrets. If that’s true, I’m just really healthy.

As you get older, the pickings get slimmer, but the people don’t.

You know what’s funny about death? I mean other than absolutely nothing at all? You’d think we could remember finding out we weren’t immortal. Sometimes I see children sobbing airports and I think, “Aww. They’ve just been told.”

(Most of these quotes are from Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher’s memoir and one-woman show.