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Broadway ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Videos: Newsies (Half Naked) Lion King, Book of Mormon, etc

Newsies (half-naked)

The Lion King

The Book of Mormon

Once

The male ensemble of Wicked take the ice…um…water challenge (no bucket)

Individual Broadway actors:

Ramin Karimloo

Idina Menzel

Neil Patrick Harris

 

Audra McDonald and Will Swenson

 

Will the next step be to dump ice water on Broadway performers while they’re on the stage performing?

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Best Alan Menken Songs on His 65th Birthday

Alan Menken was born on July 22, 1949 – 65 years ago. He has been composing music for musicals on stage and screen steadily for 35 years, starting with his collaboration with Howard Ashman on God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, a 1979 adaptation of a Kurt Vonnegut novel. He continues to compose. Two of his eight Broadway shows are currently playing – Aladdin and Newsies. Here are some of his songs worth listening to:

The World Will Know from Newsies

Carrying the Banner from Newsies

A Whole New World from Aladdin

Feed Me Seymore from Little Shop of Horrors

Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid

Alan Menken sings “Beauty and the Beast” from Beauty and the Beast

Aln Menken sings Pink Fish from ?

Seize The Day from Newsies: New video with lyrics

A Disney video that presents the music and lyrics of the song from Newsies, Seize the Day in an artful way: “Now is the time to seize the day / Stare down the odds and seize the day / Minute by minute / That’s how you win it,”

15 Hunks ON Broadway NOW

Yesterday, Buzzfeed posted The 33 Hottest Hunks of Broadway, but whether or not they are “of” Broadway, more than half of them aren’t  on Broadway anymore. They’ve moved on to movies or TV or the concert hall or a stage show that isn’t on Broadway, or they’re waiting for the next gig. Below are those who are on Broadway currently (or, in one case, will be there in a few weeks). Only one of these photographs is of the actor on stage in his current show on  Broadway .

Click on any photograph to see it amplified in a slide show

New Newsies Newsboy Leader: Jeremy Jordan replaced by Corey Cott

Corey Cott, the new lead of Newsies

Corey Cott

Jeremy Jordan, who has played Jack in Newsies since its pre-Broadway try-out, is leaving to focus on his role in the NBC television series Smash.

Replacing him starting on September 5, 2012 is Corey Cott, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama in May and joined the cast just a few weeks later.

Here he is singing songs from the musical at the Broadway in Bryant Park concert on August 9, 2012.

Cott and Kara Lindsay sing ‘Something to Believe In”:

Corey Cott sings “Santa Fe”:

Jeremy Jordan: Tony Hot Shots From Vogue

Jeremy Jordan: Tony Hot Shots From Vogue

In this still from a photo essay in Vogue magazine, Jeremy Jordan, star of Newsies, prepares for the 66th annual Tony Awards. Newsies won two Tony Awards, including best choreography and best score — Alan Menken’s first Tony, almost inducting him into the rarefied EGOT awards pantheon: He now has at least one each of Grammy, Oscar (eight of these!) and Tony. All that’s missing is an Emmy.

The Tony Awards: My Selections

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Audra McDonald, Clybourne Park, Death of A Salesman, Once are all worthy nominees at 2012 Tony Awards

Audra McDonald, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Once, Death of A Salesman, Clybourne Park are among my selections for 2012 Tony Awards

Nobody would argue that the Tony Awards are the most important awards for theater in America, but there is one reason for this: They are the only ones broadcast on national television. Although the ratings are so low as to be the butt of jokes, the truth is that the seven million or so viewers who tune in once a year represent more than half of all Broadway theater-goers for the entire year. (Last year, 12.13 million attended a Broadway show, according to the Broadway League.)

One could argue — although nobody does — that any number of the many other theater awards are just as worthy of attention. The Theatre World Awards are older and give a boost to performers making their New York state debuts, the Drama Desk Awards are more inclusive, welcoming Off-Broadway and even a few Off-Off Broadway shows, while the Tony Awards are limited to those shows that appeared in the season in one of the 40 Broadway theaters. (Does anybody believe that Broadway has a monopoly on quality plays and musicals in New York?)

Anyway, it’s nice to get caught up in Tony fever, so here is my two cents, followed by the views and predictions of others. I make no predictions: How can I get into the minds and hidden agendas of  hundreds of Tony voters? Here is who I would like to see win:

BEST PLAY

Nominees: Clybourne Park (Bruce Norris), Other Desert Cities (Jon Robin Baitz), Peter and the Starcatcher (Rick Elice), Venus in Fur (David Ives)

Should Win: Clybourne Park

It’s not a perfect play. I don’t think it will last, but it’s the best of the choices. Other Desert Cities is terrific, and I would have chosen this one – except for the ending.

BEST MUSICAL

Nominees: Leap of Faith, Newsies, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Once

Should Win: Once

Once stands out for its feeling of authenticity. All the other shows feel unusually synthetic – you could say fake – even for Broadway.           

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Nominees: Lysistrata Jones (Douglas Carter Beane), Newsies (Harvey Fierstein), Nice Work If You Can Get It (Joe DiPietro), Once (Enda Walsh)

Should Win: Once

I love Harvey Fierstein; this is far from his best writing. I guess you could also say that the book for Once is far from Enda Walsh’s best writing, but it’s better than any of the others in the category.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS)

Nominees: Bonnie & Clyde (Frank Wildhorn & Don Black), Newsies (Alan Menken & Jack Feldman), One Man, Two Guvnors (Grant Olding), Peter and the Starcatcher (Wayne Barker & Rick Elice)

Should Win: Newsies

Is nobody concerned that half the songs in Newsies were in a 20-year-old movie? How does that make them “original”? Another mystery of the Tony nominating process. Still, like it or not, the songs in Newsies are the catchiest.

 

BEST REVIVAL (PLAY):

Nominees: Death of a Salesman, The Best Man, Master Class, Wit

Should Win: Death of a Salesman

BEST REVIVAL (MUSICAL):

Nominees: Evita, Follies, Porgy and Bess, Jesus Christ Superstar

Should Win: Porgy and Bess

I’ll admit this is unlikely. Maybe Sondheim will take the opportunity during his acceptance speech for Follies to apologize for his unfair if witty attack on Porgy and Bess. Did he actually wind up seeing it? I did, and I thought they did a good job of adjusting the squirm-inducing aspects of a show that is beloved for its score, not for its outdated attitudes.

BEST PERFORMANCE, LEADING ACTOR, PLAY:

Nominees: James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Death of a Salesman; James Earl Jones, The Best Man; Frank Langella, Man and Boy; John Lithgow, The Columnist

Should Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman or John Lithgow

There’s some weirdness in the nominations here. Two don’t belong for different reasons. John Lithgow gives another one of his miraculous performances in a new play, turning an unpleasant character into someone we like watching. But, yes, Philip Seymour Hoffman is the master, taking charge of a classic play that remains so relevant and so moving.

 BEST PERFORMANCE, LEADING ACTRESS, PLAY:

Nominees: Nina Arianda, Venus in Fur; Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow; Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities; Linda Lavin, The Lyons; Cynthia Nixon, Wit

 Should Win: Nina Arianda, Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin

 This is an impossible category. I can’t remember ever being so pleased by so many performers in one category. These three are completely wonderful in very different ways. I can only hope there is a three-way tie. Wouldn’t that be great?

BEST PERFORMANCE, LEADING ACTOR, MUSICAL:

Nominees: Danny Burstein, Follies; Jeremy Jordan, Newsies; Steve Kazee, Once; Norm Lewis, Porgy and Bess; Ron Raines, Follies

Should Win: Danny Burstein

A tough one, again, but not as tough.

BEST PERFORMANCE, LEADING ACTRESS, MUSICAL:

Nominees: Jan Maxwell, Follies; Audra McDonald, Porgy and Bess; Cristin Milioti, Once; Kelli O’Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It; Laura Osnes, Bonnie & Clyde:

Should Win: Audra McDonald

Yes, Audra McDonald has won four Tonys. And yes, Jan Maxwell was a surprise and a delight in a musical, and deserves finally to win a Tony. But McDonald has never won for lead actress, and she’s just mesmerizing in this show.

Best Performance, Featured actor, Play

Nominees: Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher; Michael Cumpsty, End of the Rainbow; Tom Edden, One Man, Two Guvnors; Andrew Garfield, Death of a Salesman; Jeremy Shamos, Clybourne Park

 Should Win: Tom Edden

I don’t care if he had only three lines. He was the consummate physical comedian, and totally persuasive as an 87-year-old waiter, even though he’s about a third that age.

Best Performance, Featured Actress, Play

Nominees: Linda Emond, Death of a Salesman; Spencer Kayden, Don’t Dress for Dinner; Celia Keenan-Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher; Judith Light, Other Desert Cities; Condola Rashad, Stick Fly

Should Win: Judith Light or Spencer Kayden

Judith Light was great as Linda Laven’s replacement, allowing us to see a new, equally credible take on the character. But that show could have worked well with another performer. Spencer Kayden, on the other hand, was the only thing worth watching in Don’t Dress for Dinner. She was hilarious. The mystery is why it took more than a decade after Urinetown for her to return to Broadway.

 Best Performance, featured actor, musical

Nominees: Phillip Boykin, Porgy and Bess; Michael Cerveris, Evita; David Alan Grier, Porgy and Bess; Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It; Josh Young, Jesus Christ Superstar

 Should Win: Michael McGrath.

 He’s a pro. If Judy Kaye wins – and she deserves to – it’s in part because of how well she and McGrath worked together.

I do think Phillip Boykin makes a wonderful villain.

Best Performance by, featured Actress, Musical

Nominees: Elizabeth A. Davis, Once; Jayne Houdyshell, Follies; Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It; Jessie Mueller, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever; Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost the Musical

 Should Win: Judy Kaye

She was splendid. But if Da’Vine Joy Randolph wins, I’ll cheer – it’ll be Da’Vine retribution for all the cynical naysaying critics of Ghost.

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY:

Nominees: Nicholas Hytner, One Man, Two Guvnors; Pam MacKinnon, Clybourne Park; Mike Nichols, Death of a Salesman; Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, Peter and the Starcatcher

 Mike Nichols

 It would be lovely for Pam MacKinnon to win, though. She did a good job, and it might end the knee-jerk free association of “female director” with “Julie Taymor”

 

 

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL:

Nominees: Jeff Calhoun, Newsies; Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It; Diane Paulus, Porgy and Bess; John Tiffany, Once

Should Win: John Tiffany

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY:

Nominees: Rob Ashford, Evita; Christopher Gattelli, Newsies; Steven Hoggett, Once; Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Should Win: Christopher Gattelli

 As I wrote in my review, the dancing in Newsies places it with Anything Goes and Memphis as the most exciting on Broadway.  (Why Kathleen Marshall wasn’t able to repeat her own excitement is one of those mysteries that make Broadway what it is.)

I think the dancing in “Once” is lovely, actually,  but on a different plane from the Newsies choreographic pyrotechnics. 

 

The New York Times take on the Tony Awards

The New York Post’s Michael Riedel predictions on the Tonys The obvious winners will be James Corden (“One Man, Two Guvnors”), Christian Borle (“Peter and the Starcatcher”), Audra McDonald (“Porgy”), Michael Cerveris (“Evita”), Judy Kaye (“Nice Work If You Can Get It”) and Judith Light (“Other Desert Cities”).

Stage Grade‘s poll of more than a dozen New York critics