Plays & Revivals
As you may or may not have heard, the classically cruel French aristocracy play, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (familiar to moviegoers from the Oscar nominated classic Dangerous Liaisons) is back on Broadway. It received a nomination for Best Revival (the other nominees are Boeing-Boeing, The Homecoming, and Macbeth with Patrick Stewart who, clearly, was also nominated).
But, quelle dommage!, The Lovely Laura Linney was passed over for Best Actress in a Play. She plays the Merquise de Merteuil. We rarely get to see Linney with claws out but it's usually a treat --she's awesome in a malevolent supporting role in The House of Mirth (2000). But apparently the TONY voters didn't think so. The only acting nominee is Ben Daniels (as Valmont) which makes these TONY nods the flipside of the Oscar nods back in 1988 when Michelle Pfeiffer and Glenn Close where honored but their Valmont (John Malkovich) was snubbed.
When it comes to the Original Plays, the winner is already locked up. It will be impossible to beat the sensation that is August: Osage County. It's a dysfunctional family drama from the writer of Bug (I've raved about Tracy Letts work before) that people can't get enough of. Remember how enthused Famke Janssen was about it in her recent interview with The Film Experience? That reaction is common here in NYC. The hot play received seven Tony nominations in total including three for its actresses. When the movie version happens (you know it will) expect an all out war amongst Hollywood A-listers for the roles.
I should also note that Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, a play about an employment agency in the 90s, which stars wonderful actresses like Elizabeth Marvel, Mary Beth Hurt, Martha Plimpton and Marisa Tomei (who talked about this role on the TFE podcast) didn't do so well. Only Plimpton was nominated. Here's a little opening night video from Broadway.com
Musicals & Revivals
Broadway's "Best Musical" category continues to become "Best Original Musical Adapted From a Movie" as the transferring continues en masse. This year, two of them were lucky enough to get nominated: Cry Baby (adapted from John Waters' 1990 film which starred Johnny Depp) and the über gay and brilliantly campy Xanadu (adapted from the infamous Olivia Newton John 1980 rollerskating movie musical which I love to the ends of earth, through brick walls and on to neon'ed Mt Olympus). Neither is the frontrunner. That'd be In the Heights which leads all nominated entries with an incredible 13 honors.
Two blockbusters movie transfers got the stink eye from voters. Mel Brooks' adaptation of his own 1974 Young Frankenstein, which has been plagued by 'it's not all that' reviews and bad press resulting from Brook's greed (ridiculous ticket prices and everyone knows that greed from all sides is destroying Broadway), received only three nominations including one for featured actress Andrea Martin (Mel Brooks deemed Cloris Leachman's too old to reprise her "Frau Blücher" role which also contributed to the bad press). Disney's movie-to-stage transfer The Little Mermaid, which was filleted by most critics was an even bigger bomb with voters, receiving only two nominations (Score and Lighting). On the bright side: that's still one more nomination than their last cartoon to live-theater disaster, Tarzan (see previous posts).
In other movie-familiarized stage musical news, the 7,426th revival of Gypsy (this one stars Patti Lupone) won 7 nominations and will be singing out Louise for the main trophy... but chances are South Pacific will carry the night with its big haul of 11 nominations. Stephen Sondheim's brilliant (well... 2/3rds of it) Sunday in the Park with George, which has never been made into a movie and shouldn't be, could be a dark horse.
In more horrific news the 1,002nd revival of Grease --yeah, the one that had its own idiotic reality show to pollute your airwaves --was also nominated in the revival category.I hate stage versions of Grease but I love this Olivia Newton-John theme that the TONYs have going on. She better be invited to host or present or something. So, let's go back to Xanadu to wrap up.
TFE favorite's theatrical hunk Cheyenne Jackson was passed over for lead actor which was no great surprise. He's game for those short shorts and his voice is super (as always) but "Sonny" has never been much of a role. Kerry Butler (pictured right), previously TONY snubbed for funny work as Penny Pinkleton in Hairspray a few years back, was justly honored though with a Best Actress nod for her gut-busting Aussie accent and Olivia Newton John send-up.
I smiled and laughed so much watching Xanadu on Broadway (seriously) that I can't recommend it highly enough. It's deeply deeply silly. If you love silly, go immediately. If you don't, avoid at all costs.
The TONY Awards will air on CBS on Sunday, June 15th.*
Back to the main blog if you're done with the stage: the movies await. Or dance on over to further reading if you're a Broadway nut: ModFab gets into the nitty gritty of the snubs and surprises * TONY's official site for the complete nomination list *