Monday, June 08, 2009

TONY Awards Round Up: Harden, Lansbury, Hathaway, Langella, Neil Patrick Harris

And now a pre-show moment with Martha Plimpton...

That's right. I was conceived because of the musical Hair. I wouldn't exist without it.
That's Plimpton sandwiched inbetween Broadway's Hair boys: my fellow BYU alum Will Swenson, who we've been drooling on for awhile and Gavin Creel (Love the... tie? scarf? tarf?). Plimpton was actually speaking the truth to the reporter. Her parents Keith Carradine (yes, the star and composer of one of the greatest song scenes in all of cinematic history, "I'm Easy" from Robert Altman's Nashville) and Sheila Plimpton met while performing Hair on stage in the late 60s.

I bring up this pre-show red carpet moment because Martha Plimpton is a handy human symbol of how much the mainstream media, and by extension the public, misses out on because they ignore theater and great actors who work in it. To the general public Ms. Plimpton isn't recognizable or, if she is, it's in a vague... hey, she looks like that 80s actress from The Goonies! The sad thing about the movies giving up on her is that she's not just a fine actress but a terrific celebrity. She is easy with the laughter and quick witted with reporters. My favorite Plimpton interview quip came last year when asked to describe what she does for a living, saying something like 'i put on a wig and shout at strangers for two hours'

Martha lost her category at the TONY Awards last night ...that's three consecutive losses, poor thing. But a lot of good people lost. That's nothing new.

Who won? Billy Elliott, Stephen Daldry's adaptation of his own 2000 movie, won nearly everything it was nominated for including Best Musical. Next to Normal, its only real competition, beat Elton John's Original Score and tied Elliott for orchestrations. The Norman Conquests and Hair were chosen as the best revivals and God of Carnage was named Best Play.

Random wrap up thoughts from the evening:
  • <-- Harold and Kumar 2's add campaign asked "What Would Neil Patrick Harris Do?" In the case of the TONY Awards he would wear some sort of pleather (?) tux and be an amiable, funny but low key host. Some of his quips seemed to go unnoticed in the cacophony of the show (god, it was a mess). The structure of the ceremony didn't showcase his musical chops until the credits were rolling. What a waste. But give him another go at it, please.
  • Lots of tech problems. Why can't they get this together? Broadway is in the business of live events. Why is live television such a hurdle for them?
  • Geoffrey Rush's win for Exit the King makes him the the first new Triple Crowner since Al Pacino won his Emmy in 2004 for Angels in America. Rush now has the Oscar (Shine), Emmy (Peter Sellers) and TONY (Exit the King). He also gave an awesome acceptance speech which made me more fond of him that I'd ever been (which is to say I've never been)
  • Marcia Gay Harden was also prepared, funny and articulate. Why can't more actors be like that when they win prizes? Marcia needs only the Emmy to become a triple crowner and the Emmy is the easiest prize to win. She could even get it for Damages in September. If she gets nominated that is... loved her on that show. As I announced on a Twitter, Marcia and I are to be married as soon as she is thrice crowned.
  • If you got as confused as I did when they showed Oscar nominee Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds) and you thought "my god, what happened to her?!?" you're forgiven. They just had the name wrong names typed up under the wrong faces. McTeer has not entered a witness protection program nor has she had a face transplant. She looks pretty much like she did in 1999.
  • Shrek looked single handedly bad enough to destroy my faith in musical theater forever. It looked like something that belonged on the stage for free at a theme park. You know those hour long shows were you rest your feet and get some air conditioning before hitting the rides again? It should not be a high price Broadway show! Naturally, it's a box office hit.
  • Sutton Foster and other unfortunates are wasting their talents to act-along with the Shrek movie onstage. Shouldn't this be left to children in the nation's living rooms with their worn DVDs? Still, Christopher Sieber's "Lord Farquad" got one of the biggest laughs of the evening... albeit from the mouth of Neil Patrick Harris hours later
    Chris Sieber, please. Dancing on your knees? That only works to win Golden Globes!
    No, NPH didn't shy away from ribbing his fellow gays.
  • <---Angela Lansbury is now to the TONYS what Katharine Hepburn is to the Oscars (though she shares that distinction with Julie Harris and Hepburn doesn't share). She's now won 5 competitive acting TONYS. Lansbury was definitely feeling the love in the room and gracious enough to admit to her fellow nominees that it wasn't a fair contest. Her last trophy was in the 70s for creating Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd! (oh and we wish she'd let her hair go gray or white. Go the Judi Dench / Helen Mirren route, Angela)
  • When I see Liza Minnelli in the same black sequined pant suit she's been wearing for years in front of a tacky set sign that says "BROADWAY' my heart leaps and I have to supress squeals of delight. It's true. "I am what I am".
  • You know how I know I'm a musical theater geek? Whenever I see Alice Ripley (Next to Normal) I start singing Side Show's siamese twin ballad "I Will Never Leave You" at the top of my lungs. Every time. When is Glee coming back on?
  • Anne Hathaway is rapidly becoming my favorite young movie star. She always seems so happy to be in showbiz... like 'these are my people' happy. There's none of that obnoxious: 'I'm too cool for this' attitude that plagues some members of Young Hollywood -- you know who I'm talking about. Translation: Hathaway isn't just in it for the fame and fortune and she's most definitely in for the long haul. You'll be hearing her name until you're dead, mark my words.
  • Alice Ripley's best actress speech was... um, unhinged. Was she channeling her unraveling Next to Normal mom? She prompted my room of friends to start quoting Sandra Bernhard's classic routine "...don't you just love theatahhhhh people!"
  • Frank Langella was hilarious whilst making fun of himself, his Oscar loss, and his TONY snub. Why can't more stars have a sense of humor about the whole awards show / campaigning / losing thing? This reminded me of reviews of his charisma during the Oscar campaigning for Frost/Nixon. Dracula still can work a room. I imagine if he's ever up for an Oscar again post Nixon he's going to nab it.
  • I haven't seen Billy Elliott on stage and don't really have a desire to (the movie is great but that came out in 2000. It isn't even dust covered yet) but while I was watching the performances I was thinking how difficult that show must have been to cast. You have to find not one but three young boys who can act, sing and dance a very demanding lead role. Jamie Bell only had to do two of those three things. But he nailed them, so...
  • Susan Sarandon is still a sex on a stick.
  • Yes, the revival of Hair is as awesome as it looks. Go see it.
Okay, enough theater. Back to the movies!



Jim T said...

Nate, I love it that you love so passionately but I was really scared when you said I'll be hearing Hathaway's name til I die. Tell me you just assume that and you don't happen to have secret information (as some lady recently said).

I'm happy for Lansbury and it's really great she still has energy and desire, though I've always thought she was too nice. I prefer the nice but bitchy style Dench has. Then again, I haven't seen The Manchurian Candidate yet. Maybe I'll change my mind.

PS: How can you be so ungrateful? You live in New York and you haven't seen every Broadway play and musical? Find a chair and sit down! We're trading places right now! :p

Andrew David said...

I was really pleased for Marcia Gay Harden. She was looking hawwwwt as well!

Alice Ripley's speech was FRIGHTENING. She just got louder and more impassioned while reading the quote, it was terrifying.

adelutza said...

I'm glad Angela Lansbury won. She is a legend and she is immensely funny in the show. Also, I loved that Geoffrey Rush won as well. Have to admit that the French existentialist tragicomedy would need another viewing to fully appreciate it but the show is thoroughly enjoyable because of the great performances.
From what I've last night I'm really keen to see Next To Normal and God Of Carnage . Hopefully both will still be on for a while.

Jaimee said...

You killed a little mouse??? That's so wrong... (Okay, this doesn't have anything to do with anything.)

DJ said...

Eh, I'm not so fond of Hathaway, She comes off quite the opposite to me, snooty sometimes. And I know you loved her in RGM, but if a veteran had played her role the exact same way, she wouldn't have gotten near the amount of praise Hathaway did. My point: she's not the cat's pajama's.

Anonymous said...

Nicole Kidman also was at the Tony´s, just in the audience. But she looks divine I think:

Just wanted to say. :)

Jordan Wellin said...

The Tonys reminded me of a high school musical production, where none of the microphones work and people are running into sets and large green monsters are running around whilst telling poop jokes.

But I love Lansbury and Harden. And way to go, Marcia, for correcting that editor's error in switching up the two actresses from Mary Stewart. Class act.

Why must they play people off the stage? Learn from the Oscars, Tony! We love the speeches.

And I hate that they devote 2 minutes to the 'Creative Technical Awards' (as opposed to the uncreative ones?) That orchestrator works just as hard as the actors do.

And Anne Hathaway is amazing. I'm done.

Anonymous said...

Anne Hathaway annoys the hell out of me. She seems like an attention craver.

But if you like it, then I love it.

Anonymous said...

Did you see Brett Michaels get hit the scenery after the "Rock of Ages" lipsych?

The mic problems were unbearable. That guy from "Guys and Dolls", the stage manager running out with the wireless mic. WOW!

Liza, Elton, Angela, Dolly, Jerry Herman. OH, MY! I had a gay-gasm.

This is the gayest spectacle ever. I love it!

Again, fix the mics, you queens! Urgh!

Robert said...

You know how I know I'm a musical theater geek? Whenever I see Alice Ripley (Next to Normal) I start singing Side Show's siamese twin ballad "I Will Never Leave You" at the top of my lungs. Every time.
I thought I was the only one...but bitch went off the deep end. Did you see the Faith Hill faces on all the other nominees as soon as that speech started? Hillarious.

october said...

I watched the Tonys solely for NPH, one of the most talented, versatile and charming men on earth and he sure didn't disappoint. I wish we'd seen more of him, though!

But he got me to sit through all of the Tonys for the first time ever and I enjoyed the wildly energetic performance by the Hair crowed and have the strongest desire to see Billy Elliot. It looked fantastic!

Also, who was that strapping young man singing in Next To Normal? Yum.

The sound was really atrocious, though. I felt bad for them that they epically failed there - sound is SO important and can ruin just about anything if it's off.

But I vote next time for more NPH and an opening number a la Jackman please! I don't want credits rolling over that beautiful man!

John D. said...

I like Marcia Gay Harden's Emmy odds. She could even get two nominations in July: supporting actress in a drama series (Damages) and supporting actress in a miniserie or a movie (The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler).
And please someone give Angela Lansbury a good film role!!!

Edward Copeland said...

Jim, you've NEVER seen The Manchurian Candidate? Ay yi yi! Watch it ASAP and see why it's a crime Angela doesn't have an Oscar to go with her 5 Tonys.

Urey said...

I can't remember a show where the sound problems were this bad. It was truly ridiculous and lessened the entire show experience, from the jumble of an opening number to the acceptance speeches to the "Guys & Dolls" number. I'd do anything to see "Hair." Loved everything about that. And sue me, but I thought the "Shrek" performance was hilarious. Christopher Sieber was a riot. I really wanted to see all three of the Billy boys do a real number together. That was a bizarre number. Angela Lansbury is the definition of class. Best moment of the evening was her win along with Karen Olivo's tearful acceptance speech. I'm so mad that "West Side Story" didn't perform "America."

Alice Ripley's batshit crazy and I lurve it. Constantine rocked it with "Don't Stop Believing" (and that reminded me of "Glee" again <3 ). The Bret Michaels prop mishap was priceless. Liza was 1,000-watt LIZA WITH A Z! last night, and I loved every second of it. Why did they make us suffer through those touring numbers? That was so bad, especially the "Mamma Mia!" one. Wish Neil had more to do through the show, but the last number was a great one. Loved the Jeremy Piven jab. Neil wants that damn Emmy this year! Can't blame him for that.

Next year's show better do more to put out a quality telecast than this though.

Peter Chan said...

Erin, the strapping young man in 'Next To Normal' is Aaron Tveit. He's indeed a nice piece of singing eye candy. He's brilliant in the show as well. I prefer Matt Cavenaugh from 'West Side Story' myself. :P

I gave it the benefit of the doubt, but how in the world did 'Rock Of Ages' get that fourth Musical nod over '9 to 5'? It looked as horrendous as some of the Shrek performances. After the telecast, I have no desire to either of them.

And what an awesome opening number. I'm glad they led it off with 'Electricity'.

Billy Held An Oscar said...

My heart breaks for Sutton Foster.

Anonymous said...

Someone has seen Julianne Moore in Atom Egoyan's Chloe

"Saw CHLOE last night. I love all of Atom Egoyan's films and this was no exception. We were warned going in that the movie was going to be sexually graphic. While this movie was highly erotic it was done extremely tastefully. Other directors would have gone more and cheapened it. Toward the end I was afraid we were heading for another Fatal Attraction but fortunately did not go that way. This was Julianne Moore's movie, no doubt, and I am rather surprised at the amount of nudity she showed. And Amanda Seyfried was HOT! Liam Neeson is almost a footnote in this film but he shows what a professional he is to do a film of this type after his family tragedy. I think this was the most erotic movie Egoyan's done since Exotica. Highly recommended."

Bailey said...

Anne Hathaway is amazing, and I completely agree that she is serious about actual acting and is in it for the long haul. LOVE HER.

RJ said...

That Mamma Mia number was excrutiating.

Anonymous said...

Jersey Boys has been featured on the past three or four Tony telecasts.


Mason Mahoney said...

Nat, if the Broadway production of Billy Elliot is anything like its West End counterpart (which I imagine it pretty much is. exactly.) they really only expect that Billy knows how to dance :/


@RJ wasn't it just?

@anon jerseyboy hater because the producers assume that middle America wants to see it and they always forget that the middle Americans that actually tune in to the perenially low rated Tony Awards actually are interested in theater. They don't need to see the same production number annually. BOO

mason okay cool... so the songs are from the supporting cast? or is it like a dance musical with somebody crooning like narration?

anon 3:22 can you give a link for that CHLOE bit? I'd like some context.

billyheld Sutton brought it on herself. I love her but I am getting SO bored of her career what with these continual blockbuster musicals that literally any actress who could carry a tune could do. Use your drawing power for an original musical please. ARGH. I don't want to think of her as a sellout.

peter i think the larger question would be HOW DID BOTH SHREK AND ROCK OF AGES score a nod over [title of show] which had such a passionate fanbase?

urey did you hear the girls warming up at the beginning while the Jets were supposed to be singing? Eeek. amateur hour.

Wayne B. said...

Martha Plimpton seems pretty funny, I remember seeing her in "Running on Empty" and besides being slightly jealous of her (used to have a thing for River), thought she was natural and realistic. I think "Running on Empty" is the ONLY TIME I've heard a MADONNA song in a dramatic film.
A little disappointed my Fonda prediction didn't come true but Marcia Gay Harden is cool too. Saw her in "Spy Hard" and "1st Wives Club" when I was a kid and have wondered since why she doesn't do more comedy.

Mason Mahoney said...

No, Billy sings, just not very well. Of course, it is totally forgivable because the score is so forgettable that all you really remember is the dancing and the story anyhow.

It's a weird feeling watching the show to me because so much of it is pretty pedestrian or just awkward to watch (like the kid flailing and yelping all over the stage last night at the Tonys). The show is filled with those weird crowd sequences that you saw last night and they are hardly what makes the piece engaging. It's all about the story here. Because of all the children involved, you start to give the production a different set of standards because your expectations change, and next thing you know, it's done with and you think you enjoyed it ("Well, those kids are great dancers, and I did tear up when Billy got to talk to his dead mom,so...").

But maybe that is just me?

Rick said...

Loved the Tony show...
2 comments though:

1) Liza Minelli is the most nauseating person in show biz... how she mugged her way last night was ridiculous .. you can be a drama queen and that's OK... but she even invaded the award's people she presented to.... and her voice has become worse than a frog... at least we know she had a good voice back in her Cabaret days... I really liked her, but now she needs to retire quickly.

2) Mama Mia number was the most lifeless production number I have ever witnessed... Streep, in tne movie, had more energy than that whole group put together.

Anonymous said...

Re: Chloe if you go to IMDB page that's the first review.

It's not in the message boards it's in the review section, so you'll have to scroll down the page. I know it's Imdb, but it's better than nothing I love Julianne. Plus that specific reviewer seems to have good taste.

According to an Amanda Seyfried fan, the movie is debuting in Toronto.

Kate said...

Oh, Broadway - my first love.

One, who here is super, super excited to see Ms. Anne Hathaway on the Public stage this summer???? I certainly am, in part because she always just looks so ... genuinely happy - at the Oscars, at film festivals, at the TONYs. I have a ridiculous, bordering on "you might really be bi" crush on Anne.

Saw "Billy Elliott" - it was good, and, yes, those three boys ARE that amazing ... but "Hair" is a far, far more magical show. The organic nature of everything, the feeling, the passion in that theater ... it's an amazing experience that elevates. Go see it, go see it, go see it!

"Next to Normal", "Waiting for Godot", and "God of Carnage" - other notables this season. Some of the music in "Next to Normal" is rather catchy, despite the subject matter.

I also have a girl crush on Sutton Foster - but she really needs to stop taking every lead musical role that comes down her way. Yes, she's amazing in EVERYTHING, but the girl needs some great material to work with. Shrek? Not so much.

Finally, I love regional theater. I got my start in regional theater. But WHY were the Jersey Boys/Legally Blonde/Mamma Mia! performing AGAIN? It's about THIS year's plays -- Legally Blonde wasn't even (a) nominated for "Best Musical" during its year, or (b) still on Broadway! Some of this is also residual bitterness because of Jersey Boys winning "Best Musical" over the vastly superior "The Drowsy Chaperone."

I may also be bitter because the Jersey Boys screen time could have been better allocated to NPH musical time. More, please.

rd4545 said...

NATHANIEL R. , speaking of Anne Hathaway ( I love her too , she is the " real deal ")

How do you feel about the "Brokeback " reunion she will have with Jake Gyllenhaal:

Gyllenhaal, Hathaway back for 'Love'
'Brokeback' co-stars circling adaptation of Reidy's book
By Jay A. Fernandez

June 7, 2009, 11:24 PM ET

Updated: June 8, 2009, 02:31 PM ET

Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, who played a doomed husband and wife in "Brokeback Mountain," are in negotiations to reunite for "Love and Other Drugs" at Fox 2000/New Regency.

Ed Zwick is directing the project (formerly titled "Pharma"), which Charles Randolph ("The Interpreter") adapted from Jamie Reidy's nonfiction book "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman."

Reidy was a drug rep for Pfizer in the late 1990s who eventually wrote a memoir that shined a light on the practices of the pharmaceutical industry.

Gyllenhaal will play the salesman, who begins a relationship with a woman who has Parkinson's (Hathaway) while on one of his sales calls. Their love story plays out in the political and social context of the time.

Zwick and his Bedford Falls partner Marshall Herskovitz are producing along with Scott Stuber, who originated the project. Randolph is also producing. Carla Hacken is overseeing for Fox 2000, Kara Francis for New Regency.

Fox is in the process of obtaining the rights from Universal, which had put the project into turnaround. The filmmakers hope to begin shooting in the fall.

This script was considered as one of the "Best Unproduced Scripts of 2007"

One comment : UNTITLED CHARLES RANDOLPH PHARMACEUTICAL SCRIPT was a really fun read. Think Thank You For Smoking with cutthroat pharmaceutical reps. Would love to see this get made with a great cast.

I adored " Thank You " , one of the best dark comedies of recent times. Adding Anne Hathaway & Jake Gyllenhaal ( good actors with extraordinary chemistry), and also Marshall Herskovitz (great writer & producer- Thirtysomething, Once & Again, My So-Called Life) to mix you have the potential for a great film.

gabrieloak said...

Much as I admire Geoffrey Rush, I wish the award had gone to Raul Esparza who has given many fine performances on stage and will probably never win an Oscar but may win an Emmy if he finds the right television show. Esparza has his detractors but I don't think he got one negative review for Speed the Plow.

I know Rush is probably fine in Exit the King but everytime I see a photo of the show I cringe and think "scenery chewing."

Walter L. Hollmann said...

"Okay, enough theater."

No. Such. Thing.


gabrieloak... yeah. i have the same feeling about Rush. I love Esparza and it's a real shame he didn't win the TONY for COMPANY. It's kind of crazy that those three little Billys have TONYS and performers like Raul Esparza and Martha Plimpton still don't.

walter well, yeah. but it is "the film experience" ;)

Arkaan said...

Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King took three years to make it to Broadway (1991/1994; 1994/1997). So did The Full Monty. It seems churlish to criticize Broadway for taking eight. Are you only allowed to see re-imaginations when the the original is a distant/foggy memory?

Especially given how rapidly books can become movies, whether acclaimed (see Atonement, which took six, or The Road, which will take three) or not (too many to name).

I liked the numbers from Hair, Billy Elliot and Next to Normal, along with NPH's final number.

Eric Grunin said...

Re Ripley getting louder: It's what you have to do when you feel yourself choking up and you've got to beat it back. This is especially true when singing.

It only looks ridiculous on TV. In a live performance it's not a problem.


arkaan... my basic feeling is that the regurgitation of our entertainment culture isn't really healthy, no.

I am all for reimaginings if there's some distance BUT the constant reliance on copying stuff we're all so familiar with is not doing movies, tv or the stage any favors in terms of creativity or supporting new artists.

Arkaan said...

I guess. I just think that given the massive praise the show has consistently received, you'd give it the benefit of the doubt.

Unknown said...

Does anyone know of photos or articles from the after partys? I'm dying to see some from the Rock of Ages, and Hair afterparties, and also from the Hudson Hotel and Carlyle.

Ryan said...

Marcia gay harden rocks. neil patrick harris is a total hottie...

sorry, the Tony's ain't really my thing.

we can't all live in NYC you know. :)