Costume designer Florence Klotz’s 1985 Tony award for her work on the flop musical Grind has surfaced on E-bay. The starting bid is $10,000.00, and it includes costume sketches for characters played by Ben Vereen and Stubby Kaye. However, in lieu of the bidding, you can buy it now for $20,000.00. Her win was prior to the Tony Medallion Receipt Agreement so this auction is not in violation of any Tony rules. The receipt agreement provides that the Tony Awards have the right of first refusal of any medallions prior to public sale. There is a similar agreement with the Academy Awards that has been in effect there since 1950, where people must sell their statuettes back to the Academy for $1. So if any of you lucky readers have some spare change lying around, you can bid on the late Ms. Klotz’s Tony award here. However, I highly doubt it’s as rewarding as getting one the old-fashioned way…
Dorothy Loudon. 1984 Tony awards. “Broadway Baby.” Press play.
First, Glynis Johns wins the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for “A Little Night Music” in 1973 .
Here is Angela Lansbury’s gracious acceptance speech on winning her third Tony in 1974 as Rose in Gypsy.
The man of the hour was notably absent during the telecast in which he received a lifetime achievement Tony. Instead, Mandy Patinkin showed up in Steve’s beard and proceeded to frighten all the kiddies (and read a very classy and gracious letter that cited all of his book writers through the years).
Well, according to Michael Riedel,
“Sondheim wasn’t at the Tonys because he was traipsing through Europe.
I hear he found out about the award only when it was announced in the press. Nobody from the Tonys bothered to tell him beforehand, so he didn’t change his travel plans. “
Where does one start when they’ve exhausted all the superlatives in the thesaurus in describing the experience that is August: Osage County? I went to see the Sunday matinee, which also happened to be the final performance for Deanna Dunagan, Rondi Reed, Frances Guinan, Jeff Perry and Ian Barford. That’s got to be surreal. You play your last show and your juggernaut play goes onto definite Tony glory that evening. Then you go home to Chicago. I couldn’t do that; I would have to stay at least a couple of weeks to bask in the post-Tony energy glow, you know? On the otherhand, can you imagine being those actors replacing them at the first post-Tony show? I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, for certain.
This time around though, I was more taken with Amy Morton’s Barbara than I was with Deanna’s Vi, though I adore both immensely. It’s not that Dunagan’s performance is anything less – she is a fearless performer who’s character provides incredible challenges for any actress, but it’s the discovery that this is, in essence, Barbara’s story. I also noticed that she also leads the company bow – and I think she has slightly more stage time. Tough call really. Both are superlative.
But, oh boy. See this great American play. By all means. See it. I’m sure that Estelle and the new crew will bring their own distinctive yet successful interpretations to the Weston household. The dialogue is so sharp and incisive, the staging crisp and just the fastest and most rewarding three and half hours I’ve spent at the theatre in my life. It’s so refreshing to witness hinging on every word, their genuine shock at the events of the plot. And might I add, not one complaint about the running time. Oh, did I mention I saw Hayley Mills on line? (To which .Roxie responded “Shut up! I love her!”) I hope she enjoyed the show too. You could tell the repeat contingency from certain members of the audience, whose adulation poured out. The dialogue is extraordinarily rich. That second act dinner sequence is one of the most memorable you’ll see in quite a while. The audience reaction for Morton’s act two curtain line received the same stellar ovation it did on opening night – if you’d walked into the theatre blindly as the lights went out, you would have thought there was a musical showstopper going on with the screams of “Bravo!” ringing out. As per my usual, I started the applause – and clapped so hard my hands hurt. In all my years of theatregoing I have never done that before.
I took a friend with me as an early birthday present. We couldn’t even get into the specifics of it, he was that stunned by what he saw. We parted ways on 44th and I headed uptown to Sarah’s Beekman Place on 90th for Lady Iris’ Annual Moon Lady Extravaganza, aka her Tony party.
First of all, there was a red carpet – lit up I might add. With logo art for all the shows around the banisters. Sarah greeted us at the door all dolled up, with her apartment open and ready for all the bloggers and friends who weren’t fortunate enough to be at the awards (ahem, Noah and Steve on Broadway…) and I gotta tell you, I’ve never enjoyed the Tony awards quite like I did this year. I’m still more fond of the Theatre World awards, because the representation of a non-competitive, accepting arts community is more ideal than pitting actors together in a popularity contest. However, the musical performances were extensive (13! really??!?) and most of the awards a thrill to watch. However, was Best Revival of a Play that unnecessary to the telecast that it was lumped in with the “who cares” categories* of the web-cast hour? And speaking of which, I for one, would have enjoyed seeing the witty and endlessly entertaining Julie White present on the telecast proper, as I feel she should have, especially since she was last year’s winner – not Mary Louise Parker, who it seems, is much more comfortable in character than as herself. (Can you be any less boring reading the teleprompter Milfie?)
* – that is this writer’s assumed opinion of the network powers that be at CBS and not of himself. The aficionado loves him some designers. If there was a God, they would start at 7, or revert back to PBS so we can follow along without having to watch a brief recap in the middle of the ceremony. PS – Thank you for finally recognizing sound design, Tony people! It’s about friggin’ time!
Favorite acceptance speeches included Lin-Manuel Miranda’s off the cuff rap (Look I made a hat, where there never was a hat, and a Latin hat at that”), Anna D. Shapiro (with her anecdote about her nieces and nephews just wanting Little Mermaid tickets), Deanna Dunagan’s graciousness towards costar Amy Morton, and it’s true – they should have shared that award. Mark Rylance’s bizarre non-sequitur of a speech turned out to be a prose poem (“The Back Country” by Louis Jenkins . Unique. And highly amusing – especially the reaction shots from audience members (the most notable being his co-star Mary McCormack). Then there was Laura Benanti “Hi Arthur! You’re standing!” and of course, there was “Patti’s Turn,” my official moniker for her speech in which she seemed to thank everyone involved with her career since she last won “SHUT UP, it’s been 29 years!!” Boy, I would hate to be that conductor. However, was that also the conductor who brought Elaine Stritch’s acceptance speech to an incredibly embarrassing halt six years ago…? Anyone remember that debacle?
Laura Linney looked gorgeous, though the ladies in attendance at the parties cried afoul at her choice of earrings. We all wondered why Faith Prince showed up in costume as Delta Burke – and why she sang like Delta Burke during A Catered Affair’s performance. We gave Patti a standing ovation for “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” – which is how every Tony performance should run. Fuck, they let Hepburn have 15 minutes for her big musical (Coco), now we’re relegated to three minutes of awesome. And ten minutes of commercials on a loop. We also went completely off the wall with her when she won, her win becoming our Tony toast for the evening – there are pictures on Sarah’s blog, of us capturing the pre-win look and the moment she yelled “Shut up!” with our camera phones. Yes, kids, we be a bunch of theatre geeks. I even offered to hand in the hetero card to Roxie. Turns out it was my metrocard, so I kept both. There was great fun to be had with this crowd, I doubt I would have enjoyed it anymore with anyone else. I also had my first – and last – cosmopolitan. I’ll stick to my White Russians, thank you.
The run down – from the ones with the most to the ones with the least:
South Pacific: Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Paulo Szot), Best Direction of a Musical (Bartlett Sher), Best Costume Design (Catherine Zuber), Best Scenic Design (Michael Yeargan), Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Donald Holder), Best Sound Design of a Musical (Scott Lehrer)
August: Osage County: Best Play, Best Actress in a Play (Deanna Dunagan), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Rondi Reed), Best Direction of a Play (Anna D. Shapiro), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Todd Rosenthal)
In the Heights: Best Musical, Best Score (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Best Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler), Best Orchestrations (Alex Lacamoire & Bill Sherman)
Gypsy: Best Actress in a Musical (Patti LuPone), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Boyd Gaines), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Laura Benanti)
Boeing-Boeing: Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor in a Play (Mark Rylance)
The 39 Steps: Best Lighting Design of a Play (Kevin Adams), Best Sound Design of a Play (Mic Pool)
Passing Strange: Best Book (Stew)
The Seafarer: Best Featured Actor in a Play (Jim Norton)
Les Liaisons Dangereuses: Best Costume Design of a Play (Katrina Lindsay)
A posthumous honorary Tony award was presented to the most iconic of musical theatre orchestrators, Robert Russell Bennett, who has been dead since 1981. (For the outraged, Tunick fans, he comes in at a tie for second with Don Walker). So I could understand his inability to attend. However, what was Sondheim’s excuse?
Our evening ended with Patricia Routledge as Kitty, especially since Roxie and I have decided that she officially won Best Musical – not Best Musical Revival. From whence cometh my title for this post, as it had us leaving Sarah’s apartment on a continuing, champagne-induced high. On the train ride home, I saw my next door neighbor and said hello. I asked if she did anything fun while in NY. Her response: “I was at the Tony awards.” Well, you can guess the topic of conversation for the next hour on the train.
And there you have it kids. ‘Til next year.
A must-read article by Sarah Hepola from Salon, discussing the relevance of the Tony award and Broadway in current popular culture.
Patti LuPone rocking out her shirt at today’s Tony Award press function, courtesy of Playbill.
The 2008 Antoinette Perry (remember her?) Award nominations were announced this morning. I shall spare you a complete listing, but will touch on a few talking points. In the Heights (13 noms? not bad…), Passing Strange (7) and Xanadu (4) seemed the most likely to receive nominations from the comittee, but I think most people were expecting the fourth slot to go to A Catered Affair before it went to Cry-Baby, a show that has received unanimous pans from everyone I know who’s seen it. However, it’s practically no surprise that the critically eviscerated juggernauts Young Frankenstein and The Little Mermaid didn’t get much love. (Disclaimer, I’ve not seen a single new musical this season). In terms of Best Play, August was a no-brainer there, but I was also quite pleased to see The 39 Steps get recognition as well. Also, was it absolutely obligatory that the Tony committee had to give out four nominations for Best Musical Revival? It’s asinine to think that Grease is anywhere near the other three superlative revivals. I’ve seen the latter three, but will not under any circumstances venture towards Grease. I even turned down a free ticket to that too. Another minor quibble: since when is it Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific? (However that’s nothing in comparison to The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein. What the hell…?)
Let’s hear it for Deanna Dunagan, Amy Morton and Rondi Reed, the three superlative Steppenwolfe actresses of August: Osage County in three landmark performances that are helping this play’s reputation as the must-see of the season. Other nominated performances that I’ve seen and am thrilled for: Patti Lupone, Laura Benanti and Boyd Gaines in Gypsy; Paulo Szot, Kelli O’Hara and Loretta Able-Sayres (who is such an unbelievably adorable person, I almost can’t stand it) in South Pacific (not Danny Burstein though, I feel that Matthew Morrison deserved his slot); Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell in Sunday in the Park With George; S. Epatha Merkerson in Come Back, Little Sheba. (I was secretly hoping that they’d just give an award to Harriet Harris for her triumphant apartment trashing in Old Acquaintance, it’s up there with the act two finale of August as one of my favorite moments in a play this season). There was no Tony love at all for the revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which scored zero nominations. Also, Kevin Kline didn’t make the final cut for Cyrano de Bergerac.
Let it also be known that Robert Russell Bennett, quite possibly the greatest orchestrator in the history of the American musical, is getting a posthumous Tony award for his contributions. A recipient of a special 1957 award, I’m mildly curious as to why (other than the fact that his spectacular South Pacific, which is one of the best of the best in terms of orchestrations, is currently a smash-hit revival) they felt the need to give him another, not to mention waiting until 27 years after he died to do it. He is best represented in an abbreviated list of his original orchestrations: Show Boat, Of Thee I Sing, Anything Goes, Oklahoma!, Annie Get Your Gun, Finian’s Rainbow, Kiss Me Kate, The King and I, My Fair Lady, Bells Are Ringing, Juno, The Sound of Music, Camelot, The Girl Who Came to Supper and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (to name only a few). Not too shabby, huh?
Oh, and Sondheim’s getting one too for the whole “Lifetime Achievement” thing. 😉
I guess we’ll see what’s what on 6/15. Not that the Tony’s play politics or award commercial shows based on whether or not they will tour. Hmmm? What’s that you say? They do? Fiddlesticks! (Yeah, let’s take another look at the Best Musical Cry-Baby).
The Theatre World Award winners will be announced on 5/15. I’m much more excited about what will happen there.