Tony Noms 2017

Nominations for the 71st annual Tony Awards are to be announced, this Tuesday, May 2, leaving fans buzzing in online discussion threads as they debate what shows have a chance at the coin and what shows will be snubbed.

The biggest win of the night is the award for best musical, and it’s no doubt that Dear Evan Hansen will get a nomination.

Though most predictions are given the night before, some fans have begun the conversation earlier, and many seem to be in favor of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. This was a surprise to me, but I’m a bit biased toward Evan Hansen.

Ben Zauzmer, on the other hand, predicts that it will be a close race between Dear Evan Hansen and Come from Away. This is a newer show that I haven’t had the opportunity to check out, but if Zauzmer’s fancy theatre algorithm says it has a chance, then I had better look it up.

Of course, the Tonys aren’t just about the best musical, or musicals at all for that matter. The award show also recognizes plays, which are often overshadowed by the live musical performances, as well as the directors, producers, designers, crew and all the other backstage people that really make the show happen.

I’m just really jazzed about musicals.

To watch the live announcement of the Tony nominations, be sure to check out their website Tuesday morning. The Tony Awards will be held June 11 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.

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“Friends” musical: The one where they sing

 

So one one told ya life was gonna be this way … In another case of tv show/movie-turned-musical, news has broken that Friends musical is in the works.

Friends! The Musical!, which sounds like a Chandler Bing quote, is set to open off-Broadway this fall at the Triad Theatre. The show previewed in 2015 to a sold out house.

This show isn’t the writers’ first tv parody. Bob and Tobly McSmith have written Full House: The MusicalKatdashians! The Musical! and 90210! The Musical!

The guys must have a think for exclamation marks…

I’ve written before than I’m not a huge fan of creating musicals out of non-musicals, but I am a huge fan of Friends, not so much Mean Girls, so I’m willing to give it a chance. Especially with the titles of a few of the songs we have to look forward to—”The Only Coffee Shop in New York City,” “45 Grove Street – How Can We Afford This Place?” (which is reminiscent of Avenue Q‘s “It Sucks to be Me”), and the best, “We were on a Break!”

I’ve seen every episode of Friends, so I’m looking forward to see how much artistic license the parody has taken. According to the show’s website, we can expect appearances from Smelly Cat, Janice, Fat Monica and maybe Marcel the Monkey.

I also think it’s safe to say we can expect choreography similar to this:

If you’re interested, tickets will be available for purchase in June from the show’s website.

MisCast 2017 performances leave mixed feelings

The annual MCC Theatre Company MisCast gala was held Monday, April 3 at the Manhattan Center in New York City. The event is one of the most popular events of the year, as many of Broadway’s biggest stars hit the stage to portray characters that they would never be cast.

Essentially, the show consists of gender bent covers of songs from shows that have run on Broadway.

It’s a great night for actors to perform in dream roles that they’ll never have the opportunity to portray, and many of them point this out before their performances.

Source: Theatre Life

The line up changes every year,and usually features a few performers from the more popular shows running on Broadway. This year’s MisCast cast included Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton, In the Heights), Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen, The Book of Mormon), Jordan Fisher (Grease Live!Hamilton), Brian D’Arcy James (Something Rotten!Hamilton previews) and more.

I’m a huge fan of Ben Platt, so I was very excited to watch the video of his performance.

He’s such a wonderful talent and he’s only 23, which makes me feel much less accomplished in comparison. Platt’s cover of Judy Garland’s “The Man That Got Away” was well-received.

Jordan Fisher performed a cover of “Waiting for Life” from Once on this Island.

Like Platt, Fisher’s voice also makes my heart melt, and apparently he feels the same about the night.

With such an animated and soul-filled performance (as usual), it’s no surprise that he was also well-received.

This was my favorite performance of the night. Fisher has been popping up all over the musical world since his fantastic performance in Grease Live!, and I hope too see even more of him in the future.

There was one performance that I expected to be fantastic, but I was greatly disappointed. Mandy Gonzalez, who was brilliant in In the Heights and is not starring in Hamilton, performed a cover of “Waving Through a Window” from Dear Evan Hansen, which is currently my favorite show on Broadway (sorry, Lin).

A bit of a belter, I was expecting Gonzalez to add a lot of soul to the song. I was right about her belting, but I struggled to listen to the entire song.

She swallows all of the song’s lyrics, and the result doesn’t sound pretty. It makes me wonder how long she rehearsed the song before performing. This particular performance has received mixed reviews. Some loved it, others thought it was terrible. I’m on the side of the latter.

She was great when I saw her in Hamilton last December, so I’m very disappointed to see such a poor performance from her.

And, because we won’t see the last Hamilton parody or cover for a very long time, here’s Carmen Cusack performing “You’ll Be Back.” It’s such a fun performance that she could rock that crown eight shows a week.

Despite Gonzalez’ disappointing performance, the show was fun over all, and I’m looking forward to the next.

Why is “Hamilton” so popular?

It’s a good question, and one that’s asked by many. I wouldn’t get the superfans started on it, but why is Hamilton so popular?

Many people have said that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s elevator pitch for his hyper-successful show about the ten dollar founding father was awful. The crowd laughed when Miranda introduced the working draft of what became the show’s opening number, “Alexander Hamilton,” at the White House Poetry Jam in 2009.

I remember my high school AP U.S. History teacher showing us that video and we all thought it was silly. Flash forward nearly seven years later, and I’m happily coughing up $185 for crap seats at the Broadway production. That’s for the ticket alone, and it was worth it. Although, it’s obvious Miranda had the last laugh.

Click the link in the tweet, it’s worth it.

Even cast members have acknowledged that the show’s concept seemed silly.

“It’s a rap musical about Alexander Hamilton, and I said that’s a terrible idea,” Daveed Diggs, who originated the roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton, said in an interview with Rebecca Jarvis. “Then, once I heard the music … it made the most sense. You couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done yet.”

A lot of people still aren’t getting past Miranda’s elevator pitch, despite it’s wide success, and other’s just aren’t a fan or the music or hate the show because people are talking about it too much.

So why is it so popular? One very interesting theory says that it’s popular because it’s so easily sharable. The cast recording was released on Spotify, which made it extremely easy to say, “Hey, you have to listen to this show. It’s on Spotify.”

Photo: Daily Break

I know I said that quite a few times when I was trying to introduce friends to the show, and this is how I was able to get into it. After seeing the performance at the Grammys, I was able to listen to the whole album online without having to purchase it (not including my Spotify Premium payments).

Others agree that making the album available online was a good move.

I would like to point out that most shows release an original cast recording (OBC) shortly after opening, which in the case of Hamilton, was as the show began to gain popularity. I would argue that the height of the show’s popularity was actually early 2016, rather than late mid-2015, when the OBC was released.

This sharing theory can apply to other shows, like Dear Evan Hansen, which has quickly gained a large fanbase and challenges Hamilton for the “best show on Broadway” spot. The Evan Hansen OBC was also released on Spotify, where people—myself included—quickly devoured the entire show and spread it to potentially interested friends.

So, maybe future shows should take note. Make your cast recording available through a streaming service as soon as it releases, so that it’s easily accessible and sharable.

Musical episodes of non-musical TV shows: Do they work?

This post contains spoilers for CW’s The Flash.

Normally, I only watch TV on the weekends—and that’s always the the news. When I do enjoy a TV series, it’s almost always a binge watch. I’ve binged Doctor Who, Sherlock, The Office, Friends, Arrow and I’m currently on Flash.

I’m still halfway through season two, but there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the musical Supergirl crossover that just aired.

I know this sounds like it would be right up my alley, but I’m actually not super excited to catch up to this episode (though I wouldn’t mind hearing Tom Felton sing).

A single musical episode just seems gimmicky to me—it’s as if they’re trying to draw in a completely new audience and hope that they stick around. In essence, that could be a good idea, but quite a few fans were unimpressed.

I think it’s lame, Sam. I think it’s lame.

Others were very excited, citing Glee as a influence.

This is largely due to the reunion of Glee cast members Supergirl‘s Melissa Benoist and [spoiler] Darren Criss as the Music Meister.

For those unfamiliar to the DC Universe, the Music Meister is a metahuman (superhuman) with the ability to control people with music. It’s because of this character that I’m willing to give the musical one-off a chance.

Especially because, for the most part, people seemed to enjoy it.

I think the Music Meister is the saving grace for this musical episode. Without that, it would be pointless. Regardless, I hope they lock him up in the particle accelerator and don’t do another musical episode, because then I will really roll my eyes.

Happy birthday, Sondheim and Webber!

March 22 is a day of celebration in the theatre community—it’s the birthday of musical geniuses Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Weber.

And when I say people celebrate, they really celebrate.

In fact, Lin-Manuel Miranda hosted another one of his Twitter parties.

A lot of people participated in the #SondWebParty, but not everyone is as enamored with the deadly musical duo.

Personally, I prefer Lloyd Webber to Sondheim, but even I can understand the “ALW is overrated” sentiment. CATS should have never existed, and I don’t know why people see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway when they can see that locally and watch a newer show that won’t run nearly as long. I suppose that all comes down to preference.

Nevertheless, it’s important for a community to come together and celebrate people who have contributed so much to it.

 

Big Brother is watching you

Actually, it could be you watching Big Brother, and I don’t mean the CBS reality game show. A stage adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984” is set to begin Broadway previews on May 18 and open on June 22.

The novel has been adapted for the stage multiple times, with the most recent running on London’s West End. It was well-received.

“1984” has made a huge impact on society, and coined phrases such as “doublethink,” “thought police” and “Big Brother is watching you.”

Photo: Manuel Harlan

I don’t normally go to plays when I see a show on Broadway. I usually try to satisfy that showtunes ear worm and see whatever show I’m obsessing over at the time (right now, it’s “Dear Evan Hansen”). However, I imagine this shows is very powerful, and some feel that it may even reflect certain elements of the current political climate.

There’s always the chance that an adaptation of such as well-known novel will bring new people to the theatre. If you’re new to the theatre, check out my guide to becoming a ticket lottery pro, so you can see shows on the cheap.

“1984” will be a great option for people who may be interested in seeing a Broadway shows, but dislikes musical. Plus, it has the potential for awesome Orwellian stagecraft.