Thursday, November 24, 2011

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Spiderman: Turn off the Dark

OK, so I know everyone was really excited about seeing these guys perform, me included.  And since it was the last one....I get to type longer (mwah ha ha). Honestly, I've seen them on the Tony Awards, on the tonight show twice, American Idol, and I think this was their best performance.  They had a great blend fun visuals and pretty good sound.  I liked the idea of a medley.  I was also proud of them for not using Boy Falls from the sky or Rise Above.   I was surprised, but I think it shows that they aren't cheap.  The first bit they did (Bouncing Off The Walls) they had to cut short because it's one of the biggest technical songs (from the little Youtube I've seen on it it looks pretty cool), but I still liked seeing it live.  I feel like it had more depth, so now I might like the song a bit more.  The next song they did (and reprised at the end) was one that I hadn't heard before, so that was kind of fun.  It was well performed and it's always nice to see something new.   The third song they did (A Freak Like Me Needs Company) I had seen before and it was kind of disappointing both times.  I mean, I had heard so much about Patrick Page (The Green Goblin) and I was so excited to see him perform, and he barely sung; he just kind of groaned almost.  Granted, this isn't his fault at all, but the fact that one of the highlights of the show was a guy who didn't really sing is kind of sad.  Once again, his performance is top notch, his acting and his speaking voice were both great, I just would've liked if they got a real song.  Now, something I saw that was new was the acrobatics.  I had never seen any of those flips or anything...those were really cool!  I wish they would've let Jennifer Damiano (Mary Jane) perform, but if the songs don't work out then there's nothing you can do.  All in all, I was more impressed than I thought I would be, good for you spiderman!

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Pricilla Queen of the Desert

So..................yeah.  As always, the costumes were pretty dazzling.  The show scares me, so I haven't looked into it very much, but their performances have been solid so far.  As I said, I know just enough about the plot to not want to look into too much more.  However, they made smart song choices.  They chose a song that people knew, but had never seen done quite like that.  Personally, our family played  "is that a guy?"  Because the show is famous for it's drag queens, so I'm certainly that at least a few of them who looked females were in fact men.  But, all jokes aside, it was entertaining, and as Matt said...it did look like they were having fun, so I guess that's all you can really ask for.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

So....I was pretty sure Daniel Radcliff left this show, but either he didn't or they brought him back for this performance, regardless he did a pretty good job I suppose.  I'm getting a little tired of this song.  It's the one they chose to feature on the Tony's and twice on the Jimmy's so I was hoping for a bit more variety.  Of course, I have heard the soundtrack and I see that they don't have all to many options, but it seems like they could at least try.  The performance was well done (as would be any Broadway show), but I didn't feel compelled to watch really closely because I had seen it before.  They certainly are a strong cast, but I've seen it before......If you want to I suppose you can read my Tony award post, because it looked (at least to me) pretty much the same.
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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Sister Act

The next production was Sister Act's performance of Spread the Love.  It wasn't bad.  I was a bit disappointing only because I had high expectations for this show because this show was spectacular at the Tony's (you can see their video elsewhere on this blog if you missed it).  But, that being said it was still pretty good.  It just seemed kind of boring.  I'm sure the show was still great, and their performance wasn't off, I just might have chosen a different song.  I suppose they just wanted their highest dance number, but it might not have been the best choice.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Newsies

So, this is my first attempt of a live blog.  So it's very possible that these will be kind of short because I'm not going to have a whole lot of time to write each one.  So let's start things off with NEWSIES performance of King of New York.  First off just let me say that I am SO glad that this is coming to Broadway, and it's just icing on the cake that they got to perform on the Parade!  THEY WERE AMAZING (I love the song choice)!  I was a bit taken aback by them changing the reporter to a girl.  I did know that there was going to be a female reporter in the show, but I thought that that was in addition, not instead of.  But even that isn't necessarily bad, I'm excited to see how they play with that.  I loved the performance, it wasn't that much better than the movie version, but the very fact that they can recreate that on stage is still pretty awesome.  I was excited to see Ryan Breslin (brother to Abigail and Spencer Breslin) performing as Racetrack.  He did really good.  I love the great energy of the group and I hope and pray that the show will be a massive hit!  I CAN'T WAIT FOR IT TO BE FREAKISHLY SUCCESSFUL!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Luke's Reviews: RENT

On Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing a fantastic show that very rarely sees the light of day.  This is a show that is quite controversial, but speaks to so many. No, it's not actually that show, but it's the one that I'm allowed to go see on a school night, so it's just about as good.  Yes, this past week I saw Act3 Productions' fabulous performance of:
Now, this is a touchy show that tends to rub a lot of people the wrong way.  It was clear that there were many people in the audience (myself included) who felt very uncomfortable during parts of the show, but it's message is strong, and these kids did a fantastic job bringing the New York Bohemians to life.

The Show:  The school edition of the show I find very tastefully done.  They keep almost all of the music with the exception of one song (which wasn't great to begin with) and they nip and tuck parts in other songs.  But the best thing about the show is the language is largely reduced.  It certainly isn't eradicated  and I would've appreciated them doing a little more, but I suppose I can't really complain too much.  It is a bit strange seeing teen-age strippers, cross dressers, homosexuals, but those who frequent highschool productions can overcome this awkwardness pretty soon, so it's less of a big deal.

The Production:  I honestly had no clue what to expect driving to the show.  When we arrived at the theater I was a bit wary because of the size of the lobby, but the posters on the walls boasting some of the impressive shows that they have done helped to put me at ease.  The program did even more to ease my qualms.  They had assembled an impressive cast including kids from Pebblebrook Highschool, Masters Academy of Fine Arts, Paideia School, North Springs Highschool, and several other institutions with impressive drama programs.  Having read the program cover to cover before we were allowed into the actual theater (over achieving homeschooler strikes again!) I was thrilled to see what the cast could deliver.  Unfortunately, my look inside the theater supported my previous doubts.  The stage was too small, there weren't enough entrances/exits, and the few set pieces they had made the stage look crowded.  I'm afraid that this was quite a hindrance to the cast during the entire show.  It couldn't be quite as big as the show called for.  My other production note is a critique of the costume designer.  The first thing one notices about the costumes is that they are a bit revealing.  A little tight here, a little low there, with a bit too much skin showing over here; all in all, it just makes the whole "highschool" thing even more uncomfortable.  Although this slightly disappointed me, I wasn't surprised.  The essence of the show often calls for that kind of costuming at least in some parts of the show (granted they used it more than I would've liked, but what are you going to do).  The thing that really disappointed me was how much they strayed from the standard.  There are many visual things about the show that are simply iconic!  Mark's scarf, Angel's "Santa" dress, Collin's trench coat, Maureen's catsuit, all of these are in every production of RENT I've ever seen pictures of.  All though they kept a few of these iconic costumes consistent, they skimped on many of them.  The biggest shock was the costume of Collins.  
Sad right?  I mean, how could you mess something like that up?  But, other than the costumes and the small stage, the production side of the show was pretty cool.  They had some neat video clips they played during the show (including live feeds from Mark's camera) and the lighting and sound board seemed to work fine.

The Ensemble:  Although the show rode on the backs of a few extremely talented leads (to be discussed later), the ensemble did their job.  They kept the energy high, and they successfully worked the little room that they had.  As a unit the cast seemed strong, and they helped to translate the power of the show.  Unfortunately, the orchestra couldn't quite live up to this power.  The small auditorium did not lend itself to the overstimulating mood of the show.  Even when the cast was belting up there with the best of them, the orchestra (a keyboard, guitar, and a drum-kit) couldn't rise to the occasion.  Although this was a bit disappointing and occasionally kept me from being completely engrossed in the show, the ensemble made it an enjoyable experience once I was.  Their big songs (particularly Seasons of Love, Rent, & Will I) were executed beautifully.

Specific Cast Members: In every show there are always a few actors who stand out.  If you have a good casting director, these actors/actresses tend to get the lead roles, but not always.  These are some of the highs and lows of RENT's casting director:

  • Marcus R. (Collins) - THIS GUY WAS THE BEST!  After reading his bio and seeing some of the things he had done (I almost saw him in a show a few years back) I was excited to see what he would bring, and he didn't dissapoint.  He was obviously strong from his first moment, but I wasn't in awe until I heard him sing Santa Fe (one of my favorite performances of the night).  I'll Cover You (reprise) was a little less powerful than the original (If you hear the song you'll realize no mere mortal can sing that song like the original guy did), but Marcus stuck to his strength and didn't leave his range, so it sounded controlled and sweet.  Although his powerhouse songs were practically flawless, I enjoyed watching him in his smaller songs even more.  Songs like La Vie Boheme and Finale A let him be a fantastic background actor.  His chemistry with the rest of the cast was heartwarming and I was just so excited every time he came on stage because I knew the show was about to be that much better.  He was definitely the most talented guy in the show and he's going on to do great things!  (good job casting director).
  • Sara G. (Mimi) - She needs to be mentioned.  I've actually seen Rent (school edition) twice, and both times the cast made my like Mimi.  I honestly don't like the character.  Her songs aren't as good as many of the other ones in the show, her costume is always among the most awkward of the cast, and I always go into the show not really expecting to like her bits of the show.  But, as it happens, she is possibly the closest thing to a female lead in the show, so every time they have someone insanely talented playing her; this case was no different.  She delivered the role with great energy and was possibly the most in tune with her character as anyone in the show.  Although I'm still not a big fan of her songs, I am a fan of Sara's performance, she was right for the role and it was done masterfully (casting director: 2 points).
  • Evan N. (Mark) - I love the character of Mark, and was pretty much just hoping that he wouldn't mess it up, and he did great!  He captured the essence of the character wonderfully, and his voice, though not amazing, certainly sufficed.  He always hit every note and nailed every line.  He also had some of the funniest body language, he was certainly able to draw a laugh from the audience on a couple of occasions.  Unfortunately, although Mark is the best character, he's not a particularly difficult one.  His songs aren't impossible to sing, so he generally doesn't blow anyone away. That's why, although no mistakes were made, he doesn't quite make the "amazing list".
  • Luna M. (Joanne) - I really liked her.  She was honestly one of the first performers to catch my eye.  I absolutely loved her (and Mark) in Tango Maureen.  That song was very possibly the best moment in the show; they delivered that so wonderfully, and found a way to make it their own.  Later in the show (in songs like La Vie Boheme & Take Me or Leave Me) she seemed to get kind of drowned out by some of the louder characters.  I was disappointed because I was hoping for more, but I suppose that's as much a staging fluke as an acting one, so it's not really all her fault.
  • Gil E. (Benny) - I liked this guy the first time I saw him.  Unfortunately, his role doesn't really showcase his talents all that much, he kind of had a very similar expression throughout the entire show.  That being said, he played this expression very well.  He didn't really capture your attention, but you felt genuinely content when the spotlight was on him and you thought to yourself "ahh, they're letting him sing...good for him, he's doing a good job".  I think that he probably should've had a bigger role, but there weren't really any in this particular show that would fit him (ok casting director...we'll call this one a draw).
  • Joe A. (Roger) - It's not really his fault.  Adam Pascal set an unbelievably high standard, and this guy just couldn't quite live up to it.  His voice was ok, but the role of Roger calls for a voice that has power.  He needs to be able to belt high notes and have emotion seep out of his body.  When I saw the show the last time with highschoolers, I felt like their Roger captured this better.  As I said, I couldn't do it either, but I felt like he just brought down some of the scenes he was in.  He was a good actor, and had good chemistry with Mimi, so if the singing wasn't too hard he did well, but his big songs (particularly One Song Glory) kind of left a lot to be desired.
  • Kristen E. (Maureen) - I suppose this is a matter of taste.  Her acting and singing were fantastic, I just didn't like her portrayal of the character.  She was far more more suggestive than I think the character called for.  It made her character seem shallow, and (as my sister said) "I kinda cringed when she came on stage".  Once again, this is not saying that she is a bad actor, just that she made (in my opinion) a bad choice.  Her Maureen wasn't as fun or deep as some of the others I've seen.  I've never been a huge fan of the character anyway, so it didn't bring down the show much, but I thought that this should be pointed out.
  • Jordan J. (Angel) - Once again, he had a pretty impossible job.  I was nervous from the very beginning, because he had an unusual body type for Angel.  He was a pretty buff guy.  All the angels I've ever seen have been toned: strong, but slender.  I think that was part of the reason he didn't really get into the character, but I think most of it is that it's just a really tough character.  You could always tell that he was a bit uncomfortable (as most people who play the role would be).  He only had one or two "moves" that he used in Today For You, so it seemed pretty repetitive.  He also kept tugging at his wig and stuff and just looked generally awkward a lot of the time.  Once again, that isn't completely his fault; he too had big shoes to follow because Wilson Heredia (the original Angel) was the sole member of the cast to win a Tony for their role.
  • There were a lot of ensemble roles that stood out too.  Katie W (Seasons of Love Soloist) was just fantastic!  Her voice was so strong, I really felt like she deserved a bigger role.  She just brought so much power to that song and to I'll Cover You (reprise).
  • Katie H. (Alexi Darling) - SHE WAS HYSTERICAL!  The role is funny anyway, but her facial expressions and singing were spot on.  She occasionally used different inflections than I would've chosen, but it didn't take away at all, she still did a superb job and I always smiled when she came on stage.
  • Evelyn I. (Mark's mom) - Another funny character.  She was a bit shaky when she did her first solo (Voicemail #1) but I think she hit her stride later on, and she quickly became one of my favorites.  She too made her role so much fun and she certainly needs to be commended.
  • Tara F. (She had several roles) - Tara was just a really good ensemble member.  She was a solo dancer in a few songs (One Song Glory, Tango Maureen etc.) and, since I know some dancers, I knew that what she was doing wasn't easy.  But even when she wasn't in the spotlight she was a great ensemble member who I looked for because I knew she would carry whatever role she had well.
Conclusion
Anyway, that's about it.  All in all I was impressed with the show.  As I said, I can't say I've ever seen a show I didn't like and this one was no different.  I certainly will now have ACT3 Productions on my radar, and hopefully will get to go see some more of their shows in the future.  If you want to see one of their coming shows here's a link: http://www.act3productions.org/current.html

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jason Robert Brown

Like Frank Wildhorn (If you haven't read my review of Wildhorn...you should!), Jason Robert Brown is one of the really great, relatively unappreciated artists of our time.  One thing that separates Jason Robert Brown (occasionally referred to as, simply, JRB) from Frank Wildhorn, is his fantastic diversity.  With Wildhorn, you knew that he was going to take a relatively dark, romantic piece of literature and make it into a Gothic rock opera.  With JRB, you never really know what he's going to do.  I believe that one reason for this is he hasn't had the chance to conceive many of his shows.  A lot of the time it seems that a writer or director asks him aboard after the concept is already made.  Of course, this diversity is a strength, not a weakness, it allows his music (which remains relatively similar throughout all the shows) to be brought to a much wider audience.  JRB was one of the first composers that I recognized as the genius behind his shows (not the writer or the actor), he is absolutely amazing!  Don't believe me?  Look for yourself:

SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD
Although this was the first show JRB wrote, it was one of that last that I discovered.  Even though it is the most unusual, you can't help but like this, his first masterpiece!

Now, this is not a conventional Broadway Musical in that it has no plot.  This show follows the format of a "song cycle".  There aren't many out there, and this is probably the most famous of them all (contrary to some arguments, CATS doesn't count).  I like to describe a song cycle as "all the reject songs".  But in actuality that's rarely the way the work.  Usually the writer chooses a theme and then writes a couple songs that could all be in different musicals that follow the theme.  For this, it is a collection of songs that either tell stories of how the world was shaped (Nelson Mandela, Betsy Ross, WWII, etc.) or people/situations that define the world today (A celebrity who started with nothing, a divorced couple, a frustrated house wife etc.)  It is a fantastic show filled amazing songs!  The convenient thing about song cycles is that they don't need any dialogue or average songs to develop the characters, practically every song is a show stopper!  Usually each show will have one or two "novelty songs" that use a very wide range (on of Brown's trademarks) and is truly show stopping...this show has tons of them!   Because of this widespread amazing-ness, It's near impossible to choose only a few songs to suggest, need to listen to the ENTIRE SOUNDTRACK!!!  But if you don't want to take that much time yet, I can suggest some songs to get you started.  If you want a great ensemble song I would suggest Hear My Song; if you want a beautiful duet I would direct you towards I'd Give it All for You; if you felt like a great female solo, I would have to give you both Stars & The Moon and I'm Not Afraid of Anything; if you'd rather hear a good male solo, I would think of King of the World and The World Was Dancing.  I know I just listed almost half of the album here (and I feel like I should put more), but that's because you need to hear the whole show, it's fantastic!

PARADE
This is the next show JRB wrote the music too and it's probably my favorite of all of his works.  I found it accidentally trying to see Jekyll & Hyde videos (you never know how this stuff will happen) and it became one of my favorite shows with some amazing characters!
This delightful show caught my eye because it was set in my home town of Marietta GA.  Now, I know you're thinking: "But Luke, nothing ever happens in Marietta!"  and generally you'd be right, but you forgot that things happened before our generation.  Yes, it seems back in the olden times (1913) something interesting did happen: The trial of Leo Frank.  The show shows how much racial prejudice still existed in the south even after the civil war was over and done.  The story focuses around Leo Frank: a Jew from Brooklyn who married a southerner, but REALLY doesn't fit in down there.  He's then convicted of a crime he didn't do, but the people of Atlanta need someone to blame and he fits the bill.  It's a beautiful story filled with rage, sorrow, and some comedy spliced in here and there.  The music is amazing and won Jason his first (and only) Tony Award for best score.  On a personal note, when I went to see this show (by the late Blackwell Playhouse), it has been by far, the show that has taken me closest to crying.  On two separate occasions I was over come by emotion and about to loose it, the show is very intense! It has some amazing strong willed dramatic female solo's (You Don't Know This Man), some heart wrenching songs (It's Hard to Speak My Heart, It Don't Make Sense), and some fantastic rhythm & Blues masterpieces (Feel the Rain Fall).  In addition to this, it contains one of my favorite roles on Broadway.  The town drunk/star reporter for "The Atlanta Georgian", Britt Craig, is SO funny (listen to Big News!), and still has some nice heartfelt scenes too.  He's the only neutral third party in the story, so he gets to find the unbiased truth in the pursuit of his story.  All in all it is a stunning heartfelt masterpiece that you should ALWAYS see if you have the opportunity.

THE LAST FIVE YEARS
This is the most recent show of his I found (and the one that pushed me to do the post).  It is a two person show, and the plot is simple, but the songs are a bit mind blowing.


It's about a couple's relationship, over a period of about five years.  Since it's just the two of them, they kind of take turns narrating different bits of their life.  But where it gets confusing is they're not going the same direction.  The girl (Kathy) starts her story at the end of their relationship and works her way back (a giant flashback kind of) where as the guy (Jamie) starts at their meeting and then works forward ending in their divorce (chronologically).  Where they meet is where they sing the only duet in the show (The Next Ten Minutes) which highlights the climax of their relationship (the proposal).  This show isn't JRB's best, but it is really good and is one of his funniest.What complements Brown's fantastic music are the amazing artists that made the original cast.  They were Norbert Leo Butz (Fyero [Wicked], Freddy Benson [Dirty Rotten Scoundrels], etc.) and Sherri Renne Scott (Ursala [Little Mermaid], Admeris [Aida], etc.).  Both of these Tony Award winning artists are simply amazing and it was a genius idea to give them the same show.  In my opinion the best songs of the show belong to Jamie. He gets the comedic Schmuel Song and the heart felt If I Didn't Believe in You.  But many others have pointed out the potency of Kathy's songs as well, particularly the emotional I'm Still Hurting and the hilarious Climbing Uphill.  Although this show is the most "adult themed" of JRB's works that I've seen, it's still really good.

13: The Musical
Ironically the last major show to be mentioned was the first that I found.  I suppose it's no coincidence that I found JRB on his most current work, the first show to have an entire cast and orchestra comprised entirely of teenagers: 13.
13: The Musical is amazing because it is so unique.  Every sensible child actor (including myself) dreams of a role on Broadway, so it's nothing short of inspiring to have a show completely overrun by these kids (the also have the funnest "behind the scenes" videos I've ever seen).  The story follows Evan, who's parents recently divorced, as he moves from New York to a small town in Indiana.  Evan (a likable guy) makes friends with everyone pretty quick, which is the problem.  He needs to choose to be loyal to the popular kids or the geeks (his first friends).  This show also plays with labels.  They effectively represent most of the common stereotypes that plague high schoolers (the jock, the gossip, the cheerleader, etc.).  Like other popular shows, the concept is what makes the show great, not the music, but that's not to say that it's bad.  All though you won't hear any show stopping numbers, they are catchy enough to be humming the rest of the day.  Though they do have some fun solo numbers (What It Means To Be A Friend, and Get Me What I Need are some of my favorites), their strength lies in their ensemble songs (A Little More Homework & Getting Ready are probably my favorites).  The energy of this show is absolutely fantastic, even the few clips out there of the choreography are electrifying to watch.  All in all, it's favorite of mine (It's absolutely ridiculous that it wasn't even nominated for any Tony's) and it will be playing in high schools across America for a long time.  Another exciting aspect of this show is the talent.  Most of these kids were relatively unknown when the show started (most of them had commercial appearances here and there, but not much), but I expect to see some amazing things coming from these young performers.  Many of them already have minor roles on TV shows now, and I think we can look for some of them to be taking Broadway by storm in a few years.

MISCELLANEOUS
These were JRB's big shows, but that doesn't mean he wasn't involved in other projects.


Wearing Someone Else's Clothes - Of these side projects the one that I most enjoy is a CD he released entitled "Wearing Someone Else's Clothes".  I thought this was a song cycle when I first heard it, because it has the same format.  But it is simply a CD of songs that he was considering for various shows that never really panned out.  My first exposure to the show came about 2 years ago when someone showed me Music of Heaven as a singing exercise.  It's a beautiful song, but not really my style so I didn't think much of it.  Then this past year's Jimmy Award Winner sang Someone to Fall Back On as his solo and I became suddenly far more interested.  Unfortunately the songs aren't particularly spectacular.  It is kind of cool to hear JRB himself sing (he sings all the songs on the CD), but the only other song that I find worth mentioning is I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You (which I personally believe is sort of a rough draft of Shiksa Goddess [The Last Five Years]...there are similarities).

Urban Cowboy - I don't know really much about this show.  It was nominated for best Original Score, but it flopped on Broadway and they never even released a cast album...so it's kind of a "ghost show".  But what makes it special was it had over 30 composers and lyricists (including Jason) working on it.

Orchestrations - Although he didn't write the music, JRB wrote the orchestrations for some legitimately good shows such as John & Jen (which I would suggest to EVERYBODY) and A New Brain (which is ok).


All in all, it is clear that Jason Robert Brown is a musical Genius.  I don't feel he's really gotten the respect he deserves as far as Tony nominations are concerned, but he certainly has created many shows with a avid fan base (a few of which I am a part of).  He's the kind of writer who's remembered more for his sweet/kind of catchy songs more than his show stopping numbers.  But that's ok, he has a good variety of styles, and is fun to listen to when you're in a quiet sort of mood.  I would once again suggest that you listen to a few of the songs listed above (all the links are below).  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Jason Robert Brown.

Hear My Song [Songs for a New World] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EldJzEYw10s
I'd Give it All for You [Songs for a New World] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0twYXI8QZQw
Stars & The Moon [Songs for a New World] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIF_9zreHvA
I'm Not Afraid of Anything [Songs for a New World] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFdNidxlhqc
King of the World [Songs for a New World] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjwmv_0Ofy0&feature=related
The World Was Dancing [Songs for a New World] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPYRBfUiZ1Q
You Don't Know This Man [Parade] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9G06zPUDaU
It's Hard to Speak My Heart [Parade] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK6HIysTfQs&feature=related
It Don't Make Sense [Parade] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntUGlau5fpg
Feel the Rain Fall [Parade] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no5o2F1dpFY&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL
Big News [Parade] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynWQtrzyTYM&feature=related
The Next Ten Minutes [The Last Five Years] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bWGjUKyffM
Schmuel [The Last Five Years] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjvwGFayNbs
If I Didn't Believe In You [The Last Five Years] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzCJ0b_EER0
I'm Still Hurting [The Last Five Years] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2Kn6laTGBQ
Climbing Uphill [The Last Five Years] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GHa-doxUfg
What it Means to be a Friend [13] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Apu0PMslIlU&feature=related
Get Me What I Need [13] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9SJv8Wo5Gc
Getting Ready [13] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoRJIbOtLGg
A Little More Homework [13] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFNsWo-BEm0
Music of Heaven [Wearing Someone Else's Clothes] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5VZ88uFDbk
Someone to Fall Back On [Wearing Someone Else's Clothes] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35QvhTUIFLU
I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You [Wearing Someone Else's Clothes] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3HJBtlj23c

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The 2011 Jimmy Awards

There's probably more to be said about the TONY's, but I've wasted enough of your time.  This post is a bout the Jimmy Awards.

WHAT ARE THE JIMMY'S?

  I was introduced to these for the first time back in 2009 while reading the program to a show I went to.  It said that the show was nominated for something called "The Shuler Hensley Awards".  Research showed that basically, this was like the TONY's, except for highschools.  For a small fee, the highschool asks the judges to come and see their show and judge them on many the same criteria as the TONY awards (best production, actor/actress, costume, set, direction, etc.).  When I decided to take my discoveries to YouTube, I found a whole new network of excellence.  I found that there are several similar Awards given to highschooler's throughout the country.  I could (and have) spent days just looking at videos of the most talented children throughout the country!  I found that although the Shuler Hensley Awards are relatively young (only started in 2009), there are some that have been going for 20-30 years now!  This is an amazing program that has sent many stars out into the world!  All this leads up to the Jimmy Awards.  Starting in 2009 (I timed finding out about this perfectly!) the winning leading actor & actress from each respective award program get sent to New York for two weeks to meet Broadway actors, train with professional coaches, and meet other kids as insanely talented as they are.  After this training period, they each perform segments of their show (and finalists get to perform a solo number from any Broadway show) for another panel of judges.  The winner of this (The Jimmy Awards) gets $10,000 and the opportunity to apply and be accepted to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for the “New Studio on Broadway: Music Theatre and Acting” program and receive both merit and need-based financial aid. So this is obviously a big deal and a fantastic opportunity for all of these kids.

THE 2011 SEASON 
Every year, the program grows as more states around the country develop programs and therefore more actors & actresses are sent.  What started as a group of 30 or so kids has has grown to an event with 50 performers where they need an entire medly just to hear all of the Millie Dilmounts!  This year there were six medleys (3 for each gender) packed with talented children:

THE MEDLEYS:

  They medleys are my favorite part of the program because it's just a blast to see all of my favorite shows blend together in harmony.  It's also a fantastic way to hear a clip of a song and thereby go find the show (These medleys are how I found shows like "Little Women", "Les Miz", &  "Barnum").

Medley one:


Featuring: Mia Gerachis as Baker's Wife from "Into the Woods"; Maggie Hunter as Baker's Wife from "Into the Woods"; Lucy Moon Fitzsimons as Tracy Turnbladt from "Hairspray"; Jamie Harwood as Marian Paroo from "The Music Man"; Nicole Elledge as Patsy Cline from "Always...Patsy Cline"; Katie McKernan as Rosie Alvarez from "Bye Bye Birdie"; Maya Maniar as Hope Cladwell from "Urinetown The Musical"; Sarah Klingel as Anna Leonowens from "The King and I"; Amanda Leslie Higgins as Belle from "Beauty and the Beast"; and Joy Christian as Dorothy from "The Wiz".

This is a pretty standard Medley, with the exception of Patsy Cline, all of these shows are relatively popular with highschools everywhere.  But even if the shows they came from were normal, these actresses were anything but.  Although none of them won the major awards, there were two winners in this group.  The girl who played the first baker's wife from Into the Woods (who I was kind of rooting for since I saw her in her regional program) won the "Spirit of the Jimmy's" award, and the girl who played Hope Cladwell from Urinetown won "Outstanding Ensemble Work".  My favorites from this medley was the first baker's wife, Rosie (Bye Bye Birdie), and Dorthy (The Wiz), but all of them were amazing!
Medley two:
Featuring: Chase Durrett as Evan Goldman from "13: The Musical"; Kevin Crowley as Pippin from "Pippin"; Jacob Gonzalez as Jean Valjean from "Les Misérables"; Paul Powers as Jean Valjean from "Les Misérables"; Seth Jones as Bobby Child from "Crazy for You"; James Stankunas as Huckleberry Finn from "Big River"; Daniel Walton as Bob Wallace from "White Christmas"; and Ben Mays as Freddy Benson from "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".

This is the first Medley for the guys, and it's fantastic.  It has the inevitable two valjeans (there have been two every year so far), but aside from that most of these roles are unusual.  Shows like Big River, 13, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels tend to keep the focus on 2-3 characters and are thereby uncommon for highschools.  But this medley contains some of my favorite guys of the year.  Huckleberry Finn has been my favorite ever since I saw his regional tape.  He was just so full of energy and so lively that I really wanted him to succeed!  I was also very impressed with the first Valjean who sang, I loved the smoothness of his voice.  Bobby Child was another one of my favorites, I was glad to see that he was a finalist for the Lead Actor award.  I also want to recognize the fellow who played Pippin, he was one of my favorites in this Medley so I was excited to see that he won the award for "best work ethic and desire to improve".  All these gentlemen are fantastic and deserved the opportunity given them.
Medley three:
Featuring: Emily Loewus as Sharon McLonergan from "Finian's Rainbow"; Kassiani Menas as The Witch from "Into the Woods"; Shauni Ruetz as The Witch from "Into the Woods"; Taylor Nefcy as Babe Williams from "The Pajama Game"; Emily Hart as Jen from "John and Jen"; Breyannah Tillman as Aida from "Aida"; Sarah Sommers as Narrator from Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; Kylie Arnold as Violet from "Side Show"; Kirsten Hoover as Nanette from "No, No, Nanette"; and Allison Sheppard as Jo March from "Little Women".

This is a fantastic example of diversity.  These girls come from common highschool shows (such as Into the Woods and Little Women) and the most random (such as Side Show and John & Jen).  Ironically, all three of the finalists (Aida, Nanette, and the second witch) came from this medley.  This was probably my favorite female medley of the night.  Particularly the girls from Sideshow, The Pajama Game, Little Women, and John & Jen (my favorites never win) impressed me stupendously. All of them had fantastic traits.  The emotion of Aida, the strength of the Witches, the body language of Nanette, all of these women were fantastic and I'm sure they will succeed in coming years.

Medley Four:
Featuring: K. Nathan McHenry as John Jasper from "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"; Robert Joseph Price as William Barfée from "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"; Andrew Tighe as P.T. Barnum from "Barnum"; Michael Mahady as Leaf Coneybear from "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"; Douglas Davis as Edward Rochester from "Jane Eyre"; Christian Thompson as Signor Naccarelli from "The Light In The Piazza"; and Trevor Bates as Man in Chair from "The Drowsy Chaperone".

This was my favorite medley of the men.  One thing I've noticed in my years of watching these medleys is that they like to put the lovestruck characters mostly in one medley and keep most of the comedic roles together in the same medley.  This is a comedic medley.  All of these guys had fantastic comedic timing!  It's also fun to see many rarely done shows in this medley.  Barnum is almost never done by highschools, so it's surprising that this is the third actor who came from that show.  But it makes slightly more sense when you realize the actor playing P.T. Barnum has to be a genius to pull off the role, so almost anyone good enough to do the role is good enough to win for it.  You also don't often get to see people from the Mystery of Edwin Drood in this show (he is the second I've seen).  But the kid who played it was hilarious!  I was also glad to see one of my favorite characters, The Man in the Chair (Drowsey Chaperone), was nominated.  Although his song was a bit boring, his performance was great. Of course, I was thrilled to see "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" represented twice!  Both of those guys got to play one some of the zaniest roles ever to grace Broadway's stage, and they pulled it off.  All in all, it was a freakishly fantastic medley!

Medley Five:

Featuring: Lindsay Estelle Dunn as Millie from "Thoroughly Modern Millie"; Bethany Angelica Menjivar as Millie from "Thoroughly Modern Millie"; Sarah Cartwright as Millie from "Thoroughly Modern Millie"; Elizabeth Romero as Millie from "Thoroughly Modern Millie"; and Melissa Ruh as Millie from "Thoroughly Modern Millie".

It's kind of tough to judge all these girls because they all blend together.  There wasn't really one of them that particularly stood out to me (or the judges apparently, because none of these girls won anything).  Although they certainly are very talented to get this far, they didn't really stand out above the rest of their comrades.  Of course, it was kind of cool to see how they all worked their way in and out of the same song, so this is definitely a Jimmy Awards first, but not particularly memorable to me.

Medley Six:

Featuring: Ryan McCartan as J. Pierrepont Finch from "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"; Zachary Zaret as J. Pierrepont Finch from "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"; Mitchell Jones as Curly from "Oklahoma!"; John Michael Taormina as Curly from "Oklahoma!"; Mackenzie Orr as Baker from "Into the Woods"; Keaton Jadwin as Baker from "Into the Woods"; Luke Halferty as Tevye from "Fiddler On The Roof"; Max Gottschall as Tevye from "Fiddler On The Roof"; John Caliendo as Tevye from "Fiddler On The Roof"; and Aaron Wilcox as Tevye from "Fiddler On The Roof".

This Medley (like the previous one) has no unique shows by design.  Each one of these gentlemen play roles that are relatively common for highschools.But that doesn't mean specific actors stand out.  The first guy to sing was the winner of Best Actor, and he deserved it.  Many times I don't particularly like the winners in their medley because they have a boring role or just don't catch my eye, but usually when you see the solo performances you see that the judges made the right call.  This is no exception, Mr. Ryan McCartan did a fantastic job in his solo performance and actually was one of my favorites in this medley too (this was just my least favorite guy medley).  Another finalist to come from this bunch was the first baker you heard sing.  He has been another favorite of mine from back when I saw his regional tape (he does "No More" beautifully!)  I should also recognize the last Tevye to perform, because he I thought captured the character better than the rest of the guys, he did really well.

And that concludes the massive Medley section.

CONCLUSION
There is lots more to say about the Jimmy's, but as I learned from my Tony posts, you guys can only take so much.  I would however recommend that you look up these videos on your own accord.  The YouTube username "nhsmta" has a plethora of videos solely devoted to this program, and you can find people out there who post videos of specific regional awards.  I'll post some links on the bottom here of some of the video's I've enjoyed the most, but I would encourage you to look out for these coming every year (in late June-early July).  This program is fantastic!  And it has produced many stars including Patrick Thomas (recently seen in "The Voice") and Anne Hathaway (everyone knows her).  Remember to look for the links below for other video's of this beautiful program!














THERE ARE LOTS OF OTHER GOOD ONES.  GO LOOK ONLINE!!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tony Awards!!!!! (Part IV: Plays)

PLAY NOMINEES
Generally, the plays are less exciting than the musicals.  This is still true, and therefore I shall try to fit all the plays into one post.  Comming into this year I was actually relatively excited about the plays.  I had heard of several of the revivals, a few movies I liked were being made plays, and lots of great actors were getting in on it.  I thought this would be a great year for the plays...I was right!

Arcadia is the first show to be talked about (because alphabetically it makes sense).  Unfortunately I have little to nothing to say about Arcadia.  I know that it's a show about Victorian era England that was nominated for best revival, but that's about it!  We barely even heard of it the entire night.  When we saw it was nominated for best revival it was a "Wait...what?  Where did that come from?" moment.  My guess is only a few revivals were done this year so it wasn't actually a real candidate for best revival.  I may be wrong, because there are plenty of good shows that don't get nominated for much.  But at it's core, this show just seemed boring!

Arcadia was nominated for 2 Tony award and didn't win either of them:
Best Revival of a play - nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (Billy Crudup) - nominated

Good People looked a bit more interesting.  As many popular plays, this show has a small cast and tells a modern story.  The plot of the show looked like nothing special.  Just one more show about a lower class person wallowing in his/her struggles when a rich guy comes in and drama ensues.  So with a concept as normal as this, it is left to the actors and writers to make the show worth seeing.  And apparently they did just that.  Since I didn't get to see the show and there's less about plays online, I can't know for sure but it looked interesting enough.  They did win an award (with one of the more exciting speeches I might add) for best leading Actress, so I was glad.  Although they didn't win best play, I suspect (as confirmed by Mrs. McDormand's speech) that the show will bounce around small professional theaters for quite some time.
Good People was nominated for 2 Tony Awards and won 1 of them:
Best Play - nominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (Frances Mcdormand) - WINNER

The Importance of Being Earnest has been one of my favorite plays for quite some time now.  I loved the book when I had to read it in school, and to this day I concider it one of the wittiest funniest shows ever to grace Broadway's stage.  So, needless to say, I was excited to see that they were reviving it this year.  In fact, I believe that this revival is being filmed and will be coming out in movie format in a few years (like Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George and many others).  The show is a hillarious farce about four young people (two guys and two girls) who are in the craziest love triangle type confusion.  If you like quick wit and dry humor then this show will be the best thing since....well, since the show came out the first time!  The other interesting fact about this show, is that the character of "Lady Bracknel" the spinster old lady of the world, is played by director Brian Bedford.  Yes, a man does play the role of Lady Bracknel.  That's Broadway for ya!
The Importance of Being Earnest was nominated for 3 Tony Awards and won 1:
Best Revival of a Play - nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Brian Bedford) - nominated
Best Costume Design of a Play - WINNER

Jerusalem was not at all like what I expected.  By the name I thought it was going to be some heartfelt story about Israel's struggles.  Then I saw the picture (see below) and thought it might be about a marathon runner or something.  I WAS WRONG!  It ended up being a really strange show about a band of misfits, led by a man who's lived in the woods for 30 years, who are protesting the demolition of the forest.  Now, there are plenty of great shows out there about a band of outcasts (RENT, "Spelling Bee" etc.) but this show seemed diferent.  From the looks of it it's one of broadways many MANY "R-rated" shows.  I kind of picture it like the comic strip Non Sequitur's "B.E." series.  Just a bunch of crude guys who live in the middle of nowhere with no since of purpose or responsibility but an "ample supply of drugs and alchohol".   I'm sure it's a funny show, but it doesn't look like it's for me personally.  However, it did ok in the awards.
Jerusalem was nominated for 6 Tony Awards and won 1 of them:
Best Play - nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Mark Rylance) - WINNER
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (Mackenzie Crook) - nominated
Best Scenic Design of a Play - nominated
Best Lighting Design of a Play - nominated
Best Sound Design of a Play - nominated

The Merchant of Venice happens to be the only Shakespeare work that I have read (unless you count West Side Story...which most people don't).  I love it because once you get past Shakespeare's language, you find a few comedic moments, but mostly a band of absoultely fantastic characters.  So this show I was already excited about, but then I saw the cast!  With Al Pacino (Micheal [The Godfather]) reprising his film role of Shylock, Jessie L Martin (Collins [RENT]) playing Antonio's lovestruck friend Gratio, and the hysterical Christopher Fitzgerald (Boq [Wicked], Igor [Young Frankenstein]) playing the only comedic role in the intire show: Launcelot Gobo.  This show was nominated for more awards than any other play, but unfortunately didn't do as well as I had kind of hoped.  It two had it's thunder stolen by The Normal Heart.
The Merchant of Venice was nominated for 7 Tony Awards and didn't win any of them:
Best Revival of a Play - nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Al Pacino) - nominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (Lily Rabe) - nominated
Best Direction of a Play - nominated
Best Scenic Design of a Play - nominated
Best Costume Design of a Play - nominated
Best Lighting Design of a Play - nominated

The Mother ****** with the Hat was not my favorite show after just hearing the title!  I did find it funny how every time it was in the media it had a different name, the one I chose was as conservitive as I could get it without calling it "The Mother with the Hat" (like the Tony Awards did) and thereby confuse people.  The show does have some big names such as Chris Rock (popular TV guy, I know him from his voice of Marty in Dreamworks's "Madagascar"), and Bobby Cannavale (Who we know from dating Sutton Foster) star in this show.  It looks like it might be an interesting show about life in a bad part of town.  From what I can tell its kind of like RENT except without any epic music, talented actors, or good plotlines.  (ok that might have been a bit harsh, but I'm just explaining that I'm pretty sure RENT was better than this).  I suppose if someone wasn't offended by language or "adult themes" this would be a relatively enjoyable show, but it's not for me.
The Mother ****** With the Hat was nominated for 6 awards and didn't win any of them:
Best Play - nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Bobby Cannavale) - nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (Yul Vázquez) - nominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Elizabeth Rodriguez) - nominated
Best Direction of a Play - nominated
Best Scenic Design of a Play - nominated
The Normal Heart was the talk of the night.  It won the first two awards of the night and then went on to dominated the revivals for most of the ceremony.  One interesting thing that I noticed was that every single Tony recepiant from The Normal Heart always mentioned the message of the show.  They obviously felt really strong about the moral of this story.  It wasn't until the final speech of theirs that we got to see what that moral is.  Apparently it is about people (or more specifically one person) dealing with HIV/AIDS.  It definately looks like a heartfelt show that really would move people.  And the cast seemed pretty close, there's not very many of them (as in many plays) but they certainly appeared to have a bond stronger than the other nominees (but that's just by judging the speeches and crowd reactions, which isn't that reliable).  I'm not surprised this show did as well as it did, it looked like a real quality show.  Another fun fact about this show is that it was co-directed by Joel Grey (Wizard [Wicked], Emcee [Cabaret]).  So it was pretty cool that he won both best revival of a play, and revival of a musical!
The Normal Heart was nominated for 5 Tony Awards and won 3 of them:
Best Revival of a Play - WINNER
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Joe Mantello) - nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in Featured Role in a Play (John Benjamin Hickey) - WINNER
Best Performance by an actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Ellen Barkin) - WINNER
Best Direction of a Play - nominated

Warhorse was the spectacle of the evening as far as the plays were concerned.  It had the highest percentage of wins in the play catagory, and was the coolest to watch throughout the whole ceremony.  Heck, the Handspring Puppet Company (who worked on the show) won an award especially designed for them!  The show sounds like it's a relatively mediocher plot: A boy loves his horse; horse goes into the military; boy enlists to find horse; horse saves boy's life.  So it (Like Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark from what I hear) relied on visual spectacle instead of quality plotline to carry the show.  The puppetry for the horses were just amazing!  They were lifesized, sturdy enough to be ridden upon, moved much like a real horse, and each took three people to control.  It was really no surprise that it was going to win best play because it just stole the show everytime it was nominated...LITERALLY!
 War Horse was nominated for 5 Tony Awards and won 6 of them (I know it's crazy!):
Best Play - WINNER
Best Direction of a Play - WINNER
Best Scenic Design of a Play - WINNER
Best Lighting Design of a Play - WINNER
Best Sound Design of a Play - WINNER
Special Tony Award (Handspring Puppet Company) - WINNER

Other Notable Plays:
One big trend in this year's plays was the hollywood presence.  The major ones not mentioned above are: Jim Belushi (Born Yesterday), Vannessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones (Driving Miss Daisy), Ben Stiller (The House of Blue Leaves), David Hyde Pierce (La Bete).  THAT'S ALOT!  Add to that the ones that were mentioned above (Al Pacino, Chris Rock etc.) and you can see that once again Hollywood actors are realizing that theater is better!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tony Awards!!!!! (Part III: Other Notable Musicals)

Other Notable Musicals

Most of the major awards tend to go to the big shows (nominated for best musical) but there are always a few that go to the slightly more obscure shows.

The People In The Picture was a show that I thought would do better than it did.  I heard lots of good things about this show so I was surprised that it was only nominated for the one awards (best leading actress in a musical) and that it didn't win that.  The show stared Donna Murphy (I know she's been in a lot, but I know her best from her role of Mother Gothel in [Tangled]) and Chip Zien (Baker [Into The Woods]).  It's a really heartfelt show about the life of a Jewish lady recollecting her memories of the Holocaust.  Though I don't know too much about the show, it certainly appears to be a diamond in the rough.


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown sounds like a fun show after just hearing the title.  It also didn't win any of the three awards it was nominated for (best score, best featured actress (Patti LuPone), best featured actress (Laura Benanti)).  Once again the thing that caught my attention was it's impressive cast.  Sherri Rene Scott (best known for her roles of Amneris [Aida], Kathy [The Last Five Years], Ursula [The Little Mermaid], and many more shows), Pattie LuPone (Rose [Gypsy: Revival]), and Brian Stokes Mitchell (Coalhouse Walker Jr. [Ragtime]) were the big names that caught my eye.  Despite the shows exciting concept and stellar cast, it didn't win anything either.  I doubt it will become the next great classic, but it looks like a generally fun show.




Wonderland: A New Alice.  WHY WASN'T THIS SHOW NOMINATED!?!  Granted I never saw the show, but I absolutely loved the soundtrack.  If you read my earlier post on Frank Wildhorn you know that I found the soundtrack to this show to be superb, so I was crushed when I saw that it wasn't even nominated.   I would like to again suggest to anyone who hasn't yet to go listen to the soundtrack of this show!  It's an amazing show!!!!!

Well, collectively that's my thoughts on the musicals of this year.  I had a blast watching all the performances and such.  As soon as I can I'll get my post on the plays uploaded.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tony Awards!!!!! (Part II: Revivals of a Musical)

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL NOMINEES



This was a relatively good year for revivals.  There were only two put on all year (which is unusual) so there weren't four that performed as they usually do.  But the two that were nominated were fantastic and actually pretty similar.  They both had big stars in them, they both were dance intensive, and they both have had multiple revivals.  There performances were fantastic and the shows look like they are really fun.


How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
This looked like a fun show.  I had to opportunity to see Pebblebrook do it this January but didn't end up taking advantage of it, a choice that I now regret.  It's a fun idea of the underdog conquering all odds to become a great success.  The nice thing about revivals is that the whole soundtrack is available, and having listened to most of the soundtrack, I find that the music itself isn't really show stopping, but that's not really surprising since, from what I've seen, the strength of this show lies in it's choreography (unfortunately the same can be said for Anything Goes, which took the award).  I was nervous about Daniel Radcliffe playing the lead role, because sometimes I think that the movie stars sometimes get the role/award simply because they're so famous (I'm convinced that this is what happened to Cathrine Zeta Jones last year).  But from the few clips I've seen he really did do a good job.  Once I saw that he earned it I began to really root for him because I'm always excited to see talented movie stars who realize that theater is better (like Denzel Washington and Julie Andrews).  "How to Succeed" got to perform first at the ceremony and they really started the show off well:
How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was nominated for 8 awards and won 1:
  • Best Revival of a Musical - nominated
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (John Larroquette) - WINNER
  • Best Direction of a musical - nominated
  • Best Choreography - nominated
  • Best Orchestrations - nominated
  • Best Costume Design of a Musical - nominated
  • Best Lighting Design of a Musical - nominated
After the ceremony, this was the first show I went to look up because it strikes me as a generally fun show.  I think it's one of those shows that seeing it is way better than just hearing the soundtrack because it is marketed as a (relatively) visually stunning show, so if you have the chance to go see it I would suggest it.

Anything Goes
I had heard a lot of songs from this show without even knowing it.  It is one of the most famous shows that I didn't really look into (mainly because I kept confusing it with South Pacific, which I didn't like).  So from the songs that I had heard I knew that it was a fairly good show, but what really caught my attention was the idea of Sutton Foster (possibly my favorite Female actor ever!  Known for her roles of Fiona [Shrek], Millie [Thoroughly Modern Millie], Janet [The Drowsy Chaperone] and many, many others) and Joel Grey (Emcee [Cabaret] & The Wizard [Wicked]) in the same show!  Once I looked deeper into the show, I was a bit surprised that it wasn't written specifically for Sutton Foster, it really complements her singing, dancing, and character talents.  It's always a joy to see Sutton in whatever role she's in, and this show was no different. However, I was disappointed that Joel Grey didn't have as large of a role as I had originally thought, but it was still an enjoyable show. Anything Goes had the last performance of the evening, and it was a ton of fun to watch.
Anything Goes was nominated for 9 awards and won 3:
  • Best Revival of a Musical WINNER
  • Best Leading Actress in a Musical (Sutton Foster) - WINNER
  • Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Adam Godley) - nominated
  • Best Direction of a Musical - nominated
  • Best Choreography - WINNER
  • Best Scenic Design of a Musical - nominated
  • Best Costume Design of a Musical - nominated
  • Best Lighting Design of a Musical - nominated
  • Best Sound Design of a Musical - nominated
As I hinted above, this show was strong in many of the categories that "How to Succeed" was strong, but in each category they were just a little better so that they won.  I must say that I was elated win Sutton Foster won best actress and not really surprised when the show won for choreography and best revival.  All in all, it was a good night for Anything Goes.