Join me for a birds-eye view as the Tony Awards ramp up for Sunday night. I'll be blogging live from rehearsals, the red carpet and the press room. You can view a continually updated 2013 Tony Award Nominations and Winners List as they are announced live this Sunday night on CBS. You can view a live stream of the Red Carpet Arrivals and the Tony Awards Press Room; Launch the 2013 Tony Awards Live Video Console! Coverage will begin at 6:00PM ET on Sunday, June 9. Don't forget, you can catch the Tony Awards on CBS this coming Sunday, June 9 at 8:00/7:00 ET/CT, time delayed on the West Coast.
Peter and the Starcatcher has just arrived on Broadway after last year's production at the New York Theatre Workshop and it still is an absolute delight. It has a perfect cast and ingenious direction by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers. It tells the tale of three lost orphan boys and their adventures finding Neverland; this is the back-story of Peter Pan. Based on the best-selling novel of the same title by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. This production is cleverly written by Rick Elise, a Tony winner for Jersey Boys. While parallels will be drawn between Wicked and this show, this charming show stands on its own merits.
Just before the house lights went to half on Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, I was speaking with a colleague about London transfers and their oft-times hit or miss track record with New York audiences (think Enron). Jerusalem got generally good notices; but I gotta say, I just don't get it. The first act of this three-act, three-hour play is very funny. The second and third act unravel into a prolonged mess. The play takes place on St. George's Day, a day for local fairs and celebrating in England. The title Jerusalem is from a hymn sung in England based on a poem by William Blake. In it is celebrated the idea of heaven coming to earth.
Catch Me If You Can, the new Broadway musical is an extremely well constructed musical with a terrific cast. But the show has a couple of problems with it, for starters its book is humorless and and its songs, bland. It's based on the real-life con-man turned 30+ year crime consultant, Frank Abagnale, Jr. and the FBI agent who hunts him down. Leondardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks starred in Stephen Spielberg’s 2002 film of the same title.
Substance abuse seems to be of particular interest this season on Broadway. The Motherf**ker with the Hat, High with Kathleen Turner and Jerusalem with Mark Rylance all feature substance abuse in their plots. If you have had any experience with the illness of substance abuse, much of The Motherf**ker with the Hat will feel awfully familiar. You’ll recognize the patterns, the lies, the deceit and the do-anything-it-takes-to-get-high drive of addicts.
When I first saw the movie-musical “Southpark: Bigger, Longer, Uncut,” the audience around me was laughing so hard you couldn’t hear or understand some of the lyrics. It seems I can still watch that movie and hear lines I’ve never heard before. I remember thinking, how can the best musical I’ve seen in years be an animated feature about 10-year old boys in Colorado? Now its creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have joined Robert Lopez (Avenue Q) to top that with the new musical darling, The Book of Mormon, one of the best new musicals on Broadway in years.
What the Public Wants, currently being revived by the Mint Theater Company, has a contemporary feel. What gives it that feel is the never-changing nature of mankind. Written by Arnold Bennett and first produced in 1909 it concerns one Sir Charles Worgan, a Rupert Murdoch of the publishing world of early twentieth century London. His publishing empire includes some 40 newspapers. He’s an opportunist who will publish whatever content he needs to sell newspapers and lives by the credo to “give the public what it wants.”