Archives for posts with tag: A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder

The Fairy Princess had a Broadway day the other day- dinner and a show. Magical, yes?

Actually, yes it was – she went to see IF/THEN and if one was looking for any indication of PTTS (Post Traumatic TONY Syndrome), you could not find it at this viewing. The audience gave standing ovations to the entire company, and no, jaded theater critics, the house was not full of 14 year old fans of FROZEN, it was an adult audience.

Because it’s written for adults. Adults who used to worry about rent, but who now worry about a lot more…like being alone.

 

Maybe the kids went to the matinee? Who cares? Let’s let it go.

When you see jaded New Yorkers overcome by a show, and hear them ‘ugly cry’ during some dramatic scenes in Act 2, and then seen what looked to be over 100 people waiting at the stage door for the leads, it makes it hard to walk away not feeling confused, given what happened this past awards show.

Though Hugh Jackman was ‘hopping’ as a host, and The Fairy Princess liked all the musical numbers coming where they did,

 

there seemed to be underlying tension throughout. If one did not follow the show on Twitter, one may not have known that there were some very cool things going on – people winning awards for the first time,

 

or for the second, or third because you were not seeing it on the small screen. There were oddly made decisions as to who warranted small screen time that made the show at times seem, well… petty.

Not to mention odd choices for ‘entertainment’

 

Meredith Wilson garnering accolades for being a rap composer, when they refused to televise the composer who won for a musical that was actually on Broadway this season was a time suck that The Fairy Princess could have done without.

Yes, BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY closed, we all knew that – but why wouldn’t BEST ORIGINAL SCORE or BEST ORCHESTRATION be televised?  Aren’t BEST ORIGINAL SCORE and BEST ORCHESTRATION the cornerstones of Musical Theater?

Who can do a musical without scores or orchestrations?

No one.

Plus, Jason Robert Brown gave good speech:

 

While JRB was ‘shouting out’ to women and acknowledging the relatively small number of women on Broadway in all the different aspects, The Fairy Princess would like to ‘shout out’ to him, that she appreciates that in what must have been a very bittersweet moment – accepting individual awards when your show has already closed – he took time to speak on the issue of representation and diversity.

That was classy.

However, having viewed JRB’s speech, and now seen IF/THEN, The Fairy Princess is truly wondering why some potential nominees were all but shut out of the process?

Mathematically, yes, it is explainable – there are 50 members on the Nominating Committee.

They have to see everything and then, of course, they vote. Their votes are tallied and  then get turned over to the general TONY voting population of just under 900 people. Those under 900 vote by another secret ballot, which is how we get our winners.

They have, the Nominating Committee, certain instructions in the category of Best Show:

1. Where there are are 9 or more potential nominees, the NC must vote for 4 shows, and the 4 shows with the most votes are automatically in the BEST SHOW category.

2. If there are 5 or FEWER shows in the category, the NC must vote for 3 shows, and nominations are awarded accordingly.

Now HOW and WHO decides if there should be a FIFTH nomination? Or a FOURTH nomination in a year with less choices?

An Accounting firm.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!

OH. Ohhhhhhhh.

The Accounting Firm that counts the secret ballots is the one who gets to decide – and there must be a difference of only 3 votes from the lowest ranking of the nominees.

It is not an Artistic Decision, which seems odd given that these awards are given to and given by Artistic People.

The Fairy Princess is not disagreeing with any of the Nominations, but what she is disagreeing with is that there is no ability for the Nominating Committee – not to take away, but to add, or for them to debate the use of that 5th spot.

Perhaps it is adding an additional level that the TONYS does not want to be bothered with, but in a season packed to the gills with talented people in excellent musicals – and with the amount of money a show brings to the New York economy, why could not there be an addendum vote?

Isn’t there room for an Executive Decision – not as to what show to put IN that last spot, but an Executive Decision to say yes, that last one should be used let’s keep our top four, and let’s vote again for the last one?

There was an additional spot open in the BEST MUSICAL category, and if only for the good of the New York Economy (and yes, there are plenty of other reasons), it should be filled if at all possible.

A BEST MUSICAL nomination can keep the doors open and keep people employed – and not just “people who need people‘  – there are dozens of people who make every Broadway show work every night from the ticket takers to the Teamsters, who,  when they are working, are adding to the general prosperity of the theater district as well as pulling in a paycheck themselves. Broadway and it’s denizens contributed $11.9 BILLION to the New York economy and 87,000 jobs.

87,000 jobs!

A TONY Nomination all but screams “IF YOU LOVE THEATER BUY A TICKET”.

Every day someone walks up to a ticket window who has never been to a Broadway show, and they buy their first ticket, and what usually makes them ‘jump’ to do so is the number of TONY Nominations or Wins a show has. Likewise when the show goes on an AEA Tour, the amount of Nominations or Awards helps with the pre-sale. Which one could argue, might have an impact in keeping shows on AEA Contracts? Worth a thought.

We of the theater should be invested in that theatergoer, because it is a cyclical thing – they have to love us to keep coming back. Giving them, as Sondheim once wrote “More to see….“, is a better business plan. Strict adherence to numbers – in short, strict counting of 50 votes, is limiting their ability to ‘fall in love’ with a new show.

The Tony Nominating Committee did their jobs, they voted – the numbers just did not add up, and now, shows are closing. Shows  have closed.

Maybe a nomination would have made a difference to a particular shows fate? It is worth thinking about.

The Fairy Princess loved, loved, loved A GENTLEMEN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER, and she was thrilled when it won BEST MUSICAL,  but she also would have been thrilled to have seen the fifth spot used.

The choice to not revisit if the fifth spot should be used left Broadway with Casts feeling, oh HOW did Julie Andrews put it?

 

The Fairy Princess knows that ‘rules are rules’ and they are drafted for a reason, but this year was a very odd year, a very odd year, and she did not want to let it go by without remarking upon it.

It was damn passing strange. (Some people will get that joke)

In short, if Broadway is worth $11.9 Billion Dollars, but the Accountants do not ‘get’ that it is worth it to consider a fifth nomination….well, the idea of that makes The Fairy Princess as jumpy as a puppet on a string – and she knows from puppets.

GYPSY OF THE YEAR Performance - Jodi Eichelberger, Aymee Garcia, Carmen Ruby Floyd & Erin Quill

GYPSY OF THE YEAR – Jodi Eichelberger, Aymee Garcia, Carmen Ruby Floyd & Erin Quill

They may be great at counting, but they seem not to see ‘value’, and in the musical theater, we like things…how shall I say, on an angle?

 

The Fairy Princess LOVES The Tony Awards – this is not a crack at the Awards themselves, but the process seemed…well anyway, NEXT year…she wants it BIGGER….apologies to Hugh….

 

 

The Fairy Princess and most of Broadway is still reeling from the announcements of our highest theatrical honor – The Antoinette Perry Awards.

This week were the TONY Award Nominations, which were both thrilling, and devastating to the Broadway Theatrical Community. Shows close as a consequence of the nominations, and the first casualty was Jason Robert Brown & Marsha Mason’s The Bridges of Madison County. You can catch it till May 18th. Also, it is going on tour, and there has been a Cast recording, so if you miss it on Broadway, you may be able to catch it soon near you.

While The Fairy Princess is but a casual observer of the TONY Nominations this season, not quite in a tree, but…

oh, Theatrical Producers if you want me to shut up all you have to do is employ me to do 8 shows a week, because one doubts that The Fairy Princess would be able to hold down that schedule, raise a toddler, and blog

but till then, she could not help but notice that in a Season with no Asian Americans nominated in the Performance Category (and yes, there were people around to be nominated in the Cast of Aladdin), the TONY Committee had Film and Television Star, Ms. Lucy Liu announce the awards with James Franco.

James Franco, TONY Host Hugh Jackman, and Lucy Liu

James Franco, TONY Host Hugh Jackman, and Lucy Liu

I suppose that is supposed to give The Tony Awards a bit of Diversity?

Or because May is Asian American month?

It seems a weird misfire – after all, no better way to point out that there are no Asian Americans in leading roles to nominate than to have an actual Asian American announce said nominations?

Perhaps it means that Ms. Liu is considering a stage role? One can only hope.

The Fairy Princess did not miss the irony of this, and she is sure she is not alone.

There was one API nominated for Best Costume Design of a Musical, Linda Cho for A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder. Congratulations! I saw it, and the Costumes were fantastic. So was everything else. That show has 10 TONY nominations, and deserves every single one and could have actually had a few more in my opinion.

There was one Performance Nominee who is Asian, but not from America.  Mr. Ramin Karimloo, who is Canadian and of Iranian aka Persian descent, and yes, that is considered Asian. He is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role in a Musical for his Jean ValJean in Les Miserables.

Congratulations Mr. Karimloo!

Ramin Karimloo, TONY Nominee from the Revival of Les Miserables

Ramin Karimloo, TONY Nominee from the Revival of Les Miserables

What IS it about Canada that their Asian heritaged Actors do so well?

Canada also has this lady:

Canadian Actress, Sandra Oh, who created one of the fiercest television Doctors the world has seen, Dr. Christina Yang

Canadian Actress, Sandra Oh, who created one of the fiercest television Doctors the world has seen, Dr. Christina Yang

Sandra Oh – dealing another deathblow to Asian representation on American television, by departing Grey’s Anatomy after 10 excellent seasons. The Fairy Princess tips her tiara to Ms. Oh and hopes her journey will take her next, perhaps, to Broadway?

One can dream.

Maybe I should move?

But back to the main point, which is that the Tonys were announced, and people are puzzled with how some of the ‘nods’ came down. I supposed ‘egregiously overlooked‘ is not just for Julie Andrews anymore….

 

Seems as if the nominations this year are a bit xenophobic this year, a bit anti-Hollywood, and a bit…frustrating. How do you not use all five slots in your BEST MUSICAL category when there are a plethora of musicals this season? The Fairy Princess could go on and on, but we all have to Sondheim it.

 

 

The hard part about these nominations is that they have direct influence on whether or not shows stay open, whether or not several hundred people stay employed, and whether or not new ‘stars’ are made.

However, I’m going to go a bit Anne of Green Gables here, it is not my usual M.O., but here it is:

If you are in a Broadway show, making a living, having 8 opportunities per week to perform the craft you love so well, then you have already won – regardless of what any Nomination is given or not given.

As Patti LuPone once said, when cheering up Ken Page for not receiving a nomination for his role as Old Deuteronomy in CATS – The Base of the TONY is plastic, let’s go have lunch!”

The way to keep shows open – with or without nominations is simple – you ‘vote’ with your dollars. You buy a ticket.

If you have a favorite play or musical this season – go see it again. If you have a favorite Actor or Actress, make sure you catch them in their show. This is one of the strongest seasons in a really long time – get out and go see something you will enjoy, go out and see something that will challenge you, go out and see….something.

Because although the TONY base is plastic, the People of Broadway are not – and they need you, the audience, more than anything else. A show can survive without nominations, it cannot survive without audiences.

Congrats to all the Nominees – may the odds be ever in your favor.

And for those who have been ‘egregiously overlooked’ – let’s remember:

“Time heals everything” – Jerry Herman.

 

PS:

It is kind of giving me the giggles to think how much Hugh Jackman is probably sweating it trying to come up with something to beat this opening last year:

 

Go Hugh, Go!