asker

Anonymous asked: um have u seen any of the shows?

I sense a bit of snarkiness in the voice of this question, so I’ll answer it accordingly:  Umm… did you read the beginning of the post?

It’s Tony Time!

Ok, I know I took another break from this thing, but I’m back for a special occasion: the 65th Annual Antoinette Perry Awards are being held tonight to celebrate Broadway’s finest plays and musicals!  This post will contain my predictions for (and thoughts of) the nominees!  I’ve seen almost every play and musical that was nominated (the exceptions being War Horse and Priscilla Queen of the Desert) so I think I have a pretty good first-hand perspective on this year’s awards.  I’m going to go from the bottom to the top of how the awards are listed on the Tony Awards website.  My predictions are in bold.  And here we go…

Best Sound Design of a Musical:

  • Peter Hylenski- The Scottsboro Boys
  • Steve Canyon Kennedy- Catch Me If You Can
  • Brian Ronan- Anything Goes
  • Brian Ronan- The Book of Mormon

*I’m guessing The Book of Mormon is the force to be reckoned with at this year’s Tonys, so I’m gonna give them the leg up in a bunch of these technical categories.

Best Sound Design of a Play:

  • Acme Sound Parnters and Cricket S. Myers- Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
  • Simon Baker- Brief Encounter
  • Ian Dickenson for Autograph- Jerusalem
  • Christopher Shutt- War Horse

*Though I haven’t seen it, I’ve heard great things about War Horse.  It seems to be a great technical show.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical:

  • Ken Billington- The Scottsboro Boys
  • Howell Binkley- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  • Peter Kaczorowski- Anything Goes
  • Brian MacDevitt- The Book of Mormon

Best Lighting Design of a Play:

  • Paul Constable- War Horse
  • David Lander- Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
  • Kenneth Posner- The Merchant of Venice
  • Mimi Jordan Sherin- Jerusalem

Best Costume Design of a Musical:

  • Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner- Priscilla Queen of the Desert
  • Martin Pakledinaz- Anything Goes
  • Ann Roth- The Book of Mormon
  • Catherine Zuber- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

*I’ve seen and heard some amazing things about the costumes in Priscilla, otherwise I would have given it to TBOM.

Best Costume Design of a Play:

  • Jess Goldstein- The Merchant of Venice
  • Desmond Heeley- The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Mark Thompson- La Bete
  • Catherine Zuber- Born Yesterday

Best Scenic Design of a Musical:

  • Beowulf Boritt- The Scottsboro Boys
  • Derek McLane- Anything Goes
  • Scott Pask- The Book of Mormon
  • Donyale Werle- Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

*If they take the design of the whole theatre into account, I would totally pick BBAJ.  Justsayin(.com)

Best Scenic Design of a Play:

  • Todd Rosenthal- The Motherf**ker with the Hat
  • Rae Smith- War Horse
  • Ultz- Jerusalem
  • Mark Wendland- The Merchant of Venice

*This is one of the categories where I really wish I had seen War Horse.  That being said, the set of Jerusalem is stunning!

Best Orchestrations:

  • Doug Besterman- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  • Larry Hochman- The Scottsboro Boys
  • Larry Hochman & Stephen Oremus- The Book of Mormon
  • Marc Shaiman & Larry Blank- Catch Me If You Can

Best Choreography:

  • Rob Ashford- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  • Kathleen Marshall- Anything Goes
  • Casey Nicholaw- The Book of Mormon
  • Susan Stroman- The Scottsboro Boys

Best Direction of a Musical:

  • Rob Ashford- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  • Kathleen Marshall- Anything Goes
  • Casey Nicholaw & Trey Parker- The Book of Mormon
  • Susan Stroman- The Scottsboro Boys

Best Direction of a Play:

  • Marianne Elliott & Tom Morris- War Horse
  • Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe- The Normal Heart
  • Anna D. Shapiro- The Motherf**ker with the Hat
  • Daniel Sullivan- The Merchant of Venice

*I recently read an article (by theatre gossip-extraordinaire, Michael Riedel) that reported that a few Tony nominators are, “tired of voting for British plays all the time and want to celebrate American writers for a change.”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical:

  • Laura Benanti- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  • Tammy Blanchard- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  • Victoria Clarke- Sister Act
  • Nikki M. James- The Book of Mormon
  • Patti LuPone- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

*There are rumblings that Laura Benanti’s hilarious turn in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is going to take this year’s prize, but I think her 2008 Tony win for Gypsy is still fresh in the minds of Tony voters (and i don’t think that they’d want to unleash the wrath of La LuPone who was nominated for her role in the same show).  Nikki M. James may ride the wave of The Book of Mormon, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she pulled out a win.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical:

  • Colman Domingo- The Scottsboro Boys
  • Adam Godley- Anything Goes
  • John Larroquette- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  • Forrest McClendon- The Scottsboro Boys
  • Rory O’Malley- The Book of Mormon

*This is a tight race between John Larroquette and Rory O’Malley, but I think Mr. O’Malley will be able to take it.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play:

  • Ellen Barkin- The Normal Heart
  • Edie Falco- The House of Blue Leaves
  • Judith Light- Lombardi
  • Joanna Lumley- La Bete
  • Elizabeth Rodriguez- The Motherf**ker with the Hat

*I’m thinking this is another close call- between Edie Falco and Ellen Barkin.  Barkin’s emotionally charged speech in The Normal Heart pushes her a bit forward in my book.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play:

  • Mackenzie Crook- Jerusalem
  • Billy Crudup- Arcadia
  • John Benjamin Hickey- The Normal Heart
  • Arian Moayed- Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
  • Yul Vazquez- The Motherf**ker with the Hat

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical:

  • Sutton Foster- Anything Goes
  • Beth Leavel- Baby It’s You!
  • Patina Miller- Sister Act
  • Donna Murphy- The People in the Picture

*After losing the 1960 Tony Award for Distinguished Musical Actress to Mary Martin (who won for The Sound of Music), Ethel Merman (a nominee and seeming front-runner for Gypsy) famously quipped “You can’t buck a nun”.  However, I don’t think Ms. Foster will have to worry about Patina Miller taking the Tony this year. 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical:

  • Norbert Leo Butz- Catch Me If You Can
  • Josh Gad- The Book of Mormon
  • Joshua Henry- The Scottsboro Boys
  • Andrew Rannells- The Book of Mormon
  • Tony Sheldon- Priscilla Queen of the Desert

*This one’s probably the tightest race of this year’s Tony Awards.  Many think that the Mormon boys will cancel each other out and that it’s a bit of a toss up between Norbert Leo Butz and Tony Sheldon (with NLB leading by a hair), but I’m still pulling for Gad to pick up the win.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play:

  • Nina Arianda- Born Yesterday
  • Frances McDormand- Good People
  • Lily Rabe- The Merchant of Venice
  • Vanessa Redgrave- Driving Miss Daisy
  • Hannah Yelland- Brief Encounter

*I’ve heard rumblings of Ms. Arianda pulling off an upset, but I’m still pulling for Ms. McDormand.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play:

  • Brian Bedford- The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Bobby Cannavale- The Motherfu**ker with the Hat
  • Joe Mantello- The Normal Heart
  • Al Pacino- The Merchant of Venice
  • Mark Rylance- Jerusalem

*Somehow, Bobby Cannavale won the Drama Desk for his performance.  Rylance won the Olivier for his West End turn in Jerusalem.  To complicate things even more: Joe Mantello is showing that he is much more than a director in The Normal Heart; Brian Bedford directed and is convincingly playing a woman every night; and Al Pacino is, well, Al Pacino…

Best Revival of a Musical:

  • Anything Goes
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Revival of a Play:

  • Arcadia
  • The Importance of Being Earnest
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Normal Heart

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre:

  • Alex Timbers- Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
  • Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone- The Book of Mormon
  • David Thompson- The Scottsboro Boys
  • Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner, and Douglas Carter Beane- Sister Act

Best Musical:

  • The Book of Mormon
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • The Scottsboro Boys
  • Sister Act

Best Play:

  • Good People- David Lindsay-Abaire
  • Jerusalem- Jez Butterworth
  • The Motherf**ker with the Hat- Stephen Adly Guirgis
  • War Horse- Nick Stafford

*At this point, it’s War Horse's race to lose.  I personally didn't love it, but The Motherf**ker with the Hat may just bring on a Wicked-sized upset.

So there you have it: my 2011 Tony Predictions…

Nothing left to do but sit back and enjoy the festivities!

 In joy,

Mark

asker

instamatical asked: "The People in the Picture" is one of my tracked tags right now (basically anything Tony-nominated this season is) and after reading your post I just wanted to say that when I saw the show I had the biggest musical theatre dork moment in the history of said moments when I realized Paul Gemignani was conducting, haha. I'm in my seat marveling over the fact that I'm about to witness the first preview of a show starring the likes of Donna Murphy and Chip Zien, conducted by none other than Paul Gemignani, and then I am brought back to reality by the women behind me trying to decide if we're on Broadway or off-Broadway tonight, and if this "Murphy woman" has done anything else.

I know that this isn’t a question so much as a response post to one of my posts, but it’s such a great post that I decided that I needed to respond to it just so it would be put up on my blog!  I love those musical theatre dork moments!  You’re awesome!  We should be friends!  Justsayin(.com)

asker

princetennant asked: your post really helped me- thanks! and i'm glad i didn't seem annoying!

my parents decided we were going to see Born Yesterday because they too are big fans of House and just because the tickets are cheaper. Your post still really helped though!! you talked about moving down seats in Born Yesterday, is it appropriate to ask an usher to move seats if there's open seats (or to just move to the seats after intermission if no one arrives) thanks so much for all your help!

Another good question!  I think it’s more courteous to ask about 5 minutes before the curtain rises rather than just moving down without permission.  The ushers at the Cort seemed pretty nice and there were plenty of empty seats.  If they can’t bring you down before the show, I’m sure they would after intermission if there is space.  I hope you have a great time! 

asker

princetennant asked: so since you are obviously a broadway regular i'm coming to you to help me solve my dilemma about what show to see...

my parents agreed to let me see a broadway show for my birthday and i'm between how to succeed in business without really trying and born yesterday (i know theres several good plays on broadway now, probs one better than that, but to be honest i'm going to see dan in how to succeed or robert sean leonard in born yesterday)

i'm trying to weigh a few things
one: price
how to succeed tickets are probably not attainable for under $150 while i can get tickets for born yesterday for like $30 (we're on a low budget trip, but at the same time don't have time to hit up TKTS because we won't get to the city till 11 and as you probably know you can wait in that line for close to 3 hours, esp on Saturdays)
two: meeting the cast
i'm really trying to atleast meet either robert sean leonard or dan radcliffe (obviously depending on the show). do you know if either cast has a "more likely" chance of coming out after the show or whatever
three: quality of the show
it seems like your reviews of both were kinda dismal but between the two which would you suggest?


i hope i don't seem naggy or annoying...i'm just really stuck and need someone who knows about the shows to give me some advice! thanks!

Huzzah, my first actual Broadway question!!!  It’s super exciting that your parents are bringing you into the city to see a show! 

1. Price: I think your best bet would be to use broadwaybox.com to get tickets for H2$— just follow the instructions to get discounted tickets ($52-$93 is a lot less than $150).  As for Born Yesterday, I’d get the cheapest seats ($26.50) in the balcony because the show isn’t really selling well so you would probably be able to ask to move down and they’d let you sit somewhere in the mezzanine.

2. Meeting the Cast: I haven’t stage door-ed either show, but my instincts are telling me that meeting Daniel Radcliffe would be a tad harder than meeting Robert Sean Leonard.  H2$ is a more popular show and Radcliffe is the bigger star.  As I mentioned earlier, Born Yesterday isn’t really selling well so I would imagine that Robert Sean Leonard would be a bit more accessible (especially because he isn’t even the biggest name in the production— that title would go to Jim Belushi).

3. Quality of Show:  Don’t get me wrong- I did enjoy both shows.  It’s just that neither of them really wowed me.  Regardless, I would have to pick H2$ over Born Yesterday.  I stand by this decision even more because I noticed that you’re also a big fan of Anderson Cooper (he does a few voiceover bits in the show, which I found pretty amusing)!  That being said, I would also suggest that since you’re interested in both shows, why not see them both (both shows have a matinee and evening performance on Saturdays)?  You can see Born Yesterday for less than the amount of money that you saved using the discount code for H2$!  Justsayin(.com)

Whatever you decide, I hope you have a wonderful time in NYC!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

P.S. You do not at all seem naggy or annoying!  Please feel free to ask me anything!  I hope you found this post helpful!  Thank you!

200… now what?

#199- The People In The Picture: Not a particularly good show, but it is definitely reaching for “emotionally-charged, sentimental” status.  Donna Murphy is always a joy to watch on stage and she does well with she’s given.  The ensemble was full of fun names— Alexander Gemignani (played Valjean in the 2006 Les Miserables revival and the son of legendary musical director Paul Gemignani— more on him later), Chip Zien (the original Baker in Into the Woods), and Lewis J. Stadlen (the poor man’s Nathan Lane— I know, I’m a terrible person).  I was expecting Fiddler on the Roof-ish music, but there were bits that actually reminded me of La Cage Aux Folles and Les Miserables (at certain points I actually sang along and marveled at how different orchestrations can drastically change how the music comes across).  Also, legendary musical director Paul Gemignani was conducting, which was a real treat (I think I was the only one that noticed).  Sidenote: I think I was the only male (as well as the only person under 45) in the audience…

#200- Born Yesterday: Not a spectacular play, but fun and simple enough.  Nina Arianda stole the show for me and is well-deserving of her Tony nomination as the hilariously ditzy blonde lead.  Jim Belushi plays the boorish dominant male he always seems to play (amplified even more on stage).  Robert Sean Leonard is the unassuming nerdy reporter attempting to bring the Belushi’s character down and steal his air-headed girlfriend.  This show a bit disappointing, especially for being my 200th show, but it had its moments.  It has a predictable plot and some funny jokes— nothing all too special.  

This week’s double-header was my successful attempt to see these two shows before they closed (I think they will be Broadway’s next victims).  Unfortunately, I felt a bit empty after seeing them, kinda like, “now what”?  A part of me feels like I’ve seen enough, but (at the same time) I keep hoping to see a show that moves me and fills me with joy- The Book of Mormon did exactly that and gave me some more faith in Broadway.  All I can say now is that I’m really looking forward to Anything Goes.

Here’s to another 200!

Cheers!

Mark

The Road to 200…

It seems that the only thing in my life that is organized is my Broadway stuffs.  My Playbills and tickets are neatly  stacked and sorted in chronological order, and I have a list that I’ve been updating since 16 June 2004 (The Boy From Oz).  I thought that everything was in place as I approached my 200th show.  I carefully planned out that I would celebrate it by watching my all-time favorite actress, Sutton Foster, in Anything Goes with one of my good friends, Jack Jack the Enforcer.  Unfortunately, as I updated my list from last week, I realized that I did not include #195, Baby It’s You (a testament to how pathetically forgettable the show was), which meant that I will not be seeing #198 and #199 today, but they will be #199 and the big 200!  Sadness, but the show must go on (how terribly cliche)…  I already have a ticket to see #199, The People in the Picture, and I will be buying my ticket to see #200, Born Yesterday once student rush tickets go on sale at 6pm.  So far I don’t have anyone to go with, so please let me know if you want to come with me and celebrate!!!  Last-minute style haha! 

Anyways, I haven’t written anything about the shows I’ve seen since my streaming updates on Spider-Man so I’ve decided to go rapid-fire and briefly give my thoughts on each show that I’ve seen (justsayin(.com)-style, of course).  You can add “Justsayin(.com)” after each blurb and you should get the idea behind the name of my blog.

#185- Good People: This show reminded me of The Fighter.  Maybe it’s the Boston-area connection… or the general theme of making ends meet and “getting out” of a high-need living environment.  Frances McDormand gives a beautifully nuanced performance that very well may bring home a Tony (but that’s an entirely different post, so I won’t go into it just yet).

#186- That Championship Season: This play is chock full of big-named cast members (including Chris Noth aka Mr. Big, Jim Gaffigan, and Kiefer Sutherland) who can act on stage, but it did not deliver the big punch I was hoping for.  The story of small-town high school basketball heroes who are now trying to run the town fell flat.  They were not so much heartbreaking as they were frustratingly pathetic…

#187- Arcadia: A student at my school put up a production of Arcadia as an independent study— I fell asleep.  This production kept me wide-awake and completely engaged.  The ladies next to me were intimidated from the start (apparently it’s hard to understand), but I stuck with it and loved every minute.  Their intimidation made me nervous that this would be another overly-pretentious play (see: #189- Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo).  Also, Meryl Streep’s daughter, Grace Gummer, is in this show.  Though she has one of the smaller roles, I couldn’t take my eyes off her— gorgeous!

#188- How to Succeed In Business (Without Really Trying): Had the same bubble-gummy 60s feeling as Promises Promises (surprise surprise— Rob Ashford directed both shows).  Daniel Radcliffe is a perfectly charming, fine actor/singer/dancer, but nothing special (and really friggin short).  I’m not surprised that he was not nominated for a Tony- he really doesn’t deserve it.  A fun show, but nothing more (which is interesting because it’s one of only 8 musicals that has ever won the Pulitzer).

#189- Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo: Struck me more of the type of play that my college would put on- the type of play I thought Arcadia would end up.  I like the word bombastic, so I’ll use that to describe this play.  Robin Williams is definitely the only reason this play got to Broadway because the rest of the actors were bland and even annoying (I really really wanted to punch one of the two soldiers in the face).

#190- The Book of Mormon: I don’t want to give anything away.  This show is one of the best things I’ve seen on a Broadway stage in a long time.  Hasa Diga Eebowai!

#191- The Motherf*cker with the Hat: For some reason the shock of a person cursing profusely on stage is funny.  However, unlike The Book of Mormon, there wasn’t anything too original or clever about this play.  Chris Rock seemed overly aware (even scared) of the audience and was stiffer than the back of the wooden seat I’m sitting in right now.  For me, Yul Vazquez stole the show and Bobby Cannavale did a fine job.  Obviously, I didn’t love it, but I found it mildly entertaining if anything…

#192- Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark: My last visit to Spidey 1.0.  I feel like they cut and moved a bunch of things, but somehow it had the same exact running time…  Let’s just say I hope that 2.0 is a lot better.

#193- Sister Act: I wanted so much to dislike this show, but I must admit that I had a lot of fun.  I’m convinced that I enjoyed it so much because I was obsessed with the movie growing up.  Patina Miller and Victoria Clarke do a heck of a job with what they’re given (and I may have a bit of a crush on Marla Mindelle— although this might just be my mini-obsession with Sister Mary Robert lol).

#194- Wonderland: There is a reason this show closed after only 33 performances…

#195- Baby It’s You: Beth Leavel wasn’t in when I saw it, and I’ve thought of going back just to see her in it, but I don’t see how she could save this show.  Bad choices…

#196- Catch Me If You Can: Another fun show full of fluff based on a movie I really liked when I first saw it.  Norbert Leo Butz is awesome as always and Aaron Tveit is charming, but I wants me some more Kerry Butler…

#197- Jerusalem: Clocking in at three hours with two intermissions, this is a monster of a show.  I came in thinking it would be just be a comedy, but it was a whole lot more than that.  Mark Rylance is conjuring up his second Tony.

#198- The Normal Heart: I thought that Joe Mantello was just a director… Turns out he’s a hell of an actor as well!  This show is so powerful- one of the most solemn endings I’ve ever experienced.  Everyone left the theatre either in silence or bawling their eyes out.

(I’m) Yours,

Mark

The Rain Will Wash Away What’s Passed

I woke up this morning to the sound of thunder and lightning— it’s been pretty gloomy in NY the past few days.  As I stared blankly at my computer screen (which showed an article reporting on Stephen Hawking’s take on the afterlife… or lack thereof), my mind wandered into an increasingly depressing spiral of morbid thought.  I immediately tried to pull a Peter Pan and think happy thoughts.  I called perhaps the brightest light of my life (I am fortunate to have many), my girlfriend, Lily.  Briefly talking to her made everything seem a little more hopeful and set me back on my happy way. 

For some reason, thinking back on this morning reminded me that I have started to let my poor little blog rot away.  Fear not, loyal reader (whoever you are), for I am determined to get this little guy back on his feet! 

To start, I am changing “A Little [something clever]” into “Justsayin(.com)” (I’ll explain this title in a later post…).  Also, I am not going to pressure myself to write just for the sake of writing.  I think that one of my biggest mistakes was telling myself that I absolutely had to churn out blog posts.  Same goes with my youtube videos.  I became disinterested in this blog because I didn’t like the “rules” that I imposed on myself.  Hopefully this new “stress-free” attitude will actually inspire me to write. 

And here. we. go…

In joy,

Mark

Uninspired (+ a few updates)

Ok, ok, I know I promised to post a video a week with the uke and to update this thing somewhat regularly, but I’ve gotten a bit side-tracked.  First of all, I’ve decided to take a little bit of a uke hiatus.  As for posting on a more regular basis: I still am working on it.  The problem is that I just haven’t had the desire to write these past few days—basically, I have much to say, but no desire to say it.  I think this is a product of me being lazy when I’m free and busy when I actually want to write (I know, it’s a bit problematic…).

So, what exactly have I been busy with you ask?  For starters, I’ve had four phone interviews in the past two weeks for: an associate teaching job at a school in San Francisco, an Americorps program in Los Angeles, an English Fellow position at a high school in Oregon, and a National Teaching Fellowship in San Francisco.  I actually STUDIED for these phone interviews.

 I went into each interview with the mindset that it’s just “practice” and managed to avoid putting too much pressure on myself while on the phone (phone calls are not exactly my strong suit, but I’ve definitely noticed I’m getting better).  I actually ended up having nice conversations (for the most part) with my interviewers.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not necessarily up to me—the flow and the feel of the conversation were up to the interviewers.  Three of the four were quite pleasant to converse with while the fourth wasn’t exactly the most fun person (which is interesting because the job calls for “a tremendous sense of humor”— I may or may not have had this phone interview in the back of my car in the middle of a public parking lot… I might tell this story via blog post eventually).  So far I’ve heard back from two out of the four (one of which was the one with the un-amused interviewer) and was invited for a second interview by both.  We’ll see what happens.

I’ve also been searching and applying for jobs.  I’m particularly interested in a Group Sales Associate position at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (D.C.).  I applied last week, and I really hope to hear from them soon.  What else?  Oh!  I just applied for an English teaching job in South Korea.  Who knows where I’ll end up when I leave ST&F in June?  If you have any suggestions of where I should work, please let me know!  I’m a weird mix of excited and terrified at the moment…

Speaking of ST&F—work has been chugging along just fine.  I wish I had more hours to work, but I think I’m content with where I am.  I’m nowhere near being sick of tennis (in fact, I’m quite the opposite—I just want to go out and play).

I think that’s all I got for now.  Stay tuned for my little write-ups on Good People and That Championship Season.  I’m debating on whether or not to go into the city tomorrow to try to see Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and Arcadia because apparently it’s gonna snow.  I’ll try my best to keep writing…