Friday, July 22, 2016

Week in Review 7.22.16

Taking This Horse by the Reins: What's Next for Daveed Digss

Tony winner Daveed Diggs, who recently departed the Broadway company of Hamilton, has (at least) three screen projects lined up. Vulture reports he'll appear in the film adaptation of the children's novel, Wonder, alongside Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Room's Jacob Tremblay. (Up-and-comer Mandy Patinkin will also appear in the flick.) In addition, Diggs will be part of the HBO mockumentary (from Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island crew), Tour de Pharmacy, and will have a multi-episode arc on the next season of Black-ish. On the Emmy-nominated comedy series, Diggs will play Rainbow's brother. Tracee Ellis Ross, who plays Rainbow, sent this tweet to celebrate the news.

Jake Gyllenhaal Sets Broadway Return

The rumors that were reignited last week were confirmed this week: Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Constellations) will return to Broadway in a revival of Lanford Wilson's, Burn This. The production, directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, Brooklynite), is set to begin previews in February 2017; opening night is scheduled for March 6, and the limited engagement will conclude in June. To add to the excitement, Burn This will play the Hudson Theatre, a theatre on West 44th Street that has been dark for 50 years. Once re-opened, the Hudson will become Broadway's 41st theatre. Playbill has more.

Casting News

  • Darlene Love will join the off-Broadway production of Trip of Love for a nine-week engagement, beginning July 28. (If you don't know who Love is, watch 20 Feet from Stardom, and get into it!) Broadway.com has more.

  • Taye Diggs (Rent) will join the cast of Empire in a recurring role for the TV show's third season. The series returns to Fox on September 21. TV Line has more.

  • While Kimiko Glenn takes a leave of absence from Waitress, stage and screen veteran Jenna Ushkowitz (Spring Awakening, Glee) will take on the role of Dawn. Waitress continues its run at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Broadway.com has more.

  • Michael Potts, who was in the original company of The Book of Mormon, will lead the company of Aubergine, the new Julia Cho play that will run at Playwrights Horizons later this summer. Playbill has details.

  • Complete casting for the Lincoln Center Theater production of Richard Greenberg's The Babylon Line has been announced. The play will feature Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother, Disgraced), Randy Graff (Les Miserables), Frank Wood (Clybourne Park, Born Yesterday), Elizabeth Reaser (How I Learned to Drive), Maddie Corman (Next Fall), Julie Halston (You Can't Take It With You), and Michael Oberholtzer (Hand to God). Previews begin November 10, with opening night set for December 5. Broadway.com has more.

  • Jenn Colella (Chaplin, If/Then) and Chad Kimball (Memphis) will lead the company of Come From Away, a new musical slated to come to Broadway in February 2017. Broadway.com has more.

  • Tony winner Chuck Cooper (Act One, Romeo and Juliet) completes the cast of the upcoming The Cherry Orchard revival. Cooper joins the previously announced Diane Lane, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Aaron Clifton-Moten, Joel Grey, and others. Previews for the revival, which features a new adaptation by Stephen Karam (The Humans), begin September 16, with opening night set for October 16. Broadway.com has more.

  • Birgitte Hjort Sorensen (Pitch Perfect 2, Vinyl) will make her Broadway debut in this fall's revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. She joins the previously announced Liev Schreiber, Janet McTeer, and Mary Beth Peil. Previews for the limited run begin October 8; opening night is set for October 30; and the engagement will conclude January 22, 2017. Playbill has more.
Emmy Awards Updates

Some updates and explanations regarding last week's Emmy nominations. →Did you notice that Horace and Pete scored nominations in both the drama and comedy categories? (It didn't receive enough nomination love, in my opinion, but that's a different blog post.) Laurie Metcalf was (rightly) nominated as a guest actress in a drama series, and the show's creator, Louis C.K., has said that the show is a drama (even a tragedy). Yet, Gina Sansom was nominated for Outstanding Editing in a Multi-Camera Comedy Series. As The Hollywood Reporter explains, it was because there isn't an Outstanding Editing in a Multi-Camera Drama Series category; without allowing Sansom to compete in the comedy category, she would have been wholly ineligible, which would have been a shame. →Meanwhile, The Wrap explains why Peter MacNichol's nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series was rescinded. It's because according to new Emmy Awards rules, guest actors can only appear in less than 50% of the show's season to qualify as a guest actor (as opposed to a supporting actor), and MacNichol, by the end of the just-concluded season, had appeared in exactly 50% of Veep's episodes. Peter Scolari has been announced as the new nominee in the category, recognizing his work on Girls. Variety has the report.

Dig This

  • Broadway Box got to know Georgina Pazcoguin, the NYCB soloist who is co-starring in the Broadway revival of Cats. Dance magazine also features the ballerina.

  • Season seven of Game of Thrones, which will be shorter than normal (only seven episodes), will debut in summer 2017. (Game of Thrones usually begins in the spring.) The push is to accommodate the production schedule. TV Line has more.

  • Stage and screen favorite Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal, Brain Dead) spoke to Boston.com about his upcoming concert at Boston's House of Blues. The interview also touches on what's next for the multi-talented Tveit.

  • Alton Brown, the science-loving chef, will bring Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science to Broadway for one week this November. Business Wire has details.

  • Steven Speilberg (Lincoln) and Laura Dern (Wild) are among the artists elected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Board of Governors. The Wrap has details.

  • Not so diggable: the revival of Fiddler on the Roof, starring Danny Burstein, will conclude its Broadway run on December 31. Theater Mania has more.

  • Los Angeles's Center Theatre Group's 2017-2018 season will include the world premiere of Archduke, a new play by Rajiv Joseph (Guards at the Taj), as well as Tarell Alvin McCraney's Head of Passes, starring Phylicia Rashad. Playbill has the full rundown of the season.

  • Dates have been set for In Transit, the new musical coming to Broadway this fall. Previews will begin November 10, with opening night scheduled for December 11. In Transit will play the Circle in the Square Theatre. Playbill has more.

  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again (this is the official title of the Fox TV adaptation of The Rocky Horror Show) will air on Thursday, October 20. (Watch the trailer below.) The already-filmed presentation stars Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, as well as Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford (You Can't Take It With You) as Columbia. Playbill has more.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Privacy


There's a lot of publicity surrounding the Public's production of Privacy, a modern morality tale created by James Graham and Josie Rourke. (This is a co-production with London's Donmar Warehouse.) Much attention has been paid to Privacy's leading man, Daniel Radcliffe, someone who's grown up in the public eye; to the fact that audience members will be encouraged to use their phones during the performance; and to the taped appearance by Edward Snowden.

Publicity is great, but the play's the thing, and this play, written by Graham and directed by Rourke, is more like a theatricalized TED talk than a play. Plot or character motivation is used as a device to explore and demonstrate how little privacy we have. (One thing that connects this to theatre history is social media being a stand in, of sorts, for the Greek chorus, or the townspeople who are constantly on stage in Our Town—someone is always watching and commenting.)

Radcliffe (The Cripple of Inishmaan) plays a writer who, after breaking up with a lover who accused him of not being open, goes to a therapist to try to open up. A discussion about privacy ensues, and soon, under the auspices of research for a play, Radcliffe's writer hops a plane from London to New York, and conjures up and conducts interviews with privacy experts, technology whizzes, algorithm adherents, government officials, and a host of other such personalities.

Throughout, several of these interviewees address the audience, instructing them to do something on their smart phones. Each exercise demonstrates that practically nothing is private. Big Brother is always watching, even when you think things are turned off. We now are data points, and almost everything we do—even some of the seemingly analog things—are metadata. So is there anything such as privacy anymore?

For example, I was unexpectedly part of the show. I knew, before arriving at the theatre, that we'd be encouraged to leave our phones on, and that we might be asked to use them during the show. I didn't know that my participation would start before the show did. Unbeknownst to me, I was filmed walking into the theatre and giving the usher my ticket. (I hadn't noticed any signs on the way in saying I was being filmed, or that by entering the theatre, I agreed to be filmed.) That footage was shown during the show. My face was somewhat obscured by digital overlays, but it made me feel uncomfortable, like it was an invasion of privacy.

And that's the point. Here I was in a place I thought was safe, in a place I thought I didn't have to worry about my personal or private moments being made public. But my privacy was invaded. Now, most of the revelations in Privacy weren't revelations for me. I am an educated woman, one who is up on current events, and I've read the articles and seen the interviews. I know Big Brother is always watching. Yet I thought there were still some safe spaces. After seeing myself literally projected on stage, I couldn't help but think about the 14th amendment, and if, in this post-Snowden era, we can ever have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Note: kudos to the ensemble, who (except for Radcliffe) play dozens of characters. In alphabetical order, the company includes: De'adre Aziza (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Raffi Barsoumian, Michael Countryman, Rachel Dratch (SNL, Ripcord), Radcliffe, and Reg Rogers (You Can't Take It With You).

Friday, July 15, 2016

Week in Review 7.15.16

Tuesday and Wednesday in the Park with Jake and Annaleigh

When (affordable, performance-only) tickets went on sale for City Center's one-night-only gala performance of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George, starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Little Shop of Horrors), they sold out in minutes. Due to ticket demand, two additional benefit performances have been added, Tuesday, October 25, and Wednesday, October 26. Tickets to these performances go on sale to the general public at noon on Wednesday, July 20, but City Center members will have pre-sale access beginning at noon on Monday, July 18. (Gala tickets for the original Monday, October 24, performance are still available, and are on sale now.) In addition, it was announced that Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford (You Can't Take It With You, Masters of Sex) will join Gyllenhaal as George's muse, Dot. This will mark Ashford's Sondheim debut. Visit the City Center website to learn more and become a member.

Casting News

  • The terrific Annie Parisse (Clybourne Park, Antlia Pneumatica) will lead the cast of Leslye Headland's The Layover, which will have its world premiere at Second Stage next month. Previews begin August 9, with opening night set for August 25. Visit Playbill for the full cast list.

  • Amy Ryan (Detroit, Birdman), Zoe Kazan (A Behanding in Spokane), Richard Armitage, Ben Rosenfield, and Alex Hurt will make up the cast of Love, Love, Love, a new play by Mike Bartlett (King Charles III). The Roundabout, off-Broadway play begins previews September 22, with opening night scheduled for October 19. Playbill has more.

  • The captivating Rebecca Naomi Jones (The Fortress of Solitude) and Kecia Lewis will star in the world premiere of Marie and Rosetta, written by George Brant. The Atlantic Theater production begins previews August 24, with opening night set for September 12. The limited engagement is scheduled to conclude October 2. Playbill has more.

  • George Takei will lead the company of Pacific Overtures. Classic Stage Company is mounting a revival of the Sondheim musical in spring 2017. Playbill has more.

  • Tony nominee Carrie Coon (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Placebo) has joined the cast of the upcoming third season of FX's Fargo. Coon, who is shooting the third and final season of The Leftovers, joins the previously announced Ewan McGregor. TV Line has more.

  • Heidi Blickenstaff ([title of show], Something Rotten) and Emma Hunton (Spring Awakening) will lead the world premiere of Freaky Friday, the musical adaptation of the Mary Rodgers novel and Disney film. The show features a score by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, and will bow at Virginia's Signature Theatre this fall. Broadway.com has more.

  • Oprah will be joined by Rose Byrne (This is Where I Leave You, You Can't Take It With You) in the HBO film, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The Wrap has details.
Hamilton Casting News

Are you Aaron Burr, sir (part two)? As announced last week, Brandon Victor Dixon will take on the role of Burr in Hamilton beginning in mid-August. But Tony winner Leslie Odom, Jr. played his final performance on July 9, so who's waiting in the wings? As I suspected, three understudies from Hamilton's deep bench are covering the role. Fans can expect to see Andrew Chappelle, Sydney James Harcourt (whom I saw cover George Washington; he was terrific), and Austin Smith. Broadwayworld.com has more. Chappelle, Smith, and Seth Stewart will also take turns covering the role of Lafayette/Jefferson beginning July 16, as Tony winner Daveed Diggs will take his final bow on July 15. Chappelle, Smith, and Stewart will cover the role while producers look for a full-time replacement. Also leaving the production is Tony winner Renee Elise Goldsberry, who'll play her final performance this fall. (The exact date has not been announced.) Goldsberry has been cast in the upcoming Netflix sci-fi series, Altered Carbon, set in a world in which people's minds have been digitized. The Hollywood Reporter has more. Meanwhile, casting for almost all the principal roles in the Chicago mounting is complete. (Performances begin September 27.) Miguel Cervantes (American Idiot, If/Then) will headline as Hamilton, while Karen Olivo (In the Heights, Murder Ballad) takes on Angelica Schuyler, and Wallace Smith (Godspell) plays the spy on the inside, Hercules Mulligan. Burr has not been cast. Visit Broadway.com for the rest of the principal casting. (PS—Via Twitter, Javier Munoz, now the full-time Hamilton on Broadway, announced that Cervantes will be the Hamilton alternate on Broadway until the previously announced Michael Luwoye takes over in August.)

Ballet Briefing

  • New York City Ballet has been performing in Paris for the three weeks, and The New York Times checked in with the dancers and Peter Martins to find out how it's going.

  • The nominees for this year's Bessies, the New York dance and performance awards, were announced. Among the nominees are Justin Peck's Heatscape (as performed in NY by the Miami City Ballet, the company for which the ballet was created). Visit bessies.org for the full list of nominees.

  • Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon (An American in Paris, American Rhapsody) took part in a Reddit AMA session on Thursday. Check out his answers to fans' questions like, "What got you interested in choreography?"
Dig This

  • Jonathan Groff (Hamilton) and the rest of the cast of Looking recently spoke about Looking, and what we can expect to see in the upcoming movie finale. That finale airs on HBO on July 23. Playbill has a round up of the videos.

  • Second Stage has announced that Chisa Hutchinson's play Somebody's Daughter will kick off its 2017 summer Uptown series. Playbill has more.

  • The legendary Mel Brooks has announced the publication of Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film, which is exactly what it sounds like. The book will be released October 18. Entertainment Weekly has more.

  • The previously announced production of Hamlet, starring Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, We Live Here) and directed by Tony winner Sam Gold (Fun Home, John), will no longer play Theater for a New Audience. Citing "insurmountable artistic differences," Gold pulled the production, and is in talks with the Public to make Hamlet part of its 2016-2017 season. Broadwayworld.com has more. (In other Oscar Isaac news, the actor might be teaming up with Steven Spielberg. Variety has the rumor.)

  • Aaron Tveit fans take note: Beginning July 24, Brain Dead will air on Sundays, rather than Mondays, on CBS. Variety has the report.

  • Emmy Award nominations were announced this week. HBO led the pack with 94 nominations, 23 of which were for Game of Thrones. Check out my post from earlier in the week for the nominees, then head to Variety for a by-the-numbers breakdown.

  • It's not official, but Playbill reports that Tony winner Michael Mayer (American Idiot, Brooklynite) will direct a revival of Lanford Wilson's Burn This in spring 2017. Additional rumors suggest that Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Little Shop of Horrors) will star. 

  • The Advocate spoke with Josh Groban about his summer tour and upcoming Broadway debut in The Great Comet. And over on The Great Comet website, you can hear Groban sing "Dust and Ashes," which is also available for purchase. (You can also listen below.) I got chills. Previews at the Imperial Theatre begin October 18, with opening night set for November 14. Tickets are now on sale.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Emmy Award Nominations

The Emmys will be handed out on Sunday, September 18, in a ceremony hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Herein, nominees in select categories. Visit emmys.org for the full list of nominees.



Comedy Series
Outstanding Comedy Series
  • Black-ish
  • Master of None
  • Modern Family
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Veep
Outstanding Lead Actor
  • Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
  • Aziz Ansari, Master of None
  • Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth
  • William H. Macy, Shameless
  • Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent 
Outstanding Lead Actress
  • Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Laurie Metcalf, Getting On
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
  • Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie  
Outstanding Supporting Actor
  • Louie Anderson, Baskets
  • Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Tony Hale, Veep 
  • Keegan-Michael Key, Key and Peele
  • Matt Walsh, Veep
Outstanding Supporting Actress
  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep
  • Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
  • Allison Janney, Mom
  • Judith Light, Transparent
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
  • Niecy Nash, Getting On
Outstanding Writing
  • Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe, "Episode 1"
  • Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, Master of None, "Parents"
  • Dan O'Keefe, Silicon Valley, "Founder Friendly"
  • Alec Berg, Silicon Valley, "The Uptick"
  • David Mandel, Veep, "Morning After"
  • Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, Veep, "Mother"
Outstanding Directing
  • Aziz Ansari, Master of None, "Parents"
  • Mike Judge, Silicon Valley, "Founder Friendly"
  • Alec Berg, Silicon Valley, "Daily Active Users"
  • Jill Soloway, Transparent, "Man on the Land"
  • Chris Addison, Veep, "Morning After"
  • Dave Mandel, Veep, "Kissing Your Sister"
  • Dale Stern, Veep, "Mother"
Outstanding Guest Actor
  • Larry David, Saturday Night Live
  • Peter MacNicol, Veep
  • Tracy Morgan, Saturday Night Live
  • Martin Mull, Veep
  • Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
  • Bradley Whitford, Transparent
Outstanding Guest Actress
  • Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
  • Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
  • Melora Hardin, Transparent
  • Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
  • Laurie Metcalf, The Big Bang Theory
  • Amy Schumer, Saturday Night Live


Drama Series
Outstanding Drama Series
  • Better Call Saul
  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • House of Cards
  • Mr. Robot
  • The Americans
Outstanding Lead Actor
  • Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
  • Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Matthew Rhys, The Americans
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards 
Outstanding Lead Actress
  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
  • Taraji P. Henson, Empire
  • Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
  • Keri Russell, The Americans
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards 
Outstanding Supporting Actor
  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
  • Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
  • Michael Kelly, House of Cards
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
  • Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Outstanding Supporting Actress
  • Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
  • Dame Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Maura Tierney, The Affair
  • Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
  • Constance Zimmer, Unreal
Outstanding Writing
  • Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey, "Episode 8"
  • David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones, "Battle of the Bastards"
  • Sam Esmail, Mr. Robot, "eps1.0_hellofriend.mov"
  • Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, The Americans, "Persona Non Grata"
  • Robert King and Michelle King, The Good Wife, "End"
  • Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, Unreal, "Return"
Outstanding Directing
  • Michael Engler, Downton Abbey, "Episode 9"
  • Jake Bender, Game of Thrones, "The Door"
  • Miguel Sapochnik, Game of Thrones, "Battle of the Bastards" 
  • Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland, "The Tradition of Hospitality"
  • David Hollander, Ray Donovan, "Exsuscito"
  • Steven Soderbergh, The Knick, "This is All We Are"
Outstanding Guest Actor
  • Mahershala Ali, House of Cards
  • Hank Azaria, Ray Donovan
  • Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
  • Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
  • Paul Sparks, House of Cards
  • Max von Sydow, Game of Thrones
Outstanding Guest Actress
  • Ellen Burstyn, House of Cards
  • Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
  • Margo Martindale, The Americans
  • Laurie Metcalf, Horace and Pete
  • Molly Parker, House of Cards
  • Carrie Preston, The Good Wife


Limited Series or Movie
Outstanding Television Movie
  • All the Way
  • Confirmation
  • Luther
  • Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
  • A Very Murray Christmas
Outstanding Limited Series
  • American Crime
  • Fargo
  • The Night Manager
  • The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Roots
Outstanding Lead Actor
  • Bryan Cranston, All the Way
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
  • Idris Elba, Luther
  • Cuba Gooding, Jr., The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
  • Courtney B. Vance, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
Outstanding Lead Actress
  • Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
  • Sarah Paulson, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Lili Taylor, American Crime
  • Kerry Washington, Confirmation
Outstanding Directing
  • Jay Roach, All the Way
  • Noah Hawley, Fargo, "Before the Law"
  • Susanne Bier, The Night Manager   
  • Ryan Murphy, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, "From the Ashes of Tragedy"
  • John Singleton, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, "The Race Card"
  • Anthony Hemingway, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, "Manna from Heaven" 
Outstanding Writing
  • Noah Hawley, Fargo, "Palindrome"
  • Bob DeLaurentis, Fargo,"Loplop"
  • David Farr, The Night Manager
  • D.V. DeVincentis, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia"
  • Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, "From the Ashes of Tragedy"
  • Joe Robert Cole, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, "The Race Card" 
Outstanding Supporting Actor
  • Sterling K. Brown, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
  • Jesse Plemons, Fargo
  • David Schwimmer, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
  • John Travolta, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Bokeem Woodbine, Fargo
Outstanding Supporting Actress
  • Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Hotel
  • Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
  • Regina King, American Crime
  • Melissa Leo, All the Way
  • Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Hotel
  • Jean Smart, Fargo


Other Categories
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
  • Inside Amy Schumer
  • Key and Peele
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Portlandia
  • Saturday Night Live
Outstanding Variety Special
  • Adele: Live in New York City
  • Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo
  • The Kennedy Center Honors
  • The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Prime Time Special
  • Lemonade
Outstanding Special Class Program
  • 68th Annual Tony Awards
  • 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards
  • Grease Live
  • The Oscars
  • Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show
Outstanding Variety Talk Series
  • Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • The Late Late Show with James Corden
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 
  • Real Time with Bill Maher 
  • The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon


Other Nominees of Note
  • Thomas Kail, Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special, Grease Live
  • William Ivey Long, Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Program, Grease Live 
  • David Korins, Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Nonfiction, Event, or Award Special, Grease Live
  • John Mulaney, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special, The Comeback Kid
  • Amy Schumer, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special, Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo 
  • Gina Sansom, Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, Horace and Pete, "Episode 103" (this is particularly interesting because Laurie Metcalf was nominated as a guest actress in this episode but in the Drama category)
  • Inside Amy Schumer, Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
  • Key and Peele, Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

Monday, July 11, 2016

Runaways

Some things were revolutionary when they were created, and, because of that, there's a special place in the pantheon for them. That doesn't necessarily mean they're great things, that they hold up. Consider Citizen Kane. It was a declared a marvel in its time, pioneering in its cinematography, the storytelling, the material... But have you watched it recently? It doesn't hold up. Outside of appreciating its place in film history, there's not much to enjoy about it now. (A widely-revered classic that does hold up? Casablanca.)

This was the feeling I had walking out of the Encores! Off-Center production of Runaways, the Elizabeth Swados musical that tells runaway children's stories. When the piece was created and mounted in the late 70s (first at the Public, then on Broadway), it was considered daring and dangerous, punk and important, urgent and vital. Not exactly a musical (there's no plot, linear or otherwise), Runaways is more a themed revue, mixing songs, poems, speeches, and dance in order to give voice to the young people who have run away from home, and are out on the streets trying to not die. (I'm careful in not saying they are trying to live.)

I think you'd have to be a monster to lack compassion for the children represented on stage. Ranging in age from 12 to 19, these children have left home (if you can call what they left a home). Some have become junkies. Some, at the mature age of 13, have taken to prostitution as a way of life. Everyone is left to fend for themselves, and to grow up long before it's time.

And, indeed, I'm not a monster so I have compassion for these children. I want to hug them all, and take care of them. I think it is important to have their stories told. I just don't agree with the madding crowd that this production is urgent and vital and impressive. I think most of the people carrying on about how amazing Runaways is are really saying that the original production was groundbreaking, and that they like being able to revisit it.

Without taking anything away from the work the young actors (including Lazarus's Sophia Anne Caruso) are doing, this didn't strike me as revelatory. I get the piece, and I understand its place in theatrical history. I'm just not going wild over it. To be sure, there are plenty of moving, poignant moments in it, and there are some child actors on that stage that I know I will see on other stages. But when the curtain came down and I left the theatre, Runaways didn't stay with me.

With one exception: the closing song's refrain, "Let me be a kid." If there's something to draw from this (other than for parents and guardians to love their children and wards), it's that kids should be allowed to just be kids. They don't need to wear make up. They don't need to be responsible for so much. They don't need to be over-scheduled, making it so they have no time to just be. Kids should be free to be (you and me); they should have downtime, time to be bored and use their imagination. Time to process whatever is or isn't happening to them, and develop coping mechanisms. Time to be kids. If you run away from this show with anything, run away with that message.