Media Morsels 2.12.10
- Next to Normal Tour to Hit San Diego
According to subscription notices San Diego’s Balboa theatre is sending out, Next to Normal will make a stop at the naval base city in January 2011. Also making stops in San Diego will be Beauty and the Beast, West Side Story and Hair. All this is according to Broadway/San Diego and not official announcements from any of the show’s producers. So, keep checking those advertisements from Broward Center or whatever your local touring house is to keep up to date on what’s heading your way.
- SNL – Kind of Funny
Despite being hosted by douche cougar extraordinaire Ashton Kutcher, this past Saturday’s SNL was pretty decent. There were two musical performances by Them Crocked Vultures, a super group made up of Josh Homme (from Queens of the Stone Age), Dave Grohl (the front man of my favorite, Foo Fighters) and the legendary John Paul Jones. Their two performances meant less time for bad sketches. Also, Weekend Update seemed longer than usual, and with the deliciously snarky Seth Meyers at the anchor desk, that’s always a good thing. The surprise was that there were actually two funny sketches. One was a made up game show called “What is Burn Notice” in which the only question of the game is “What is Burn Notice”. (As the “host” says, Burn Notice is a top rated TV show on USA – but who’s ever watched it? [Sidenote: I see advertisements for this and think the two lead actors are the two most unattractive, fake-tan stick figures I’ve ever seen.]) And the other sketch was just the funny and lovable Andy Samberg as Rahm Emanuel, making an apology for his recent gaffe. Watch and laugh.
- More Time
The terrific new Donald Margulies play Time Stands Still will extend its run for one week, now running through March 27. Manhattan Theatre Club, the producing house, will push the first preview of its next play, Collected Stories, also by Margulies (and one of my favorites) by three days to accommodate Time Stand Still’s extension.
Speaking of Time Stands Still, check out Broadway.com’s Q&A with the multi-talented and insightful Brian d’Arcy James.
- Award Show Season
Until now, most of the award show season talk has been about movies (with the minor dalliance into music for the Grammy awards earlier this month.) And while we still have the Oscars to look forward to, some theatre award news has been announced this week. First, the Outer Critics Circle award nominations will be announced April 26th and the award winners will be announced on May 17. The winners will be honored at a dinner at Sardi’s on May 27. The OCC is made up of writers covering New York theatre for regional publications and other media outlets. Next up are the Drama Desk Awards. The Drama Desk is made up of theatre critics and writers, and honors all New York theatre: Broadway, off and off-off. The nominations will be announced on May 3 and the awards will be handed out on May 23.
This is all in anticipation of the Tony awards. Tony noms will be announced on May 4 but the Tony committee meets about four times during the year, before the cutoff for nomination eligibility, to discuss in which categories various shows and actors are eligible. Generally, eligibility relates to opening night billing: Anyone’s name above the title is considered in the leading performance category and everyone else in the supporting. However, producers may petition the Tony committee to consider actors in other categories. For example, in this latest meeting, it was decided that Angela Lansbury, despite having her name above the title for A Little Night Music, would be considered in the supporting actress category. If you’ve seen the show, you know this makes sense – her role is a supporting role but because she’s Angela Lansbury, her name was above the title. The same is true for Scarlett Johansson, who is starring in the well reviewed (though not by me – I haven’t seen this yet) revival of A View from the Bridge. She’s a movie star so her name is above the title, but her role is a supporting one so that’s the category she’ll be considered in. Sometimes the opposite happens. Sometimes the leading role is played by relative unknowns (read: non movie stars), either that or no one’s name is above the title. (Like in Hair and Spring Awakening.) This year, Cheyenne Jackson, Kate Baldwin and Jim Norton, all terrific in Finian’s Rainbow and all known to the theatre community, will be considered in the leading actor/actress in a musical category, despite none of their names being above the title. You can read all about the rulings on Playbill.com but one more I’d like to mention regards Fela! The committee ruled that Sahr Ngaujah will be eligible for a leading actor nod, but Kevin Mambo, who alternates playing the role of Fela Kuti with Sahr, is not eligible because Sahr played the opening night performance. I don’t like this ruling because it is inconsistent with last year’s eligibility of all three Billys from Billy Elliot. Obviously only one of the boys performed on opening night, yet all three were eligible, together as one nomination – and won – despite this opening night detail. I don’t understand the logic behind allowing the three boys, who share a role, to be eligible and yet the two men who share a role are not. When I saw Fela!, I actually saw Kevin Mambo – not Sahr – and he was terrific. This may be a case of the producers not petitioning on behalf of Kevin Mambo, but whatever the reason behind it, I don’t agree with it. In any case, the Tony committee will meet twice more (at one of these meetings, I’m sure they’ll discuss American Idiot’s status!) before nominations are announced on May 4, and the big night is Sunday June 13. Get your best gown or tux ready!
- New Hippies
With most of the current Tribe of the rousing revival of Hair getting ready to cross the pond to launch the London production, it’s time to start guessing who’s going to become a part of the new Broadway tribe. One of the latest rumors says that American Idol (blech) alums Ace Young (who?) and Diana DeGarmo (who??) will be joining the American Tribal Love Rock Musical. I really don’t know why they would start stunt casting, especially when Diane Paulus, the director, has said in the past that they spent so much time looking for the current Tribe, making sure that they not only were talented but also felt the message of Hair. I don’t know who either of these American Idol participants are, but because of their thin resume, I’m skeptical about their sincerity. But, this is just a rumor; no official casting announcements have been made so we’ll just wait and see. The new Tribe debuts on March 9 so the announcement is imminent.
Read this interview with Ms. Paulus to learn about the casting process and her plans for Hair’s London bow.
- Side by Side by Susan Blackwell
Episode three in this series, in which sassy [tosser] Susan Blackwell spends a day with theatre folks, features Hair’s Will Swenson (!) as well as comedic great Andrea Martin (very funny in last season’s Exit the King) and Lin-Manuel Miranda, of In the Heights fame.
- Glee Scoop: I love it, I love it, I love it!
It was reported this week that funny lady and SNL alum Molly Shannon would make an appearance on the back nine episodes of Glee, which will begin airing on April 13. She’s set to play nemesis to Coach Sue Sylvester, played by the hilarious Jane Lynch. Can’t wait to see those two fearless and funny ladies go toe-to-toe!
- Allison Janney in Your Living Room
The fabulous (and wonderfully gracious) Allison Janney may be heading back to the small screen. Word has it that she and Matthew Perry (another Aaron Sorkin alum – he appeared as a guest on a few episodes of The West Wing and starred in the prematurely canceled Studio 60) have been tapped to star in a new ABC pilot, Mr. Sunshine. No word yet on whether it’s actually been picked up for a full season but the pilot is in the works and with ABC canceling a couple of its current shows (Ugly Betty and Better Off Ted) they just might have some room in their schedule for one starring these two terrific actors.
- From the Vault
In the back of every issue of Rolling Stone, they list the Billboard Top 40 Albums and some other charts, including a vault chart, which features the top ten singles from a back issue. Usually the vault issue is from ten or more years ago and often they’re deep “cuts”, referring to issues from the 60s. So what does it say about popular music that of the ten singles listed in this chart from 2006, I’ve heard none of them and yet when the vault issue is from 1986, or 1996 or 1966, I know almost all the songs? Looking down at this “vault” list, I recognize a couple of artists whose music I know, like and have: Beyonce and Mary J. Blige; I recognize a couple of performers I’ve heard of, but only begrudgingly: T-Pain and James Blunt; and the rest, I’m clueless about. Who in the world is Cascada? I guess what this says is that in the aughts, these “popular” performers need a little help from Galinda. (By the way, you shouldn't be deterred from the current issue, which features a picture of Lil Wayne on the cover; if you can get past that, you'll find inside a beautiful photo and a lovely profile of Jeff Bridges.)