Media Morsels 6.11.10




  • American Idiot Update
    Perhaps in a final Tony push, the talented American Idiot cast popped up in several places this week. First, American Idiot and Green Day were profiles on CBS Sunday Morning. Second, the cast filmed unplugged performances of songs for TonyAwards.com, the official Tony website. Visit the site to view performances from American Idiot, Memphis and other musicals, or follow these links to watch “Wake Me Up When September Ends” (you’ll want to see this: Johnny Gallagher, Stark Sands, Michael Esper and acoustic guitars. Heaven) and “Last Night on Earth,” featuring Tony Vincent, Mary Faber, Rebecca Naomi Jones and several ensemble members. Finally, on Thursday morning the cast performed on CBS’s The Early Show. The talented and beautiful bunch sang an abbreviated version of “21 Guns,” and then spoke to Early Show co-host Julie Chen, which left just enough time for Johnny Gallagher to give props to Delaware.


  • American Idiot Wins 10 Broadwayworld.com Fans' Choice Awards!
    The fans got it right in their voting this time: American Idiot won for Best Musical, Best Direction, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Leading Actor (Johnny!), Best Featured Actor (Tony Vincent, plus second and third place went to Michael Esper and Stark Sands,) Best Featured Actress (Rebecca Naomi Jones,) Best Sound Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Scenic Design. Plus, fans voted Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson as the Best Off-Broadway Musical. Way to go fans, and way to go American Idiot!

  • Can’t get enough of American Idiot? Believe in marriage equality? Well, you’re in luck: The cast of American Idiot will be performing a benefit for Broadway Impact at Joe’s Pub on Sunday, July 25. (Yours truly and a friend already have tickets!) Broadway Impact is a grassroots organization which mobilizes the theatre community – Broadway and beyond – in support of marriage equality. They helped organize the equality march in Washington DC last October. You can purchase general admission tickets to the event for $25, or special, VIP tickets (which give you preferred seating and access to a meet and greet with the cast beforehand) for $100. All proceeds go to Broadway Impact. This is part of Broadway Impact’s summer concert series, which will kick off the week before with performances from the cast of Next to Normal.


  • Jordan Roth Re-Envisions Broadway
    Speaking of American Idiot, Jujamcyn Theatres president Jordan Roth recently spoke with NY Magazine about the state of Broadway and his vision for its future. (Jujamcyn is an American Idiot producer. All of the Broadway houses are owned by one of a few theatre companies: Jujamcyn, Shubert and Nederlander, or one of the non-profits, like Roundabout or MTC.) I found it pretty interesting to read about his approach to nurturing shows and changing the face of Broadway.


  • Tony Time!
    The Tony Awards are being presented this Sunday, dear readers! As you might imagine, I’m beyond excited for this, even though the nominating committee already ensured that some people most deserving of awards won’t win (for example: No directing nomination for Michael Mayer – shameful.) I’ll be back on Monday with full coverage and my reaction to the performances, awards and speeches. But of course, the most important part of any award show is the clothes. Broadway.com recently caught up with some of this year’s nominees to ask them how to get red carpet-ready. Some of the answers? Sahr Ngaujah said he just calls his mom and sisters, and they tell him what to wear; Catherine Zeta-Jones says the trick is to walk in your shoes beforehand so you don’t take a red carpet nose dive; and Valerie Harper recommends corrective underwear.


    • A little Tony bonus: Broadway.com has a new episode of Side by Side by Susan Blackwell, the hilarious web series in which the snarky Susan Blackwell hangs out with and interviews three Broadway folks. This episode is Tony themed, as Susan chats with nominees Chad Kimball (Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Memphis,) Katie Finneran (Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, Promises, Promises) and Robin De Jesus (Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, La Cage aux Folles.)


  • Glee Scoop
    So… what did you think of “Journey,” the Glee season-one finale? I thought a few of the moments were a little heavy handed, but I really liked the way they wrapped up the season. And the performances were great. I won’t lie – I teared up a little during “To Sir, With Love,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (a song that almost didn’t make it into the final cut of The Wizard of Oz!) I really liked Vocal Adrenaline’s rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" because now we have four great versions to choose from: There’s the original, by Queen; there’s Glee’s version (watch the full episode); there’s the Muppets'; and there’s Wayne’s World’s version. Which is your favorite?


    • Even though the first season just ended, EW is reporting some rumors about next season. You remember when Emma mentioned she was dating her dentist? EW reports that said dentist will be played by Uncle Jesse – a.k.a., John Stamos. I find this rather funny in light of Emma’s comment in the episode “Acafellas.” She’s talking about the fact that success is more about confidence than talent and as an example, says, “I mean, just look at John Stamos.” Zing! Stamos is a good sport for coming on after that (kind of like when the dreadful Tori Spelling made a cameo in Scream 2 after Sidney (Neve Campbell) made a comment about Tori playing Sidney in the movie of her life. So meta.)


    • In other Glee news, we’ve known for a while now that many of the Glee misfits will be recording their own albums. Broadwayworld.com is reporting that dreamboat Matthew Morrison will record his record this summer in London and that he will be writing his own songs! I have no clue what that indicates as far as quality but I applaud him for taking a stab at it.


  • New Dog, Old Tricks
    To wrap up the season, Salon.com took a look at Glee to find out why certain moments work and others don’t (in the opinion of Salon writers.) They say that the musical numbers work much better – that they’re more sincere – than the straight dialogue; I don’t necessarily disagree, though I don’t find the dialogue as cumbersome as Salon makes it out to be. However, as a musical theatre scholar, I must point out a flaw in Salon’s argument. In talking about how the musical numbers happen, Salon writes, “thus the post-MTV obsession with justifying why characters conceivably might burst into song – the mania for justifying it as a live performance, or fantasy or whatever.” It’s not a post-MTV obsession but rather the roots of American Musical Theatre! The traditional American book musical (the first one is widely agreed to have been Showboat,) began, in the 1920s, by using the show-within-a-show device; this device was what allowed audiences members to buy-in to the notion that people would randomly start singing. Think about Anything Goes. Reno Sweeny is a performer so when she starts singing the title song, it makes sense. In this year’s Memphis, one of the few, truly original American book musicals to hit this season, Felicia and many of her friends are performers so we can accept that she might sing when she’s full of emotion. Similarly, the characters in Glee are performers – they’re in glee club – thereby making it perfectly acceptable that they would start singing in the middle of their school’s hallway. This distinction points to why Glee works and another TV-musical series, Cop Rock, failed back in 1990: No one buys that police officers would burst into song. Salon is correct in identifying why we think it’s okay for the McKinley High misfits to start singing at any given moment, but it’s nothing new. It’s just an old musical theatre trick!


  • Muppets and IBM
    Did you know that before the muppets were the Muppets they shilled for IBM? Jim Henson created several advertisements and training videos for IBM in their early days, using some puppets, like Rowlf and Cookie Monster, that would go on to be iconic and beloved characters.


  • Brian Williams Hearts Bruce Springsteen
    Trusted newsman, and Muppet look-alike, Brian Williams, loves the Boss. No, not his boss, but the Boss, Bruce Springsteen. Williams is a Jersey kid (as he and Jon Stewart are wont to discuss every time Williams stops by The Daily Show) and he recently taped a segment for Sirius/XM Satellite radio, DJ-ing an all-Bruce set. Visit RollingStone.com for some behind the scenes footage.


  • Coming to Broadway?
    This week, several shows’ producers announced intentions to come to Broadway in the next couple of years. Some highlights: Hello, Dolly, to be directed by Bartlett Sher and possibly starring Lea Michele, with an ETA of 2012; Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles, this has toured the country and will play a limited run at the Neil Simon theatre from October 19 through January 2, but I’d say if you want good Beatles covers, go see the Fab Faux instead; and Annie may be back on Broadway, in time for the 35th anniversary of the musical, with an updated book.


  • A Little [More] Night Music
    While the above mentioned shows are just trying to make their way to the Great White Way, it is now confirmed that the revival of A Little Night Music will stay there past the previously reported closing date of June 20. The show will take a brief hiatus from June 21-July 13; Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury will depart on the 20th and Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch will step in. The latter two ladies will make their first bow in Music on July 13.


  • New Goodman Family
    We knew that Alice Ripley and Brian d’Arcy James would be leaving Next to Normal on July 18. This week, we learned that Jennifer Damiano, who plays their daughter, Natalie, will also depart the show on the 18th. Her current understudy, Meghann Fahy, will take over the role on July 19. That much is confirmed. What’s next for Damiano is only rumored: The New York Times is reporting that Damiano will swing into Spider Man (when it finally opens on Broadway) as Peter Parker’s love interest, Mary Jane Watson. I’ll keep you posted on any further developments, including an official opening date for Spider Man.


  • Breaking Promises
    Kristen Chenoweth will leave Promises, Promises in September. Playbill.com is reporting an interview in which Chenoweth said she would play her final performance in the musical on September 26, and that she will return to Glee. No word yet on what April Rhodes will be up to this time, but I really hope that her third visit to McKinley High isn’t another “The Kristen Chenoweth Show,” as was her second appearance.


  • Don’t Quit Your Night Job
    Ever wonder what rock stars and other pop figures do when they’re not on stage? Rolling Stone recently ran an online pictorial chronicling moonlighting musicians, including Bono working for the NY Times and Ringo Starr doing a voiceover for Thomas the Tank Engine, a children’s cartoon.


  • Hair Cut
    And this little Hippie went home. The Tony award winning revival of Hair: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical, will take its final Broadway bow on June 27, at 3pm. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I suspected it would close soon, but I thought it would run through the summer and close after Labor Day, like its Manchester, England, England counterpart. But, producers announced on Wednesday that the show would close in June, just a couple of weeks after it celebrates its 500th performance. When this revival closes, it will have played 29 preview performances and 519 regular performances. I will have seen it 13 times on Broadway, including opening and closing night. However, you still have a chance to see this show about love and peace and equality – Hair is going on tour! The Hippies will start their North American tour this October in Washington, DC. Visit hairbroadway.com for more information.

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