Media Morsels 5.24.13

Carol Burnett Receives Mark Twain Prize

The incomparable Carol Burnett will be awarded the 2013 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The legendary, multi-talented funny lady will be honored at the Kennedy Center in October. The salute will air on PBS on October 30. Of the honor, Burnett says, "I can't believe I'm getting a humor prize from the Kennedy Center. It's almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington." Playbill has details.

Theatre Award Season

Tony Awards
  • Tag along with nominee Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots) as she shops for a dress for the big night.

  • CBS has signed a new contract that ensures the Tony Awards are broadcast on CBS through at least 2018. has more.

  • This week, the Tony Awards administration committee met to discuss a possible infraction by one of the nominated shows. The infraction stems from a brochure Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? producer Jeffrey Richards sent to voters. The brochure included quotes from reviews even though Tony rules specify such brochures must include the full review. The producer was issued a stern warning and no further action will be taken. From the committee's statement: "The...abbreviated quotes from the critical reviews were consistent with the overall intent of those reviews, and therefore the committee determined that no further action would be taken on this issue."

Drama League Awards
Handed out last Friday, the Drama League Awards honor excellence in both Broadway and off-Broadway. Herein, the winners (visit Playbill for the full list, including all the nominees). And head over to for photos of both the men and the women, plus a red carpet round up.
  • Outstanding Production of a Play: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
  • Outstanding Production of a Musical: Kinky Boots
  • Outstanding Revival of a Play: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Outstanding Revival of a Musical: Pippin
  • Distinguished Performance Award: Nathan Lane, The Nance (note: this category has a multitude of nominees and one person is recognized; an actor can receive this honor only once in his/her career)
Drama Desk Awards
On Sunday night, the 2013 Drama Desk Awards were handed out. Below are some of the winners, by show. Visit for the full list. And head to for photos, including arrivals; winners; and candids.
  • The Assembled Parties, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, Judith Light
  • The Big Knife, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, Richard Kind
  • Cinderella, Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Laura Osnes; Outstanding Costume Design, William Ivey Long; and Outstanding Orchestrations, Danny Troub
  • Here Lies Love, Outstanding Lighting Design, Justine Townsend; Outstanding Music, David Byrne and Fatboy Slim; and Outstanding Projections, Peter Nigrini (Bonus: Here Lies Love has been extended again! It will now play through July 28.)
  • (three way tie between) Hands on a Hardbody, Chaplin and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical
  • Kinky Boots, Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Billy Porter
  • Matilda, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Bertie Carvel; Outstanding Book, Dennis Kelly; Outstanding Lyrics, Tim Minchin; Outstanding Musical; and Outstanding Set Design, Rob Howell
  • Pippin, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Andrea Martin; Outstanding Choreography, Chet Walker and Gypsy Snider; Outstanding Director of a Musical, Diane Paulus; and Outstanding Revival of a Musical
  • Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Outstanding Play
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Outstanding Actor in a Play, Tracy Letts; Outstanding Director of a Play, Pam MacKinnon; and Outstanding Revival of a Play
Obie Awards
Honoring excellence in off-Broadway, the Obie Awards were handed out this week. Winners include Annie Baker (playwriting) and Matthew Maher (performance) for The Flick and David Byrne and Fatboy Slim (music/lyrics) for Here Lies Love. Visit for a full list of winners.

Off-Broadway Alliance Awards
The Off-Broadway Alliance, comprised of off-Broadway producers, theatres, general managers, press agents and marketing professionals, announced the winners of its awards. Winners include the off-Broadway bow of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Visit Playbill for the full list of winners.
Casting News

  • The first new show of the 2013-2014 Broadway season, the new, original musical First Date, has its leading players: Krysta Rodriguez (The Addams Family, Smash) and TV star Zachary Levi (Chuck). They will play Casey and Aaron, respectively, the couple on the titular first date. The new musical, written by Alan Zachary + Michael Weiner (score) and Austin Winsberg (book) begins previews at the Longacre Theatre on July 9 in advance of an August 8 opening. has more. (Rodriguez can also be heard on the recently released Joe Iconis Rock and Roll Jamboree album.)

  • Rodriguez's Smash costar, Tony winner Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher) will star in the February 2014 City Center Encores! production of Little Me. That runs February 5-9, 2014. Shuler Hensley, recently seen in the Carousel concert, will star in the second Encores! production of the season, Most Happy Fella, which runs April 2-6. Closing out the Encores! season will be Irma La Douce, running May 7-11 and directed by John Doyle (Wings, Company). has more.

  • Current Tony nominees for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Tracy Letts and Amy Morton have joined the cast of Homeland for its third season. According to TV Line, Letts will play Senator Andrew Lockhart while Morton will portray Carrie (Claire Danes)'s CIA-appointed attorney. Homeland returns on Sunday, September 29.
Oscar News

I know - it's May. But here are a couple of Academy Award tidbits from the week:
  • Seth MacFarlane, this year's host, has officially said no to hosting in 2014. Though he already said no to hosting again shortly after he concluded his hosting duties this year, this week he tweeted a more definitive response. (By the way, did you catch the Oscar host insert in the season finale of Family Guy this week?) The Hollywood Reporter has more.

  • The rules have changed for those eligible to receive an award in the Animated Feature category. Now more than one person, including the many producers who work on such films, will be able to take home an actual trophy, not just the main artistic force. The Hollywood Reporter has details.

First Listen: Love's Labour's Lost

The Public Theater released the final demo from the upcoming Shakespeare in the Park production of Love's Labour's Lost. This funny tune is "Jaquenetta," and features Caesar Samayoa. The musical adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy comes from team Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Michael Friedman (score) and Alex Timbers (book and direction). It plays in Central Park's Delacorte theatre this summer, July 23-August 18. Listen here!

Critics' Choice Television Awards

Nominations for these awards were announced this week. Some nominees: (visit Playbill for the full list of nominees)
  • Best Comedy Series: Parks and Recreation and Veep

  • Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation

  • Best Actress in a Comedy Series: Laura Dern, Enlightened; Lena Dunham, Girls; Sutton Foster, Bunheads; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep; and Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

  • Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation, and Danny Pudi, Community

  • Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series: Molly Shannon, Enlightened, and Patrick Wilson, Girls

  • Best Drama Series: The Americans; Breaking Bad; Downton Abbey; Game of Thrones; The Good Wife; and Homeland

  • Best Actor in a Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Damian Lewis, Homeland; and Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

  • Best Actress in a Drama Series: Claire Danes, Homeland, and Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

  • Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad, and Corey Stoll, House of Cards

  • Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad, and Monica Potter, Parenthood

  • Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series: Jane Fonda, The Newsroom; and Martha Plimpton and Carrie Preston (separate nominations), The Good Wife
Awards will be handed out on June 10 (the day after the Tonys) and will stream live via UStream.

Murder Ballad Rocks Downtown

After a successful run at MTC's Studio at Stage II, Murder Ballad has reemerged downtown for a sweaty, sexy summer run. The production features John Ellison Conlee, Will Swenson and Rebecca Naomi Jones, all returning from the fall iteration, and Caissie Levy, taking over the central role of Sara. In previews since the beginning of the month, the company celebrated opening night this week. Check out my review, photo coverage and opening night video below and then head over to to learn more and to purchase tickets. The show runs through September 29.

Dig This

  • For the penultimate night of Aaron Tveit's sold out run at 54 Below, Tveit welcomed his Graceland costars, and has photos of the chummy cast. Graceland premieres on USA Network on Thursday, June 6. (Bonus: Tveit spoke with Entertainment Tonight about the concerts and his enthusiasm for Graceland.)

  • Carole King is set to receive the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and the tribute performance will be live streamed and broadcast from the White House on May 28. Performers include Billy Joel, Gloria Estefan and James Taylor. Playbill has details.

  • The inimitable Mel Brooks will receive the American Film Institute's (AFI) Life Achievement Award. Martin Scorsese will present Brooks with the award, and the ceremony will be broadcast on TNT on June 15 at 9pm. Entertainment Weekly has more.

  • The lovely and talented Tony winner, Laura Benanti, sat down with Susan Blackwell for another installment of Side by Side by Susan Blackwell. Benanti (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, TV's Go On) is playing the cabaret 54 Below this weekend.

  • Watch former The Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac talk to W. Kamau Bell on Bell's weekly news show, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. Cenac offers insight into what's going on with President Obama these days and being "friends" with Jay-Z.