Week in Review 2.28.14

Oscar Prep

The Oscars will be presented this Sunday night! (The ceremony begins at 8pm EST and airs on ABC.) In preparation, the Academy has announced the full list of presenters. In addition to those announced last week, some of the starry presenters are: Amy Adams; Penelope Cruz; Viola Davis; Robert De Niro; Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Michael B. Jordan; Anna Kendrick; Bill Murray; Kim Novak; Sidney Poitier; and Charlize Theron. Read the press release for the full list, and visit the Oscars Presenters gallery to find out who their heroes are. (Remember that "heroes" is the theme this year. Whatever.)

Rolling Stone posted a list of the 12 people most likely to join the EGOT club. (EGOT = Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Only 11 people are in the club right now (including Mel Brooks, Marvin Hamlisch and Rita Moreno), and on Sunday night, Bobby Lopez could join them. (He won Tonys for Avenue Q; Tonys and a Grammy for The Book of Mormon; and an Emmy (daytime) for The Wonder Pets.) He's nominated for an Oscar for co-writing "Let It Go," from Frozen. (He co-wrote with song with his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez.)

As part of the Wizard of Oz tribute, Judy Garland's children, Liza Minelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft, will reunite to commemorate the beloved film. The Hollywood Reporter has more. ... Buzz Feed has Cartoon Bakery's renditions of Oscar nominees as Disney characters. ... Rolling Stone's Peter Travers names his picks for the best performances not nominated for an Oscar (over time, not just this year). Travers also predicts who will win on Sunday night and notes who should win, as does The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg (I hope he's wrong about Best Supporting Actress). ... Vulture offers advice for "How to Explain Each of the Nominees Winning Best Picture."

I'm getting ready by publishing my Culturalist "Best Oscar-winning Performances" lists:
In more Oscar Breakdowns, The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg assesses the "short" races, that is, the races for Best Animated Short; Best Documentary Short; and Best Live-Action Short. He also takes a look at the Best Original Song race. (Remember that "Let It Go," from Frozen, is nominated and Idina Menzel will sing it on the telecast!) And finally, he breaks down the most coveted honor, the award for Best Picture.

Other Awards: The NAACP Image Awards were handed out. 12 Years a Slave and team came out on Top. The Hollywood Reporter has the full list of winners. ... Satellite Awards (which, according to many awards experts, are rather dubious) were presented. Once again, 12 Years a Slave took the top honor, as did Dallas Buyers Club's Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, and Blue Jasmine's Cate Blanchett. Playbill has more. ... Don't forget that the Film Independent Spirit Awards will be handed out on Saturday. This typically laid-back affair will be hosted by Patton Oswalt. Here's the full list of nominees. (You can watch the awards on IFC.)

Confirmed: Audra McDonald to Return to Broadway

Last week we just had rumors. This week we have confirmation that Audra McDonald will return to Broadway this spring. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, a Lanie Robertson play about Billie Holiday, will begin previews on March 25 with opening night set for April 13. The play with music is to be directed by Lonny Price and will play at the Circle in the Square Theatre (one of the more intimate venues on Broadway). McDonald was most recently seen on Broadway in Porgy and Bess, which netted the star her fifth Tony. Broadway.com has more.

The Bridges of Madison County

The new musical from Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years), opened last week and there's good news this week: There will be a cast album! Brown confirmed this via Twitter, to the delight of fans all over. The album will be recorded on Monday. Starring Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale, the musical is adapted from the Robert James Waller novel and features the most glorious score to grace the Broadway stage in years. While waiting for the cast album to be recorded and released, you can head to The Bridges of Madison County's website to stream four songs (including the breathtaking—literally—"One Second and a Million Miles"), and then check out this video from the company's opening night:



Pippin Casting News

The Tony-winning revival will welcome new cast members. Kyle Dean Massey (Next to Normal) and Ciara Renee (Big Fish) will soon join the circus as Pippin and Leading Player, respectively. Current Pippin, Matthew James Thomas, and Leading Player, Tony winner Patina Miller, will take their final bow on March 30. Massey and Renee will begin their run on April 1. Pippin continues its magical run at the Music Box Theatre. Broadway.com has more about the casting news.

Tony Awards News

Just as film award season dies down, theatre award season picks up. The Tony Awards Administration Committee announced this week a rules change. In the four main categories, Best Musical; Best Musical Revival; Best Play; and Best Play Revival, there are typically four nominees. However, with this change, the Nominating Committee can now choose to nominate fewer or more shows in the those categories, depending upon the number of eligible entrants. If there are more than nine shows eligible in a given category, then up to five shows may be nominated. If there are fewer than nine shows eligible, then the Nominating Committee may choose to nominate only three productions. Tony nominations will be announced on Tuesday, April 29, and the awards will be presented on Sunday, June 8. Hugh Jackman will be our host. Playbill has more.

TV Updates

  • The HBO adaptation of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart will premiere on the premium cable channel on Sunday, May 25 at 9pm. The teleplay stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer and Julia Roberts. Alumni from the recent Broadway revival, Joe Mantello and Jim Parsons, will make appearances, as will theatre favorites Jonathan Groff, Stephen Spinella, Joel Grey, Denis O'Hare, B.D. Wong, Alfred Molina and Corey Stoll. Playbill has more.

  • Lena Dunham, creator and star of Girls, will host SNL on March 8. Playbill has more.

  • The Parks and Recreation season finale will feature a cameo by First Lady Michelle Obama! Hit Fix has details.

  • The new HBO show Looking, which stars theatre favorite Jonathan Groff (The Submission, Spring Awakening) has been picked up for a second season. Broadway.com has more. 
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