The 74th Tony Awards Will Be Televised
By: Ellis Nassour
August 23, 2020: Such great news, as excellently reported here by our David Sheward, that Fall will bring a televised 74th annual Tony Awards, honoring the 2019-2020 season, which was sadly cut short by Covid 19. The American Theater Wing and Broadway League — co-presenters of the Awards, announced that 18 of the 20 shows that opened before the March 13 shutdown will be eligible for nominations. Additional details will be released soon.
The Wing and League decided it would be unfair to combine nominations from this season with those that, hopefully, will follow next season after theatres, hopefully, reopen in March and April with quite a stellar line-up of shows, that’ll include a spectacular musical about King of Pop Michael Jackson and featuring his music archive; and stars – which include Matthew Broderick, Danny Burstein, Sutton Foster, Hugh Jackson, Katrina Lenk, Patti LuPone, Karen Olivo, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
The orgs issued a joint statement: “Though unprecedented events cut the 2019-2020 Broadway season short, it was a year full of extraordinary work that deserves to be recognized. We’re thrilled to have found a way to properly celebrate our artists’ incredible achievements this season … The show must go on, no matter what — and it will.”
Only productions on the boards prior to February 19 will be eligible for 2019-2020 nominations. They include Harold Pinter’s Betrayal revival, Darren Brown: Secret; David Byrne’s American Utopia; Freestyle Love Supreme;Beth Wohl’s Grand Horizons; Robert Schenkkan’s The Great Society; Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance; Alanis Morissetteand Glen Ballard’s Jagged Little Pill; Joe Tracz and Rob Rokicki’s The Lightning Thief; Tracy Letts’ Linda Vista; Elizabeth Strout’s My Name Is Lucy Barton;John Logan’s Moulin Rouge!, Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo revival, Adam Rapp’s The Sound Inside; and Katori Hall / Frank Ketelaar / Kees Prins’ Tina.
Sondheim/Bernstein’s West Side Story revival, which was very long in previews prior to finally opening February 20 [a day after Wing/League cutoff; and Girl from the North Country, featuring music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, which debuted March 5, have been deemed ineligible for 2019-2020 consideration due to the fact that too few members of the huge Tony Nomination Committee were able to see them prior to the shutdown. They’ll be eligible in 2020-2021 season.
Productions in previews coming back include Sondheim’s Company revival, starring Tony winners Lenk and LuPone; Diana, following its March premiere as a streaming Netflix special; Lincoln Center Theater’s musical, Flying Over Sunset; Broadway debut revival of Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive; revival of Neil Simon’s comedy Plaza Suite, starring Parker and Tony winner Broderick; Gary Clark / John Carney / Edna Walsh’s Sing Street; and Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’ Six.
Also set to arrive are a revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo; the National’s Theatre’s The Lehman Trilogy; Letts’ The Minutes; MJ [Michael Jackson], which will reopen the stunning multi-million dollar renovated and restored Neil Simon [boasting larger seats]; Karey Kirpatrick and John O’Farrell’s Mrs. Doubtfire; revival of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, starring Tony winners Jackman, Foster, and Shuler Hensley; and Roundabout revivals of the musicals 1776 and Caroline, or Change.
Broadway Revival of Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band Will Stream on Netflix Beginning September 30
The film of Mart Crowley’s 2018 Tony-winning revival of The Boys in the Band – making its Broadway debut after 50 years of productions Off Broadway and world-wide, is directed by two-time Tony-winner Joe Mantello, who helmed the Broadway production The screenplay is by Crowley and Ned Martel. As Crowley insisted with the first film of his original1968 production, the film features its original cast: Michael Benjamin, Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Matt Bomer, Charlie Carver, two-time Tony nominee Robin de Jesús, Brian Hutchinson, Golden Globe and four-time Emmy winner Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Tony-nominee Andrew Rannells, and Tuc Watkins.
Co-producers are Murphy, Mantello, Martel, David Stone, and Alexis Martin Woodall. The film was shot in L.A., beginning July 2019. Before his death at 83 in March, Crowley not only visited with the production but was able to see the final edit.
When The Boys in the Band opened Off-Broadway, it soon became a sensation, and one of the longest-running Off Broadway shows (just short of 18 months; 1001 performances). An Associated Press blurb read: “One of the few plays that can honestly claim to have helped spark a social revolution.”
Soon after the praise for the blistering portrayal of his nine diverse characters, the play opened a powder keg of emotions just as America’s gay pride and identity movement opened another powder keg after the Stonewall Inn arrests. The onset of the fateful AIDS crisis came next. Gays fought for research funding and a better portrayal of themselves. Crowley’s play was considered divisive, too-stereotypical.
Crowley said, “I never imagined the play or I would be targeted and so reviled. It’s not intended to be a sermon. It’s not my intention to give anyone advice. What do I know about social causes? I had no hidden agenda. If anything, my agenda was writing for personal fulfillment and for my own survival after years of frustration and failure. It all came onto the page, maybe even boiled over, rather quickly and easily.”
As things calmed, there were cheers. The play, one of the first homosexual-themed plays to reach mainstream audiences, is considered a landmark and a landmark of gay cinema. With thousands of productions regional and worldwide and a film, it is one of theater’s most produced plays.
Crowley admitted, “There’s a little of me in some of the characters, and a lot of many people I’ve known, but the black comedy is not a confession, nor is it autobiographical – although there’s some dialogue that draws a number of personal parallels.”
With Murphy and Stone, along with Scott Rudin, bringing the play to Broadway in 2018, Crowley crowed, “I’m back! The band is still playing. Who in the world would ever believe this would happen? I’m extremely blessed for all the good fortune at this time in my life.”
That night, with longtime friends, he stood across the street from the Booth in pouring rain as the giant sign high atop the theatre blazed the play’s title in lights over the Theatre District; and he beamed with pride as the marquee was lit.
New York’s “Quintessential, Vibrant: New York Musical In the Heights Gets the Luxe Treatment
Ghostlight Records is releasing the original Broadway cast recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights in a luxe three-LP box with discs in red, white, and blue – a tribute to Puerto Rico September 4. This new edition of the Grammy-winning-album will be a Barnes & Noble exclusive to help celebrate Vinyl Weekend, September 4-6.
Fans can pre-order the new limited-time edition, with 16-page booklet and 23 tracks/21 tunes, at ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/intheheights_specialvinyl.
The album has been a best-seller since 2008. The discs feature 90 minutes of remastered music. The booklet contains lyrics, original show photos, and synopsis, and notes from Tony-winning director Thomas Kail (Hamilton). A MP3 download card is included. A remastered original cast CD is also available.
In the Heights won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. The score is set to Latin, Salsa and Hip-Hop-infused music, conceived byMiranda with book by Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes. The show was and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler; with Alex Lacamoire music directing.
The original cast includes Pulitzer Prize and Tony nominee Miranda, Andrèa Burns, Janet Dacal, two-time Tony-nominee Robin de Jesús, Carlos Gomez, Mandy Gonzalez, three-time Tony nominee Joshua Henry, Christopher Jackson, Tony-winner Priscilla Lopez, Doreen Montalvo, Tony-winner Karen Olivo, and Krysta Rodriguez.
PBS is streaming the acclaimed documentary, Inthe Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams as part ofitsGreat Performances: Broadway at Home series.
The Warner Bros. release of the musical’s film adaptation, delayed due to the Covid 19 crisis, is set for June, directed by Jon Chu (Crazy Rich Asians).