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Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Stage Addiction: Clay Aiken Will Not Have Sex , Ever, Ever, Ever

- San Diego may seem a very long way from 42nd Street, but this week it seemed right next door, hosting what could be the first clues to the upcoming Tony race for Best New Musical. Two of the sure contenders for Broadway's best this season -- A Catered Affair (opening in March) and Cry-Baby (opening in April) -- both premiered last year at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse. That city's Theatre Critics Association gave out its annual awards last week, and it became a veritable showdown between the two mega-musicals. Affair ended up the victor with seven honors, including Best Musical, Score, Orchestrations, Lighting Design, Director (John Doyle), Lead Actor (Tom Wopat), and Lead Actress (Faith Prince). (You may notice, however, that creator/writer/supporting actor Harvey Fierstein was skipped in all categories.) For its part, Cry-Baby didn't embarrass itself; the John Waters-inspired musical picked up three awards for Best Lyrics, Choreography, and Featured Actress (Alli Mauzey). Will these two battle it out come June...or will both struggle in vain against Young Frankenstein, In The Heights, Passing Strange, and Xanadu? (The last, interestingly enough, has been announced for next season at -- you guessed it -- La Jolla in San Diego, where director Chris Ashley just became the Artistic Director.)

- While The Gayken is visiting New York to star in Spamalot this winter, you'll be happy to know that he won't be having any sex. Because he's asexual, you see. Not interested. In sex. Of any kind. Not gay, just uninterested. No sex. Starring in a Broadway musical. But not gay. Because gay is gross. So he's not gay. And neither am I.

- While Phantom of the Opera celebrated 20 years on Broadway this week, a far worthier show -- The Color Purple -- announced that it would close in February. Although I'm sorry to see the most successful African-American musical in recent memory close, I can't be too mad...it recouped and made a small profit (and has a successful national tour underway to boot), and it filled the enormous Broadway Theatre for over two years, a behemoth whose operating costs have killed many shows in the last 10 years (Bombay Dreams, Blast!, Sexaholix, La Boheme). There's word that producer Oprah Winfrey will now turn the project into a movie, possibly with recent star Fantasia in the lead. Sounds good to me, Ms. W.

- Across the theatre district this week, the new legit producers at Dreamworks are making offers to cast the upcoming Shrek musical. While only one has been widely reported -- gay heartthrob Christopher Sieber (Spamalot) as Lord Farquaad -- other big-name Broadway stars are getting the call. Currently in negotiations for the role of Princess Fiona, I'm told, is none other than Tony winner Sutton Foster (The Drowsy Chaperone), who would leave her current spot in Young Frankenstein in early summer if the deal goes through. And who will be playing the O.I.G. (Ogre In Charge)? A newcomer, I hear...someone found through the company's extensive open call last year.

- Jeff Daniels has a new play. That is all.

- It's time to start my favorite theatre game: Tony Awards eligibility! There's a simple rule on Broadway for deciding who's a lead, who's supporting, and who's just plain eligible: leads are those whose names appear above the title on a show's Opening Night. Anyone else in the cast, theoretically, can be considered for Supporting nods.


The committee can make exceptions, or clarifications, or changes to that rule...and they meet four times a year to do so. (It's more important than you think: such distinctions, while often arbitrary, can shift who wins significantly...and those wins affect box office receipts, which controls which shows make it and which don't.)

Here's a rundown of their announced actors from the October and January meetings:

Leading Actress in a Play Eligibility:
Margaret Colin, Old Acquaintance
Deanna Dunagan, August: Osage County
Harriet Harris, Old Acquaintance
Amy Morton, August: Osage County
Martha Plimpton, Cymbeline

Leading Actor in a Play Eligibility:
Norbert Leo Butz, Is He Dead?
Brian Cox, Rock 'N' Roll
Rufus Sewell, Rock 'N' Roll

Featured Actor in a Play:
Raúl Esparza, The Homecoming
James Frain, The Homecoming
Boyd Gaines, Pygmalion
Michael McKean, The Homecoming
Jay O. Sanders, Pygmalion
Gareth Saxe, The Homecoming
Daniel Sunjata, Cyrano de Bergerac

Featured Actress in a Play:
Rosie Perez, The Ritz

Leading Actress in a Musical Eligibility:
Laura Osnes, Grease

Leading Actor in a Musical Eligibility:
Roger Bart, Young Frankenstein
Max Crumm, Grease
Cheyenne Jackson, Xanadu

Featured Actor in a Musical Eligibility:
Tony Roberts, Xanadu

Remember, this isn't EVERYONE who's eligible...just the ones the Tony Nominating Committee felt were ambiguous enough to make a statement about. The big news, of course, is that both Deanna Dunagan, August: Osage County's vitriolic matriarch, and Amy Morton, her tempestuous daughter, will be in the leading category. Will they split votes, and allow Oscar nominee Laura Linney (spring's Dangerous Liaisons) to triumph? One thing is sure: with the Drama League Awards announced for May 16 and the Drama Desk following on May 18, it's time for us award junkies to get excited!

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Blogger Andre said...

Clay Aitken is soooo boring he doesn't deserve to ge any at all!!!

1/29/08, 8:49 AM  
Blogger DBK said...

Nope. Not gay. Asexual.

Yeah. That's it.

I believe it, too.

1/29/08, 9:34 AM  
Blogger Nick Davis said...

Does this mean that Jennifer Garner is self-evidently a lead in Cyrano? I was kind of hoping she might be featured, since the lead race is already sounding so crowded.

I would ask Clay Aiken this question, but I'm sure he's never gone to a Broadway play to see his favorite TV actress in a big, frou-frou gown and then obsessed about her Tony potential, because he isn't......

1/29/08, 11:42 AM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Nick, Jennifer Garner was definitely an above-the-credit title, which one would think puts her in the lead category. BUT...it could be that the nominating committee hasn't yet made decisions about Cyrano, or they could be holding off the announcement.

For my part, when I saw it, I thought she'd clearly fall in the Lead Actress category.

1/29/08, 12:03 PM  
Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

I love the fact that both Deanna Dunagan and Amy Morton are eligible for Best Actress, although they both deserve an award.

1/30/08, 10:11 PM  
Blogger daveylow said...

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a shoo-in in the Musical Actor Category, probably lead male.

2/3/08, 9:05 PM  

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