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Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Stage Addiction: What's In, What's Out, and What's Next Year

Let's start with the big news from the Tony Awards eligibility cabal, who have ruled on the fate of seven Broadway productions for the 2008 season. A few surprises here and there, but truthfully, the big questions still have not been answered. For now, we know this much:

Passing Strange will be eligible in the Best Musical category. Stew will be the only actor in the production eligible for nomination in a Leading Actor category. (Tough luck, Daniel Breaker...it's off to supporting for you!)

The Little Mermaid will be eligible for Best Original Score. What, you say? Isn't it based on that movie? Well yes, but "because more than 50 percent of the Alan Menken-Howard Ashman-Glenn Slater score was composed for Broadway" the Tony committee says it's original. (ModFab says, in response, bullshit. But whatever.) Sean Palmer and Sierra Boggess will be eligible for nomination in the Leading categories, while Sherie Rene Scott will be up for Featured Actress.

In The Heights: Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mandy Gonzalez will be eligible for nomination in the Lead categories, which means Karen Olivo won't have too many votes split off in her run at Supporting Actress.

Sunday in the Park with George: Michael Cumpsty, Alexander Gemignani and Jessica Molaskey will all be bumped down to Featured Performer categories, as expected. But here's an interesting tidbit, and perhaps a sign of what the committee is thinking in at least one category: projection designer Timothy Bird & The Knifedge Creative Network, AND set designer David Farley, will be considered jointly in the Scenic Design of a Musical category. I'm not sure that combination can be topped by any other show.

The 39 Steps will offically be considered an original play (which we all guessed), but Charles Edwards will be bumped up to Lead Actor. I haven't seen this yet, is he a possible out-of-left-field contender or not?

November: Dylan Baker and Laurie Metcalf will be considered featured, surprise surprise.

Come Back, Little Sheba: Kevin Anderson and S. Epatha Merkerson will be considered leads, surprise surprise.

And finally, this little factoid: "All other decisions were consistent with the opening-night credits. That is, only actors whose names appear above the title are eligible for nomination in the Leading Actor/Actress categories. Producers must petition the Administration Committee in order to change actors' eligibility status. The Administration Committee is scheduled for one additional meeting this season."

Which means we still don't know the fate of Gypsy's Gaines, South Pacific's Szot, or any of the late-opening plays. Harumph. (I did get to meet Gaines last night, and he's a gem. At the same party, I also met Daniel Evans, star of Sunday in the Park with George, and found him to be the nicest and most wonderful actor I've met in some time. A truly nice guy, and a truly committed artist. I'm in love. Yes, again.)

BONUS: The 2008-2009 Season At A Glance

While many of us continue to obsess about the end of the current season, next year is shaping up. Here's what we know already about Broadway's 2008-2009 lineup:

Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy (Broadway Theatre, June 16)
A summer run of the touring event that is decidedly not from Cirque du Soleil, as many of our commenters have pointed out. (Side note: I can't believe they aren't being sued for intellectual property infringement.)

[title of show] (Lyceum Theatre, July 5)
The award-winning musical about putting on a musical makes it to Broadway...a feat it only dreamed about inside the show itself. Unless they change it.

Damn Yankees (Encores at City Center, July 5)
A limited-run concert version, to star Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) as Lola -- yay! -- and Sean Hayes (Will and Grace) as Mr. Applegate -- boo! And if you're a stickler, it's true that this isn't technically on Broadway. But it's the same venue and time slot that kicked Gypsy off last year, so don't underestimate it.

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
(Theatre TBA, July 15)
Ntozake Shange's beautiful choreopoem celebrating African-American women, this time starring Grammy winner India.Arie.

Godspell (Shubert Theatre to be announced, July)
Gavin Creel (La Cage aux Folles) plays Jesus in this urbanized revival of the gospel according to Stephen Schwartz (Wicked).

A Tale of Two Cities (Al Hirschfeld Theatre, August 19)
The "Dickens-inspired" musical is the left-field entry of 2009.

Equus (Broadhurst Theatre, September 5)
Often known by its other title, Harry Potter and the Vanishing Clothes.

Billy Elliot (Imperial Theatre, September 17)
Elton John's musical based on the film about a working-class British boy with dreams that run contrary to family expectations.

Dividing The Estate (Theatre TBA, October 23)
Horton Foote's reconfigured play about
Stella Gordon, who has kept her hands on the family purse strings for years, even as the purse is shrinking.

Shrek The Musical (Broadway Theatre, November 8)
The ogre-animated exercise in postmodern fairytelling gets a top-notch cast, including Bryan d'Arcy James (The Apple Tree), Sutton Foster (Young Frankenstein), and Christopher Sieber (Spamalot).

Pal Joey (Studio 54, November 21)
Joe Mantello (The Ritz) directs this all new production of the classic Chicago fantasy, featuring an edgy new book by Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out).

beginning Fall 2008
A Man For All Seasons (American Airlines)
Doug Hughes (Doubt) directs this classic masterpiece about Sir Thomas More and a ferocious battle between church and state.

beginning 2009
(Theatre TBA, January)
Al Pacino headlines the cast of this 1983 drama by Lyle Kessler. Can we say vanity star project?

Dancin' (Studio 54)
Graciela Daniele (The Pirate Queen) directs this classic tribute to the art of dance by the legendary Bob Fosse.

Pure Country (Theatre TBA)
Country-flavored musical based on the 1992 movie of the same name, with some impressive below-the-line talent attached.

In The Works: Brigadoon, The Story of My Life, Dancing in the Dark, Fences, 9 To 5, Minsky's

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Blogger par3182 said...

i don't think cirque dreams is affiliated with cirque du soleil (they're more of a low rent rip-off)

4/15/08, 2:29 AM  
Blogger will g said...

Two notes on upcoming shows: Cirque Dreams, believe it or don't, is not affiliated with Cirque du Soleil, although they probably don't mind the confusion; it's an American company. And why is Encores! doing Damn Yankees? Hardly seems within their mandate to revive neglected shows. . .

4/15/08, 2:30 AM  
Blogger will g said...

Scratch my stupid comment about Encores! Of course, as you said, they did Gypsy last summer; guess they have different agenda during this season (like making money).

4/15/08, 2:36 AM  
Blogger Vance said...

I'm pretty sure Cirque Dreams is not a Cirque Du Soleil project but probably banking on attracting a lot of people by that easily made mistake.

If it was a Cirque Du Soleil show, I'm pretty sure the marketting would be heavy on the Cirque on Broadway and plaster their logo all over it.

4/15/08, 8:24 AM  
Blogger will g said...

At the risk of duplicating other comments again, the Times said they had been sued many times by CdS, I believe.

4/15/08, 10:33 AM  
Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Great compendium, ModFab!!

4/15/08, 2:47 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

Daniel Breaker was terrific. Really, I think he was more of a lead actor "Passing Strange." But I guess there's a logic in naming Stew as the lead and putting everyone else in supporting roles. It is his story, after all. And Mandy Gonzalez, wow, she was so sweet and appealing as a teenager coming back to the neighborhood after a year away at college. Ok, the plot of "In the Heights" is a little trite, but she's great. I think I developed a bit of a woman-crush on her. I hope they both get nominations.

And thanks for the rundown of what's coming up. It looks exciting! Once again, there's almost nothing I don't want to see. Well, maybe "Shrek." I'm interested in seeing Al Pacino even if it is a vanity project. And I loved the movie "Billy Elliot," so I'm really looking forward to that.

4/15/08, 3:43 PM  

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