Friday, June 22, 2012

And the Winner Is... - Entry #10

In my copious free time  :-)  I host a Broadway music radio program on Sunday nights.  “On Broadway” has aired on WRTC-FM at Trinity College in Hartford, CT for about 18 years.  I have been attending shows on The Great White Way since the late 1960’s.  The first musical I attended with just a friend (sans parents) was the original Broadway production of Grease in December 1972 (trivia – John Travolta never played the role of Danny Zucco on Broadway).  In addition, I have a theatre blog where I review New York and Connecticut shows and post my general theatrical musings.  Why am I divulging all of this information?  Well, this week’s theme is Broadway and the Tony Awards.

Earlier this month CBS televised the Tony Award ceremony with Neil Patrick Harris as host (you can read my thoughts of the evening at my blog).  I was very happy with three of the night’s winners—James Corden taking Best Actor in a Play honors for the comedy One Man, Two Guvnors; Audra McDonald winning Best Actress in a Musical for the revival of the Gershwin’sPorgy and Bess; and Christopher Gattelli for Best Choreography for Newsies.  All were highly-deserving.  Corden, playing a lovable buffoon, in what is one of the funniest comedies I have ever seen on Broadway (coming from me, this is a big endorsement); McDonald delivering another superb vocal and acting performance (snatching her fifth Tony Award); and Gattelli displaying dance routines that are some of the most dynamic and athletic since the Jets’ and Sharks’ sizzling production numbers in West Side Story.  I wanted each of them to know how much I appreciated their contribution to the Broadway stage this season.  Their talent was a joy to watch and gave me a thrill to be seeing it on stage.  There is no better reward then viewing a live theatrical performance (which is why I will never sit through the movie version of War Horse.  The stage production is so immediate and powerful).  In the theatre we acknowledge artists through vigorous applause and the incredibly overused standing ovation.  These actions give immediate gratification to actors and actresses.  But I wanted to provide additional feedback on a more personal scale.  In a way, I am hoping my handwritten card gives them pause, a chance to reflect on how their gift enriches their audiences.

My fourth notecard was sent to a composer who was not nominated for a Tony Award but, in my opinion, should have been so honored.  Lewis Flinn composed the score to the Off-Broadway hit, Lysistrata Jones, which then moved to Broadway.  The reviews were quite good for the musical, but with no stars and a lack of buzz, the show quickly folded.  However, the songs were tuneful and fresh.  I was dumbfounded when it was not nominated for a Best Original Score.  In fact, I could not believe it only received a single Tony Award nomination.  Since the release of the original cast album—on CD and for download—I have been playing selections on my radio program.  I wanted the composer to know that someone out there appreciated his efforts.  I’m sure his friends, colleagues, and business partners all shared the same feelings as I expressed in my correspondence.  But, as a person outside his immediate circle, I am hoping my note gives him a bit of solace and maybe boost his spirits.  This past Broadway season there were few true musicals with completely original works.  Lysistrata Jones was such a show and deserved to be recognized by the Tony Award nominating committee. 

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