02-19-2017  1:08 pm      •     
McMenamins

Andrew Rannells, center, and Nikki James, left, in "The Book of Mormon" at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York. The Broadway musical won 9 Tony Awards including 'Best Musical.' James won for 'Best Featured Actress in a Musical.'

 

 

NEW YORK (AP) -- A slew of acclaimed shows were up for Tony Awards in a remarkably competitive year, but a production that wasn't even eligible still managed to cast a shadow -- well, shall we make that a web? -- over the proceedings.

On a night when the hilariously profane "The Book of Mormon" reigned supreme, the famously troubled "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" got attention both positive and negative at Sunday's Tonys. There was a performance -- certainly rare for a show that hasn't even opened yet -- plus a plug from its famous composers, Bono and The Edge. And of course, there were the obligatory "Spider-Man" jokes, without which no awards show would be complete.

There were jokes even about the ubiquity of "Spider-Man" jokes. Host Neil Patrick Harris said he would limit himself to a 30-second speed round, getting his biggest laugh with a quip about the show's ousted original director: "Julie Taymor knew it was over when she woke and found the head of `War Horse' in her bed."

Even Bono was making jokes, saying he and The Edge "used to be famous for being in U2." Then he introduced Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano, who play Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, and a new ballad they perform in the retooled show. (As for the flying Spidey himself? Not in sight.)

Still, the breadth represented by the evening's nominees and winners showed that there's a lot going on in Broadway theater that doesn't involve comic-book superheroes.

At the top of the heap was "Mormon," which has taken Broadway by storm this season. It captured nine awards, including best musical, for its offensive yet good-natured look at two missionaries who arrive in Uganda and get way more than they bargained for, including gun-toting warlords, whole villages infected with HIV and a running gag about maggots in a man's scrotum.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the Emmy Award-winning "South Park," collaborated with Robert Lopez, who co-wrote the Tony-winning "Avenue Q." Collecting the best musical prize, Parker said he'd be remiss if he didn't thank his late book co-writer - Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church.

"You did it, Joseph! You got the Tony!" Parker said, looking skyward.

"War Horse," a World War I tale about horses told with wonderful puppetry, won five Tonys, including best play. The revival of Larry Kramer's groundbreaking AIDS play "The Normal Heart" won three, as did the revival of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," with the terrific Sutton Foster, who won best actress in a musical.

Even though some victories, like Foster's and, of course, that of "The Book of Mormon," seemed preordained, many found this year's Tonys one of the most entertaining in a long time.

"This was my favorite awards show - except the ones where I've won," Stephen Colbert quipped to The Associated Press at the post-show gala at the Plaza Hotel. The Comedy Central host had just performed in a number from Stephen Sondheim's "Company," which played at the New York Philharmonic in April, starring Harris and featuring Colbert, Patti LuPone and many others.

"The speeches were so emotionally honest," Colbert gushed. He said he especially loved Foster's tearful speech, "bleeding for her dresser." (Foster did tearfully call her dresser, who is leaving her soon for a new project, "the greatest artist in the world.")

Also strolling through the Plaza fete was Mark Rylance, who won best actor in a play for his masterful portrayal of Johnny "Rooster" Byron in Jez Butterworth's "Jerusalem." Just as he did three years ago when he won for "Boeing-Boeing," Rylance simply quoted a poem by Louis Jenkins, an obscure poet from Minnesota. This one was about, well, walking through walls.

Why did he choose it? "I like it," he told the AP, joking that Jenkins "writes all my acceptance speeches."

Norbert Leo Butz won for best actor in a musical for playing a frumpy FBI agent hot on the heels of a con man in "Catch Me If You Can," his second Tony. He movingly paid tribute to his sister, who was killed while he was working on the show. Unfortunately, the wrap-it-up music was playing him off.

Frances McDormand, who showed up to the awards ceremony at the Beacon Theatre in a short denim jacket over her long striped dress, kept on the casual jacket as she accepted her best actress award for her portrayal of a South Boston, blue-collar woman in the David Lindsay-Abaire play "Good People."

The directing prize for a play went to Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris for "War Horse," which goes for the tears every night with its story of a boy and the horse he loves. "We quite like it when people cry," Morris cracked backstage.

Shows that left empty-handed included "The Scottsboro Boys," which had 12 nominations, "Sister Act," "The Merchant of Venice," and "The Motherf---- With the Hat."

Nikki M. James, who won for best featured actress in a musical in "The Book of Mormon," dedicated the award to her dad, who died while she was in high school, and to her nephew Ozzie, who was born with kidney problems.

Kramer's "The Normal Heart" won the best revival prize and two actors from the AIDS drama - Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey - also won. Barkin, making her Broadway debut, won best actress in a featured role in a play, while Hickey won best actor in a featured role.

"It's the proudest moment of my career," said Barkin, who paid emphatic tribute to Kramer and his role in publicizing the AIDS crisis. Hickey warned his family in Texas that they'd better not be watching the Heat-Mavericks game instead of the Tonys. (Presenter Chris Rock - who is in "The Motherf---- With the Hat" - also made a reference to missing the climactic game.)

John Larroquette, in his Broadway debut, won the award for best actor in a featured role in a musical for "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." He thanked his co-star Daniel Radcliffe, who was not nominated but played a prominent role in the Tony telecast, saying that without the "Harry Potter" star he'd be "home, sitting in my underwear, watching this on television."

In awards presented off camera, "The Book of Mormon" won for orchestration, sound design, scenic design of a musical, score and book of a musical. "War Horse" won for best sound design of a play and best scenic design of a play.

The costume award in a musical went to "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" for flamboyant concoctions by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner - including drag queens dressed as colorful frosted cupcakes - and Desmond Heeley won for his costumes for "The Importance of Being Earnest."

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Oregon Lottery
Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

PHOTO GALLERY

Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow