2020 Tony Awards: ‘Jagged Little Pill’ is the top nominee

October 15, 2020

by Carla Hay

Tony Awards logo

With 15 nods, including Best Musical, “Jagged Little Pill” is the top nominee for the 74th annual Tony Awards, which will be webcast in a virtual ceremony on a date and time to be announced. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tony Awards (which are traditionally held in June) were postponed from its original date of June 7. CBS, which usually telecasts the Tony Awards in the U.S., is apparently not going to be involved in the Tony Awards this year. It has not been announced yet if there will be a host for the ceremony.

As of mid-March 2020, all Broadway shows have been shut down until further notice. The re-opening date for Broadway shows has been tentatively set for May 31, 2021, but that date could change. One thing is clear: The traditional eligibility period for the 2021 Tony Awards (June 2020 to May 2021) has now been completely wiped out, since there will be no Broadway shows playing during this eligibility period, which means that the Tony Awards will likely be cancelled for 2021.

Tony-winning “Aladdin” musical star James Monroe Iglehart announced the nominations for the 2020 Tony Awards on a webcast on October 15, 2020. Even before the shutdowns, “Jagged Little Pill” had been expected to be a top contender. The critically acclaimed musical, which opened on Broadway in December 2019, features songs from Alanis Morissette’s Grammy-winning 1995 multiplatinum album “Jagged Little Pill.” The “Jagged Little Pill” musical is about a suburban family with serious personal problems, such as addiction and sexual assault.

Following close behind in nominations, with 14 nods, is “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which based on the 2001 original musical movie. Earning 12 nominations each are “Slave Play” and “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical.” Rounding out the top five nominated shows is the play “Inheritance,” which has 11 nominations.

Because of the COVID-19 shutdown of Broadway shows, many of the 2020 Tony Awards categories have less nominees than usual. Some categories (including Best Musical and Best Play) that normally have five nominations each now have three or less nominations for the category. In the category for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, there is only one nominee: Aaron Tveit of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which makes him the default winner.

This year’s three Tony Award nominations for Best Musical are all “jukebox musicals” adapted from previous work: In addition to “Jagged Little Pill,” the other nominations in the category are “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” and “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical,” which features a catalogue of well-known Tina Turner songs. Therefore, these three musicals are not eligible for Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre.

However, “Jagged Little Pill,” “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” and “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical” are competing against each other in nine categories: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.

“Slave Play,” the play with the most Tony nominations in 2020, is competing in several categories with “Inheritance,” “A Soldier’s Play” (which garnered seven nominations), “The Sound Inside” (which has six nods) and “A Christmas Carol,” which scored five nominations.

Here is the complete list of nominations for the 2020 Tony Awards:

Best Play

Grand Horizons

Author: Bess Wohl
Producers: Second Stage Theater, Carole Rothman, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Mandy Greenfield

The Inheritance

Author: Matthew López
Producers: Tom Kirdahy, Sonia Friedman Productions, Hunter Arnold, Elizabeth Dewberry & Ali Ahmet Kocabiyik, 1001 Nights Productions, Robert Greenblatt, Mark Lee, Peter May, Scott Rudin, Richard Winkler, Bruce Cohen, Mara Isaacs, Greg Berlanti & Robbie Rogers, Brad Blume, Burnt Umber Productions, Shane Ewen, Greenleaf Productions, Marguerite Hoffman, Oliver Roth, Joseph Baker/Drew Hodges, Stephanie P. McClelland, Broadway Strategic Return Fund, Caiola Productions, Mary J. Davis, Kayla Greenspan, Fakston Productions, FBK Productions, Sally Cade Holmes, Benjamin Lowy, MWM Live, Lee & Alec Seymour, Lorenzo Thione, Sing Out, Louise! Productions, AB Company/Julie Boardman, Adam Zell & Co/ZKM Media, Jamie deRoy/Catherine Adler, DeSantis-Baugh Productions/Adam Hyndman, Gary DiMauro/Meredith Lynsey Schade, John Goldwyn/Silva Theatrical Group, Deborah Green/Christina Mattsson, Cliff Hopkins/George Scarles, Invisible Wall Productions/Lauren Stein, Sharon Karmazin/Broadway Factor NYC, Brian Spector/Madeleine Foster Bersin, Undivided Productions/Hysell Dohr Group, Ushkowitzlatimer Productions/Tyler Mount, The Young Vic

Sea Wall/A Life

Author: Simon Stephens & Nick Payne
Producers: Nine Stories, Ambassador Theatre Group, Seaview Productions, Benjamin Lowy Productions, LFG Theatrical, Audible, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions, Jacob Langfelder, Brian Moreland, Roth-Manella Productions, Salman Vienn Al-Rashid Friends, SLSM Theatricals, Teresa Tsai, Dunetz Restieri Productions, Morwin Schmookler, Jane & Mark Wilf, The Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, Patrick Willingham, Mandy Hackett

Slave Play

Author: Jeremy O. Harris
Producers: Seaview Productions, Troy Carter, Level Forward, Nine Stories, Sing Out, Louise! Productions, Shooting Star Productions, Roth-Manella Productions, Carlin Katler Productions, Cohen Hopkins Productions, Thomas Laub, Blair Russell, WEB Productions, Salman Al-Rashid, Jeremy O. Harris, Mark Shacket, New York Theatre Workshop

The Sound Inside

Author: Adam Rapp
Producers: Jeffrey Richards, Lincoln Center Theater, Rebecca Gold, Evamere Entertainment, Eric Falkenstein, Salman Vienn Al-Rashid, Spencer Ross, FilmNation Entertainment/Faliro House, Iris Smith, Jane Bergère, Caiola Productions, Mark S. Golub and David S. Golub, Ken Greiner, Gemini Theatrical Investors, Scott H. Mauro, Jayne Baron Sherman, CZEKAJ Productions, Wendy Morgan-Hunter, Kristin Foster, Brian Moreland, Sonia Mudbhatkal, Jacob Soroken Porter, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Mandy Greenfield


Best Musical

Jagged Little Pill

Producers: Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David, Eva Price, Caiola Productions, Level Forward & Abigail Disney, Geffen Playhouse-Tenenbaum-Feinberg, James L. Nederlander, Dean Borell Moravis Silver, Stephen G. Johnson, Concord Theatricals, Bard Theatricals, M. Kilburg Reedy, 42nd.club, Betsy Dollinger, Sundowners, The Araca Group, Jana Bezdek, Len Blavatnik, BSL Enterprises, Burnt Umber Productions, Darren DeVerna & Jeremiah Harris, Daryl Roth, Susan Edelstein, FG Productions, Sue Gilad & Larry Rogowsky, Harmonia, John Gore Theatrical Group, Melissa M. Jones & Barbara H. Freitag, Stephanie Kramer, Lamplighter Projects, Christina Isaly Liceaga, David Mirvish, Spencer B. Ross, Bellanca Smigel Rutter, Iris Smith, Jason Taylor & Sydney Suiter, Rachel Weinstein, W.I.T. Productions/Gabriel Creative Partners, Independent Presenters Network, Universal Music Publishing Group, Jujamcyn Theaters, Tamar Climan, American Repertory Theater

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Producers: Carmen Pavlovic, Gerry Ryan, Global Creatures, Bill Damaschke, Aaron Lustbader, Hunter Arnold, Darren Bagert, Erica Lynn Schwartz/Matt Picheny/Stephanie Rosenberg, Adam Blanshay Productions/Nicolas & Charles Talar, Iris Smith, Aleri Entertainment, CJ ENM, Sophie Qi/Harmonia Holdings, Baz & Co./Len Blavatnik, AF Creative Media/International Theatre Fund, Endeavor Content, Tom & Pam Faludy, Gilad-Rogowsky/Instone Productions, John Gore Organization, MEHR-BB Entertainment GmbH, Spencer Ross, Nederlander Presentations/IPN, Eric Falkenstein/Suzanne Grant, Jennifer Fischer, Peter May/Sandy Robertson, Triptyk Studios, Carl Daikeler/Sandi Moran, DeSantis-Baugh Productions, Red Mountain Theatre Company/42nd.club, Candy Spelling/Tulchin Bartner, Roy Furman, Jujamcyn Theaters

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Producers: Stage Entertainment, James L. Nederlander, Tali Pelman, Feste Investments B.V., David Mirvish, Nattering Way, TEG Dainty, Katori Hall, Mark Rubinstein LTD, Warner Chappell, Peter May, Eva Price, No Guarantees, Caiola Productions, Jamie deRoy, Wendy Federman, Roy Furman, Independent Presenters Network, John Gore Organization, Marc Levine, Carl Moellenberg, Al Nocciolino, Catherine Adler, Tom Perakos, Iris Smith, Candy Spelling, Anita Waxman, Daryl Roth, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Tina Turner


Best Revival of a Play

Betrayal

Producers: Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Benjamin Lowy Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions, AnnaPurna Theatre, Hunter Arnold, Burnt Umber Productions, Rashad V. Chambers, Eilene Davidson Productions, KFF Productions, Dominick LaRuffa, Jr., Stephanie P. McClelland, Richard Winkler/Alan Shorr, The Jamie Lloyd Company

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune

Author: Terrence McNally
Producers: Hunter Arnold, Debbie Bisno, Tom Kirdahy, Elizabeth Dewberry & Ali Ahmet Kocabiyik, Broadway Strategic Return Fund, Caiola Productions, FedermanGold Productions, Invisible Wall Productions, John Gore Organization, Mike Karns, Kilimanjaro Theatricals, Peter May, Tyler Mount, Seriff Productions, Silva Theatrical Group, Cliff Bleszinski/GetterLazarDaly, Jamie deRoy/Gary DiMauro, Suzi Dietz & Lenny Beer/Sally Cade Holmes, Barbara H. Freitag/Ken Davenport, Barry & Kimberly Gowdy/Mabee Family Office, Kayla Greenspan/Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf, John Joseph/Broadway Factor, Tilted Windmills/John Paterakis, The Shubert Organization

A Soldier’s Play

Author: Charles Fuller
Producers: Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Julia C. Levy, Sydney Beers, Steve Dow


Best Book of a Musical

Jagged Little Pill

Diablo Cody

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

John Logan

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins


Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

A Christmas Carol

Music: Christopher Nightingale

The Inheritance

Music: Paul Englishby

The Rose Tattoo

Music: Fitz Patton and Jason Michael Webb

Slave Play

Music: Lindsay Jones

The Sound Inside

Music: Daniel Kluger


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Ian Barford, Linda Vista
Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance
Jake Gyllenhaal, Sea Wall/A Life
Tom Hiddleston, Betrayal
Tom Sturridge, Sea Wall/A Life
Blair Underwood, A Soldier’s Play


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Joaquina Kalukango, Slave Play
Laura Linney, My Name is Lucy Barton
Audra McDonald, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Karen Olivo, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Elizabeth Stanley, Jagged Little Pill
Adrienne Warren, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Ato Blankson-Wood, Slave Play
James Cusati-Moyer, Slave Play
David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play
John Benjamin Hickey, The Inheritance
Paul Hilton, The Inheritance


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Jane Alexander, Grand Horizons
Chalia La Tour, Slave Play
Annie McNamara, Slave Play
Lois Smith, The Inheritance
Cora Vander Broek, Linda Vista


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Derek Klena, Jagged Little Pill
Sean Allan Krill, Jagged Little Pill
Sahr Ngaujah, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Daniel J. Watts, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Kathryn Gallagher, Jagged Little Pill
Celia Rose Gooding, Jagged Little Pill
Robyn Hurder, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill
Myra Lucretia Taylor, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical


Best Scenic Design of a Play

Bob Crowley, The Inheritance
Soutra Gilmour, Betrayal
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol
Derek McLane, A Soldier’s Play
Clint Ramos, Slave Play


Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Riccardo Hernández and Lucy Mackinnon, Jagged Little Pill
Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Mark Thompson and Jeff Sugg, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical


Best Costume Design of a Play

Dede Ayite, Slave Play
Dede Ayite, A Soldier’s Play
Bob Crowley, The Inheritance
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol
Clint Ramos, The Rose Tattoo


Best Costume Design of a Musical

Emily Rebholz, Jagged Little Pill
Mark Thompson, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge! The Musical


Best Lighting Design of a Play

Jiyoun Chang, Slave Play
Jon Clark, The Inheritance
Heather Gilbert, The Sound Inside
Allen Lee Hughes, A Soldier’s Play
Hugh Vanstone, A Christmas Carol


Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Bruno Poet, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Justin Townsend, Jagged Little Pill
Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Sound Design of a Play

Paul Arditti & Christopher Reid, The Inheritance
Simon Baker, A Christmas Carol
Lindsay Jones, Slave Play
Daniel Kluger, Sea Wall/A Life
Daniel Kluger, The Sound Inside

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Jonathan Deans, Jagged Little Pill
Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Nevin Steinberg, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical


Best Direction of a Play

David Cromer, The Sound Inside
Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance
Kenny Leon, A Soldier’s Play
Jamie Lloyd, Betrayal
Robert O’Hara, Slave Play


Best Direction of a Musical

Phyllida Lloyd, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Diane Paulus, Jagged Little Pill
Alex Timbers, Moulin Rouge! The Musical


Best Choreography

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jagged Little Pill
Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Anthony Van Laast, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical


Best Orchestrations

Tom Kitt, Jagged Little Pill
Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine and Justin Levine, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Ethan Popp, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

*   *   *


Tony Nominations by Production

Jagged Little Pill – 15

Moulin Rouge! The Musical – 14

Slave Play – 12

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical – 12

The Inheritance – 11

A Soldier’s Play – 7

The Sound Inside – 6

A Christmas Carol – 5

Betrayal – 4

Sea Wall/A Life – 4

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune – 2

Grand Horizons – 2

Linda Vista – 2

The Rose Tattoo – 2

My Name is Lucy Barton – 1

Review: ‘Black Is King,’ starring Beyoncé

July 31, 2020

by Carla Hay

Beyoncé in “Black Is King” (Photo courtesy of Disney+/Parkwood Entertainment)

“Black Is King” 

Directed by Beyoncé, Kwasi Fordjour, Emmanuel Adjei, Blitz Bazawule, Pierre Debusschere, Jenn Nkiru, Ibra Ake, Dikayl Rimmasch and Jake Nava

Culture Representation: This visual album of Beyoncé’s original songs for the 2019 “The Lion King: The Gift” soundtrack features a predominantly black cast (with a few white people, Asians and Latinos) primarily representing life in Africa in a musical format.

Culture Clash:  Many of the songs’ lyrics and the movie’s narration are about pushing back against fear, bigotry and self-doubt.

Culture Audience: Beyoncé fans are the obvious target audience for this movie, but “Black Is King” should also appeal to people who like to see visually stunning musical numbers set to contemporary R&B music.

Beyoncé (center) in “Black Is King” (Photo courtesy of Disney+/Parkwood Entertainment)

People already know that Beyoncé is capable of making a collection of memorable an impactful music videos, so it’s not too much a surprise that she has done it again with “Black Is King,” a visually intoxicating and emotionally empowering movie that celebrates self-confidence and Afro-centric culture.

Whereas Beyoncé’s visual collection for her critically acclaimed 2016 album “Lemonade” was her feminist response to issues going on in her personal life at the time, “Black Is King” is more of a rousing anthem directed at generations of people, especially those whose ethnic roots are in Africa. There are no conversations in “Black Is King,” but the messages are loud and clear.

Because “Black Is King” is a visual representation of Beyoncé’s 2019 soundtrack album “The Lion King: The Gift,” the songs themselves (and some of the music videos) were made available a year before the full “Black Is King” movie was released. But seeing all of these songs together as musical numbers in “Black Is King” puts the soundtrack in a whole new light.

“Black Is King” is not a traditional movie, since there is no real plot. Rather, it’s an atmospheric journey of eye-catching sights, sounds and philosophical thoughts. The choreography? Spectacular. The hair and makeup? Gorgeous.  The costumes? Unforgettable.

Folajomi “FJ” Akinmurele portrays Beyoncé’s fictional son Little Simba throughout “Black Is King.” At the end of the film, this dedication appears on screen: “Dedicated to my son Sir Carter. And to all our sons and daughters, the sun and the moon bow for you. You are the keys to the kingdom.”

The movie has narration that includes lines from the 2019 “The Lion King” movie, which had Beyoncé as the voice of warrior lioness Nala. But the most intriguing narration comes from a script whose credited writers are Beyoncé, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Clover Hope and Andrew Morrow, featuring poetry by Warsan Shire.

James Earl Jones provides the opening voice narration as he intones in “Balance (Mufasa Interlude)”: “Everything that you see exists together in a delicate balance. You need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling creatures to the leaping antelope. We are all connected in the circle of life.”

Beyoncé also voices several messages of Afro-centric pride, including “Black is the color of my true love’s skin” and “Let black be synonymous with glory” and “Black is king. We were beauty before they knew what beauty was.”

There are also calls of empowerment, such as “Life is a set of choices. Lead or be led astray. Follow your light or lose it.” And she also speaks about the importance of representation: “To live without reflection for so long might make you wonder if you even truly exist.”

It wouldn’t be a Beyoncé visual album without cameos. They include members of her immediate family: husband Jay-Z (real name: Shawn Carter); their children Blue Ivy, Sir and Rumi; and Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles Lawson. “Brown Skin Girl,” with Saint Jhn and Wizkid featuring Blue Ivy Carter, celebrates inner and outer beauty and includes visual appearances by Naomi Campbell, Lupita Nyong’o and Kelly Rowland, who is one of the original members of Destiny’s Child with Beyoncé. Jay-Z, Knowles Lawson and Rowland can also be seen in “Mood 4 Eva.”

And several artists on the audio soundtrack can be seen in “Black Is King,” including Jessie Reyez (“Scar)”; Nija, Busiswa, Yemi Alade, Tierra Whack and Moonchild Sanelly (“My Power” ); Shatta Wale (“Already”); Tiwa Savage and Mr Eazi (“Keys to the Kingdom”); and Salatiel and Pharrell Williams (“Water”).  Meanwhile, Beyoncé hands over the spotlight to Lord Afrixana, Yemi Alade and Mr Eazi, who perform “Don’t Jealous Me.”

Noticeably absent from “Black Is King” are Kendrick Lamar, Major Lazer and Childish Gambino (also known as Donald Glover, the voice of adult Simba in 2019’s “The Lion King”), who are featured artists on the audio soundtrack’s songs but don’t make visual appearances in the “Black Is King” movie. Lamar can be heard on the duet track “Nile,” while Major Lazer is featured on “Already.” Childish Gambino/Glover is a featured artist on “Mood 4 Eva.”

Speaking of “Mood 4 Eva,” it’s one of the highlights of “Black Is King” and it has explosion of beauty that’s both raw and luxurious. (And there’s also a scene of Beyoncé and Jay-Z holding hands that’s reminiscent of their famous 2018 “Apeshit” video that was filmed in the Louvre Museum.) “Don’t Jealous Me,” another standout segment, conjures up African tribal imageries that includes giant yellow python around the neck of certain people, including Beyoncé. “Water” is pure glam, with Beyoncé in outfits ranging from a stunning magenta gown to flared ’70s-styled denim with Rapunzel-length hair.

Although “The Lion King” takes place in Africa, and “Black Is King” is very Afro-centric, “Black Is King” was actually filmed around the world: Africa, New York, Los Angeles, London and Belgium. However, the movie prominently several African actors in the story segments, including Folajomi Akinmurele, Connie Chiume, Nyaniso Ntsikelelo Dzedze, Nandi Madida, Warren Masemola, Sibusiso Mbeje, Fumi Odede, Stephen Ojo and Mary Twala.

Not everyone likes Beyoncé’s music. Not everyone likes the 2019 movie version of “The Lion King.” However, “Black Is King” is a perfect example of why Beyoncé is a superb entertainer who’s a major influence on pop culture while speaking out on issues that are important to her.

Disney+ premiered “Black Is King” in July 31, 2020.

Review: ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,’ starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams

June 26, 2020

by Carla Hay

Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” (Photo by John Wilson/Netflix)

Culture Representation: Taking place in Iceland and Scotland, the musical comedy “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” has a predominantly white cast (with some black people, Asians and Latinos) representing the middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: An Icelandic male/female pop-music duo called Fire Saga aspire to on the annual Eurovision Song Contest, but they come up against naysayers in their home country as well as competitors from other countries.

Culture Audience: “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” will appeal primarily to fans of stars Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, as well as to people who like good-natured satires of fame seekers and hokey TV talent contests.

Dan Stevens in “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” (Photo by John Wilson/Netflix)

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is an entertaining parody of the famous annual Eurovision Song Contest that feels retro and contemporary at the same time. The contest, which began in 1956 and is televised in numerous countries, has singers (usually performing pop music) competing from different countries around the world, as a sort of an Olympics for aspiring music stars. Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams portray the earnest but naïve Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdottir, a musical duo from Iceland who perform under the stage name Fire Saga. Ferrell, who co-wrote the original screenplay with Andrew Steele, is one of the producers of this comedy. And it’s one of Ferrell’s best movies in years.

Although “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” (directed by David Dobkin) takes place in the present day, a lot of the musical sensibilities and costumes seem to be stuck in a previous decade, especially the 1980s or 1990s. The movie’s running joke, although not explicitly stated, is that certain parts of Europe are “behind the times” in pop music, because these countries rarely produce groundbreaking pop superstars on a worldwide level. Therefore, the performers who represent these countries at Eurovision are often ridiculed by Eurovision haters for looking and sounding outdated.

The trailer for “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” already shows that Fire Saga made it to the contest. Therefore, the first third of this 123-minute movie has no suspense, since it’s all about the obstacles that Fire Saga encounters in the quest to make it to Eurovision. Iceland has never had a Eurovision winner, so that immediately makes Fire Saga the ultimate underdog act.

The movie begins in Húsavík, Iceland, on April 6, 1974, when a pre-teen Lars (played by Alfie Melia), his stern widower father Erick (played by Pierce Brosnan) and other members of the family are watching Eurovision in the living room. The Swedish pop group ABBA is performing “Waterloo,” and Lars is transfixed. (ABBA won Eurovision that year and has remained Eurovision’s most famous winning act.)

As Lars dances along to ABBA performing on TV, he announces to his family that someday, he’s going to be a contestant on Eurovision. Several people scoff at the idea, including Erick, who says he’d rather be dead than to have his son sing and dance on Eurovision. Well, you know what that means.

About 45 years later, Lars is still living with his father, who makes a living as a fisherman, while Lars has a job giving parking tickets. Lars and his musical partner Sigrit (who is a music teacher) are longtime friends. They are singers and multi-instrumentalists, but they’ve been floundering in the dead-end local music scene. Fire Saga’s music “career” consists of rehearsing in the basement of Erick’s house and performing at a small local bar.

A running joke in the movie is that the patrons of this bar don’t want to hear any Fire Saga original songs (such as the trash-tastic “Volcano Man”) and would rather hear Fire Saga perform a very childish, nonsensical tune called “Jaja Ding Dong.” The audience is so fanatical about “Jaja Ding Dong” that they will often demand that Fire Saga perform it more than once in a single set. Is it any wonder that Lars and Sigrit think Eurovision will be their ticket out of this backwards town?

Erick isn’t the only one who thinks Lars is a loser and that it’s a delusional lost cause for Fire Saga to be on Eurovision. Sigrit’s single mother Helka (played by Elin Petersdottir) vehemently disapproves of Sigrit chasing this dream and tells Sigrit that she’s wasting her time with Lars. Although it’s not shown in the movie, it’s mentioned that Sigrit used to be mute as a child, until she met Lars and he helped her find her voice through music. And Lars and Sigrit have been friends ever since.

But now that they’re adults, Sigrit wants to be more than friends with Lars, because she’s secretly in love with him. Lars has the maturity level of a teenager (like most characters Farrell tends to play), so Lars is completely oblivious to Sigrit’s true feelings for him. As if to make the point that Lars and Sigrit don’t exude sexual chemistry with each other, throughout the movie, people who meet Lars and Sigrit for the first time mistakenly assume that Lars and Sigrit are brother and sister. Later in the story, when Sigrit and Lars almost kiss romantically, he stops it from happening because he says they can’t ruin their work relationship with a romance, and they have to stay focused on winning Eurovision.

But getting to Eurovision won’t be so easy. First, Fire Saga has to win the Icelandic Song Contest. Neils Brongus (played by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), the president of Icelandic Public Television, leads a committee in charge of deciding who will be contestants in the Icelandic Song Contest. And he already has a favorite to win: Katiana Lindsdottir (played by Demi Lovato), from Kefalvik, a ready-made pop star with a powerful singing voice.

Neils tells his assembled team after watching Katiana’s audition video: “Without being dramatic, I think it might be the best audition tape we ever had in the history of the Icelandic Song Contest.”  (In the movie, Lovato sings the original song “In the Mirror.”) Compared to Katiana, Fire Saga looks like a bad joke.

Meanwhile, Victor Karlsson (played by Mikael Persbrandt), governor of Central Bank of Iceland, is worried about a contestant from Iceland winning Eurovision, which has a tradition of the winning contestant’s country hosting the contest in the following year. Victor fears that Iceland doesn’t have the infrastructure to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of people who would come to Iceland for Eurovision. And  he thinks that all those visitors during a short period of time could bankrupt Iceland.

Therefore, Victor is not enthusiastic about Katiana or anyone from Iceland winning Eurovision. When Victor expresses his concerns to Neils and the team at Icelandic Public Television, the rest of the group immediately shoots down Victor’s pessimistic prediction, because they think Eurovision coming to Iceland would be great for the Icelandic economy.

Lars’ dream of wining Eurovision becomes even more desperate when he finds himself homeless. His father Erick is having serious financial problems and has a choice to sell his house or sell his boat. Since Erick needs his boat for his fisherman income, he decides to sell the house.

Meanwhile, Sigrit has a quirk that Lars finds a little irritating: She believes in elves and thinks that elves can grant wishes. A recurring joke in the movie is that she visits a group of tiny houses built for elves and offers food and other gifts to the unseen creatures, as a way to entice them to grant her wishes. Two of her biggest wishes are to win Eurovision and to get together with Lars and start a family with him.

Through a series of unpredictable events, Fire Saga ends up representing Iceland at Eurovision, which is being held in Edinburgh, Scotland. How the usually hapless Fire Saga got to Eurovision wasn’t necessarily because Fire Saga was voted the best act, so Iceland’s support is lukewarm at best. Still, Iceland has given Fire Saga enough support that the country has hired a creative team to help Fire Saga win with Fire Saga’s chosen song “Double Trouble.”

The artistic director of this creative team is the very fussy and flamboyant Kevin Swain (played by Jamie Demetriou, in a scene-stealing performance), who sometimes clashes with the creative vision that Lars and Sigrit have for Fire Saga. During Eurovision rehearsals, Lars and Sirgit also meet another flamboyant character: Russian contestant Alexander Lemtov (played by Dan Stevens), a singer who flaunts his wealth and gives the impression that he will sleep with anyone to get them to do what he wants. Alexander’s Eurovision song is called “Lion of Love,” and his bombastic performance of the song includes a homoerotic choreography with male backup dancers wearing skintight gold lamé pants.

Alexander (whose frosted 1980s hairdo is reminiscent of George Michael in his Wham! days) immediately sets his sights on Sigrit to target as a sexual conquest. Meanwhile, Lars attracts the amorous attention of Greek contestant Mita Xenakis (played by Melissanthi Mahut), a singer who’s like a cross between Ariana Grande and Cher. Not surprisingly, some jealousy situations ensue.

In between all of the backstage drama and hilariously tacky performances, the movie has a standout musical ensemble number that takes place at a contestant party thrown by Alexander. In this scene, numerous contestants (including Lars, Sigrit, Alexander and Mita) do an extravagant medley of Cher’s “Believe,” Madonna’s “Ray of Light,” ABBA’s “Waterloo” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.”

Savan Kotecha, the musical director for this movie, assembled the team that wrote the film’s original songs that were deliberately kitschy. His background in writing and producing hits for real-life pop stars serves this movie very well. Among the hits that Kotecha co-written and co-produced include The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” Grande’s “God Is a Woman,” One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” and Lovato’s “Confident.” The musical score by Atli Örvarsson complements the pop tunes without being overbearing.

The movie’s Eurovision performance scenes, which includes footage from real Eurovision arena shows, are among the comedic highlights of the film. Just when you think an act couldn’t get campier or more pompous, another one comes along to surpass it. Graham Norton (portraying himself) adds an element of satirical realism with his cameo as the sardonic TV commentator for Eurovision.

For “Eurovision Song Contest,” McAdams and Ferrell have reunited with their “Wedding Crashers” director Dobkin, whose previous experience as a music-video director is an asset for this musical movie. As for the singing in the movie, Lovato and Mahut are professional singers in real life, so they did their own vocals. Adams’ vocals were either her own or a combination of McAdams and those of Swedish singer Molly Sandé. Alexander’s operatic singing vocals were provided by Erik Mjönes.

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” has plenty of lowbrow jokes that are actually laugh-out-loud funny. For example, there are several penis jokes and jokes about naked men in the movie. The jokes are crude but not offensive. In one scene, Lars comments: “I think of my penis like a Volvo—solid, sturdy, dependable, but not going to turn any heads.” Comedy is all about delivery, and Ferrell delivers the line in such a good natured, self-deprecating way, that it will make people laugh.

The movie doesn’t just poke fun at tacky aspiring pop stars from Europe. Americans are also the butt of many jokes in the film. During the course of the movie, Lars and Sigrit keep encountering the same group of college-age American tourists. Lars makes it known that he dislikes Americans, by taunting the tourists with the worst “ugly American” stereotypes. His insults aren’t too far off from how many non-Americans perceive Americans.

Make no mistake: “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is by no means an Oscar-worthy movie. (Ferrell has never starred in that type of movie anyway.) But it is a cut above some of the stinkers that Ferrell has been headlining in recent years. At its heart, “Eurovision Song Contest” has a sentimentality to it that just might win people over in the way that Fire Saga earnestly tries to charm audiences—not by being the most talented but by being their unapologetically corny selves.

Netflix premiered “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” on June 26, 2020.

HBO Max adds ‘Young Sheldon’ and ‘Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020’ to programming lineup

May 29, 2020

Iain Armitage in “Young Sheldon” (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS)

The following is a combination of press releases from HBO Max:

HBO Max — the upcoming WarnerMedia streaming platform that launched this week — has acquired the exclusive U.S. subscription-video-on-demand rights to the hit comedy Young Sheldon in a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. HBO Max is also the streaming home of the entire library of The Big Bang Theory, the longest-running multicamera comedy in television history; all 279 episodes of Big Bang are available on the streamer now.

“We now feel like our Big Bang offering is complete,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max, president TNT, TBS, and TruTV. “We are so proud to be the home of this beloved franchise and the place where new and existing fans can learn about young Sheldon Cooper’s roots.”

“In order for Sheldon Cooper to visit his younger self, he would need to manipulate spacetime. All you actually need is HBO Max,” said Young Sheldon creators/executive producers Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro. “We are so pleased that Young Sheldon will once again be reunited with his future self on HBO Max, and we are excited for fans, new and old, to be able to binge both The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon for the first time.”

Young Sheldon is currently the number-one comedy on network television with total viewers, Teens, and all key 25-54 demos. The series has averaged more than 11.4 million viewers per week during the 2019–20 season to date (11,424,000 actual P2+), according to Most Current ratings information from Nielsen, +34% more viewers than the next-largest comedy with total viewers.

For 12 years on The Big Bang Theory, audiences came to know the iconic, eccentric and extraordinary Sheldon Cooper. The single-camera, half-hour comedy Young Sheldon gives viewers the chance to meet him in childhood, as he embarks on his innocent, awkward and hopeful journey toward the man he will become.

For young Sheldon Cooper, it isn’t easy growing up in East Texas. Being a once-in-a-generation mind capable of advanced mathematics and science isn’t always helpful in a land where church and football are king. And while the vulnerable, gifted and somewhat naïve Sheldon deals with the world, his very normal family must find a way to deal with him. His father, George, is struggling to find his way as a high school football coach and as father to a boy he doesn’t understand.  Sheldon’s mother, Mary, fiercely protects and nurtures her son in a town where he just doesn’t fit in. Sheldon’s older brother, Georgie, does the best he can in high school, but it’s tough to be cool when you’re in the same classes with your odd 9-year-old brother. Finally, there’s Sheldon’s twin sister, Missy, who sometimes resents all the attention Sheldon gets, but also remains the one person who can reliably tell Sheldon the truth.

From Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, Young Sheldon is distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. The series stars Iain Armitage as Young Sheldon, Zoe Perry, Lance Barber, Montana Jordan, Raegan Revord, with Annie Potts, and Jim Parsons as the voice of Sheldon. Chuck Lorre & Steven Molaro created the show and serve as executive producers with Steve Holland, Jim Parsons and Todd Spiewak.
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Laura Benanti (Photo by Jenny Anderson)

HBO Max, the direct-to-consumer offering from WarnerMedia, announced today the greenlight of Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020. Inspired by Tony Award winning actress Laura Benanti’s (“My Fair Lady” and “She Loves Me” on Broadway, Younger, Supergirl, Nashville) online movement #SunshineSongs, in which she offered to be an audience for the students around the country whose spring musicals were cancelled because of COVID-19, this television event will give students the opportunity to sing and dance like the stars they are, from the safety of their homes.

Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020 will explore tried-and-true themes of classic teen movies through the totally unique lens of a world turned upside down by the global pandemic. The cast, featuring a diverse group of super talented student actors with compelling backstories, will play seniors from the same high school and while the pandemic may have shut down their school, the drama and romantic intrigue live on.

“As a mom of teenagers, I know that this time has been a struggle for them. High School seniors in particular have been hit hard by this pandemic, their dreams of homecoming, prom, spring performances and even graduation being cancelled,” said Jennifer O’Connell, executive vice president original non-fiction and kids programming. “Laura’s brilliant idea to give these kids an audience and a platform has blossomed into this unique opportunity for us to not only celebrate their talent, but to entertain many other families across the country sharing their experience.”

“Our school shows are more than just entertainment. At the very least, they bring our communities together to revel in the talent of our young artists. At their best, they are a life changing experience that these kids will bring with them into the rest of their lives,” said Benanti. “I am thrilled that the #SunshineSongs initiative has put the spotlight on so many incredible young performers; grateful to World of Wonder for its grand vision and to HBO MAX for providing a global platform on which America’s youth can shine!”

Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020 is executive produced by Laura Benanti along with Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey, and Tom Campbell for World of Wonder Productions (RuPaul’s Drag Race), and Leland (Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, RuPaul’s Drag Race) will write and produce the original songs and score.

About HBO Max 
HBO Max is WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer offering. With 10,000 hours of curated premium content anticipated at launch, HBO Max will offer powerhouse programming for everyone in the home, bringing together HBO, a robust slate of new original series, key third-party licensed programs and movies, and fan favorites from Warner Media’s rich library including Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more. Sign up for updates at HBOMax.com.

About WarnerMedia
WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, HBO Now, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. WarnerMedia is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).

About Laura Benanti
In the midst of an illustrious career spanning Broadway, film, and television, Tony® Award-winning actress, singer and author, Laura Benanti now brings a longstanding dream to life as she gears up to release her new solo album with Sony Music Masterworks this year. She recently released a single, a cover of “Sucker” along with a moving video donating 100% of her earnings to FoodCorps. Additionally, on the heels of her viral social media campaign, #SunshineSongs, Laura debuted the Sunshine Songs Concert series to bring joy through music to senior living communities, aging loved ones isolated in their homes, children’s hospitals, and beyond. With starring roles on Broadway ranging from the My Fair Lady revival and Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower to She Loves Me, and the title role in Gypsy for which Laura garnered a Tony® Award (one of five career nominations to date). Meanwhile, her performance in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown garnered her a Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award. Simultaneously, she enchanted audiences on the small screen, appearing on Younger, Supergirl, Nashville, The Good Wife, Nurse Jackie and her hilarious portrayal of First Lady Melania Trump on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert (among many others). In addition to films including Worth alongside Michael Keaton, Amy Ryan and Stanley Tucci and the upcoming “Here Today” alongside Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish, Laura recently released a hilarious book for Moms (co-written with her friend and Metropolitan Opera Star Kate Mangiameli) entitled “M is for MAMA (and also Merlot): A Modern Mom’s ABCs” available now at Barnes and Noble. Benanti is represented by UTA and Untitled.
About World of Wonder
For more than two decades, award-winning production company World of Wonder has introduced audiences to new worlds, talent and ideas that have shaped culture. Programming highlights include: Emmy® Award winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1/Logo), “Million Dollar Listing” LA & NY (Bravo), “Dancing Queen” (Netflix), “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” (Fuse), and “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” (National Geographic); award-winning films and documentaries including “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures,” “Menendez: Blood Brothers,” “Inside Deep Throat,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “I Am Britney Jean,” “In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye,” “Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking,” “Monica in Black and White,” Emmy-winning “The Last Beekeeper,” and Emmy-winning “Out of Iraq.” Seven of WOW’s films have premiered at the Sundance Film festival including “Becoming Chaz” and “Party Monster.” World of Wonder has also created a substantial digital footprint with its YouTube channel WOWPresents (1M+ subs), SVOD digital platform WOW Presents Plus, along with an award-winning blog, The WOW Report. World of Wonder’s bi-annual RuPaul’s DragCon is the world’s largest drag culture convention, welcoming 100,000 attendees across LA and NYC in 2019 and expanding internationally to the UK in 2020. Co-founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey authored The World According to Wonder, celebrating decades of production, which can be found online at http://worldofwonder.net/. Randy and Fenton were honored with the IDA Pioneer Award in December 2014, celebrating exceptional achievement, leadership, and vision in the nonfiction and documentary community, named to Variety’s Reality Leaders List in 2017, and chosen for the OUT100 list in 2018 for their trailblazing work in the LGBTQ+ community. World of Wonder was also selected for Realscreen’s 2018 Global 100 list, which recognizes the top international non-fiction and unscripted production companies working in the industry today. World of Wonder creates out of a historic building/gallery space in the heart of Hollywood.

About Leland
Brett McLaughlin, aka Leland, is a Golden Globe nominated songwriter, composer, executive producer and prominent figure in the LGBTQ+ community who has contributed to some of pop music’s most influential releases of the past few years. As a songwriter, he has collaborated with Selena Gomez (‘Rare’ and ‘Fetish’), Troye Sivan (Youth, Bloom, My My My!, Take Yourself Home), BTS (Louder Than Bombs), Ariana Grande, (Dance To This), Carrie Underwood (End Up With You), Charli XCX (1999), Lauv & Troye Sivan (I’m So Tired) and many more. Mclaughlin composed the score and wrote 12 original songs for the Netflix Original Movie ‘Sierra Burgess Is A Loser’ as well as executive producing the soundtrack. Other projects include composing musicals for the Emmy Award Winning ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and co-writing “Revelation” with Troye Sivan and Jonsi for ‘Boy Erased’, a biographical film about LGBTQ+ conversion therapy.

Review: ‘Valley Girl’ (2020), starring Jessica Rothe, Josh Whitehouse, Logan Paul, Mae Whitman, Jessie Ennis, Chloe Bennet and Alicia Silverstone

May 8, 2020

by Carla Hay

Jessica Rothe and Josh Whitehouse in “Valley Girl” (Photo courtesy of Orion Classics)

“Valley Girl” (2020)

Directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg

Culture Representation: Taking place in the Los Angeles area, this musical remake of the 1983 romantic comedy “Valley Girl” has a predominantly white cast of characters (with some African Americans, Latinos and Asians) representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A sheltered San Fernando Valley “good girl,” who’s about to graduate from high school, has a romance with a “bad boy” musician from Hollywood, much to her friends’ disapproval.

Culture Audience: “Valley Girl” will appeal mostly to fans of the original “Valley Girl” movie or fans of 1980s pop music, but they will probably be disappointed in this musical remake, which is too slick for its own good.

Camila Morrone and Alicia Silverstone in “Valley Girl” (Photo courtesy of Orion Classics)

The 1983 romantic comedy “Valley Girl” (starring Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman) is the kind of movie that doesn’t need to be remade/re-imagined/rebooted for a modern audience, because it’s a movie about a particular youth subculture that’s meant to stay in the past and shouldn’t be resurrected. Although the 2020 musical remake of “Valley Girl” (directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg) wisely chose to make the movie primarily as a flashback memory to the ’80s, almost everything about this musical smacks of an inauthentic, forced recreation of the effortless 1980s charm that made the original “Valley Girl” movie a cult classic.

In the beginning of the “Valley Girl” musical remake, a pouty, young woman named Ruby (played by Camilla Morrone), who’s in her early 20s, stumbles out of a nightclub and asks her mother (whom she still lives with) to come pick her up from the club. Ruby is apparently too tipsy to drive and apparently doesn’t want to call a taxi or ride-sharing service. When they get home, Ruby tells her mother Julie (played by Alicia Silverstone) that she’s in a bad mood because she just broke up with her boyfriend.

The mother is supposed to be the Julie Richman character who was the teenage titular protagonist in the original “Valley Girl” movie. Julie is now a middle-aged fashion designer, who has fond and rosy memories of her teenage years in California’s San Fernando Valley, where she still lives.

As a San Fernando Valley teenager in the ’80s, Julie’s life was like a carefree bubble that revolved around school, going to shopping malls (like the famous Sherman Oaks Galleria), dating, hanging out at the beach, and going to parties with other teens, usually at someone’s house. (Frank Zappa’s 1982 song “Valley Girl,” featuring vocals by his then-teenage daughter Moon Unit Zappa, inspired the idea for the 1983 “Valley Girl” movie. The Zappas were not involved in the movie, and Frank Zappa lost a lawsuit that he filed to prevent the film from being made.)

When she was a senior in high school, Julie fell in love for the first time with a slightly older Hollywood rocker named Randy, who was played by Cage in the original “Valley Girl” movie. As for who Ruby’s father is, he’s mentioned but not seen in the “Valley Girl” remake, which reveals at the end of the film whether or not Randy and Julie ended up living happily ever after.

Julie is very sympathetic about her daughter’s boyfriend breakup, but Julie also starts to tell Ruby about the “good old days,” when her name was Julie Richman and she was a very sheltered teenager in the early-to-mid-80s. (Although the original “Valley Girl” was released in 1983, the ’80s music in the “Valley Girl” musical remake was released in or before 1984. Only true music trivia buffs would notice this change in the movie’s soundtrack.)

Julie’s daughter tries to pretend she doesn’t care about her mother’s nostalgic memories, by groaning to her about her boyfriend problems: “You wouldn’t understand!” And that’s when Julie launches into her “let me tell you about when I was young” story. The rest of the movie occasionally cuts back to the middle-aged Julie and her daughter for exposition purposes, but the majority of the film consists of the flashback memories of Julie, with the characters from the ’80s often singing their dialogues, since this is a musical.

Here we go. Get ready for the cheesiness. Although Jessica Rothe as the teenage Julie does a fairly good job as a singer, she is not convincing at all as a naïve, straight-laced high schooler, which is what Julie is supposed to be. Rothe looks like she’s graduated from high school years ago, instead of someone who’s supposed to still be in high school. Putting her in cutesy and frilly ’80s outfits doesn’t make her look like a teenager.

Deborah Foreman, who played the teenage Julie in the original “Valley Girl” had a mix of innocence and sexiness that made her irresistible to a lot of guys in her orbit. Rothe (who was in her early 30s when she made this “Valley Girl” remake) looks like she’s playing dress-up as a teenager. Because she looks way past the age of a student in high school, it looks ridiculous for her to play such a sheltered goody-two shoes teen. It’s not quite as bad of an age miscast as Olivia Newton-John in the movie “Grease,” but it’s pretty close. At least “Grease” was a great musical. This version of “Valley Girl” is most definitely not.

As for “bad boy” rocker Randy, the original “Valley Girl” had Cage playing him as a kind of a misfit weirdo who didn’t care about the social taboos of a sheltered high school girl from the San Fernando Valley dating a “freak” from Hollywood. In this musical version of “Valley Girl,” there’s nothing quirky, dangerous or even edgy about Randy, who’s played by Josh Whitehouse, in a very bland performance and with very limited singing talent.

In this remake, Randy looks more like he wants to be a heartthrob teen idol (like John Stamos was back in the early ’80s), instead of being a slightly scuzzy, down-on-his-luck rocker, which is what the Randy character is supposed to be. Even the tattoos that the Randy character has in this “Valley Girl” remake look fake, because they probably are. Randy in both “Valley Girl” movies is supposed to be slightly older than Julie, which is one of the reasons why their relationship is slightly taboo. While in the original movie, Cage looked the part, Whitehouse actually looks younger than Rothe, which he is in real life.

The nightclub scenes in this remake also don’t look real at all. You can tell it’s a movie set, compared to the original “Valley Girl” which filmed on location at a real nightclub. The nightclub where the original “Valley Girl” was filmed was called The Central back then, but it became more famous in the 1990s when it was renamed the Viper Room. In the original “Valley Girl,” there was a scene with The Plimsouls performing their song “A Million Miles Away” at the club. In the remake, the female rock duo Deap Vally performs the song.

In fact, almost everything about the “Valley Girl” remake  (written by Amy Talkington) feels overly sanitized. It scrubs out all the adult content from the original movie (in other words, some of the funniest scenes) and turns this film into a too-cutesy musical. The only nudity in the remake is when some male students briefly moon someone at the high school. There’s no drug use in the remake, and sex is hinted at but not shown.

The costumes in the “Valley Girl” remake also look very much like costumes (and some of it is intentional, since many of the movie’s scenes take place at a costume party), while the movie’s hair, makeup and production design for the San Fernando Valley scenes are overly exaggerated in pastels and neon. Perhaps this “movie set” look to the film serves a purpose, since it’s supposed to represent the glossy memories of someone nostalgic about their teenage years in the ’80s. But people who’ve seen the original “Valley Girl” (which was directed by Martha Coolidge) will be turned off by this remake’s glibness.

Although the remake removed the gritty and realistic aspects of the original “Valley Girl,” the plot of the original “Valley Girl” is mostly the same in this musical remake, with some notable differences. In both “Valley Girl” movies, Julie (who’s a popular girl at her school) breaks up with a guy that most people expect someone like her to date: a preppy jock who’s also popular at school. But he also happens to be very self-centered, cocky and possessive, which is why Julie breaks up with him. He swears that she’ll regret it, and he arrogantly predicts that she’ll beg him to take her back.

In both movies, Julie meets Randy shortly after the breakup. And it’s the kind of scene where they look at each other in a way that’s obvious that they’re attracted to each other and will eventually get together. In the original “Valley Girl,” Randy and Julie meet at a house party, where he’s shown up uninvited. In the remake, Randy and Julie meet briefly on the beach, and then have their first major flirtation later at a house party.

In the original “Valley Girl,” Julie’s obnoxious ex-boyfriend was named Tommy (played by Michael Bowen). In the “Valley Girl” remake, the ex-boyfriend is named Mickey Bowen (get it?), and he’s played by YouTube star Logan Paul, who’s famous for also being obnoxious in real life, so there doesn’t have to be a lot of acting from him. It’s unknown if the character was named Mickey before or after the filmmakers decided to put Toni Basil’s hit “Mickey” as a big musical number in the film. Yes, it’s as cringeworthy as it sounds.

The choreography by Mandy Moore (of “La La Land” and “So You Think You Can Dance” fame) is actually one of the better aspects of the “Valley Girl” remake. It’s just too bad that the watered-down story and corny dialogue make this movie much more inferior to the original. The remake is essentially a “jukebox musical” with a lot of ’80s hits stuffed into the plot.

There are a few modern updates to the “Valley Girl” remake. The cast is a little more diverse than the first “Valley Girl” film. In the original, all the girls in Julie’s close circle of friends are thin and white. In the remake, Julie’s clique includes an African American named Loryn (played by Ashleigh Murray), whose dream is to be a dancer in music videos, especially for her idol Janet Jackson; plus-sized Stacey (played by Jessie Ennis), who’s unfortunately the butt of jokes and not treated very well by some of her so-called “friends”; and petty-minded Karen (played by Chloe Bennet), who ends up dating Mickey after Julie breaks up with him.

In the original “Valley Girl,”  Julie’s friend Loryn (played  Elizabeth “E.G.” Dailey) is the one who fools around with Julie’s ex-boyfriend at a party, and they keep their short fling a secret. In the remake, Mickey and Karen openly date each other after Julie has dumped him. His rebound relationship with Karen essentially ends Karen’s friendship with Julie.

But in both movies, all of the San Fernando Valley girls in Julie’s clique still have the same stuck-up attitude about Hollywood, which they think is a place for freaks and weirdos. This social snobbery is why Julie’s friends pressure her to break up with Randy and get back together with her ex-boyfriend. If you know the formula of romantic comedies, you can guess how Julie handles this conflict and how it gets resolved in the end.

Both movies also have teen parties that are chaperoned by adults. Fun fact: Original “Valley Girls” co-stars Foreman and Dailey have cameos in the “Valley Girl” remake. Foreman plays a sales clerk in a store that sells prom dresses, while Dailey plays a drunk parent at one of the teen parties. However, the remake doesn’t have the original “Valley Girl” subplot of a “Mrs. Robinson”-type character trying to seduce the teenage guy whom her daughter wants for herself.

Julie’s parents are very different in each movie. In the original “Valley Girl” Julie’s former hippie parents are much more lenient (her father also smokes marijuana in the movie) than Julie’s parents in the “Valley Girl” remake. For example, in the original “Valley Girl,” Julie’s parents Steve and Sarah (played by Frederic Forrest and Colleen Camp), who run a health-food restaurant, were okay with her staying out all night and dating Randy. In the remake, Julie’s parents Steve and Diana (played by Rob Huebel and Judy Greer) are much more conservative (Steve is a corporate business type), much more protective of Julie, and they don’t approve of her dating Randy.

Another big difference is that in the original “Valley Girl,” Randy’s family is not seen or mentioned at all. But the “Valley Girl” remake goes more into the backstory of Randy’s family, when he reveals that his father abandoned him, and his mother kicked Randy out of their home. And the original “Valley Girl” never showed the bachelor pad where Randy lived (which made him kind of mysterious), whereas the remake shows that Randy (who’s a wannabe rock star) lives in a dumpy apartment in Hollywood with his two band mates: a lesbian bass player named Jack (played by Mae Whitman) and a kooky drummer named Sticky (played by Mario Revolori). Jack is Randy’s best friend/sidekick, which was the role of Fred Bailey (played by Cameron Dye) in the original “Valley Girl” movie.

The “Valley Girl” remake also gives Julie career ambitions, which she did not have in the original movie. In the musical remake, Julie is an aspiring fashion designer who dreams of going to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, but she’s pressured to conform and go to California State University at Northridge, a school that many of her peers from high school also plan to attend.

The other girls in Julie’s Valley Girl clique only have ambitions to go to college so that they can find a husband. As Loryn says to her friends while they’re sunning themselves at the beach, “If I’m not married by the time I’m 23, I’ll kill myself!” If that sounds like an outdated mindset, even for 1980s California, consider that a lot of teenage girls and young women still think this way in very conservative communities.

The “Valley Girl” remake’s hokey dialogue and mediocre acting might be forgivable, but the movie does something that’s pretty unforgivable for fans of the original “Valley Girl” movie. It changed the plot so that Modern English’s “I Melt With You” (the signature song from the original “Valley Girl” soundtrack) is supposed to be written by Randy for Julie. In other words, that means Randy and his band play “I Melt With You” in a serenading scene that’s as dumb as you think it is. Pure garbage.

Since the “Valley Girl” remake ruined “I Melt With You,” here’s a list of ’80s songs that the movie’s cast members remade for the musical scenes, in a less offensive but still fairly cheesy way: Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”; Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation”; a-ha’s “Take on Me”; The Cars’ “You Might Think”; A Flock of Seagulls’ “Space Age Love Song”; The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry”; Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”; and a medley of Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough,” Madonna’s “Material Girl,” Hall & Oates’ “I Cant’ Go For That (No Can Do),” and Soft Cell’s cover version of “Tainted Love.”

There are also some songs in the movie that are the original artists’ studio recordings, such The Cars’ “Magic,” Duran Duran’s “Rio,” Men at Work’s “Be Good Johnny,” Run-DMC’s “It’s Like That” and Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance.” It’s obvious that the filmmakers spent a great deal of the movie’s budget on licensing these hit songs, because there doesn’t appear to have been much of the budget invested in creating a quality film.

Orion Classics released “Valley Girl” in select U.S. drive-in theaters, on digital and on VOD on May 8, 2020.

2019 DOC NYC movie review: ‘Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back’

November 18, 2019

by Carla Hay

Maurice Hines in “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” (Photo by John Carluccio)

“Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back”

Directed by John Carluccio

World premiere at DOC NYC in New York City on November 10, 2019.

In the opening scene of “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back,” Tony-nominated entertainer Maurice Hines Jr. (who is in his 70s) is shown tap dancing with the kind of talent that most people never have in their lifetimes. That opening scene in this fascinating and comprehensive biographical film is a nod to Hines’ dancing roots, because he got his start in showbiz as a tap dancer at the tender age of 5. Throughout his childhood and early adulthood, Hines’ dancing partner was his younger brother Gregory. The two brothers also performed with their musician/singer father, Maurice Hines Sr., as part of the trio Hines, Hines and Dad.

But just like a lot of siblings, Maurice and Gregory (who died of cancer in 2003) often didn’t see eye to eye, and the documentary shows that the brothers’ relationship is the source of Maurice’s biggest lifelong emotional joy and pain. Their on-again, off-again feuding is discussed, but thankfully not exploited in the movie, which shows that Maurice has led a full and interesting life that includes being openly gay from as early as he can remember.

As Maurice’s friend Debbie Allen says in the film: “Maurice is one of the most energetic, alive people I’ve ever known.” And the movie has a spectacular range of archival footage, from his early years as a performer to his stints on Broadway or on tour for such productions as “Eubie!,” “Sophisticated Ladies,” “Uptown… It’s Hot!” There’s also new footage of Maurice dancing up a storm with dancer brothers Leo and John Manzari, who are his protégés and frequent collaborators. Viewers also get to see how much he loves to mentor young dancers, as he’s shown as a guest instructor at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, as well as at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

One of the surprising revelations in the movie is that Maurice’s family always accepted him as gay. Living his life so openly as a gay man was rare for his Silent Generation, just as it was rare for out LGBTQ people to be completely welcomed by their families, when homophobia was enforced by society at large. In the documentary, Hines remembers his mother telling him that she always knew he was gay before he told her, and he’d tell his father about the guys he was dating when his father asked about his love life. His straight brother Gregory, who used to go to gay bars with Maurice, had no hangups about dancing with gay men at the clubs.

And Maurice isn’t shy about discussing his favorite type of men: “I like football players the best,” he says. “If they’ve got big calves, we’re going to talk.” He also mentions that he used to date a lot of football players (but he doesn’t name names), and here’s how he described the relationships: “They just fell in love with me.”

The documentary also shows him playfully flirting with a young, stocky black cameraman from the film crew, after Maurice realizes that the cameraman overheard his microphoned comment about how he thinks the guy is sexy. “I’m 75, baby,” he laughed while sizing up the cameraman. “I say exactly what I need.”

Among the other people interviewed in the movie are Gregory’s children Daria and Zach; Gregory’s first ex-wife, Patricia Panella, who’s remained a close friend of Maurice’s; the Manzari Brothers; Ballet Tap USA founder Mercedes Ellinston; and Maurice’s friends Chita Rivera and Mel Johnson Jr., whose decades-long friendship with Maurice began when they when they were in the original 1978 Broadway cast of “Eubie.” Maurice also acknowledges some of his biggest influences, including his mentor Henry LeTang and VOP dance creator Frank Hatchett.

The documentary also covers how Maurice was affected when Gregory split off from him in 1972 to establish a separate career. Gregory still performed in musical theater, but he went on to become a star of films and TV shows, while Maurice stayed primarily in theater, where he sometimes replaced Gregory in touring productions of Broadway shows that previously starred Gregory. Maurice made his film debut in director Francis Ford Coppola’s 1984 drama “The Cotton Club,” in which he and Gregory played estranged, tap-dancing brothers who eventually reconcile. (The movie was also the last time that the two brothers danced together in public.)

The brothers’ relationship in “The Cotton Club” was very much a case of art imitating life. Although there was a period of about 10 years when Gregory and Maurice didn’t speak to each other (even when they lived just a few blocks from each other), they eventually reunited by the late 1990s, and remained close until Gregory’s untimely death in 2003. Maurice says in the movie (and his family and friends confirm) that he will never tell anyone why he and Gregory stopped talking to each other during their long estrangement. One of the most touching parts of the documentary is when Maurice accompanies Coppola to a 2017 Telluride Film Festival restoration/revival screening of “The Cotton Club,” and Maurice gets emotional during a post-screening Q&A when talking about Gregory.

Maurice also shows his tender side when it comes to his daughter, Cheryl Davis, whom he adopted with Silas Davis, who was Maurice’s partner from 1979 to 1996. (It’s another example of how Maurice was ahead of his time, because he adopted when gay adoptions weren’t allowed in most states.) Cheryl is in the movie, and Silas is briefly heard in in the film, in a voiceover interview discussing how they raised her.

“Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” director John Carluccio, who is also the film’s editor and cinematographer, weaves together a fascinating story by not only respectfully telling Maurice’s life story but also not forgetting to present an overall historical context of the groundbreaking things that Maurice did as an openly gay black man in the entertainment industry. Many of his accomplishments were during a time when being an openly gay black man put him at high risk of being fired, assaulted, or worse.

The movie is also an unflinching look at how Maurice is dealing with aging. He shows some reclusive tendencies as a senior citizen who lives alone, and he openly discusses how much it bothers him to know that he’s losing his short-term memory. But no matter what age Maurice is, his charisma and zest for life are firmly intact, and it’s a joy to watch him in this movie. Simply put, “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” isn’t just a documentary about an underrated artist who at times was overshadowed by his more famous younger brother. The movie also shows how Maurice is a person of substance in his own right, and it’s an inspirational look at how someone can live life with passion and authenticity, while uplifting other people.

2019 D23 Expo: Walt Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm programming announced

August 8, 2019

“Aladdin” (Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios)

The following is a press release from D23:

The Walt Disney Studios presents an exclusive look at its unparalleled film slate at D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, California, taking place August 23–25.
At a marquee Hall D23 presentation hosted by The Walt Disney Studios Chief Creative Officer and Co-Chairman Alan Horn on Saturday, August 24, fans will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Studios’ upcoming theatrical releases, including animated films from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios and live-action projects from Disney, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm.

These studios are responsible for some of the world’s biggest movie hits, and past D23 Expos have been the site of some of the first-released details on blockbusters such as Disney’s Aladdin; Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana and Zootopia; Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story 4; Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War; and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, along with unforgettable moments like the debut of The Lion King’s “Circle of Life” sequence, live musical celebrations of Coco and Mary Poppins Returns, and a sprawling cast of Avengers assembling onstage.

Saturday’s showcase will feature never-before-seen footage, surprise appearances, and more. While the films to be featured in Hall D23 will remain under wraps until showtime, the Studios’ upcoming slate includes Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Mulan, and Jungle Cruise; Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen 2; Pixar originals Onward and Soul; Marvel Studios’ Black Widow and The Eternals; and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and more.

HALL D23 PRESENTATIONS:

Go Behind the Scenes with The Walt Disney Studios
Saturday, August 24, 10 a.m., Hall D23

The Walt Disney Studios presents a behind-the-scenes look at its blockbuster collection of upcoming films. Fans will glimpse what’s on the drawing board for the acclaimed filmmakers at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios and get a peek at the exciting slate of live-action projects, from Disney to Marvel Studios to Lucasfilm’s Star Wars. As always, attendees will be treated to exclusive footage, special guest appearances, and more! Cell phones, cameras, and all recording devices will be checked for this presentation.

Disney on Broadway: A 25th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, August 24, 3:30 p.m., Hall D23

Disney on Broadway is thrilled to return to D23 Expo to celebrate its 25th anniversary with an exclusive concert. Hosted by Tony Award®-nominee Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast), the 75-minute concert will feature Heidi Blickenstaff (Freaky Friday, The Little Mermaid), Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, On The Record), Kissy Simmons (The Lion King), Josh Strickland (Tarzan), and Alton Fitzgerald White (The Lion King). A six-piece band, led by Jim Abbott, will accompany performers as they lead the audience through Disney on Broadway’s Tony Award-winning catalogue. The performance will feature songs from Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aida, Tarzan®, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Newsies, Aladdin, Freaky Friday, and Frozen. (Talent is subject to change.)

Disney Character Voices, Inc: The 30th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, August 25, 4:15 p.m., Hall D23

For 30 years, Disney Character Voices has kept the voices of Disney characters alive and well for fans through toys, games, apps, theme park attractions, and much more. Take a journey with Rick Dempsey, SVP of Character Voices, and many of those beloved voices—including Tony Anselmo (“Donald”), Jodi Benson (“Ariel”), Bill Farmer (“Goofy” and “Pluto”), Bret Iwan (“Mickey Mouse”), and Linda Larkin (“Jasmine”), with more special guests to be announced—as they step out from behind the microphone to celebrate this joyous anniversary through stories and amazing voices!

CALENDAR OF KEY EVENTS:

Great Moments with Walt Disney
Friday, August 23, 10:30 a.m., Archives Stage

Grammy®-winning producer Randy Thornton, Disney Music Group’s Supervising Producer and Music Historian, will present audio recordings of Walt Disney recalling the development of the first cartoon with synchronized sound, creating Disney’s first hit song, and meeting Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.

“Vader Immortal” (Image courtesy of Lucasfilm)

Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode II First Look
Friday, August 23, 2 p.m., Stage 28

Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series lets you become the hero of your own personal adventure as you step into the role of a Force-sensitive smuggler recruited by Darth Vader himself. Director Ben Snow, Senior Experience Designer Jose Perez III, and Lucasfilm Story Group Creative Executive Matt Martin take the stage for an in-depth discussion about the upcoming second episode, including an exclusive sneak peek that will be available only to those at D23 Expo.

A Musical Celebration of Aladdin
Saturday, August 24, 5:30 p.m., D23 Expo Arena

To celebrate the in-home releases of the all-new live-action Aladdin and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Aladdin Walt Disney Signature Collection, hosts Scott Weinger (“Aladdin”) and Linda Larkin (“Jasmine”) take us on a musical magic-carpet ride through your favorite tunes from Aladdin both on stage and on screen. Special guests include Brad Kane (“Aladdin” singing voice), Deedee Magno Hall (“Jasmine” in Disney’s Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular), Jamal Sims (Choreographer, Aladdin live action), Clinton Greenspan (“Aladdin” on the North American tour), Lillias White (Hercules), and Norm Lewis (Scandal, The Little Mermaid on Broadway). You never know what surprises the Genie may conjure up.

The Little Mermaid: The 30th Anniversary Celebration!
Sunday, August 25, 10 a.m., D23 Expo Arena

Fans of the classic film are invited to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of The Little Mermaid, recognized around the world as one of the greatest animated films of all time. Hosted by the voice of Ariel herself, Jodi Benson, it will be an unforgettable “Under the Sea” celebration. Presented by H2O+.

Hidden Gems of the Walt Disney Animation Research Library: Preserving and Inspiring the Disney Legacy
Sunday, August 25, 12 p.m., Walt Disney Archives Stage

Fans will discover what it’s like to hold Disney history in their hands in this informative panel. The talented team at Walt Disney Animation Research Library (ARL) preserves millions of pieces of original Disney animation art from Steamboat Willie to the films of today. Attendees will learn how the ARL shares these hidden gems, inspiring artists and audiences alike.

The Art of Disney Storytelling
Sunday, August 25, 3 p.m., D23 Expo Arena

John Stamos hosts this panel of master storytellers—including Disney Legends Tony Baxter and Floyd Norman, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Paul Briggs (head of story, Frozen and Big Hero 6), and legendary producer Don Hahn—who will discuss Walt Disney’s impact on their careers and the entertainment industry, highlighting the ways they leverage those lessons to spark creativity today.

World Premiere: Walt Disney Animation Studios Presents Short Circuit
Sunday, August 25, 4 p.m., Stage 28

In this exciting panel, Walt Disney Animation Studios will debut Short Circuit, an experimental short film program that will debut in Spring 2020 on Disney+. Talented artists and filmmakers will share their films for the first time anywhere and give behind-the-scenes insights.

Two Worlds, One Family: The Making of Tarzan
Sunday, August 25, 5:45 p.m., D23 Expo Arena

Twenty years later, the team who brought the animated classic to life “swings” into the D23 Expo to give a behind-the-scenes look at how the Walt Disney Animation Studios film came to be! Guests include directors Chris Buck (Frozen 2) and Kevin Lima (Enchanted); animators Bruce W. Smith, Ken Duncan, and Disney Legend Glen Keane; and producer Bonnie Arnold, as well as a very special performance by Matthew Morrison (Glee) from his forthcoming Walt Disney Records album.

ALL WEEKEND ON THE D23 EXPO SHOW FLOOR

Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios

Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) and Pixar will once again team up for an immersive animation experience at D23 Expo. The studios’ upcoming slate of films, which include WDAS’ much-anticipated Frozen 2 and Pixar’s brand-new original feature film Onward, will be highlighted, including opportunities to meet the teams behind the movies and autograph signings of exclusive art and promotional item giveaways. Pixar Animation Studios will also introduce fans to a real-life version of Guinevere, the van from Onward. Decked out with crescent moon windows and a “Pegacorn” (part Pegasus, part unicorn) painted on her sides, Guinevere will offer guests a taste of the adventure that two teenage elf brothers will embark upon in the movie.

Disney on Broadway

Fans can celebrate Disney on Broadway’s milestone 25th anniversary by visiting the VR (virtual reality) theatre on the D23 Expo floor. The brand-new VR experience puts you center stage in Aladdin, Frozen, and The Lion King’s biggest Broadway production numbers, featuring Broadway’s Caissie Levy (Elsa), Major Attaway (Genie), Telly Leung (Aladdin), and Tshidi Manye (Rafiki).

Lucasfilm Pavilion

For the first time at D23 Expo, Lucasfilm will host a pavilion on the show floor with an impressive display showcasing the evolution of the Star Wars stormtrooper. The exhibit will include several of the screen-used costumes seen throughout the iconic movie series. From the classic stormtrooper to new designs featured in the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, this stunning display is a rare opportunity to examine these production costumes up close and study the many unique styles deployed throughout a galaxy far, far away. Also featured in the Lucasfilm pavilion will be a special section for young Padawans that will include Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures video shorts, along with multiple interactive activities for kids.

Marvel Studios Pavilion

Inside the Marvel Studios Pavilion on the show floor, fans can step inside the action of Avengers: Endgame via a D23 Expo-exclusive video experience, and tour the costume gallery to see costumes worn by characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throughout the weekend, Marvel Studios will host panel conversations with filmmakers and artists, as well as special talent signings inside the Pavilion. Fans can test their encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with daily trivia games for prizes.

Inside the World of Avatar

“Avatar” props (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

The astonishing world of Avatar is one of the most indelible ever created in film and a celebration of all that is possible in cinema and storytelling. Avatar’s visionary director, James Cameron, has created a spellbinding, immersive world that transports audiences to a never-before-imagined place inhabited by jaw-droppingly original characters. At D23 Expo 2019, the spectacular world of Avatar comes to life once again with rarely seen props, costumes, and models used in the making of Cameron’s groundbreaking film, paired with the iconic movie moments where they are brought to life. Fans will also get a glimpse at the making of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Walt Disney World Resort, making this one-of-a-kind exhibit, located on the second floor of the Anaheim Convention Center, a must-see stop for anyone who appreciates the very best in movie and theme park storytelling.

Disney Music Emporium – Album Signings and Exclusive Products

Disney Music Emporium, the online destination for collectible Disney music products, returns to D23 Expo 2019 with a pop-up store on the show floor. Over the three-day Ultimate Disney Fan Event, the Emporium will feature album signings by artists and award-winning composers. Limited quantities of a wide assortment of music products will be available, including new releases from Marvel and Lucasfilm, vinyl albums, die-cut picture disc vinyl, cassettes, Crosley turntables, cassette players, posters, and more. Additionally, visitors to Disney Music Emporium will be able to pre-order the Matthew Morrison Disney album. Album signings at the Disney Music Emporium shop include Oscar®- and Grammy®winning composer and Disney Legend Randy Newman (Toy Story films, The Princess and the Frog, Cars films); composer Tyler Bates (Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy); actor Anthony Gonzalez (voice of Miguel from Coco); singer-songwriter, actor, and dancer Matthew Morrison (Glee); plus Hollywood Records artist JD McCrary (voice of young Simba in The Lion King). Scheduled artists subject to change.

Single-day tickets for Sunday of D23 Expo 2019 are available for $89 for one-day adult admission and $69 for children ages 3–9. Gold Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $79 for a one-day adult admission and $59 for children ages 3–9. Single-day Friday and Saturday tickets, as well as three-day passes, are sold out. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2019, visit D23Expo.com.

About The Walt Disney Studios
For more than 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music, and stage plays to consumers throughout the world.

About D23 Expo 2019
D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities.

For the latest D23 Expo 2019 news, visit D23expo.com. Presentations, talent, and schedule subject to change. To join the D23 Expo conversation, be sure to follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and use the hashtag #D23Expo.

About D23
The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his first studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s 90-plus-year history. It gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication, Disney twenty-three; a rich website at D23.com with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year.

Fans can join D23 at Gold Membership ($99.99), Gold Family Membership ($129.99), and General Membership (complimentary) levels at D23.com. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

2019 Tony Awards: ‘Hadestown’ is the top winner

June 9, 2019

Tony Awards logo

With eight prizes,  including Best Musical, “Hadestown” was the top winner at the  73rd annual Tony Awards, which were presented at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on June 9, 2019. CBS had the U.S. telecast of the show, which was hosted by James Corden, a past Tony winner.

“Hadestown” went into the ceremony with the most nominations (14), while “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations” had 12 nominations. In the end, “Ain’t Too Proud” won just one Tony Award: Best Choreography.

In addition to Best Musical, “Hadestown” won the Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (for Andre De Shields), Best Score, Best Orchestrations, Best Sound Design of a Musical and Best Lighting Design of a Musical.

Other multiple winners at the 2019 Tony Awards were “The Ferryman,” winner of four Tonys, including Best Play , and “Tootsie,” winner of three Tonys, including Best Leading Actor in a Musical (for Santino Fontana), “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!” and “The Cher Show” won two Tonys each: “Oklahoma” took the prizes for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (for Ali Stroker), while “The Cher Show” received Tonys for Best Leading Actress in a Musical (for Stephanie J. Block) and Best Costume Design of a Musical (for Bob Mackie). Bryan Cranston of “Network” won the Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Play, while Elaine May of “The Waverly Gallery” won the Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Play. It was the only Tony Award for “Network” and “The Waverly Gallery.”

The show featured performances by the casts of “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations,” “Beetlejuice,” “The Cher Show,” “Choir Boy,” “Hadestown” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Oklahoma!,” “The Prom” and “Tootsie.” Tony Award winning-actress Cynthia Erivo sang “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” for the show’s “In Memoriam” segment.

Presenters included Darren Criss, Tina Fey, Sutton Foster, Samuel L. Jackson, Regina King, Laura Linney, Audra McDonald, Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Andrew Rannells, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Michael Shannon, Sara Bareilles, Laura Benanti, Abigail Breslin, Danny Burstein, Kristin Chenoweth, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Josh Groban, Danai Gurira, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Jackson, Shirley Jones, Jane Krakowski, Judith Light, Lucy Liu, Aasif Mandvi, Sienna Miller, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Catherine O’Hara, Kelli O’Hara, Karen Olivo, Anthony Ramos, Marisa Tomei, Aaron Tveit, Samira Wiley and BeBe Winans.

According to a Tony Awards press release: “The nominees were selected by an independent committee of 42 theatre professionals appointed by the Tony Awards Administration Committee. The 2019 Tony Awards are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. For the CBS broadcast, Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss/White Cherry Entertainment were executive Producers. Weiss also served as director. Legitimate theatrical productions opening in any of the 41 eligible Broadway theatres during the current season were considered for Tony nominations. The 2018/2019 eligibility season began April 27, 2018 and ended April 25, 2019. The Tony Awards were voted in 26 competitive categories by 831 designated Tony voters within the theatre community.

The following is the complete list of winners and nominations for the 2019 Tony Awards:

*=winner

Best Musical
Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations
Beetlejuice
Hadestown*
The Prom
Tootsie

Best Play
Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney
The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth*
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus by Taylor Mac
Ink by James Graham
What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck

Best Revival of a Musical
Kiss Me, Kate
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!*

Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
The Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley*
Burn This
Torch Song by Harvey Fierstein
The Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonergan

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud
Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
Damon Daunno, Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie*

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show*
Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
Beth Leavel, The Prom
Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
Bryan Cranston, Network*
Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
Adam Driver, Burn This
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery*
Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Book of a Musical
Ain’t Too Proud, Dominique Morisseau
Beetlejuice, Scott Brown and Anthony King
Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom, Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin
Tootsie, Robert Horn*

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Be More Chill, Joe Iconis
Beetlejuice, Eddie Perfect
Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell*
The Prom, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin
To Kill a Mockingbird, Adam Guettel
Tootsie, David Yazbek

Best Direction of a Musical
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown*
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Oklahoma!
Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud
Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, Ink
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman*
Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
Ivo van Hove, Network
George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Andre De Shields, Hadestown*
Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud
Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
Ali Stroker, Oklahoma!*
Mary Testa, Oklahoma!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Bertie Carvel, Ink*
Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird*
Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ruth Wilson, King Lear

Best Choreography
Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
Denis Jones, Tootsie
David Neumann, Hadestown
Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud*

Best Orchestrations
Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown*
Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
Daniel Kluger, Oklahoma!
Simon Hale, Tootsie
Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud
Peter England, King Kong
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown*
Laura Jellinek, Oklahoma!
David Korins, Beetlejuice

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
Bunny Christie, Ink
Rob Howell, The Ferryman*
Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Jan Versweyveld, Network

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Michael Krass, Hadestown
William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
William Ivey Long, Tootsie
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show*
Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud

Best Costume Design of a Play
Rob Howell, The Ferryman*
Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Clint Ramos, Torch Song
Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
Peter Hylenski, King Kong
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud
Drew Levy, Oklahoma!
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown*

Best Sound Design of a Play
Adam Cork, Ink
Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
Fitz Patton, Choir Boy*
Nick Powell, The Ferryman
Eric Sleichim, Network

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud
Bradley King, Hadestown*
Peter Mumford, King Kong
Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Ink*
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

Rosemary Harris

Terrence McNally

Harold Wheeler

Special Tony Awards

Marin Mazzie

Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company

Jason Michael Webb

Regional Theatre Tony Award

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Palo Alto, CA

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Judith Light

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre

Broadway Inspirational Voices – Michael McElroy, Founder

Peter Entin

FDNY Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9

Joseph Blakely Forbes

 

2019 Tony Awards: performers and presenters announced

June 3, 2019

The following is a press release from the Tony Awards:

Some of the world’s biggest stars from stage and screen will appear at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards. The list of names announced includes Darren Criss, Tina Fey, Sutton Foster, Samuel L. Jackson, Regina King, Laura Linney, Audra McDonald, Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Andrew Rannells, LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Michael Shannon. More presenters will be announced soon.

The Tony Awards telecast will feature an incredible line up of celebrity presenters and musical performances for Broadway’s biggest night.
James Corden will return to host the American Theatre Wing’s 2019 Tony Awards, which will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City on CBS. The three-hour program will air on Sunday, June 9th 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. (ET/PT time delay). The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

You can also watch the Tony Awards online with CBS All Access. More info at cbs.com/all-access.

June 5, 2019 UPDATE: A second round of artists has been added to appear at THE 73rd ANNUAL TONY AWARDS(R), live from the historic Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Sunday, June 9 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. The star-studded lineup includes Sara Bareilles, Laura Benanti, Abigail Breslin, Danny Burstein, Kristin Chenoweth, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Josh Groban, Danai Gurira, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Jackson, Shirley Jones, Jane Krakowski, Judith Light, Lucy Liu, Aasif Mandvi, Sienna Miller, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Catherine O’Hara, Kelli O’Hara, Karen Olivo, Anthony Ramos, Marisa Tomei, Aaron Tveit, Samira Wiley and BeBe Winans.

Emmy and Tony Award winner James Corden will host the 2019 Tony Awards for the second time. As previously announced, Darren Criss, Tina Fey, Sutton Foster, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Regina King, Laura Linney, Audra McDonald, Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Andrew Rannells and Michael Shannon will also take part in Broadway’s biggest night.

The TONY Awards, which honors theater professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, has been broadcast on CBS since 1978. This year marks the 73rd anniversary of the TONY Awards, which were first held on April 6, 1947 at the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. The ceremony is presented by Tony Award Productions, which is a joint venture of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, which founded the Tonys.

Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment will return as executive producers. Weiss will also serve as director for the 20th consecutive year. Ben Winston is a producer.

June 6, 2019 UPDATE:

Cynthia Erivo (Photo by Barry Brecheisen)

The Tony Awards telecast will feature performances by the casts of “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations”; “Beetlejuice”; “The Cher Show”; “Choir Boy”; “Hadestown”; “Kiss Me, Kate”; “Oklahoma!”; “The Prom” and “Tootsie.” The evening will also feature a special performance by Tony Award winning-actress Cynthia Erivo.

2019 Tony Awards: ‘Hadestown,’ ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ have the most nominations

April 30, 2019

Tony Awards logo

The following is a press release from the Tony Awards:

Nominations in 26 competitive categories for the American Theatre Wing’s 73rd Annual Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards® were announced today by Tony Award-winning actress Bebe Neuwirth, Tony-nominated actor Brandon Victor Dixon and CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King, at the Tony Award Nominations ceremony, held at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. The nominees were selected by an independent committee of 42 theatre professionals appointed by the Tony Awards Administration Committee. The 2019 Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. (The list of nominations follows.)

Marking 73 years of excellence on Broadway, The Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, will be broadcast live from the Radio City Music Hall on CBS, on Sunday, June 9th, 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. (ET/PT time delay).

Legitimate theatrical productions opening in any of the 41 eligible Broadway theatres during the current season may be considered for Tony nominations. The 2018/2019 eligibility season began April 27, 2018 and ended April 25, 2019. The Tony Awards will be voted in 26 competitive categories by 831 designated Tony voters within the theatre community.

As previously announced, the 2019 Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre will be presented to Rosemary Harris, Terrence McNally and Harold Wheeler. The 2019 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre will be presented to Broadway Inspirational Voices founded by Michael McElroy; long time Vice President of Theatre Operations for The Shubert Organization, Peter Entin; Founder and President, Scenic Art Studios, Inc. Joseph Blakely Forbes and FDNY Engine 54 / Ladder 4 / Battalion 9. The Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award will be presented to Judith Light for her advocacy work for HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+. The 2019 Special Tony Awards will be presented to Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company the creators of the character/puppet “Kong” for King Kong; musical director and arranger Jason Michael Webb and the late actress and advocate Marin Mazzie.

Each year, the Tony Awards Administration Committee presents a Tony Award to a regional theatre on the recommendation of the American Theatre Critics Association. The 2019 Regional Theatre Tony Award will be presented to the TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, in Palo Alto, California.

The 2018-2019 Tony Award Nominating Committee consists of Emily Altman, Bob Alwine, Milly Barranger, Suzy Benzinger, Brenda Braxton, Luis Castro, Dawn Chiang, Patricia Cruz, Eisa Davis, Jerry Dixon, Edgar Dobie, Judith Dolan, Scott Elliott, John Erman, Scott Frankel, Maija Garcia, Mason Granger, Ann Harada, Peter Hedges, JoAnn Hunter, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Michael Kantor, Anne Keefe, Michael John LaChiusa, Priscilla Lopez, Martyna Majok, John Mauceri, Tony Meola, Jessica Molaskey, Sheila Nevins Peter Parnell, Rosalba Rolón, Daphne Ruben-Vega, Paul Rudnick, Don Scardino, Kimberly Senior, Mikki Shepard, Randy Skinner, Ellen Sorrin, Jessica Stone, Mark Wendland and Evan Yionoulis.

The Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards are bestowed annually on theatre professionals for distinguished achievement. The Tony is one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry and the annual telecast is considered one of the most prestigious programs on television.

The 2019 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. At The Broadway League, Thomas Schumacher is Chairman and Charlotte St. Martin is President. At the American Theater Wing, David Henry Hwang is Chairman and Heather A. Hitchens is President & CEO.

For the CBS broadcast, Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss/White Cherry Entertainment are Executive Producers. Weiss also serves as Director.

Tickets for the 2019 Tony Awards will go on sale on April 30th at 9:00 AM ET through TonyAwards.com and TicketMaster.com.

Sponsors for the 2019 Tony Awards include: Carnegie Mellon University – the first-ever, exclusive higher education partner; City National – official bank of the Tony Awards and presenting sponsor of the Creative Arts Awards; Sofitel New York – the official hotel of the Tony Awards; Rainbow Room – official partner of the Tony Nominee Luncheon; United Airlines – the official airline of the Tony Awards for the last 19 years and People/Entertainment Weekly – official magazine partners of the Tony Awards.

Nominations for the 2019 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards®

Presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing

Best Musical
Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations
Beetlejuice
Hadestown
The Prom
Tootsie

Best Play
Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney
The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus by Taylor Mac
Ink by James Graham
What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck

Best Revival of a Musical
Kiss Me, Kate
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
The Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley
Burn This
Torch Song by Harvey Fierstein
The Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonergan

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud
Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
Damon Daunno, Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show
Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
Beth Leavel, The Prom
Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
Bryan Cranston, Network
Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
Adam Driver, Burn This
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Book of a Musical
Ain’t Too Proud, Dominique Morisseau
Beetlejuice, Scott Brown and Anthony King
Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom, Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin
Tootsie, Robert Horn

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Be More Chill, Joe Iconis
Beetlejuice, Eddie Perfect
Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin
To Kill a Mockingbird, Adam Guettel
Tootsie, David Yazbek

Best Direction of a Musical
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Oklahoma!
Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud
Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, Ink
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman
Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
Ivo van Hove, Network
George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Andre De Shields, Hadestown
Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud
Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
Ali Stroker, Oklahoma!
Mary Testa, Oklahoma!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Bertie Carvel, Ink
Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird
Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ruth Wilson, King Lear

Best Choreography
Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
Denis Jones, Tootsie
David Neumann, Hadestown
Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud

Best Orchestrations
Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown
Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
Daniel Kluger, Oklahoma!
Simon Hale, Tootsie
Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud
Peter England, King Kong
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown*
Laura Jellinek, Oklahoma!
David Korins, Beetlejuice

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
Bunny Christie, Ink
Rob Howell, The Ferryman*
Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Jan Versweyveld, Network

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Michael Krass, Hadestown
William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
William Ivey Long, Tootsie
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show*
Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud

Best Costume Design of a Play
Rob Howell, The Ferryman*
Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Clint Ramos, Torch Song
Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
Peter Hylenski, King Kong
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud
Drew Levy, Oklahoma!
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown

Best Sound Design of a Play
Adam Cork, Ink
Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
Fitz Patton, Choir Boy
Nick Powell, The Ferryman
Eric Sleichim, Network

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud
Bradley King, Hadestown
Peter Mumford, King Kong
Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Ink
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

Rosemary Harris

Terrence McNally

Harold Wheeler

Special Tony Awards

Marin Mazzie

Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company

Jason Michael Webb

Regional Theatre Tony Award

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Palo Alto, CA

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Judith Light

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre

Broadway Inspirational Voices – Michael McElroy, Founder

Peter Entin

FDNY Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9

Joseph Blakely Forbes

Tony Nominations by Production

Hadestown – 14

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations – 12

Tootsie – 11

The Ferryman – 9

To Kill a Mockingbird – 9

Beetlejuice – 8

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – 8

Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus – 7

The Prom – 7

Ink – 6

Network – 5

Choir Boy – 4

Kiss Me, Kate – 4

Arthur Miller’s All My Sons – 3

Burn This – 3

The Cher Show – 3

King Kong – 3

Bernhardt/Hamlet – 2

The Boys in the Band – 2

Torch Song – 2

The Waverly Gallery – 2

What the Constitution Means to Me – 2

Be More Chill – 1

Hillary and Clinton – 1

King Lear – 1