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 Camila 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 someone who compliments Julie in a store that sells prom dresses (how very meta), 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 Can’t 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.

UPDATE: Cinqua will release “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” on digital and VOD on Janaury 5, 2022. The movie will be released in select U.S. cinemas and premiere on Starz in February 2022, on dates to be announced.

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

Neil Simon dead at 91; legendary writer and producer had award-winning Broadway classics, movies and TV shows

August 26, 2018

by John Larson

Tony-winning Broadway legend Neil Simon, 91, died of complications from pneumonia at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan on August 26, 2018, according to the Associated Press.

Simon’s numerous hit plays included “The Odd Couple,” “Barefoot in the Park,”  “The Sunshine Boys,” “Lost in Yonkers,” “The Goodbye Girl” and “Laughter on the 23rd Floor.” His musicals included “Sweet Charity,” “Little Me” and “They’re Playing Our Song.” His “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Biloxi Blues” and “Broadway Bound” were a trilogy of connected plays. Several of Broadway productions were adapted into movies and TV shows.

Simon won many awards in his lifetime, including three Tonys, a Pulitzer Prize (for “Lost in Yonkers”), a Golden Globe (for “The Goodbye Girl”) and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He was a Kennedy Center honoree in 1995.

Tony-winning actors Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane and Harvey Fierstein issued statements after Simon’s death.

Broderick made his Broadway debut in “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” did his movie debut in 1983’s “Max Dugan Returns” (which was written by Simon), and starred in the 1988 film adaptation of “Biloxi Blues.” He commented, “It was my great good fortune that my very first Broadway play was written by Neil Simon. He also wrote my first film. I owe him a career. The theater has lost a brilliantly funny, unthinkably wonderful writer and even after all this time I feel I have lost a mentor, a father figure, a deep influence in my life and work.”

Lane starred in “Broadway Bound,” “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” and the 2005 revival of “The Odd Couple.” He commented, “Neil Simon will always be one of my theatrical heroes and I am so proud to have played a small part in his unparalleled career and remarkable legacy. My heartfelt condolences to his wife Elaine and the entire Simon family.”

Fierstein, who is best known for his Tony-winning play “Torch Song Trilogy,” had this to say about Simon: “He could write a joke that would make you laugh, define the character, the situation, and even the world’s problems. First time I met him he looked at me and said, ‘Where the hell did they find you?’ What a gent.”

Marsha Mason, who was married to Simon from 1973 to 1983 and starred in several movies written by him, issued this statement: “I am deeply sad and hurting with the news of Neil’s passing. He was a great talent and man, husband and father. With his passing his plays and work live on and will be enjoyed by many generations to come. I will miss him deeply and always.”

Simon was married five times to four women. His first marriage to dancer Joan Baim was from 1953 to 1973, when she died of cancer. Mason was his second wife. Simon then married and divorced actress Diane Lander twice, with their first marriage lasting from 1987–1988, and their second marriage lasting from 1990 to 1998. Simon’s widow is actress Elaine Joyce, whom he married in 1999. Simon is survived by Joyce; his biological daughters Ellen and Nancy (from his marriage to Baim); his adopted daughter Bryn (from his marriage to Lander); three grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

2018 Tony Awards: ‘The Band’s Visit’ wins big with 10 prizes

June 10, 2018

by Carla Hay

Tony Awards logo

Tony Shalhoub of "The Band's Visit"
Tony Shalhoub of “The Band’s Visit” (Photo courtesy of The Tony Awards/CBS)

The following is a press release from the Tony Awards:

“The Band’s Visit” was the top winner by getting 10 of the 11 Tony Awards for which it was nominated, including Best Musical, at the 72nd Annual Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards, which were presented at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018. CBS had the U.S. telecast of the show. The 2018 Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.  The show was hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban.

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two” won six of its 10 Tony nominations, including Best Play. Other multiple Tony winners included the revival of “Angels in America” (which won three Tonys),  “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women (two Tonys) and “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel” (two wins).

Meanwhile, “Mean Girls” and “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” went into the ceremony with the most nominations (12 each) but were virtually shut out of winning. “SpongeBob Square Pants: The Musical” only won one Tony Award (for Best Scenic Design of a Musical), while “Mean Girls” failed to win any Tonys.

Legitimate theatrical productions opening in any of the 41 eligible Broadway theatres during the current season were considered for Tony nominations. The 2017/2018 eligibility season began April 28, 2017 and ended April 26, 2018.

John Leguizamo and Bruce Springsteen each received a Special Tony Award. Springsteen, playing piano, did a rare TV performance with the “My Hometown” selection from his “Springsteen on Broadway” production.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Chita Rivera each recevied  2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre will be presented to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Chita Rivera.  The 2018 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre were presented to New York Times culture photographer Sara Krulwich, costume beader Bessie Nelson and the Ernest Winzer Cleaners.  The Isabelle  Stevenson Tony Award was presented to Executive Vice President of the Nederlander Organization, Nick Scandalios. The 2018 Regional Theatre Tony Award was presented to the La MaMa E.T.C. in New York City.

Presenters included Uzo Aduba, Christine Baranski, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Melissa Benoist, Erich Bergen, Rachel Bloom, Matt Bomer, Rachel Brosnahan, Tituss Burgess, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Brandon Victor Dixon, Christopher Jackson, Billy Joel, Patti LuPone, Tatiana Maslany, Katharine McPhee, Matthew Morrison, Leslie Odom, Jr., Kelli O’Hara, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Bernadette Peters, Andrew Rannells, Kerry Washington, Ming-Na Wen, Marisa Jaret Winokur; Tony Nominees Tina Fey, John Leguizamo and Amy Schumer as well as Tony Award Lifetime Achievement recipients Webber and Rivera.

Although some of the speeches had a political tone (such as “Angels in America” Tony winner Tony Kushner urging U.S. citizens to vote in this year’s elections), the most provocative statement of the evening came from presenter De Niro before he introduced Springsteen’s performance. In a profanity-filled exclamation, De Niro yelled while raising his fists in the air, “Fuck Trump!” among other things that were mostly bleeped out of the broadcast. His comments got by roaring cheers from the audience.

Earlier in the evening, several students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida performed “Seasons of Love” from “Rent” and received a standing ovation in one of the most emotional parts of the ceremony. The school’s theater teacher Melody Herzfeld received this year’s Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education. Herzfeld protected several students by hiding with them in a room during the mass shooting that took place there on February 14.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominees for the 2018 Tony Awards:

*=winner

Best Musical
“The Band’s Visit”*
“Frozen”
“Mean Girls”
“SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”

Best Play
“The Children”
“Farinelli and The King”
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”*
“Junk”
“Latin History for Morons”

Best Revival of a Play
“Angels in America”*
“Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”
“Lobby Hero”
“Travesties”

Best Revival of a Musical
“My Fair Lady”
“Once on This Island”*
“Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Andrew Garfield, “Angels in America”*
Tom Hollander, “Travesties”
Jamie Parker, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Mark Rylance, “Farinelli and The King”
Denzel Washington, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Glenda Jackson, “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”*
Condola Rashad, “Saint Joan”
Lauren Ridloff, “Children of a Lesser God”
Amy Schumer, “Meteor Shower”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Harry Hadden-Paton, “My Fair Lady”
Joshua Henry, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Tony Shalhoub, “The Band’s Visit”*
Ethan Slater, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Lauren Ambrose, “My Fair Lady”
Hailey Kilgore, “Once on This Island”
LaChanze, “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical”
Katrina Lenk, “The Band’s Visit”*
Taylor Louderman, “Mean Girls”
Jessie Mueller, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Anthony Boyle, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Michael Cera, “Lobby Hero”
Brian Tyree Henry, “Lobby Hero”
Nathan Lane, “Angels in America”*
David Morse, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Susan Brown, “Angels in America”
Noma Dumezweni, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Deborah Findlay, “The Children”
Denise Gough, “Angels in America”
Laurie Metcalf, “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”*

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, “My Fair Lady”
Alexander Gemignani, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Grey Henson, “Mean Girls”
Gavin Lee, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Ari’el Stachel, “The Band’s Visit”*

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Ariana DeBose, “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical”
Renée Fleming, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Lindsay Mendez, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”*
Ashley Park, “Mean Girls”
Diana Rigg, “My Fair Lady”

Best Direction of a Play
Marianne Elliott, “Angels in America”
Joe Mantello, “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”
Patrick Marber, “Travesties”
John Tiffany, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”*
George C. Wolfe, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”

Best Direction of a Musical
Michael Arden, “Once On This Island”
David Cromer, “The Band’s Visit”*
Tina Landau, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Casey Nicholaw, “Mean Girls”
Bartlett Sher, “My Fair Lady”

Best Book of a Musical
Itamar Moses, “The Band’s Visit”*
Jennifer Lee, “Frozen”
Tina Fey, “Mean Girls”
Kyle Jarrow, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”

Best Original Score
“Angels in America” (Music: Adrian Sutton)
“The Band’s Visit” (Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek)*
“Frozen” (Music & Lyrics: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)
“Mean Girls” (Music: Jeff Richmond. Lyrics: Nell Benjamin.)
“SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” (Music & Lyrics: Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper & Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! at the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani & Lil’C)

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”
Jonathan Fensom, “Farinelli and The King”
Christine Jones, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”*
Santo Loquasto, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”
Ian MacNeil and Edward Pierce, “Angels in America”

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Dane Laffrey, “Once On This Island”
Scott Pask, “The Band’s Visit”
Scott Pask, Finn Ross & Adam Young, “Mean Girls”
Michael Yeargan, “My Fair Lady”
David Zinn, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”*

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jonathan Fensom, “Farinelli and The King”
Nicky Gillibrand, “Angels in America”
Katrina Lindsay, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”*
Ann Roth, “Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women”
Ann Roth, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, “Mean Girls”
Clint Ramos, “Once On This Island”
Ann Roth, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
David Zinn, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Catherine Zuber, “My Fair Lady”*

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”*
Paule Constable, “Angels in America”
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”
Paul Russell, “Farinelli and The King”
Ben Stanton, “Junk”

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, “Once On This Island”
Donald Holder, “My Fair Lady”
Brian MacDevitt, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Tyler Micoleau, “The Band’s Visit”*

Best Sound Design of a Play
Adam Cork, “Travesties”
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, “Angels in America”
Gareth Fry, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”*
Tom Gibbons, “1984”
Dan Moses Schreier, “Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh”

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Kai Harada, “The Band’s Visit”*
Peter Hylenski, “Once On This Island”
Scott Lehrer, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”
Brian Ronan, “Mean Girls”
Walter Trarbach and Mike Dobson, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”

Best Choreography
Christopher Gattelli, “My Fair Lady”
Christopher Gattelli, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Steven Hoggett, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two”
Casey Nicholaw, “Mean Girls”
Justin Peck, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel”*

Best Orchestrations
John Clancy, “Mean Girls”
Tom Kitt, “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical”
Annmarie Milazzo & Michael Starobin, “Once On This Island”
Jamshied Sharifi, “The Band’s Visit”*
Jonathan Tunick, “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel

Tony Nominations and Wins by Production

Mean Girls – 12 nominations, 0 wins

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical – 12 nominations, 1 win

Angels in America – 11 nominations, 3 wins

The Band’s Visit – 11 nominations, 10 wins

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel – 11 nominations, 2 wins

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two – 10 nominations, 6 wins

My Fair Lady – 10 nominations, 1 win

Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh – 8 nominations, 0 wins

Once On This Island – 8 nominations, 1 win

Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women – 6 nominations, 2 wins

Farinelli and The King – 5 nominations, 0 wins

Travesties – 4 nominations, 0 wins

Frozen – 3 nominations, 0 wins

Lobby Hero – 3 nominations, 0 wins

The Children – 2 nominations, 0 wins

Junk – 2 nominations, 0 wins

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical – 2 nominations, 0 wins

Children of a Lesser God – 1 nomination, 0 wins

Latin History for Morons – 1 nomination, 0 wins

Meteor Shower – 1 nomination, 0 wins

1984 – 1 nomination, 0 wins

Saint Joan – 1 nomination, 0 wins

2018 Tony Awards: Bruce Springsteen to perform; more presenters announced

June 5, 2018

Tony Awards logo

The following is a press release from the American Theatre Wing:

Bruce Springsteen will make a rare television appearance at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards, when he takes the stage to perform live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS on Sunday, June 10th, 8:00 – 11:00 p.m.(ET/PT time delay).

Springsteen will also receive a Special Tony Award for his ongoing engagement “Springsteen on Broadway,” a once-in-a-lifetime theater going experience for the Broadway stage.

Hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban, the evening will feature appearances by: Uzo Aduba, Christine Baranski, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Melissa Benoist, Erich Bergen, Rachel Bloom, Matt Bomer, Rachel Brosnahan, Tituss Burgess, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Brandon Victor Dixon, Christopher Jackson, Billy Joel, Patti LuPone, Tatiana Maslany, Katharine McPhee, Matthew Morrison, Leslie Odom, Jr., Kelli O’Hara, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Bernadette Peters, Andrew Rannells, Kerry Washington, Ming-Na Wen, Marisa Jaret Winokur; Tony Nominees Tina Fey, John Leguizamo and Amy Schumer as well as Tony Award Lifetime Achievement recipients Andrew Lloyd Webber and Chita Rivera.

The American Theatre Wing’s 72nd Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban, will air live from Radio City Music Hall on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 10, 2018 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT). The Tony Awards, which honors theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, has been broadcast on CBS since 1978. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

Tickets for the 2018 Tony Awards are now available at TonyAwards.com and TicketMaster.com.

For more information on the Tony Awards, visit TonyAwards.com and Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards and follow @TheTonyAwards on Instagram and Twitter.

June 7, 2018 UPDATE: The high-energy evening will feature performances by the casts of the 2018 Tony Award-nominated shows “The Band’s Visit,” “Carousel,” “Frozen,” “Mean Girls,” “My Fair Lady,” “Once on This Island,” “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” and “SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical.” Also, the show will feature a special performance from the 2017 Tony Award-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen.”