Monday, June 24, 2013

Disney Brings FREAKY FRIDAY, HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, & Many More to Broadway!

The folks at Disney Theatrical Productions constantly talk about the next hit Disney movie they want to take to the stage (much like Cameron Mackintosh's regular habit of discussing bringing every successful musical under the sun to the screen). According to a New York Times article by Patrick Healy, Disney's latest endeavors include Aladdin, The Jungle Book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, The Muppets, Father of the Bride, Shakespeare in Love, and Freaky Friday.

Aladdin had its first staging in Seattle two summers ago, and as I reported earlier this year, is slated to open on Broadway in early 2014 after its Toronto tryout which commences November 2013. So this is old news, but I needed to include it for the sake of continuity. Read all about it on my blog post from January!

The first staging of The Jungle Book is readying for its July 9 opening in Chicago. The show is directed by Tony Award-winner Mary Zimmerman with choreography by Tony-winner Christopher Gattelli. The high points of this production include mostly the fact that rather than producing it, Disney has given Zimmerman the rights to the material from the movie, some money, and basically just said, "Go!" It is possible that if this version succeeds, Disney will reclaim it. But they are exercising caution before putting no great stock in it at the moment. It appears that their reservations about the presentation lie in the unconventional methods of the director. She apparently begins work on the script at the first rehearsal and continues to work until opening night. So the future of The Jungle Book is totally up in the air right now. But watch this rehearsal of "The Bare Necessities."

I posted about the Hunchback of Notre Dame stage musical earlier this year, because it's likely the next Disney movie to hit the Great White Way (after Aladdin). Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz wrote some new songs for the German production back in 1999, which will be included in the American installment. Scott Schwartz (yes, the lyricist's son) will direct. I think this one is closer to Broadway because they have had a table read, which is more than can be said for most of the other movies on this list.

Some saint posted this bootleg of the entire production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame on YouTube. Below is a clip of "Someday," (or "Einmal" in German) my new favorite song. I think this was the credits song in the movie, but they put it into the musical for the stage version. I don't speak German, but the music is beautiful, nevertheless.

One of my favorite movies of all time, Freaky Friday, might also become a new musical. For this production, the Tony Award-winning creative team from Next to Normal (Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey) is on board, which makes so much sense! I didn't realize that Freaky Friday was actually based on a novel by none other than composer Mary Rodgers, daughter of Broadway composing legend Richard Rodgers. And there has already been a musical made of Freaky FridayThe only official info I can find about it is from Mary Rodgers's bio on the R&H website, "A musical version, by Mary Rodgers and John Forster, was presented by Theatreworks/USA in 1991."

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland has been supposedly considered for a musical adaptation too, but there has been no further news since The New York Times article back in 2012 which just said that Rob Ashford was involved in a musical version which was in production.

The rumor mill has also turned up stage adaptations of Dumbo, a non-musical version of Shakespeare in Love, Father of the Bride (music: Joshua Schmidt, lyrics: Michael Korie), and some Muppets "project" (i.e., the 15-minute Muppets special at the New Amsterdam has potential to become full-scale). My favorite rumor, however, is that the revised version of Little Mermaid (which was just sad on Broadway, as I mentioned in a previous post) from Paper Mill Playhouse may have a Broadway mount. author: Sally Henry // Twitter: @BwayGinger // Facebook: 

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Aladdin and Hunchback of Notre Dame on stage
The Jungle Book at the Goodman Theatre
Mary Rodgers
Alice in Wonderland on the stage
The Little Mermaid at Paper Mill Playhouse Summer 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

How to Host a Perfect Tony Awards Party in 6 Steps

Terrence Mann
The most exciting day of the year is finally here! So I have prepared a little list of how to have a perfect Tony Awards party.

1. Review the nominees
If you're like me and have a lot of non-Broadway fan friends, and they think you're an absolute Broadway expert, make sure to look over the nominees beforehand so that you seem like an expert.

2. Buy M&M's
No party is complete without at least two varieties of M&M's. And maybe this should be the first on the list...

3. Get your "theatre nerd" on
You only have one night a year to freely be completely sentimental about years past. So rewatch your favorite performances from the Tony Awards, and remind yourself why you're a die-hard fan of a given nominee.

4. Watch the video
I guess you don't need my blog, because Brian d'Arcy James (one of my favorite actors ever) leads you through how to have a good Tonys party. And this year the comment about Terrence Mann is so applicable!

5. Play the games has provided a lovely drinking game for the 2013 Tony Awards. I don't drink, but I think the checklist his hilarious. Also, provided a great Tonys bingo made especially for this year! Check it out here, and look at a sample of one of the cards below.

6. Fill out the ballot
This you can do while you're watching, but make sure to print the official Tony Awards ballot. If you're like me and you have no educated guess whatsoever for a good half of them, who cares? And it gives your ignorant friends (you know, the kinds of people who don't even know what a swing is) a chance to not feel inferior. And as the night goes on, you start to get an idea about who's going to win everything.

I have completed my ballot, and I'm putting it out there publicly for the first time! As much as I love Terrence Mann, I think this will be yet another disappointment for him, though he hasn't even had a Tony nod in 19 years. Also, he needs a new headshot.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tony Awards Countdown Trivia #7: Tony Award-Winning Families Including Richard Rodgers
The Tony Awards are tomorrow! So in anticipation of that, I have been posting some Tony Awards trivia and tidbits on Singular Sensation every day for the week leading up to it. 

Did you miss any countdown trivia this week? Read the first six days including trivia about Tony Ties, Superlatives, Oscar Awards, and some random favorites here!

Tony Awards Countdown Trivia #7: The Broadway Families
There are a few Tony winners who have family members who also have Tony Awards/nominations, and I'm betting those are the kind of families everyone kind of hated because they were ridiculously talented. All of them.

There is only on Tony Award-winner who is a third-generation nominee. Adam Guettel won both Tonys for which he was nominated for The Light in the Piazza (music and orchestrations) in 2005. He is the grandson of Broadway composing legend Richard Rodgers who won five Tony Awards (not including specials), whose daughter Mary Rodgers received a nomination for Once Upon a Mattress (for Best Musical) in 1960.

Check out this video of Victoria Clark, Kelli O'Hara, Matthew Morrison, and more in the Tony Awards performance from Light in the Piazza in 2005!

And speaking of the Rodgers family, they are one of the only three sets of family members to receive Tony nominations in the same category in the same year. Once Upon a Mattress was nominated for Best Musical in 1960 against Richard Rodgers's The Sound of Music. In hindsight, Ms. Rodgers didn't have a chance.

 In 1993, Lynn Redgrave and her niece Natasha Richardson were nominated for Best Actress in a Play, the former for her one-woman original play Shakespeare for my Father and the latter for Anna Christie. Neither won.

Stage and screen legend Rosemary Harris lost to her daughter Jennifer Ehle for Best Actress in a Play in 2000 when Harris was in Waiting in the Wings and Ehle performed in The Real Thing. Harris actually had a sad career in terms of awards. She won the first Tony she was ever nominated for, in 1966, but has lost her subsequent eight nominations (two of which were the original production and revival of The Royal Family, not playing the same role) over a span of 44 years.

Watch as Jennifer Ehle accepts the Best Actress in a Play award from Matthew Broderick at the Tonys in 2000!

There's so much more trivia that I could come up with, but that's all that I can fit into a week! Special thanks to and!

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Tony Awards trivia

Friday, June 7, 2013

Tony Awards Countdown Trivia Day 6 Includes SOUND OF MUSIC, Harvey Fierstein, and More!

The Sound of Music, 1960
The Tony Awards are on June 9! So in anticipation of that, I will be posting some Tony Awards trivia and tidbits on Singular Sensation every day leading up to it. 

Did you miss any countdown trivia? Read the first 5 days including trivia about Tony Ties, Superlatives, and Oscar Awards here!

Tony Awards Countdown Trivia #6: Random Favorites
Today's theme is a little miscellaneous with trivia about some random factoids that are kind of... weird. It's more of those, "Did you know...?" kinds of trivia, which is why they're my favorites.

For instance, did you know that there are actually two boys in history that have been nominated for the same Best Featured Actress in a Musical award? This is my favorite Tony trivia ever. Actually, the two boys were nominated jointly with 4 other girls in 1960. Can you guess what it was for? None other than the "Von Trap children" from The Sound of Music were all nominated jointly for "Best Featured Actress in a Musical," and not "Actor," because of course there were more girls than boys. Ironically, they were competing against Patricia Neway who played The Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music. And let's be real, you can't not give an award to the woman who sings one of the most inspirational songs of all time (which Mary Martin quoted in her Tony acceptance speech that year, as I posted on Singular Sensation a couple days ago)! None of them were in the movie 5 years later.

Watch this video of all of the kids on "What's My Line" in 1960! This is great.

Larry Kert is the only Broadway replacement to receive a Tony Award nomination. In 1971, Dean Jones (most famous for roles in Disney movies like the Herbie series) starred as Bobby in Company, but left after recording the original cast album and about a month after the opening performance was then replaced by Kert.

Watch this video of Dean Jones (and the cast including young Elaine Stritch) recording the song's closer, "Being Alive."

This might be the most random trivia I know (there's a reason the word "trivia" is connected to "trivial."), but there seem to be a lot of roles on Broadway in which actors dress in drag at some point, but there are two Tony Award-winning roles which were won by someone playing the opposite gender:
Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray (2006)
Mary Martin in Peter Pan in 1952
(No idea why this pic is on Howard Ashman's website...)
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Mary Martin
Harvey Fierstein

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tonys Countdown Trivia Day 5: Beyond Broadway with Audrey Hepburn, Anne Hathaway, & More!

Judi Dench
The Tony Awards are on June 9! So in anticipation of that, I will be posting some Tony Awards trivia and tidbits on Singular Sensation every day leading up to it. 

Did you miss any countdown trivia? Read the first 4 days including trivia about Tony Ties and Superlatives here!

Tony Awards Countdown Trivia #5: Beyond Broadway

Only 5 actresses have won a Tony Award and an Oscar Award (movies) in the same year: (I list Oscars first, because they come earlier in the year) 

The first to do so was Shirley Booth who in 1953 won an Oscar for Come Back, Little Sheba and a Tony for the play The Time of the Cuckoo. This was particularly impressive, considering the Tonys were only invented in 1949.

Audrey Hepburn won her first and only Oscar for Roman Holiday and then the only Tony nomination she received was for the play Ondine in 1954. 

Watch another vintage acceptance speech video, which is older than yesterday's! This one is Audrey Hepburn in all her classiness saying a short but sweet thank you at the Oscars. And just look at how elegant she is as she walks to the stage. It's great, because you get to see Gary Cooper on what I assume is the set of High Noon reading the list of nominees, and Donald O'Connor is the guy at the microphone, and I just love how '50s this segment is!

And if I may digress for a moment... Can we talk about how much Audrey Hepburn's Oscars 1954 outfit looked like Anne Hathaway's Oscars 2013 look? Of course someone else on the internet noticed this before me, but just look at this comparison!

After two years in a row of an actress receiving both a Tony and an Oscar, it took 21 more years for it to happen again. So in 1975, Ellen Burstyn received an Oscar for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, and a Tony Award for Same Time, Next Year. Though she has extensive Broadway credits and won 3 separate theatre awards for her performance (100% of the nominations), Same Time, Next Year is the only Broadway show for which she was even nominated for any kind of awards. It's ok though. She's one of those people with a ridiculously vast resume.

In 1991, Mercedes Ruehl won an Oscar for The Fisher King followed by a Tony for her portrayal of Bella in Lost in Yonkers, a role which she had previously played in the movie of the same title (though that screen performance garnered neither win nor nomination).

The last person to date to win an Oscar and a Tony in the same year was none other than Dame Judi Dench who won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love and a Tony Award for Amy's View in 1999. She has yet to receive another theatre award nomination, or win another Oscar, but I'm sure no one needs to have pity for this legend who is a charicature of herself now. And yet, she's one of the only ridiculously famous British actors (including Kate Winslet and Colin Firth) to not be in Harry Potter, so I'll give her that.

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Shirley Booth on
Ellen Burnstyn on IMDb
Audrey Hepburn on IMDb
Mercedes Ruehl on IMDb
Judi Dench on IMDb

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tonys Countdown Trivia Day 4 Features BILLY ELLIOT, Audra McDonald, Sondheim, and Superlatives

Audra McDonald
The Tony Awards are on June 9! So in anticipation of that, I will be posting some Tony Awards trivia and tidbits on Singular Sensation every day leading up to it. 

Did you miss any countdown trivia? Read the first 3 days here!

Yesterday concluded the Tony Ties series, so today's theme in the Tonys Countdown Trivia deals with recognition to those with the "most" or the "least."

Tony Awards Countdown Trivia #4: Superlatives

The shows with the most nominations are The Producers and Billy Elliot with 15 nominations. The Producers, however, holds the record for the most wins with 12. Watch 14-year-old Trent Kowalik perform "The Angry Dance" from Billy Elliot at the 2009 Tonys below!

The performer with the most nominations is Julie Harris with 10 nominations, garnered over almost 50 years half of which she won, plus a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. But with 21 Tonys, Harold Prince is the individual who has earned the most awards.

Last year, Audra McDonald tied the record set by Julie Harris and Angela Lansbury for the performer with the most (voted) Tony Awards at 5. Up until last year, she had only won Featured Actress awards, but won her first Best Actress Award in 2012.

The composer with the most Tonys is Stephen Sondheim with 7 (mostly for Best Score), plus a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The youngest person to receive a Tony Award was Daisy Eagan, who was 11 when she took home her Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for The Secret Garden. She has yet to win or be nominated for anything else. Watch her adorable acceptance speech from 1991! (bonus: can you name who is presenting that award? Nevermind, there's no way you an guess. It's performance and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn 2 years before her death)

My personal favorite is what I like to called the "Biggest Tony Failure" award, which goes to The Scottsboro Boys. This Kander and Ebb flop got the second-most nominations in 2011 with 12, but won a record 0 of them, with a 49-show run. Watch their feel-good performance here. Were they jipped?

The shortest-running Tony nominated musical was Rags which closed after 4 performances in 1986. It baffles me how they received a nomination, and with the unlikely music and lyrics team of Charles Strouse and Stephen Schwartz, my theory is that the often metaphorical and "modern" sounding lyrics did not match the classic sound of Strouse's music. Among others, it starred Larry KertJudy Kuhn, and Terrence Mann (who's Tony nominated again this year!). The latter 2 went on to be nominated for Tonys for their roles in Les Miserables that same year, and Kuhn got to perform a leading role in 2 numbers at the Tonys that year.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tony Awards Countdown Trivia Day 3: Featuring Elaine Stritch, SOUND OF MUSIC, and More!

New Girl in Town (1962)
The Tony Awards are on June 9! So in anticipation of that, I will be posting some Tony Awards trivia and tidbits on Singular Sensation every day leading up to it. 

Did you miss any countdown trivia? Read them here!

Tonys Countdown #3: Tony Ties (Part 3)

The most notable fact about Anna Maria Alberghetti (Carnival!) and Diahann Carroll (No Stringsopposite a pre-Man of La Mancha Richard Kiley) winning Best Actress in a Musical in 1962 is that they beat out a Broadway legend: Elaine Stritch (Sail Away). This was Stritch's second Tony nomination out of 5. Both of these 1962 winners only ever won one theatre award, though Carroll was in 3 Broadway shows. Broadway hopefuls can learn a lesson in quitting while you're ahead from Alberghetti, though. She appeared on Broadway only once, took her Tony, and disappeared. That's how it's done. 

Listen to Alberghetti sing "Love Makes the World Go Round" from Carnival! in this video!

Definitely the most shocking tie, in hindsight, occurred in 1960: Fiorello! tied for Best Musical with Rodger's and Hammerstein's classic hit The Sound of Music. What in the world is Fiorello!? was exactly my first thought. It had music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and actually has a winning record not too different from The Sound of Music, winning only 2 Tony Awards fewer than its now legendary competitor. Though Fiorello! can be a poster-child for forgotten award-winners, it had a respectable run of about 800 performances. Most notably, however, Fiorello! starred Tom Bosley, who won a Tony for his performance. That was a competitive year for Best Musical, though, with Gypsy and Once Upon a Mattress losing that fight, as well as Take Me Along.

I'm aware that this has nothing to do with this particular tie, but watch this video of Mary Martin's acceptance speech when she won Best Actress in a Musical!

The first tie in Tony Awards history happened in 1958 between Gwen Verdon and Thelma Ritter for Best Actress in a Musical for New Girl in Town. Of course Verdon is a Broadway legend who created several iconic roles on Broadway. She won 4 Tonys in a row, with two other nominations in her career. Ritter, however, only played in 4 Broadway shows, garnering only one nomination/award. The tie was good for New Girl in Town, considering that gave the show its only two awards. There was stiff competition for the other categories, considering they were up against West Side Story and The Music Man in many categories, including choreography, making that one of only 3 times Bob Fosse lost in the choreography category.

That concludes the series of ties in Tony history. Check Singular Sensation tomorrow for more trivia!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

The Tony Awards Countdown Trivia Day 2: ANNIE, Meryl Streep and More!

The Elephant Man, 1979
The Tony Awards are on June 9! So in anticipation of that, I will be posting some Tony Awards trivia and tidbits on Singular Sensation every day leading up to it. Did you miss yesterday's countdown trivia? Read it here!

Tonys Countdown #2: Tony Ties (Part 2)

The most recent tie for acting occurred in 1979 between Broadway vet Constance Cummings (Wings) and Carole Shelley (The Elephant Man) for Best Actress in a Play. These two were up against women who had already each won a Tony Award: Jane Alexander (First Monday in October) and Frances Sternhagen (On Golden Pond). I hear the name Carole Shelley and think classic actress, but Elephant Man is the only show for which she has won any awards, despite other nominations.

Broadway classic Annie and obscure musical The Cherry Orchard, tied for Best Costume Design in 1977. These two productions were incomparable considering that not only did Annie sweep the Tonys that year (winning a third of the total awards*), and ended up running 21 times (times, not performances!) longer than Cherry Orchard, but Annie won 20 theatre awards (out of the 25 awards for which it was nominated). Much like Billy Elliot, it was a miracle that anything tied with Annie. Contrastingly, The Cherry Orchard won only 9 awards total. Despite its underdog status, The Cherry Orchard's claim to fame is that Meryl Streep was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her role (ironically, Cherry Orchard won every Drama Desk for which it was nominated except for Streep's).

Check out the Tony Awards Annie medley of "Tomorrow," "Never Fully Dressed without a Smile," "Easy Street," and "Tomorrow (Reprise)" from 1977. I love how Annie was clearly the favorite. The audience goes absolutely crazy for every number!

1968 held the third tie for Best Actress in a Musical. That year Patricia Routledge won for Darling of the Day, and Leslie Uggams won for Hallelujah, Baby! This was Leslie Uggams's Broadway debut preceding many other lead roles, and the first of two Tony nominations she received, while Patricia Routledge only did two other Broadway shows in her career and only garnered one theatre award total.

*Voted awards, not including special ones.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Tony Awards 2013 Countdown Begins... NOW!

The Tony Awards (aka: Christmas for Broadway people) are just a week from today! So in honor of that, I will be posting some Tony Awards trivia and tidbits on Singular Sensation every day leading up to it.

The Tony Awards were named for Antoinette "Toni" Perry who was an influential woman of the theatre world, starting out as an actress, broadening her horizons rapidly. At a time when women usually just acted, did costume design, or choreography, Toni became a successful producer and director after her acting career.

Tonys Countdown #1: Tony Ties (Part 1)

There have been 9 ties in Tony history, so for Part 1, I bring you the most recent 3.

In 2009, Billy Elliot the Musical and Next to Normal tied for Best Orchestrations, an award which has only been around since 1997. Also in the runnings were Shrek the Musical and Irving Berlin's White Christmas. The fact that anyone tied with Billy Elliot for anything is remarkable considering that the show had an obscene number of nominations across 6 awards organizations (including 15 Tony nominations, the most nominations ever). They won a grand total of 35 awards! While Next to Normal only won 5 awards total, they most notably won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, becoming one of the few musicals to ever receive that honor (the last musical to win was Rent in 1997). 

Check out the Tony performance from Next to Normal below!

Based on the old rock opera of the same name, The Who's Tommy tied for Best Score with Kander and Ebb's Kiss of the Spiderwoman in 1993. What's interesting about this tie is that these two shows were very similar in many ways. Though I think of the latter show as another one of Kander and Ebb's forgotten endeavors, and the former as a run-of-the-mill flop , each show won 17 theatre awards, with Spiderwoman winning Best Musical from 3 different award organizations. Additionally, they ran almost exactly the same number of performances, both shows opening in spring 1993, closing in summer 1995. The Who's Tommy is of interest to me mostly because that was Tony Award-winner Christian Hoff's Broadway debut!

One of only two ties to take place between a play and a musical, Lanford Wilson's short-lived play Talley's Folly and Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart's musical Barnum both won Best Scenic Design in 1980. Though they did beat out another forgotten musical, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, they also beat one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's many hits, Evita. While this was the only Tony that Talley's Folly won, Barnum won two other Tonys. Barnum's main claim to fame is that it starred Jim Dale, who, according to Frank Rich of the New York Times, made the show great. However, my "#TwitterlessTwin" (as I refer to her on Twitter) will tell you that the most significant thing by far was that Barnum was of course Terrence Mann's Broadway debut!

Here's the Tony performance from Barnum! Not the best quality... but it was 1980.

Keep checking Singular Sensation every day leading up to the Tonys for more trivia and videos!

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Tony Awards Trivia on