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The Tony Awards Winners!

 

The 71st annual Tony Awards premiered last night and it was a whirlwind! Kevin Spacey hosted the show, which aired on CBS from Radio City Music Hall in New York. Among many different shows throughout the night, “Hello, Dolly!” and “Dear Evan Hansen” were the biggest winners. For best musical, “Dear Evan Hansen” star Ben Platt won lead actor. Bette Midler however, won lead actress and best revival of a musical for “Hello, Dolly” giving a memorable speech after her win.

Check the list below to see if any of your favorites won?!

Best Play: “Oslo” (WINNER)

Best Musical: “Dear Evan Hansen” (WINNER)

Best Book of a Musical: “Dear Evan Hansen” — Steven Levenson (WINNER)

Best Original Score: “Dear Evan Hansen” — Music & Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (WINNER)

Best Revival of a Play: “August Wilson’s Jitney” (WINNER)

Best Revival of a Musical: “Hello, Dolly!” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Kevin Kline, “Present Laughter” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Laurie Metcalf, “A Doll’s House, Part 2” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Ben Platt, “Dear Evan Hansen”(WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Bette Midler, “Hello, Dolly!” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Michael Aronov, “Oslo” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Cynthia Nixon, “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Gavin Creel, “Hello, Dolly!” (WINNER)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Rachel Bay Jones, “Dear Evan Hansen” (WINNER)

Best Scenic Design of a Play: Nigel Hook, “The Play That Goes Wrong” (WINNER)

Best Scenic Design of a Musical: Mimi Lien, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” (WINNER)

Best Costume Design of a Play: Jane Greenwood, “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes” (WINNER)

Best Costume Design of a Musical: Santo Loquasto, “Hello, Dolly!” (WINNER)

Best Lighting Design of a Play: Christopher Akerlind, “Indecent” (WINNER)

Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Bradley King, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” (WINNER)

Best Direction of a Play: Rebecca Taichman, “Indecent” (WINNER)

Best Direction of a Musical: Christopher Ashley, “Come From Away” (WINNER)

Best Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, “Bandstand” (WINNER)

Best Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire, “Dear Evan Hansen” (WINNER)

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: James Earl Jones

Special Tony Award: Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, sound designers for “The Encounter”

Regional Theatre Tony Award: Dallas Theater Center in Dallas, Texas

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Baayork Lee

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre: Nina Lannan and Alan Wasser

Protecting Your Voice

A voice is a vital instrument and tool that is important to the theatre. A voice can carry a scene, can inspire goosebumps in the audience with a song, and it can be a huge different between an average to an outstanding show. However, with the talent and brilliance of a voice, also comes the responsibility of taking care of it.

Doing 5 to 10 week shows can be a strain to your voice, or cause an actor to get sick. There are several ways that a voice can be injured. Here are some tips to take to maintain your voice in good condition:

Warming up/Exercise – Vocal warm-ups and exercise are not only great voice lessons, but can also maintain the vocal chords strength. Always find time to warm up your voice and before every practice session, rehearsal and performance. Without the warm ups, you can physically harm your chords. Exercise has numerous amounts of benefits. Exercising regularly will strengthen and boost your immune system which can help reduce the chances of unwanted congestion, and strengthening your lungs.

Staying healthy – Staying healthy is important for both, your vocal chords and body. The voice is a delicate instrument and it is easier to harm than one thinks. From getting a good nights sleep to eating well can make huge differences to your voice! Fruits, veggies, lean proteins and whole grains should be a staple in your diet, which can boost your sail through the flu season without a single sniffle.

H2O – Water! Water! Water! Water has incredible benefits for your voice! It can maintain its proper functions and it is highly recommended to stay hydrated during cold and flu season. Certain beverages like caffeinated can cause your vocal chords to dry out, so maintain hydrated with water is key.

Having a theatre voice can be wonderful and important for every production, but, whatever the issue, remember to always keep your voice healthy and maintain its health with the best tips and tricks that are known in the business.

Movies That Turned Into Plays–Part I

We’ve already posted some plays that were made into movies, but what about the other way around?  Here are some movies that were made into plays for you to check out:

Aladdin

Aladdin is a musical based on the 1992 Disney animated film of the same name with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin. Beguelin also wrote the book. The musical includes three songs written for the film by Ashman but not used.   There and four new songs written by Menken and Beguelin. The story follows the familiar tale of how a poor young man discovers a genie in a lamp and uses his wishes to marry the princess that he loves and to thwart the Sultan’s evil Grand Vizier.

Aladdin premiered at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle in 2011.  After several regional and international productions in 2012, the musical was given a Toronto tryout in 2013.  It opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014 to mostly warm reviews and was nominated for five Tony Awards.

Big

Big The Musical is a 1996 musical adaptation of the 1988 film starring Tom Hanks. It was directed by Mike Ockrent and featured music by David Shire and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., with choreography by Susan Stroman.  It involves Josh Baskin, a 12-year-old boy who grows up overnight after being granted a wish by a Zoltar Speaks machine at a carnival. With the aid of his best friend, Billy, he must cope with his new adulthood while finding the machine so that he can wish himself back and more.  The musical opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on April 28, 1996, and closed on October 13, 1996, after 193 performances.  Although it was nominated for five Tony Awards (Best Actress, Supporting Actor, Book, Score, and Choreography), it was one of Broadway’s costliest money-losers

La Cage Aux Folles

La Cage aux Folles is a musical with a book by Harvey Fierstein and lyrics and music by Jerry Herman.  Based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret, it focuses on a gay couple: Georges, the manager of a Saint-Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin, his romantic partner and star attraction, and the farcical adventures that ensue when Georges’s son, Jean-Michel, brings home his fiancée’s ultra-conservative parents to meet them. La cage aux folles literally means “the cage of mad women”. However, folles is also a slang term for effeminate homosexuals (queens).

The original 1983 Broadway production received nine nominations for Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. The success of the musical spawned a West End production and several international runs. The 2004 Broadway revival won the Tony Award for Best Revival, the 2008 London revival garnered the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival. The 2010 Broadway revival was nominated for eleven Tony Awards, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. La Cage aux Folles is the first musical which has won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical twice and the show that has won a Best Production Tony Award (Best Musical or Best Revival of a Musical) for each of its Broadway productions.

 Footloose

Footloose is a 1998 musical based on the 1984 film of the same name. The music is by Tom Snow (among others), the lyrics by Dean Pitchford (with additional lyrics by Kenny Loggins), and the book is by Pitchford and Walter Bobbie.  It opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on October 22, 1998 with 737 performances.  It was nominated for several Tony Awards.  With its Oscar’-nominated hit score (the film soundtrack album has sold over 15 million copies world-wide), the celebrated film musical now bursts explosively onto the stage.  The production has developed a following since its original release being one of the most frequently performed school musicals in recent years.

The Top Theater Myths

Theatrical superstitions and myths are real. Among the superstitious actors, it’s important to know them before ever entering or participating in a show, whether as a cast member or as an audience.
Follow along for the most famous superstitions that still linger on stages today.

Having three lit candles onstage – Having three lit candles on stage can bring bad luck. It is said that whoever is nearest to the shortest candle will be next to marry or die. Today, this is nothing but a rumor. Today, stages are instead lit by electrical lights. Instead of bad luck, having lit candles on or around the stage around flammable fresh paint, dim lighting and busy people will only burn the theater down.
Saying ‘Macbeth’ – If the name, ‘Macbeth’, is mentioned in a theatre there is a cleansing ritual to rectify the mistake. The ritual requires the person who said the name to leave the theatre building, spit, curse and spin around three times, before begging to be allowed back in. Other tricks also include, reciting a line from another Shakespearean work, brushing oneself off or running around the theatre counterclockwise. It is believed that Shakespeare got the words from a coven of real witches, and by using the word placed a curse on the play so no one, other than him, could correctly direct the play.
Bad Dress, Good Opening – Many stage actors believe that a bad and terrible dress rehearsal means a great opening night will occur. Although the origin is unclear, the comforting concept still continues today.
“Break a Leg” – Always replace the phrase “good luck” with “break a leg.” The saying might have originated from the ancient Greek practice of stomping feet instead of applauding. Others believed it could’ve originated from understudies jokingly wishing actors would “break a leg” so that their standbys were able to perform.
Flowers before the performance – Receiving flowers and a beautiful bouquet before a performance or recital is believed to cause a lackluster show. Instead, old school and new actors today require their flowers after the curtain call and never before!
Mirrors – Breaking a mirror can bring seven years of bad luck. However, breaking a mirror on stage will cause seven years of bad luck to the theatre. It is also believed that reflections from mirrors are distracting for lights, audience members and actors.

What Is An Interactive Theater?

Interactive theatre is known as a presentational or theatrical form of work that breaks the “fourth wall” that traditionally separates the performer from the audience, physically and verbally.

Traditionally, theatre performance is limited to a designated stage area and the actions of the play unfolds within interplay with audience members, who function as observers.

Conversely, in interactive theatre, performance may happen amidst audience members, and often involves the audience in more active roles. They may be asked to hold props, supply performance suggestions (as in improvisational theatre), share the action’s real-world (non-theatrical) setting (as in Site specific theatre), or become characters in the performance. In addition, the audience may be asked to participate in altering the course of the play altogether by taking part in a collective vote to help steer the plot in a new direction, as with Augusto Boal’s forum theatre. In therapeutic and educational settings, the audience may even be invited to discuss pertinent issues with the performers.

Interactive theatre is an engaging, exhilarating and transcendent experience. Here are the top two tips that engage the audience in a new, complete and convincing world.

Being consistent is the most important rule that keeps interactive theatre together. Without consistency, it creates a no point of entry that confuses the audience. Regardless of what world you create, as long as it is consistent, the audience will love it.
Accurate ratio – It’s important to have an accurate number of actors as audience members instead of having an audience outnumber the actors. When the audience effectively contribute to the atmosphere, it works. Both actors and audience equally working together on performer energy.

Interactive theatre popularity has increased and will continue to increase as more creative shows come to the stage. Check if your city or town has any interactive theatre showings!

Attending Theater Etiquette

There are unspoken rules that any theater love must know. Learning the proper way to act in a theater not only increases your level of enjoyment, but also allows you to participate as a courteous audience member, giving you the full enjoyment of the theater.
Here are a few tips on what not to do:

Don’t Use Your Phone – Leave your electronic devices in your car or turn them off once the show has begun. Along with those sitting around you, actors can see when a phone is being used and they can specifically look in the audience and see who it is. It can be very distracting and cause several interruptions to production. Instead, be respectful of the actors and the rest of the audience and remain attentive to the show.

Leaving During A Show – Leaving during a performance is considered to be highly disrespectful. Unless there is an extreme emergency, it should never be done. Visiting restrooms and getting snacks before, after or during intermission is always highly recommended. It’s also important to always remember to never rush towards the exits after the performance. It is very rude to the actors.

Snacking – Do not eat or drink during the performance. It can be too distracting and out of consideration to the actors and your neighbors, save it for intermission.

Don’t Take Photos – Taking pictures, audio-taping and video-recording during a theater play is illegal. If caught, you’ll be asked to leave. Why? Flash photos can be dangerous to the actors, causing them to be temporarily dazzled by the flash and step off the stage. It also goes against copyright issues with taking of photos and videos. In most cases, performers are always available after the show in the lobby for autographs and pictures.

Don’t Mimic – Please do not sing along, hum, whistle or whisper during a performance.
Applause – Performers greatly appreciate enthusiastic applause, shouts of “Bravo” or “brava” and standing ovations. Applaud only after a well performed song or dance during a scene, after each scene or act and at curtain call.

Attending the theater is fun, but it does require perfect manners to ensure everyone’s good time. With the help of this list, you will optimize your chances of having a memorable experience.

The Bloody Irish!

In honor of St Patrick’s Day, I was wondering what kind of stage shows featured an Irish theme or were set in Ireland.  Here’s a quick look at a few of these.  No!  Brigadoon is not one of these.  That was a Scottish village.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a 1996 black comedy by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh which was premiered by the Druid Theatre Company in Galway, Ireland. It also enjoyed successful runs at London’s West End, Broadway and Off-Broadway.

It was nominated for an Olivier Award as Best Play for the London production, and the 1998 Broadway production was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning four, for Best Leading Actress in a Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play, Best Featured Actress in a Play and Best Direction of a Play.

The play centers around Maureen Folan, a plain and lonely woman in her forties, who lives with and cares for her elderly mother Mag in the small village of Leenane, Connemara.  With possibly her first and last chance at love, Maureen must deal with her manipulative mother who is trying to derail it.

John Bull’s Other Island

John Bull’s Other Island is a comedy about Ireland, written by George Bernard Shaw in 1904. Shaw himself was born in Dublin, yet this is one of only two plays of his where he thematically returned to his homeland, the other being O’Flaherty V.C.. The play was highly successful in its day, but is rarely revived, probably because of so much of the dialogue is specific to the politics of the day.

The play deals with Larry Doyle, originally from Ireland, but who has turned his back on his heritage to fit in with the English and Tom Broadbent, his English (and very Machiavellian) business partner. They are civil engineers who run a firm in London. They go to Roscullen, where Doyle was born, to develop some land.

Doyle has no illusions about Ireland while Broadbent is taken with the romance of the place. Broadbent, a lively man who seemingly is not always aware of the impression he makes, becomes a favourite of the people. Before the play is over, it is clear he will marry Nora Reilly, the woman waiting for Doyle (who is more than happy to let her go) and become the area’s candidate for Parliament after Doyle refuses to stand, but has also ‘called in’ all his loans given “so easily” to the locals against their homes and intends (as he had planned all along) to make the village into an amusement park.

Another major character is the defrocked priest Peter (Father) Keegan, the political and temperamental opposite of Broadbent, who sees through him from the beginning and warns the locals against him.

Dancing at Lughnasa

Dancing at Lughnasa is a 1990 play by dramatist Brian Friel set in Ireland’s County Donegal in August 1936 in the fictional town of Ballybeg. It is a Memory play told from the point of view of the adult Michael Evans, the narrator. He recounts the summer in his aunts’ cottage when he was seven years old.

It’s August, 1936 in rural Ireland.  Step into the kitchen of the five proud Mundy sisters, a place for talking, laughing, and lively dancing—moments that defy the hardships of their daily life. Their brother, a missionary, has just returned from Uganda, and the sisters find themselves each on the brink of momentous change. Friel’s Tony-Award-winning play captures a beautiful and exuberant sliver of these women’s lives, a summer where love—and everything else—seemed possible.

 Once

Once is a musical stage adaptation based on the 2007 film of the same name by John Carney. Like the film, music and lyrics were by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, including the Academy Award-winning “Falling Slowly”. The book for the musical was written by Enda Walsh. The musical premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop in 2011, before transferring to Broadway in 2012. The production received eleven 2012 Tony Award nominations, and won eight including Best Musical, Best Actor and Best Book. The musical also won the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical and the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. It has since spawned a London production, with a North American Tour which started on 1 October 2013.

In the musical, the cast also serves as the orchestra. A minimalist set is used, including a bar in center stage with chairs lining stage left and right. Exiting cast members simply step to the side of the stage and sit down. They serve as the orchestra from these chairs. The bar is used before the show and at intermission as a working bar for theater patrons.

Guy is an Irish singer and songwriter who spends his days fixing vacuums in the Dublin shop he runs with his father, and his nights playing his music in local pubs. He is on the verge of giving up music altogether when a Czech immigrant, “Girl,” walks into the bar, hears him play and refuses to let him abandon his guitar. As it turns out, she has a broken vacuum cleaner, Guy repairs it, and she pays him in music on a piano she plays in a record shop. Over the course of a week, Girl convinces Guy to believe in the power of his music and his love for the woman who inspired his songs. They scrape together money to record a demo album with a motley crew of bar friends, and their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful—but very complicated—love story.

The Bloody Irish

Written by Barry Devlin, directed for the stage by Michael Barker-Caven, music composed and arranged by David Downes, this 80 minute musical drama based on the events of the 1916 Rising had its premier broadcast in October 2015 on the prestigious Public Broadcast Service (PBS), the most watched public service station in the USA.

General Sir John Grenfell Maxwell – the man who signed the death warrants of the 1916 leaders – narrates this dramatic retelling of the events of Easter Week. Starting out with a belief that the rising is a foul act of treachery, Maxwell has a change of heart, asking in the end whether he has made a grievous mistake in sending Pearse, Connolly and the rest to their death.

Plays that turned into movies

Ever thought of which plays have turned into movies? It is very common for a popular play, after all the success it has, be turned into a movie. Among the most popular is Hamlet, and although there are several variations of the movie, everyone knows the most common one: The Lion King. There are some academics who believe stage plays can easily lend themselves to big screen adaptations– Both have traditional resemblance of narrative structures, use actors to transmit dramatic actions, as well as the use of spoken dialogue.

Here’s a list of plays turned to movies that you should check out today!

The Philadelphia Story – Play by Phillip Barry and screenplay by Donald Ogden Steward, the play was a huge success on Broadway and is known as Hepburn’s greatest comeback. The play was turned into a film in 1940, starring Katherine Hepburn. It’s a story of a divorced socialite, Tracy Lord, who’s preparing for her second marriage, but things get complicated with a simultaneous arrival of her ex-husband.

Amadeus – Written by Peter Shaffer, the play was adapted into the big screen in 1984 casting Mark Hamill as Mozart. It’s known as one of the greatest plays and movies about the creative and genius process. It tells a story of Antonio Salieri, who gets jealous that God favors Mozart with divine inspiration.

Les Misérables – The first stage production was presented at a Paris sports arena. However, in 1983 produce Cameron Mackintosh received a copy of the French concept album and was impressed enough to produce an English-language version of the show. It premiered on Broadway in 1987 and after sixteen years with 6,680 performances, it closed on May, 2013. Many adaptations of film were made with the most recent one in 2012, with Anne Hathaway winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting actress.

Musicals on Netflix

Do you ever get the urge to watch a live musical, only to realize you don’t have the funds or a local theater hosting a musical of your interest? Well, maybe you should check on Netflix! Curious as to which ones are available? Check out the following list:

Rent:

A rock musical follows the story of poor young artists who are all connected and struggling to survive and create a life in New York City while the HIV/AIDS epidemic surrounds them.

Grease:

This is a classic, coming-of-age musical based in the late 50s that follows ten middle-class teens managing typical teen peer pressure, politics, values and, of course, love. Within this story, during summer break, Danny and Sandy fall in love. However, once school begins, Danny struggles to find the balance between his feelings for Sandy and his bad-boy image as a T-Bird.

Shrek, the Musical:

Based on the animated movie of the same name, the musical tells the story of a green ogre who, in an attempt to get his secluded home back from fairy-tale characters, he winds up falling in love with a princess with a lifelong secret.

Hairspray:

In 1960s Baltimore, a young big-haired teen, Tracy Turnblad’s dream of performing in a TV Dance Show comes to reality after learning a few new dance moves from her black friend Seaweed. While on the show, she finds herself advocating for racial integration.

Hello Dolly:

This musical follows the story of an outspoken matchmaker who attempts to marry a half-millionaire merchant all while setting up a young clerk with his assistant with a widowed milliner and her assistant.

 

What musicals do you wish were on Netflix?

Popular Valentine’s Day Musicals

 

With the celebration of love and friendship fast approaching, we have decided to share with you five popular Valentine’s Day Musicals to look out for and go watch with a significant other or a dear friend.

 

Honeymoon in Vegas:

This musical follows a regular guy named Jack with a fear of marriage who ends up building up courage to ask his girlfriend, Betsy, hand in marriage. However, after arriving in Las Vegas to wed, a dashing gambler falls in love with Betsy and threatens to take her away to live luxuriously with him.

First Date:

A mismatched pair goes on a blind date after being set up by a mutual friend. Throughout the course of their date, their exes and other surprising personas visit them through their imaginations. In the end, sparks may or may not fly.

Dirty Dancing:

This is a classic coming-of-age, 60’s musical of 17 year-old ‘Baby’ who goes to a resort with her family during summer vacation. While having a hard time finding activities that interested her, she finally finds her source of entertainment through raunchy dancing.  

Kinky Boots:

This musical, very much like the indie film of the same name, follows the story of two completely different men, Charlie and Lola, who find valuable friendship within each other after coming up with the brilliant idea of creating “kinky boots” for men. Eventually, it helps keep Charlie’s family’s shoe factory business alive.

West Side Story:

Based off of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” this musical takes place in 1950s Manhattan while being dominated by rival gangs, Sharks and Jets. While at a dance, Jets’ good-boy Tony and Sharks’ sister Maria fall in love. Throughout the musical, these two lovers try to find a way to be together while tensions begin to escalate between the rival gangs.

Which ones are your favorite?