67th Tony Award Winners

Tony Awards

Sunday night, June 9, Broadway’s finest gathered at Radio City Music Hall for the 67th Annual Tony Awards presentations. Hosted for the 3rd consecutive year by  Neil Patrick Harris the ceremony celebrates the 2012-2013 Broadway season.  The show started as usual with an original opening number performed by the host and what appeared to be every Broadway performer.  In a show of support, performances from this season’s Tony award nominated musicals A Christmas Story- The Musical, Annie, Bring It On-The Musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,  Kinky Boots, Matilda-The Musical, Motown-The Musical, and Pippin were introduced by performers from the Great White Way’s currently running shows including Chicago; Jersey Boys; Newsies; Once; Mamma Mia!; Rock of Ages; Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark; The Lion King; and The Phantom of the Opera.

The Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre is awarded to Bernard Gersten, executive producer of Lincoln Center Theater, scenic designer Ming Cho Lee, and Paul Libin, executive vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters.

Going into the night Kinky Boots was the most nominated production with 13 nods closely followed by Matilda The Musical with 12. The the end of the night, Kinky Boots triumphed with 6 gongs followed by Matilda & Pippin with 4 each.
The other major Tony Awards went to:

Best Play: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Best Revival of a Play: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Musical: Kinky Boots
Best Revival of a Musical: Pippin
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play: Tracy Letts as George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play: Cicely Tyson as Miss Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play: Courtney B. Vance as Hap Hairston in Lucky Guy
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play: Judith Light as Faye in The Assembled Parties
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical: Billy Porter as Lola in Kinky Boots
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical: Laura Osnes as Ella in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical: Gabriel Ebert as Mr. Wormwood in Matilda the Musical
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical: Andrea Martin as Berthe in Pippin 
Best Book of a Musical: Matilda the Musical – Dennis Kelly
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre: Kinky Boots – Cyndi Lauper (music and lyrics)
Best Choreography: Jerry Mitchell – Kinky Boots
Best Direction of a Play: Pam MacKinnon – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Direction of a Musical: Diane Paulus – Pippin

The the full list of nominees and winners visit the Tony Awards online

Have A Splash! Vancouver Pools Open for Summer

Maple Grove Pool Image: City Of Vancouver

While this long weekend may not be as sunny as we’d like there’s still a chance to hit the water as soon as the clouds part. Vancouver public parks have opened the outdoor swimming pools for the 2013 summer season.
While Kits Pool and Second Beach are the best known, there are other outdoor pools to take in a few laps or splash about with the family.

Kitsilano Pool – Vancouver’s only salt-water pool, located along the shore of Kits Beach. Open from 9am until dusk Admission: Adults-$5.38 Youth(13-18)/Seniors(65+)-$3.81 Children(2-12)-$2.67 plus tax

Second Beach Pool – In Stanley Park, just a stones throw from English Bay, the graduated depth of this heated pool makes it great for the whole family. Open from 10am until dusk. Admission: Adults-$5.38 Youth(13-18)/Seniors(65+)-$3.81 Children(2-12)-$2.67 plus tax
Maple Grove Pool – A free form pool with built in island, water basketball hoop is located in Maple Grove Park, at Yew Street and SW Marine Drive. Open 1015am until 745pm. Admission: Adults-$2.38 Youth(3-18)/Seniors(65+)-$1.43 plus tax

New Brighton Pool – East Vancouver’s Harbourfront oasis, New Brighton Park just north of the PNE grounds is home to a large lap pool, play pool with slide and cafe. Open 10am until 8pm.  Admission: Adults-$5.38 Youth(13-18)/Seniors(65+)-$3.81 Children(2-12)-$2.67 plus tax

Hillcrest Aquatic Centre – Next to Nat Bailey Stadium, and built for the 2010 Winter Olympics this state of the art aquatic centre features an indoor outdoor pool. Indoor is open year-round, outdoor opens soon.

In addition to the swimming pools, Vancouver has many wading pools and spray parks throughtout the city that will open later in the season as more children get out of school and the weather really heats up.


Broadway Across Canada – Mary Poppins

20120717-233908.jpgChim Chim Cheree! Everyone’s favourite nanny stops by Vancouver this week, no not Supernanny but Mary Poppins. Broadway Across Canada‘s touring production of Disney’s Mary Poppins opened tonight and plays until Sunday July 22nd at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Adapted from the family favourite 1964 Disney movie, Mary Poppins features the same familiar score by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, including “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and “Step In Time” plus new numbers, written by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, specifically for the stage musical.
The movie and musical are based on the like-titled series of children’s books by P.L. Travers which tell the story of the Banks family who needs a new nanny for their children, Jane and Michael. When a mysterious young woman named Mary Poppins appears at their doorstep, the family finds that she’s the answer to their problems, but in ways they’ve never imagined.
The touring show stars Rachel Wallace as Mary Poppins, Case Dillard as Bert, played on opening night by understudy Con O’Shea-Creal, Michael Dean Morgan as Mr. Banks and Elizabeth Broadhurst as Mrs. Banks. The real star of the show is the set, it was an amazingly creative way to show the whole Banks house, from basement to rooftops, opening up like a storybook to reveal the interior. The nearby park was a magical place that allowed the cast and audience to be swept away in the classic songs and story. For some numbers the large company filled the stage creating a much grander scale than the Queen E stage would appear to allow.
The entire company was very good vocally and the sound was well done, no opening night glitches except for some missed light cues. The addition of the new songs and changes to the story, kept the musical running smooth and flowing while simplifying some of the heavy special effect numbers from the movie. The changes also make the story new and keep it fresh for everyone, overall it’s a fun, nostalgic trip to Victorian London and our childhood memories of the original Super-calafragalisticexpialadoshus Nanny.
Mary Poppins runs until July 22nd at Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, visit Broadway Across Canada for tickets.


Xanadu: Summer Fun At Arts Club

20120711-231528.jpg“A place where nobody dared to go…they call it Xanadu”, or so the lyrics go to the title song to Xanadu, the musical now playing at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Island Stage. Contrary to the lyrics, every body should go to Xanadu, it’s a fun, camp rolic. I’d say it’s a guilty pleasure but one shouldn’t feel guilty about having such a good time.
Based on the 1980 Olivia Newton-John starring flop of the same name, the musical throws out most of the cheesy 80’s dialogue in favour of a new book written by Douglas Carter Beane. The movie’s soundtrack, far more successful than the motion picture, stays intact with Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra) and John Farrer sharing the tracks. In addition to the original songs from the movie; “I’m Alive”, “All Over The World” and “Xanadu”, the musical included a couple more of Lynne’s ELO tracks; “Strange Magic” and “Evil Woman” plus the John Farrer written Olivia Newton-John hit “Have You Ever Been Mellow”.
Maintaining many of the plot elements from the movie, telling the story of a beautiful Greek muse, Clio (played by Marlie Collins) who dons a ingenious disguise of legwarmers, roller skates and an Australian accent, helping struggling artist, Sonny (Gaelan Beatty) to realize his dream of opening a roller disco. The story is told with a tongue firmly planted in cheek with a wink and a nod to the movie and a humourous subplot paying homage to Clash Of The Titans, another 80’s cult classic. While the original movies Xanadu is inspired by were so bad they’re good, the musical hits all the right notes and sends the audience home with a smile on their face and a familiar song in their head.

Xanadu is now playing at The Arts Club Theatre’s Granville Island Stage until August 4th: tickets are available online or at the box office.


66th Annual Tony Award Winners

credit: The Tony Awards

Sunday night, the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League presented the 66th Annual Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, better known as The Tony Awards. Third time host Neil Patrick Harris presided over the evening from the Beacon Theatre in New York City.
In addition to awards the evening included performances from some of Broadways current musicals: Evita, Follies, Godspell, Ghost The Musical, Newsies, Once and others.  The Tony nominated plays, Peter & The Starcatcher, End Of The Rainbow and One Man, Two Guvnors also performed during the live telecast.
The 11 times-nominated musical, Once, came away the evening’s big winner, leaving with 8 awards.  Peter & The Starcatcher led the plays with 5 wins from its 9 nominations, although Best Play went to Clybourne Park.

Other winners were:

Best Play – Clybourne Park

Best Musical – Once

Best Book of a Musical – Once / Enda Walsh

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre – Newsies / Music:Alan Menken Lyrics:Jack Feldman

Best Revival of a Play – Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Best Revival of a Musical – The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play – James Corden / One Man, Two Guvnors

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play – Nina Arianda / Venus in Fur

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical – Steve Kazee / Once

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical – Audra McDonald / The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play – Christian Borle / Peter and the Starcatcher

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play – Judith Light / Other Desert Cities

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical – Michael McGrath / Nice Work If You Can Get It

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical – Judy Kaye / Nice Work If You Can Get It

Best Direction of a Play – Mike Nichols / Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Best Direction of a Musical – John Tiffany / Once

Best Choreography – Christopher Gattelli / Newsies

Best Orchestrations – Martin Lowe / Once

Special Tony Award® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre – Emanuel Azenberg

Regional Theatre Award – The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.

Isabelle Stevenson Award – Bernadette Peters

Special Tony Award  – Actors’ Equity Association
– Hugh Jackman

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre  – Freddie Gershon
– Artie Siccardi
– TDF Open Doors

New Movie Preview – Carnage

Carnage starring; Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly

Based on the French play Le Dieu du Carnage/ God of War and adapted for the screen by original playwright Yasmina Reza and director Roman Polanski. The black comedy tells the story of two sets of parents whose children are in an altercation at a playground earlier in the day. Set in Brooklyn but filmed in Paris due to director Roman Polanski’s U.S. legal troubles the entire film takes place in the Longstreet’s (Foster and Reilly) apartment.  The Longstreet’s and Cowan’s (Winslet and Waltz) meet to have a civilized discussion about the matter however the session devolves into a childish display of madness.  Misogyny, racism, homophobia, alcoholism, animal abuse are all topics as the visit goes wildly & humourously off the rails.  With four multiple award-winning actors, 4 Oscars, 5 Golden Globes, 6 BAFTAs and countless others among them, filling all the screen time one can’t help but be mesmerized by the brilliant character development more awards nominations are sure to follow.

Carnage is due in North American theatres December 16, 2011

Blood Brothers – Arts Club Theatre

Now playing at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Island Stage, Blood Brothers is a tale of nature vs nurture told in a musical retelling of the Alexandre Dumas tale, The Corsican Brothers.  Set initially in the working class industrial slums of 1960’s Liverpool the first act centers around single-mother of 7, Mrs Johnstone who, barely able to feed her family, works as a cleaner for the wealthy but childless, Mr & Mrs Lyons.  Finding out she is pregnant with twins, she is distraught at the prospect of two more mouths to feed, so reluctantly she agrees to secretly give one twin away to Mrs Lyons. This begins the diverse upbringing of the two boys, one in poverty, the other in privilege. However, different their circumstances they still manage to find each other and become “blood brothers” and best friends. Their live intertwine for the next 20 years until they meet a tragic and fateful demise brought about by their mothers; one in an attempt to separate them and the other to bond them.
The Willy Russell musical was first brought to the stage in London in 1983 when the poverty of 60’s and recession of the 80’s, as represented in the play, were still fresh in people’s memories. This production’s stage design well represent these eras and the cast do a valiant job of keeping their accents authentic to the region and class. Leads Terra C. MacLeod as Mrs Johnstone and John Mann (Spirit of the West) as Narrator provide  anchors to the production, each contributing strong vocals and presence when onstage, which is most of the time.  Adam Charles and Shane Snow play separated twins Eddie Lyons and Mickey Johnstone both doing capable jobs as they age from 7 to 20.  With the entire cast made up of just 12 players they almost all do double duty playing multiple parts of the ensemble.  While the staging and eras are no longer up to date the story is timeless and told in a timeless manner and provides an enjoyable evening out.

Blood Brothers runs until December 31, 2011 at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Island Stage. Tickets can be purchased online or by phone 604.687.1644