All tagged Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
The Grammy nominees were announced and, as usual, we theatre buffs are particularly interested in the nominees in the category for Best Musical Theatre Album. This last year has been rife with new cast recordings of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, so it is with some frustration that we must accept Grammy’s ruling that only three albums would be nominated in this category, especially with a number of truly wonderful (and deserving) albums that could have rounded out this category. In the end, the three nominees in this category are Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, and Hello, Dolly!.
Nominees in this category are often a funny lot, often a popularity contest outweighing artistic merit or high quality technical know-how. Of course, last year, Broadway Record’s album of The Color Purple garnered a very deserving artistic win, but this isn’t always the case.
There has certainly been a great deal of controversy over the ousting of Okierete “Oak” Onoadowan in favor of Mandy Patinkin to play Pierre for a three week engagement in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. It has been a polarizing subject that has inspired outrage, from the cogent argument that it's not right to replace a contracted performer because an arguably more-marketable one has become available, to more outlandish cries of racism which, if you look at the makeup of this diverse cast, doesn't really hold water. The question here is, “Is it acceptable, for reasons of publicity and box office potential, to relieve a performer of his or her contracted duties in lieu of a bigger name? Where are the lines of professional courtesy and etiquette crossed?”
So… the 71st Annual Tony Awards have come and gone and I have to say, I generally found it to be a tedious evening. Nothing used to get me more excited than tuning in each year to the Tony Awards and being blown away by some amazing performances. Somewhere around the time when the awards ceremony left the intimacy of a Broadway theatre and instead began being held at larger venues such as Radio Music Hall did it lose something for me. Ah, yes, I suppose I am showing my age by saying this, but there was a time when the awards actually felt intimate. For reasons of space and economy, it was decided somewhere along the way that barns were the better place to celebrate theatre. This still remains an unfortunate shift in my book as I long for the days when musicals like Big River, Grand Hotel, Me and My Girl, The Secret Garden, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, City of Angels, Once on this Island, and Jelly’s Last Jam charmed me on a stage that didn’t dwarf their efforts. The Broadway of today looks very different than the one I remember of the 80s and early 90s, so I suppose nostalgia can cloud one’s judgment, but this Tony Awards in particular left me feeling very disconnected.
An American Institution,
The Broadway Musical reminds
That hope and optimism
Are alive in daunting times
The Tonys are just days away
But trophies set aside
Here’s a celebration
Of this year’s magic ride