Oscar Week Film Review: I, Tonya

Up for 3 Oscars, I, Tonya rises above a shonky format thanks to some great performances

“America. They want someone to love, they want someone to hate”

I wasn’t much of a fan of the mockumentary style in which I, Tonya was constructed, using interviews with the people involved with the rise and fall of Tonya Harding’s figure-skating career. And the fourth-wall-breaking felt like a gimmick too far in a film that simply didn’t need it, such is the appalling pull of its subject matter.

Written by Steven Rogers, directed by Craig Gillespie and co-produced by the film’s leading actor Margot Robbie, there’s a gripping story of Harding’s rise against the odds. Against an abusive childhood and then marriage, against the class snobbery that didn’t recognise her athleticism as equal to primped princess beauty, to hear Harding tell it,  against the world itself. Continue reading “Oscar Week Film Review: I, Tonya”

Nominations for the 2017 Drama Desk Awards

Outstanding Play
If I Forget, by Steven Levenson, Roundabout Theatre Company
Indecent, by Paula Vogel, Vineyard Theatre
A Life, by Adam Bock, Playwrights Horizons
Oslo, by J. T. Rogers, Lincoln Center Theater
Sweat, by Lynn Nottage, The Public Theater
 
Outstanding Musical
Anastasia
The Band’s Visit, Atlantic Theater Company
Come From Away
Hadestown, New York Theatre Workshop
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

Continue reading “Nominations for the 2017 Drama Desk Awards”

Album Review: Annie (2014 Film Cast)

“Now I find myself here, and it’s time”

It may be heresy to admit it but have to say I love the updated 2014 film version of Annie. Having never seen it on stage before, I was hesitant to say the least about watching the movie but for me, it works beautifully and most importantly, completely reimagines the classic score in the most contemporary of ways. Sia and Greg Kurstin have to take credit for that and without any affection for the original – which I suspect may have coloured much of the critical response – I think it’s a great soundtrack to listen to.

Old songs have been rearranged to within an inch of their life, new lyrics added and a wildly different sonic world created but it is one which suits this ultra-modern Annie down to the ground and manages it in a finger-clicking, hip-swaying way. Constantly treading the line of sentimentality – and with songs like ‘Tomorrow’ how could it not – there’s just enough street cred to keep it from tipping over. So the directness of Quvenzhané Wallis’s unaffected vocal in the iconic ‘Tomorrow’ is refreshingly clear-eyed rather than cloying, and gorgeous harmonies deepen the emotion of ‘Maybe’. Continue reading “Album Review: Annie (2014 Film Cast)”

Winners of the 2011 Drama Desk Awards

Outstanding Play
Jon Robin Baitz, Other Desert Cities
Adam Bock, A Small Fire
Stephen Adly Guirgis, The Motherf**ker With the Hat
Samuel D. Hunter, A Bright New Boise
Rajiv Joseph, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
David Lindsay-Abaire, Good People
Nick Stafford, War Horse

Outstanding Musical
In Transit
Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical
See Rock City & Other Destinations
Sister Act
The Book of Mormon
The Kid Continue reading “Winners of the 2011 Drama Desk Awards”

Theatre World Awards 2010-2011

Ellen Barkin – The Normal Heart
Desmin Borges – The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
Halley Feiffer – The House of Blue Leaves
Grace Gummer – Arcadia
Rose Hemingway – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
John Larroquette – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Heather Lind – The Merchant of Venice
Patina Miller – Sister Act
Arian Moayed – Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Jim Parsons – The Normal Heart
Zachary Quinto – Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes
Tony Sheldon – Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Dorothy Loudon Starbaby Award: Seth Numrich – War Horse

Lunt-Fontanne Award for Ensemble Excellence – cast of The Motherfucker with the Hat

65th Tony Award nominations

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play 
Brian Bedford – The Importance of Being Earnest as Lady Bracknell
Bobby Cannavale – The Motherfucker With the Hat as Jackie
Joe Mantello – The Normal Heart as Ned Weeks
Al Pacino – The Merchant of Venice as Shylock
Mark Rylance – Jerusalem as Johnny “Rooster” Byron

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Nina Arianda – Born Yesterday as Emma ‘Billie’ Dawn
Frances McDormand – Good People as Margie Walsh
Lily Rabe – The Merchant of Venice as Portia

Vanessa Redgrave – Driving Miss Daisy as Daisy Werthan
Hannah Yelland – Brief Encounter as Laura Jesson

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical 
Norbert Leo Butz – Catch Me If You Can as Carl Hanratty
Josh Gad – The Book of Mormon as Elder Cunningham
Joshua Henry – The Scottsboro Boys as Haywood Patterson
Andrew Rannells – The Book of Mormon as Elder Price
Tony Sheldon – Priscilla Queen of the Desert as Bernadette Continue reading “65th Tony Award nominations”

Nominations for the 2011 Drama Desk Awards

Outstanding Play
Jon Robin Baitz, Other Desert Cities
Adam Bock, A Small Fire
Stephen Adly Guirgis, The Motherf**ker With the Hat
Samuel D. Hunter, A Bright New Boise
Rajiv Joseph, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
David Lindsay-Abaire, Good People
Nick Stafford, War Horse

Outstanding Musical
In Transit
Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical
See Rock City & Other Destinations
Sister Act
The Book of Mormon
The Kid Continue reading “Nominations for the 2011 Drama Desk Awards”

Nominations for 2010-2011 Outer Critics Circle Awards

John Gassner Playwriting Award
Matthew López, After the Revolution
Matthew López, The Whipping Man
Kim Rosenstock, Tigers Be Still
David West Read, The Dream of the Burning Boy

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can
Josh Gad, The Book of Mormon
Daniel Radcliffe, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Tony Sheldon, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Aaron Tveit, Catch Me If You Can
Continue reading “Nominations for 2010-2011 Outer Critics Circle Awards”