Nominations for the 2020 Drama Desk Awards

Outstanding Play
The Inheritance, by Matthew Lopez
Heroes of the Fourth Turning, by Will Arbery, Playwrights Horizons
Cambodian Rock Band, by Lauren Yee, Signature Theatre
Greater Clements, by Samuel D. Hunter, Lincoln Center Theater
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven, by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Atlantic Theater Company/LAByrinth Theater Company

Outstanding Musical
A Strange Loop, Playwrights Horizons/Page 73 Productions
Octet, Signature Theatre
The Secret Life of Bees, Atlantic Theater Company
Soft Power, The Public Theater
The Wrong Man, MCC Theater Continue reading “Nominations for the 2020 Drama Desk Awards”

Nominations for 2020 Lucille Lortel Awards

Outstanding Play
BLKS Produced by MCC Theater Written by Aziza Barnes
Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven Produced by Atlantic Theater Company and LAByrinth Theater Company Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Heroes of the Fourth Turning Produced by Playwrights Horizons Written by Will Arbery
Is This A Room Produced by Vineyard Theatre Conceived by Tina Satter
Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie Produced by Ars Nova Created by The Mad Ones and Phillip James Brannon, Brad Heberlee, Carmen M. Herlihy, January LaVoy
 
Outstanding Musical

A Strange Loop Produced by Playwrights Horizons in association with Page 73 Productions. Book, Music, and Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson
In The Green Produced by Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3. Book, Music, and Lyrics by Grace McLean
Octet Produced by Signature Theatre. Book, Music, and Lyrics by Dave Malloy
Soft Power Produced by The Public Theater and Center Theatre Group Play and Lyrics by David Henry Hwang, Music and Additional Lyrics by Jeanine Tesori
The Secret Life of Bees Produced by Atlantic Theater Company Book by Lynn Nottage, Music by Duncan Sheik, Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. Based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd

Continue reading “Nominations for 2020 Lucille Lortel Awards”

Album Review: On The Town (2014 New Broadway Cast Recording)

“I try hard to keep detached,But I get carried away”

On The Town is an undoubtedly frivolous show, a plot as light as gossamer, but seeing it recently at the Open Air Theatre reminded me just how tuneful a musical it is, Leonard Bernstein’s 1944 score full not just of classic songs but gorgeous instrumental passages too, to allow the many dance sequences to really pop. This recording comes from the 2014 Broadway revival which received good notices but barely lasted a year altogether.

Who knows why it didn’t last. It has a strong trio of men as its sailors on 24-hour ship leave in New York – Tony Yazbeck, Clyde Alves, and Jay Armstrong Johnson – and some women who steal the show from them, most notably Elizabeth Stanley’s Claire de Loone, and Jackie Hoffman too for good measure. Stanley’s portrayal in particular really shines through, matching a strong soprano with serious comic skills and making her someone I want to find out more about.  Continue reading “Album Review: On The Town (2014 New Broadway Cast Recording)”

CD Review: Our First Mistake – The Songs of Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk (2010)

“It not a love story, not a coming of age
It’s not the kind of thing you put into a play.”

Good song-writing is good song-writing but it certainly helps if you have stellar interpreters of songs on hand to deliver what you’ve composed. And so it is on Our First Mistake – The Songs of Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk which finds the likes of Kelli O’Hara mourning the death of a relationship on the pragmatic ‘Not a Love Story’ and Natalie Weiss on the equally bruised ‘How To Return Home’, both performers fully inhabit their characters within these songs and you’re instantly given to a sense of excitement at what a Kerrigan/Lowdermilk musical might sound like.
 

They’re a US musical theatre writing team who, like so many others, are patiently waiting for their big break. Shows such as Henry & Mudge and The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Brown have raised their profile and in the latter case, show real promise from the tracks included here in their relaxed pop sensibility that Waitress is currently working so well. Vienna Teng’s delicate piano balled ‘Say The Word’ is a gorgeous opener to the collection and the way its tentative romantic inclinations are met with Michael Arden’s ‘Run Away With Me’, its quiet emotion slowly building in confidence, whets the appetite beautifully.

Continue reading “CD Review: Our First Mistake – The Songs of Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk (2010)”