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Gavin Creel Wins Olivier for “Book of Mormon”

April 14th, 2014 Comments off
Gavin Creel in "Book of Mormon" (photo: Alastair Muir) via The Broadway Blog.

Gavin Creel in “Book of Mormon” (photo: Alastair Muir) via The Broadway Blog.

The Olivier Awards (London’s equivalent of the Tonys) were handed out this weekend to the latest crop of musicals and plays to arrive on the West End. While some say that the results were predictable, we here in the States were particularly excited to see hometown favorite Gavin Creel snag Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in Book of Mormon. Nominated twice for a Tony Award (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hair), we had the opportunity to interview Creel back in 2012 and have been following his trajectory to stardom ever since. Another exciting win was the smashing revival of Merrily We Roll Along.

Here’s a full list of this year’s winners:

MasterCard Best New Musical
Book of Mormon

 

Best Actress in a Musical
Zrinka Cvitešić, Once

Best Actor in a Musical
Gavin Creel, Book of Mormon

 

Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Stephen Ashfield, Book of Mormon

 

Bernadette Peters performing at the 2014 Olivier Awards (photo: Alastaire Muir) via The Broadway Blog.

Bernadette Peters performing at the 2014 Olivier Awards (photo: Alastair Muir) via The Broadway Blog.

Autograph Sound Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music
Once, Martin Lowe for composition & arrangements, Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová for music & lyrics

Best Director
Lyndsey Turner, Chimerica

 

Best Theatre Choreographer
Casey Nicholaw, Book of Mormon

 

Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre
Handbagged, Tricycle Theatre

Outstanding Achievement in Opera
English Touring Opera for its brave and challenging touring productions at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House

Best New Opera Production
Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Royal Opera House

Best Musical Revival
Merrily We Roll Along

 

Best New Comedy
Jeeves & Wooster In Perfect Nonsense

 

BBC Radio 2 Audience Award
Les Misérables

 

American Airlines Best New Play
Chimerica

 

Best Actress
Lesley Manville, Ghosts

 

Best Actor
Rory Kinnear, Othello

 

Outstanding Achievement in Dance
Michael Hulls for his body of lighting work including Ballet Boyz – The Talent at Sadler’s Wells

Best New Dance Production
Eastman – Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Sadler’s Wells for Puz/zle at Sadler’s Wells

 

XL Video Award for Best Set Design
Es Devlin, Chimerica

 

Best Costume Design
Mark Thompson, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

 

Best Entertainment & Family
The Wind in the Willows

 

Best Sound Design
Carolyn Downing, Chimerica
Gareth Owen, Merrily We Roll Along

 

White Light Award for Best Lighting Design
Tim Lutkin & Finn Ross, Chimerica
Paul Pyant and Jon Driscoll, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

 

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Sharon D. Clarke, The Amen Corner

 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Jack Lowden, Ghosts

 

Best Revival
Ghosts

Cracking the Nut: 5 Can’t-Miss Holiday Theatrical Events

December 5th, 2013 Comments off

Broadway Blog editor Matthew Wexler gathers some theatrical chestnuts for the holiday season.

"Nutcracker Rouge" presented by Company XIV and The Saint At Large. (photo: Phillip Van Nostrand)

“Nutcracker Rouge” presented by Company XIV and The Saint At Large. (photo: Phillip Van Nostrand)

How many times can you drag you or your loved ones to George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker or the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring dozens of leggy and bleach-toothed Rockettes? I admit… these are iconic New York experiences, and if you’ve never been to the Big Apple during the holidays, at least one of them should be on your to-do list, along with the tree at Rockefeller Center and the decorated windows along Fifth Avenue. But for those with a more adventurous (and occasionally twisted) take on the holiday season, consider one of these theatrical ventures that is sure to have you bellowing “Ho, Ho, Whoa?” in no time.

"Nutcracker Rouge" presented by Company XIV and the Saint At Large. (photo: Robert Zash)

“Nutcracker Rouge” presented by Company XIV and the Saint At Large. (photo: Robert Zash)

Nutcracker Rouge
For grown-ups only, this mischievous and somewhat loose interpretation of the beloved holiday classic gets cranked up a few notches thanks to the innovative choreography and circus antics from director/choreographer Austin McCormick. Merging dance, circus, cabaret and naughty theatrics, you’ll be have more than visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.

A stand-out performance by Laura Careless, who transforms from wide-eyed muse to a 21st century version of Gypsy Rose Lee is worth the ticket alone—along with a bevy of high-heeled boys in thongs.

Nutcracker Rouge
Minetta Lane Theatre
18 Minetta Lane
Through January 5
Presented by Company XIV and The Saint At Large

Want a sneak peek?

Major Scales and Jinx Monsoon.

Major Scales and Jinx Monsoon.

Jinkx Monsoon & Major Scales: Unwrapped
Our favorite drag superstar returns with an all-new holiday special, featuring original songs, covers, comedic flair and drag sass that has catapulted actor Jerick Hoffer’s alter ego into sparkly stardom. The pair’s recent hit, The Vaudevillians, just ended a sold-out run at The Laurie Beechman Theater, so now is your chance to catch them in all of their holiday glory.

Jinkx Monsoon & Major Scales: Unwrapped
Laurie Beechman Theater
407 West 42nd Street
December 7 – 10  

Artwork by Alex Robinson

Artwork by Alex Robinson

A Very Special
Star Wars Minute
Star Wars Holiday Special
Special: Live!
That’s not a typo, just the quirky humor of co-hosts Alex Robinson and Pete the Retailer, who have been hosting the cult-worthy Star Wars Minute podcast over the last year. The duo will tackle the Star Wars Holiday Special, a 1978 TV broadcast, in a live show. Creator George Lucas reportedly said, “If I had the time and a hammer, I would track down every copy of that program and smash it.”

Parkside Lounge
317 East Houston Street
Wednesday, December 11, 7 p.m.
21 and over
Free plus 2-drink minimum

Take the jump for two more picks and bonus recommendations!

Read more…

Review: “The Light Princess”

October 22nd, 2013 Comments off

Founding Editor Tom Mizer reports back from London on the new Tori Amos/Samuel Adamson musical The Light Princess.

Nick Hendrix & Rosalie Craig in "The Light Princess". Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg.

Nick Hendrix & Rosalie Craig in “The Light Princess”. Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg.

They say you know you’ve got it bad when you love someone, not in spite of their imperfections, but because of them.  If that’s true, then I’m a goner for the new musical The Light Princess, written by acclaimed singer/songwriter (and piano-straddling goddess) Tori Amos and playwright Samuel Adamson. Two weeks after seeing the world premiere production at London’s National Theatre, I still can’t shake this eye-poppingly lush, maddeningly bizarre, emotionally shattering, wonderfully weird work of theater.

Rosalie Craig in "The Light Princess". Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg.

Rosalie Craig in “The Light Princess”. Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg.

Based on a nineteenth century fairy tale, but infused with an anarchic feminist spirit, the musical tells the story of a princess who becomes so “light” with grief (or better said, lack of grief) following her mother’s death that she literally floats. More interestingly, the show suggests that Princess Althea doesn’t simply need to learn to cry, but must come to terms with adulthood. Her flying above the world becomes a metaphor for the sometimes selfish and other times frightened flailing of adolescence — and a decidedly modern female adolescence at that — with symbolic references to drugs, eating disorders (in one of the plays funniest gags, if you can believe it), angry rebellion, sex and suicide.

The deeply felt, almost primal, production that results from such explorations is as beautiful, ungainly, powerful and too-smart-for-her-own-good as the heroine at its heart. And what a heroine she is — Rosalie Craig’s performance as Althea is magical, mercurial and physically astonishing; suspended in the air via multiple techniques for much of the show, she sings gorgeously and makes sense of even the densest passages. The direction by Marianne Elliott (reuniting with much of her War Horse team) results in some of the most magical stagecraft I’ve seen in a theater. The scene where Althea floats into the arms of a prince from a rival land makes swooning seem understated and inadequate forevermore. Throughout the evening, puppeteers, animation and dancers converge in swirling tides like hormonal mood swings.

No one will ever accuse this show of being a slick, perfectly ticking clock of a musical; certain sections of the play crawl by. It wouldn’t hurt to cut two of the three opening exposition sequences, much of the lake frolicking at the beginning of act two and chunks of two back-to-back “Dad grieving” numbers. Yet these difficult scenes are followed up by transcendently enveloping sequences and the audience is pulled back in, much to the surprise of my usually fussy dramaturgical mind.

Nick Hendrix & Rosalie Craig in "The Light Princess". Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg.

Nick Hendrix & Rosalie Craig in “The Light Princess”. Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg.

For anyone expecting “Cornflake Girl” crossed with West Side Story, Amos’ score will be a struggle. It is not made up of traditional music theater songs but rather art songs and classical-influenced motifs that suggest emotional undercurrents without the release of pop-broadway verse/chorus structures. Anyone who knows Amos’ most recent work like the Schubert and Satie influenced Night of Hunters will recognize where she’s going, building a bed of sound filled with ear tickling repetitions and world painting. I ultimately found the score brave, at times soaringly lovely, and completely in sync with the rest of the show.

In fact, the whole production feels of one voice, as if a prodigiously gifted and deeply eccentric young woman obsessed with Victoriana and post-feminist comic books was released from her attic to be given free reign — and an unlimited budget — at a major theater. Some may tire of her, unable to go with her passionate sincerity, quirky humor and longwinded asides. I, however, had sobbed hard enough by the end of the show to shake my row of seats, then stumbled out of the theater with a gaping grin, not quite sure what had just happened. It turns out, I had fallen for The Light Princess — the woman and the show she had become.

The Light Princess
National Theatre
Through January 9, 2014