The theater is a hothouse; everything grown within it is exotic, demanding, and sensitive to minute fluctuations of environment. Even with only time as a variable, a show is always reaching and reconfiguring, deepening and dying. Bigger variables, such as the one She Loves Me gambled on last night when, in a Broadway first, it was streamed live over the internet, may be a boon or a trial — or, as in this case, a bit of both.
On WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show this week, Democratic Congressional hopeful Oliver Rosenberg threw out a timely historical reference during a debate with his opponent, incumbent Jerrold Nadler. "As Alexander Hamilton says, 'This is not a moment, this is the movement,'" Rosenberg quoted. "'Foes oppose us. We take an honest stand. We roll like Moses claiming our promised land.' Rise up, rise up and vote." As millions of fans undoubtedly know, though, that's not a quote from the real Alexander Hamilton; it's a passage from Hamilton's "My Shot." Was Rosenberg mistaken — or, even more fascinatingly, is the musical so popular that the name "Alexander Hamilton" now means the fictional rapping guy based on the founding father? Either way, Rosenberg lost, which will prevent from him using that famous George Washington quote, "I'll save children, but not the British children" at his inauguration.
Salutations and Greetings to Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, Who Are Going to Star in Oh, Hello on BroadwayBy Devon Ivie
Please give a rousing hello to Oh, Hello. Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney will be bringing their schmuck alter egos, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, to Broadway this fall with their part-scripted, part-spontaneous comedy production. Portraying "two old jerks from the Upper West Side" in what's defined as a “memoir for the stage," the duo had a brief off-Broadway run at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York last winter before embarking on a short U.S. tour, where they would memorably hold an eclectic press conference at the end of each performance in complete character. (Seriously, these guys really don't break character.)
On July 12, for one afternoon only, the cast of Hamilton will be performing exclusively for Hillary Clinton and her supporters. The Hillary Victory Fund has bought out the house for the Tuesday matinee, and if you thought a ticket to your average Hamilton performance was expensive, check out the price tags on these fundraiser seats. Tickets start at $2,700. A premium ticket, going for $10,000, includes a photo op with Clinton. The top-tier package, set at $100,000, includes two premium tickets, wrap party passes, and an invitation to the Democratic National Convention.
After this year's #OscarsSoWhite controversy, in which no actors of color were Oscar-nominated for their performances, it was thrilling to see a significantly more inclusive Tony Awards, in which 14 nominees were people of color. Broadway's favorite son, Lin-Manuel Miranda (whose notably diverse Hamilton picked up 16 nominations, and took home 11 awards), was wowed by this year's results, but isn't so sure we're due for a repeat anytime soon.
“I think our incredibly, amazingly diverse Tonys season that just ended was a fluke,” Miranda said, sitting down this week with the president of Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin. “We lucked into one of the most extraordinarily diverse seasons we’ve ever seen in the history of Broadway, from Allegiance to Shuffle Along to the revival of The Color Purple to Hamilton. That was a very nice contrast that happened this year. That being said, next year could be a very different year, depending on what comes in.”
After making a bunch of people very rich and winning a whopping 11 Tony Awards, what comes next for Hamilton? This summer marks the end of act one for the smash Broadway hit: Unlike Alexander Hamilton himself, many of the people involved are going to take a break from the production now that their yearlong contracts are up. With the change in administration looming, we thought this would be a good time to check in on the future of Hamilton, from cast departures to filmed versions to non-Broadway productions. Take a look below to see what you missed.
With Lin-Manuel Miranda — along with Phillipa Soo and Leslie Odom Jr. — sadly leaving Hamilton following their July 9 performances, it was only a matter of time before Miranda announced who would be taking over his cheery emcee duties for the cult-favorite Ham4Ham preshows outside of the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Symbolically passing over the imaginary jeweled crown during today's Ham4Ham — captured for the first time in a 360-degree video — it was revealed that King George III himself, Rory O'Malley, would be assuming the throne, busting out a few lines of "Turn It Off" from The Book of Mormon as a pseudo-coronation. Aaron Tveit also joined in on the festivities, staging a quick rendition of "I'm Alive" from Next to Normal. (Miranda, meanwhile, contributed important tambourine duties.) You'll be back ... soon you'll see ... more enjoyable and free mid-afternoon entertainment.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Will Film Hamilton Before Leaving in July, With Jonathan Groff Set to Bring Back the King for Filmed ShowsBy Nate Jones and Karen Brill
The rumors were true: Lin-Manuel Miranda really is leaving Hamilton next month. The recent Tony winner's last performance in the role will be July 9; after that, he'll hand the part of the titular Founding Father to current understudy Javier Muñoz. Miranda's not the only original cast member to depart this summer — Tony nominee Phillippa Soo, who plays Hamilton's wife Elizabeth, is also leaving in July, as is Tony winner and Aaron Burr, sir, Leslie Odom Jr. With much of the original cast moving on, Hamilton will be filmed before the gang splits up for good. Miranda told Twitter that the footage will probably be kept hidden for a while, but will be released eventually. He has also said that he'll be back, periodically. As he told reporters at the Tonys, "I intend to drop in on this thing." In 20 years, he joked, "You’re going to be like, 'When will you stop playing it?'"
Update: You can't keep a good king down. Jonathan Groff, otherwise known as King George III the Second, will step back into the show for the two filmed performances. Miranda announced the news during a Periscope chat, saying: "I’m happy to report that Jonathan Groff — Groffsauce, you love him, I love him — moved around his TV production schedule, and we’re going to get him." The Tony nominee had permanently left the show in April to film David Fincher's Netflix drama Mindhunter, after taking a hiatus last October to film the Looking movie. The arrangement has the current King George, Rory O'Malley, sitting the filmed shows out, because it wouldn't be real royalty without a succession switcheroo.
Only now am I beginning to catch up with a number of late-season Off Broadway openings that got sucked into Broadway’s Tony-awards vortex. Even shows as self-consciously attention-seeking as Halley Feiffer’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City, produced by MCC Theater, failed to make much of an impression. Perhaps that’s not just the Tonys’ fault; the whole undertaking, like its ungainly title, seemed to work very hard at making something potentially tasty into something all but unswallowable. The sitcom setup is a good example. Don, a sad-sack tech billionaire, pays a visit to his dying mother in a semi-private room on the title ward. Behind the curtain in the other half of the room, Karla, an aspiring comedian, is visiting her mother, too, and passing the time as she sleeps by working on new material. “I’m in bed, dripping wet, waiting for my vibrator to come fuck me,” Karla ad libs. Don’s sad eyes pop wide. Uh-oh!
Following the announcements of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Phillipa Soo departing Hamilton, it's confirmed that Leslie Odom Jr. will be leaving the production on July 9 as well. Odom — who won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his stirring portrayal of Aaron Burr — announced the news during a Facebook Live broadcast earlier today. "I am indeed leaving on July 9," he said. "It has just been the most completely wonderful, totally healing and inspiring experience from beginning to end. I will never forget the people that I've met here. I will never forget all of you ... I can't wait to see all the guys that come after me and show me [more] about Burr." He has yet to announce his upcoming career plans.
Who Can Say If the Wicked Movie’s Release Date Has Been Changed for the Better, But It Has Been Changed to 2019By Nate Jones
Something has changed within the Wicked movie, something is not the same. The adaptation, which has struggled to get off the ground for almost a decade, is finally going to try defying gravity: Universal has now given the movie-musical a December 20, 2019 release date. It's the first concrete news we've had in a while about the project, which was reportedly "gearing up" in 2014, and was been linked to directors as various as J.J. Abrams, Stephen Daldry, and Brett Ratner over the years. (Daldry got the gig in the end.) But yeah, 2019, only 15 years after Wicked's Broadway debut, which should give you a pretty good hint about how old you'll be when the Hamilton movie finally arrives.
How do you tame The Taming of the Shrew? It has the usual early-Shakespeare problems: clunky exposition, overwrought plotting, huge dropped stitches. (The framing device, laboriously introduced, simply disappears after two scenes.) But a much bigger problem confronts contemporary interpreters of the play. In a program note to the production that opened tonight at the Delacorte in Central Park, the Public Theater’s artistic director, Oskar Eustis, sums it up by saying he has “never been able to get behind the central action of the play, which is, well, taming a woman.” Indeed, The Taming of the Shrew depicts and for all we know endorses the sadistic misogyny that was the flip side of courtly love in the culture it arose from. So while Bianca, the ductile younger daughter of a wealthy Paduan gentleman, is respectfully wooed by several suitors bearing verses, her ferocious older sister, Katherina — who must marry before Bianca can — is gradually broken by her husband, Petruchio, through manipulations that amount to torture. (She is kidnapped, starved, and presumably raped.) It’s despicable, except that it’s fascinating, which is why directors keep trying to find ways to reimagine it more palatably.
Normally, two parties own Tony Awards night: the official gala at the Plaza and O&M's legendary, rollicking, celebrity-studded after-party that goes until the wee hours. But this year, a one-time upset contender for best after-party emerged: Hamilton's party at Tavern on the Green, which turned out to be yet another win for the hit musical.
Around 1 a.m, when Vulture arrived, Questlove was in the DJ booth outside on the patio, spinning old-school rap and R&B, and the dance floor was packed. Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita were dancing with friends, and Lin-Manuel Miranda jumped into the DJ booth to groove and hoist a drink before making his way through the crowd and stopping to dance and sing along with Common.
Inside the sprawling restaurant, every room was buzzing, and people kept coming as the night wore on. We collided with Mariska Hargitay, who was chatting with Daveed Diggs; a moment later, Danai Gurira joined them. Michelle Williams and Harvey Weinstein were deep in conversation on a couch. Also roaming and noshing from buffets serving everything from lamb chops to paella were Jake Gyllenhaal, Danielle Brooks, James Corden, Barbra Streisand, Glenn Close, Zachary Levi, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lucas Michael was there to capture the scene for Vulture.
Even though it did not beat the record of The Producers — which swept 12 categories in a weak season in 2001 — Hamilton’s scarfing up of 11 wins, out of 16 nominations, was obviously the big story of the 70th Tony Awards, held last night at the Beacon Theater. But behind those wins, and several others, was another story tying together an extraordinary Broadway season. All four of the musical performance Tonys went to black actors: Cynthia Erivo, for The Color Purple; Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, and Renée Elise Goldsberry, for Hamilton. Ten other actors of color were nominated, as were, even more unusually, a number of black and Hispanic and Filipino artists in the creative and technical categories. (The Tonys for costume design went to Paul Tazewell, for Hamilton, and Clint Ramos, for Eclipsed.) As a result, all the attention to diversity on the show seemed natural and coherent, not inanely appliquéd as at February’s Academy Awards. Cynics among us may point out that the unusual confluence of productions that led to this result is probably unrepeatable anytime soon: Will next season bring us the likes of Hamilton, Eclipsed, Shuffle Along, Spring Awakening, and On Your Feet! — or color-blind casting in traditionally white shows like Hughie and The Crucible? Not from what we know of it so far.
What time is it? Showtime! To celebrate Hamilton's not-quite-record-breaking 11 Tony wins Sunday night, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt revealed the immortal Titus Andromedon's video audition for the hip-hop musical. Unfortunately, Titus, like most people, hasn't seen Hamilton, and, also like most people, his knowledge of Alexander Hamilton's life is confined to two facts: He's on the $10 bill, and he wore a big, white, puffy wig. (This second one might not be true; by 1800, James Madison was pretty much the only Founding Father still wearing a wig.) Lin-Manuel Miranda is apparently leaving the show next month; will history have its eyes on Titus?
Late intelligence suggests that many of my Tony predictions, as analyzed over the past week in a series of deep dives — see installments one, two, three, four, and five — will be wrong. (Apparently, prognosticators now expect Danny Burstein to beat both Lin-Manuel Miranda and his Burr, Leslie Odom Jr., for the Best Actor in a Musical award.) I’m not surprised; I’m really just guessing like the rest of you. Nevertheless, here they are again, damnable and mockable in perpetuity. If you lose your office pool, blame me. If you win, I get 15 percent.
Hamilton, that show you can't afford to see, is losing its progenitor Lin-Manuel Miranda this summer as he embarks on other projects. Now Phillipa Soo, who plays Hamilton's wife, Eliza, and who is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical at Sunday night's Tony Awards, is leaving the show in July, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Like Miranda, Soo has been in the production since February 2015. Soo's representatives have yet to officially comment.
The Tony Awards and the Tony Awards telecast are not the same thing. The former has flaws; the latter usually has little else. One prediction I feel confident in making is that this year’s broadcast will be better than most recent ones, and reach a larger audience. Better because of the host, James Corden, whose straight-theater-queen enthusiasm is incredibly telegenic. And a larger audience because of Hamilton, which is redefining the notion of Broadway crossover success. (Its cast recording had the highest debut on the Billboard charts since Camelot's in 1961.) Still, I expect that almost half of the awards — all of the technical categories and even perhaps the prizes for musical book and score — will be given out before the show or during commercials, and only briefly acknowledged as bumpers to the main event. The main event, of course, will be a series of taped and fake-live performances from the season’s nominated musical productions, with perhaps a cameo for Lupita Nyong’o or The Crucible’s wolf. Actually the wolf is a bit of a fake, too — it’s a dog — but at least its priorities are in order. (It follows a trail of meat deployed by its trainer.) What are the telecast’s priorities? Well, it, too, follows the meat.
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