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‘Fun Home’ and ‘An American in Paris’ Top 2015 Tony Award Nominations: ANALYSIS

American in paris 1

BY NAVEEN KUMAR

Nominations for the 69th annual Tony Awards were announced this morning, with new musicals Fun Home and An American in Paris racking up top honors at 12 nominations each. Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth were also revealed as the hosts of this year’s ceremony, which will broadcast live on CBS from Radio City Musical Hall on Sunday, June 7.

Read the full list of nominations HERE.

Click on the links below for reviews of the shows on Towleroad.

Fun_Home_0088_-_Sydney_Lucas__Beth_Malone__Emily_Skeggs_Photo_Credit_Joan_MarcusFun Home, the intimate family drama a lesbian coming of age, based on Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed graphic novel, racked up nominations for five of its leading players as well as for its original score, script, direction and design. The comparatively sprawling An American in Paris, a ballet-driven musical from Christopher Wheeldon based on the Cary Grant film, earned nominations for four of its leads as well as its script, design, and more. Something Rotten! was close on their heels with 10 nominations, and Chita Rivera vehicle The Visit, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s final musical, rounds out the race for best musical.

SKYLIGHT_1_4433-V1-RGBWhile American scribes dominated the musical categories, including Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I, which racked up nine nominations including Best Revival of a Musical, British imports rose to the top of the pack in play categories, including Wolf Hall Parts One & Two, the two-part Tudor drama based on Hillary Mantel’s hit novels, which lead with eight nominations, the most for any play. The revival of Skylight received seven nods for its all-British creative team, including playwright David Hare, director Stephen Daldry, and stars Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy. Another West End import, Simon Stephens’ The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, was close behind with six nominations, including Best New Play and a leading actor nom for newcomer Alex Sharp. British stars Ruth Wilson (Constellations) and Helen Mirren (The Audience) were tapped for the leading actress category from otherwise little-recognized productions, as was Elisabeth Moss for The Heidi Chronicles, which is closing Sunday due to middling sales.

HAND_TO_GOD_on_Broadway3Robert Askin’s Hand to God was the most praised American play, receiving nominations for Best New Play and a leading actor nom for a virtuosic Steven Boyer, as well as Geneva Carr and Sarah Stiles. Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced rounded out the best play category, earning just a single nomination. Revivals of The Elephant Man, which received nods for its stars Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola, and You Can’t Take It With You, which received five nominations (including for Scott Ellis, who directed both), will compete with Skylight and This Is Our Youth for Best Revival of a Play.

FindingNeverlandcCarolRoseggThe season’s biggest grossing hits were the most conspicuous snubs, including Larry David’s Fish in the Dark and Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play (which received a sole supporting actor nom and none for its marquee stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick). The River, whose playwright Jez Butterworth and star Hugh Jackman have been Tony favorites in previous seasons, was completely shut out, as was a high-profile revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, starring Glenn Close and John Lithgow, which steadily declined in sales over the course of its limited run.

New musical Finding Neverland, which grossed over $1 million last week and has already announced a national tour despite opening to poor reviews, was likewise completely passed over. On the other hand, The Last Ship, which struggled to find an audience and closed after just a few months, pulled through a nomination for best score, by theatrical newbie Sting.

Recent theatre REVIEWS... 
Chita Rivera Stars in New Musical ‘The Visit’ on Broadway: REVIEW
New Musical ‘Something Rotten!’ Brings Shakespeare and Sex Puns to Broadway: REVIEW
Alison Bechdel’s Graphic Novel Comes to Broadway in New Musical ‘Fun Home’: REVIEW
Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe Open In Lavish Broadway Revival of ‘The King and I’: REVIEW
Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer Open in ‘Finding Neverland’ on Broadway: REVIEW
Ballet Meets Broadway in Dazzling New Musical ‘An American in Paris’: REVIEW
'90s Political Sex Farce 'Clinton the Musical' Opens Off Broadway: REVIEW
Possessed Puppet Comedy 'Hand to God' Opens on Broadway: REVIEW
Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy Open in ‘Skylight’ on Broadway: REVIEW

Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: angela sterling, joan marcus, john hayned, carol rosegg)


2015 Tony Award Nominations Announced: FULL LIST

Funhome

Nominations for the 69th annual Tony Awards were announced this morning.

The gay-themed musical Fun Home and An American in Paris led the pack with 12 nominations each.

Our theater critic Naveen Kumar will have a post up later with analysis of the nominations.

Read the full list, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "2015 Tony Award Nominations Announced: FULL LIST" »


Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams Reunite, May Tour Together: VIDEO

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Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams reunited over the weekend for a surprise performance at the Stellar Gospel Awards in Las Vegas reports Vh1. The group performed Alpha & Omega and the song Say Yes from Williams’ gospel album Journey to Freedom. Also, there are rumors the trio plans to officially reunite after 10 years for a tour and to record an album together, according to the Daily Mail, however, the three will not be touring or recording under the name Destiny’s Child.

Beyoncé’s father and former manager, Matthew Knowles, owns a quarter of Destiny’s Child and the trio have all confirmed they want nothing to do with him. The only way to tour and record an album without owing Knowles a single dime is to avoid using the former group’s name. The group’s 2005 Destiny Fulfilled tour grossed approximately $70.8 million in the U.S. alone and, according to Billboard, is the highest-grossing tour for either a pop or R&B band.

Watch the performance in full, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams Reunite, May Tour Together: VIDEO" »


Madonna And Taylor Swift Perform 'Ghosttown' Together In Stellar iHeartRadio Awards Performance: WATCH

Ghosttown_madonna

Madonna and Taylor Swift took to the stage last night at the iHeartRadio Awards for a collaboration of Madonna’s new single "Ghosttown" with Swift jamming on an acoustic guitar and Madonna providing vocals. Swift joins the numerous pop starlets before her (Spears, Aguilera, Cyrus) to team up with the iconic star on stage..

Watch Madonna belt it out as Swift strikes a sexy pose on stage, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Madonna And Taylor Swift Perform 'Ghosttown' Together In Stellar iHeartRadio Awards Performance: WATCH" »


Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced for Best LGBTQ Books: Read the FULL LIST + Our Reviews

Books

The 27th Annual Lambda Literary Award finalists were announced yesterday in 24 categories. The organization received a record-breaking 818 submissions from 407 publishers.

Read the full list, AFTER THE JUMP...

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 1.

Said Lambda Literary Board President, S. Chris Shirley in a press release: "Each year, the Lammys bring national attention to the best LGBTQ books, which are often overlooked by the mainstream media and might otherwise be forgotten. This critical program of Lambda Literary not only recognizes the outstanding work of these talented authors, but also underscores the importance of LGBTQ stories, which are fundamental to the preservation of our culture."

We also like to bring attention to LGBT books here at Towleroad and our book reviewer Garth Greenwell turned in reviews last year for 8 of the books that are among the nominees. We would like to highlight some of those reviews here.

 

For Today I Am a Boy, Kim Fu (nominated in Best Transgender Fiction). Fu

From Garth's review:

"Structured in short, intense fragments and poetic scenes, Kim Fu’s novel follows Peter’s life over three decades, and one of its strengths is that Peter’s coming of age doesn’t fit into any easy narrative of liberation. Even when he does fall in with a group of young people who seem entirely comfortable with their queer identities, with rich lives and loving relationships, Peter’s response, at least at first, is to feel less relieved than enraged...For Today I Am a Boy is an extraordinarily accomplished first novel, and Fu is a thrilling new voice. She’s at once compassionate toward her characters and uncompromising in her refusal of the usual novelistic resolutions of questions that remain intractable in lived experience. Lyrical, sometimes brutal, always beautiful, this is a brilliant book."

 

2_brabnerSecond Avenue Caper, Joyce Brabner (nominated in Best LGBT Graphic Novels)

From Garth's review:

"Joyce Brabner’s nonfiction graphic novel recounts the early years of the AIDS crisis as experienced by a tight-knit circle of “gay artists, writers, actors, musicians, dyke activists, drag queens,” who respond to the devastation of the disease with acts of remarkable daring and generosity...These early pages of the book are exuberantly joyful, as Ray’s apartment is packed with friends eating and drinking and smoking together, playing games and singing songs, throwing out ideas for plays and musicals, and above all gossiping, cattily and lovingly. Mark Zingarelli’s direct and emotive illustrations capture beautifully the intimacy and trust between these queer outsiders, who create a rich and sustaining family for themselves."

New York 1, Tel Aviv 0, Shelly Oria (Nominated in Best Lesbian Fiction) Ny1

From Garth's review:

"Disorientation afflicts nearly all of the characters in Shelly Oria’s nimble and disarmingly moving debut collection of stories. Many of them are (like Oria herself) Israeli immigrants in New York City, navigating multiple cultures and languages; others find themselves in worlds where the usual rules (of weather, say, or time) break down; all of them are bewildered by desire...Oria’s characters are often stripped of the usual, prefabricated categories of identity: “I think, Who is this person?” the narrator of the title story wonders, “That me who isn’t Israeli and isn’t American, isn’t gay and isn’t straight--who is she?” This disorientation makes them profoundly vulnerable, able to ask with a sometimes devastating bluntness the most dangerous questions: “I think: This is what there is, this is my life. I think: Do I want it or not?” In Oria's excellent collection, these questions result in stories that are heartbreaking, inventive, and almost miraculously alive to the subtleties of feeling."

 

Prelude to Bruise, Saeed Jones (Nominated in Best Gay Poetry) Jones

From Garth's review:

Saeed Jones begins this electrifying book—one of the most exciting debut collections I’ve read in years—with a quotation from Kafka’s notebooks: 'The man in ecstasy and the man drowning—both throw up their arms.'... These poems bear witness to the fact that to be black and gay in America—and especially in the American South—is to be confronted with violence from every side: on the street and in the home; from strangers and friends alike; most painfully, from within the self...Like the great poets his lines recall—Whitman, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, James Baldwin, to name just a few of the voices that inform this book—Jones makes a music that feels adequate to rage and grief on both a personal and a national scale. Prelude to Bruise is more than a promising debut; it’s the rare book of poetry that urgently speaks—and will continue to speak, I suspect, for a long time—to the intractable griefs of our present moment."

 

CarrollLittle Reef and Other Stories, Michael Carroll (Nominated in Best Gay General Fiction)

From Garth's review:

"The unpredictable drift of southern conversation may lie behind the unconventional shape of many of these stories. In an interview with the writer Andrew Holleran, Carroll speaks about his desire to break free of the traditional structure of the short story, in which rising action leads to climax, resolution, and epiphany or realization. Instead, he allows his stories to find their way in a looser, less predetermined way, allowing for sudden juxtapositions and unexpected turns and constant, vivifying surprise...It also allows for the emergence of what may be Carroll’s greatest strength, his ability to inhabit the deep consciousness of his characters. “What was writing except a direct line into someone’s head,” the wife in “Referred Pain” muses, and what makes Carroll’s characters so vivid is the access we’re given to their experience of their own lives."

 

ProseLovers At The Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, Francine Prose (Nominated in Best Lesbian General Fiction)

From Garth's review:

"Francine Prose’s engrossing, virtuosic new novel uses a fictional version of Brassaï’s photograph to create a moving narrative of a group of friends and associates over two decades, as Paris devolves from the 1920s bohemian paradise of expatriate artists to the nightmare of rising fascism and Nazi occupation. In Prose’s version, the suited woman of the photograph is Lou Villars, a desperately unhappy former athlete who will become, thanks to the people she meets over the course of the novel, a nightclub performer, a racecar driver, a Nazi spy, a torturer. More than anything, she will be a tool, forever shaping herself to what she thinks are others’ wishes, manipulated in ways she never fully sees....This ambitious novel paints a wide canvas, and doesn’t shy away from the familiar figures and events of the Second World War—there’s even a wonderful scene, at once chilling and ridiculous, with Hitler himself, who infects Lou with his crazed messianic fervor. But the real achievement of the book is that the intimate dramas of its characters’ lives remain our chief concern, the medium through which we understand the horrors of war."

 

BitterBitter Eden, Tatamkhulu Afrika (Nominated in Best Gay General Fiction)

From Garth's review:

"On the first page of Tatamkhulu Afrika’s intense and passionate novel, the narrator, Tom Smith, receives a package from a man he hasn’t seen in half a century. What it contains will send him back to the years he spent in Italian and German POW camps during the Second World War, camps that, for all their horror, Tom remembers as a “Bitter Eden.” Bitter EdenThe book’s depiction of the day-to-day life in those camps is extraordinary. Captured in Northern Africa, Tom finds himself in a desperate world of starvation and ingenuity, of lice and cigarette economies and amateur entertainments. It’s “a place where anything unclaimed is everyone’s prey,” and where in their hunger men become nothing more than “meat wanting more meat so that it can go on being meat.” It is a brutal place, and yet it allows for intimacies and affections the broader world prohibits."

 

WhiteInside a Pearl: My Years in Paris, Edmund White (Nominated in Best Gay Memoir/Biography)

From Garth's review:

"Reading Edmund White’s fascinating, vital new memoir, which covers the fifteen years he spent in France in the 1980s and 90s, feels a little like attending the world’s most fabulous cocktail party. The pages are filled with impossibly glamorous people doing impossibly glamorous things, from literary lights like Susan Sontag and Julian Barnes and Alan Hollinghurst, to celebrities of a different stratosphere, like Lauren Bacall and Tina Turner and Yves Saint Laurent. At the center of it all is White, who for four decades has been, in both fiction and nonfiction, our preeminent chronicler of gay life. When the period covered by Inside a Pearl begins, in 1983, White has just published his classic novel A Boy’s Own Story, and he arrives in Paris armed with that success, as well as high school French and sixteen thousand dollars from a Guggenheim Fellowship...Inside a Pearl is a beautiful, hugely endearing, often brilliant book, a worthy record of White’s attempt to be true to what he sees as the several purposes of his life: 'to teach, to trick, to write, to memorialize, to be a faithful scribe, to record the loss of my dead.'"

 

READ THE FULL LIST OF LAMBDA LITERARY AWARDS FINALISTS, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced for Best LGBTQ Books: Read the FULL LIST + Our Reviews" »


Oscar Winners: FULL LIST

Imitationgame

 The 87th Annual Academy Awards are currently underway.

Winners (updated as they happen), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Oscar Winners: FULL LIST" »


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