Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And the Winner is....

At this year's Tony Awards, the real winner was the awards show itself. Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, the show, which in past years was devoid of a host and any real personality of its own, took a step toward regaining some of the fun and passion infused in days past by former host Rosie O'Donnell. In a year where most of the offerings, except in the category of Revival of a Musical, were less than exciting and made for rather predictable winners, the show really needed to exude some enthusiasm if it had any hopes of moving potential ticketbuyers to the box office.
While I would have preferred to see the producers turn Ms. Goldberg's humor loose instead of molding it into some poorly written and corny bits, the filmed segments placing her in the casts of shows at least gave reason for chuckle. Bring her back next year and let her fly!
The acceptance speeches, too often turned into political platforms at awards shows, were devoid of agendas and were diverse and interesting, from Best Leading Actor in a Play Mark Rylance's nonsensical ramblings to Best Score recipeint Lin-Manuel Miranda's rap.
Here's a list of this year's winners:

Best Play
"August: Osage County"
Author: Tracy Letts
Producers: Jeffrey Richards, Jean Doumanian, Steve Traxler, Jerry Frankel, Ostar Productions, Jennifer Manocherian, The Weinstein Company, Debra Black/Daryl Roth, Ronald & Marc Frankel/Barbara Freitag, Rick Steiner/Staton Bell Group, The Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Best Musical
"In The Heights"
Producers: Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller, Jill Furman, Sander Jacobs, Goodman/Grossman, Peter Fine, Everett/Skipper

Best Book of a Musical
"Passing Strange" - Stew

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
"In The Heights" - Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best Revival of a Play
"Boeing-Boeing"
Producers: Sonia Friedman Productions, Bob Boyett, Act Productions, Matthew Byam Shaw, Robert G. Bartner, The Weinstein Company, Susan Gallin/Mary Lu Roffe, Broadway Across America, Tulchin/Jenkins/DSM, The Araca Group

Best Revival of a Musical
"South Pacific"
Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Bernard Gersten, Bob Boyett

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Mark Rylance, "Boeing-Boeing"

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Deanna Dunagan, "August: Osage County"

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Paulo Szot, "South Pacific"

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Patti LuPone, "Gypsy"

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Jim Norton, "The Seafarer"

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Rondi Reed, "August: Osage County"

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Boyd Gaines, "Gypsy"

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Laura Benanti, "Gypsy"

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Todd Rosenthal, "August: Osage County"

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Michael Yeargan, "South Pacific"

Best Costume Design of a Play
Katrina Lindsay, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses"

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Catherine Zuber, "South Pacific"

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Kevin Adams, "The 39 Steps"

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Donald Holder, "South Pacific"

Best Sound Design of a Play
Mic Pool, "The 39 Steps"

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Scott Lehrer, "South Pacific"

Best Direction of a Play
Anna D. Shapiro, "August: Osage County"

Best Direction of a Musical
Bartlett Sher, South Pacific

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, "In The Heights"

Best Orchestrations
Alex Lacamoire & Bill Sherman, "In The Heights"


Regional Theatre Tony Award
Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Special Tony Award
Robert Russell Bennett (1894-1981), in recognition of his historic contribution to American musical theatre in the field of orchestrations, as represented on Broadway this season by "South Pacific."
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Stephen Sondheim

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

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All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

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The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

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I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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