DC Theatre Scene columnists Richard Seff and Joel Markowitz discuss the New York Theatre season and their Tony Awards hopes, performances that were left off out of the Tony nominations, and their predictions for the major categories.
“The theatre season was long”, says Richard. “It was very rich and varied, particularly with plays. That was the shock of this theatre season, that there were so many new plays and revivals of plays, many more than there were musicals, and that was unusual”.
Joel added he didn’t think much of the musicals this year. “Less than staggering,” Richard agreed. But, Richard loved Billy Elliot and points out that it deserves all the raves it is receiving. “It has a story well told, beautifully acted, and Elton John has written a score that is Broadway worthy, and the direction by Stephen Daldry is beautiful work”.
Joel loves Next To Normal. Richard saw it early on at Second Stage and was “attracted to it”. “That score was intelligent, and has variety in it, and was very moving, and the performances were extraordinary, especially Al;ice Ripley’s.” Richard talks about the Roundabout Theatre revival of Pal Joey, “This one had a slightly different edge to it. And Stockard Channing, who is not a great singer, but like so many great actresses, she can put over a lyric so you really understand all of its (“Bewitches, Bothered and Bewildered” complexities. “.
Disappointments? For Joel it was the revival of West Side Story, although he did love Karen Olivo’s performance as Anita. For Richard, it was Richard Greenberg’s American Plan. “I didn’t believe one word of it.” and Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms.
Richard found a gem Off-Broadway called The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd at The Mint Theatre. Joel raves about Sherie Rene Scott’s Everyday Rapture, and young Eamon Foley who steals the show as a youtube Sherie Renee Scott impersonator.
Another pleasure of the season is seeing character actors who have been performing a long time receive recognition with the awarding of the Richard Seff Award, selected by a panel of critics and other industry professionals and presented by Actors Equity. Richard announces this year’s winners.
This year, Washington theatre will be well represented at the Tony Awards. Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer will accept the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award on behalf of Signature Theatre, and two productions seen at Arena Stage – 33 Variations and Next to Normal – have numerous nominations.
The three hour telecast of The Tony Awards from Radio City Music Hall will be carried live on Sunday, June 6th on CBS, beginning at 8 pm EST.