Tag Archives: Laura Benanti

More Awards for the Tony Awards

12 Jun

I think we can all agree, this year Broadway’s biggest night was BAD. ASS. Back at Radio City after a few years at the Beacon, the Tony Awards managed to fill the gigantic space with pure theater joy. I was lucky enough to be watching from the orchestra seats (right behind Jesse Eisenberg! You can sort of see my left ear and shoulder in a really quick shot, so I’m basically a famous person now, FYI). The show was delightful from there too – no small feat considering you are sitting in your seat for four plus hours straight, and it’s hot under those lights, and so most people are just sweaty hangry spanxy messes by the end.

Despite all the awards handed out during the show, I felt that there were some awards left hanging. So, I thought I would step in to fill that void with some awards of my own. Thus, without further ado:

Best Avoidance of Misuse of Power: Neil Patrick Harris

Can we just agree that Neil Patrick Harris is the best host of anything ever? I mean, seriously, the dude did like seven things in the opening number that the vast majority of regular humans cannot do, and he did a lot of them at the same time. And yet the entire time he made it seem like piking through hoops and being lifted by cheerleaders while also singing and being incredibly charming was the easiest thing ever. At the end of that number (which made me cry with pure Broadway love upon rewatching), the audience in Radio City had so collectively lost their minds with the overwhelming face-melting joy of it all that Neil Patrick Harris could have commanded us all to do pretty much whatever he wanted, and we would have done it – crowd-surfed the cast out like we were a giant mosh pit, opened our wallets, stormed the barricade, murdered Michael Reidel. Instead he just kept on hosting the show, like a BOSS.

Tony Loss Most Personally Upsetting To Anika Chapin: Bertie Carvel

This isn’t to take anything away from Billy Porter, who is amazing and deserves prizes. But dang, Bertie Carvel created another species of human being on that stage, and it was one of my favorite performances of all time.

Tony Performance Most Representative of the Show Itself: Motown

Motown’s performance started out great – fun dancing and singing of songs everybody loves. And then, much like the show itself, it got to the point where you thought “well that was fun, I suppose it should be wrapping up now,” and there proceeded to be many more long minutes of performance, on a diminishing scale of funness. Motown, you’ve got some great stuff in you, but you are too. Fucking. Long.

Most Mystifying to an Entire Audience/viewing Public: The Rascals

What the hell WAS that?! Maybe I was distracted by Steve Van Zandt’s ‘I Am My Own Wife’ headscarf, but there was a distinct aura of confusion in the house when The Rascals did their performance. The show itself was a bit of a mystery – it just popped up one day in a theater like a strange psychedelic Brigadoon – and I don’t think the performance helped clarify anything. So it’s about… a band? It IS the band? There’s some trippy projections and someone from The Sopranos? Is the entire show an immersive experience to simulate an acid trip? Inquiring minds want to know.

Best Argument for Immediate Casting as a Comedic Character in a Comedy: Laura Benanti

That TV number was genius, and all four of its participants were great. But damn, Laura Benanti is HILARIOUS. And yet, she’s most often cast as the sweet, sort-of-ditsy female straight man. She’s a talented actress, so I’m not saying she doesn’t also do that well, but come ON, people. Just because she’s gorgeous doesn’t mean she and her genius comedy instincts couldn’t be the smart funny lead of her own show. Get with it, producers and TV execs.

Best Argument for Immediate Casting as a Batman Villain: Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson proved herself a legend with with her moving and dignified acceptance speech, and she proved herself a legend twice over by pulling off a dress no other human being on the planet could possibly rock:

But I can’t help but think that she would be triply legendary if she wore this exact look straight on over to Gotham City. Think about it: she could be the regal Lady Aubergine, capable of hypnotizing the good people of Gotham with her velvet voice and dignified dramatic pauses, only to kill them with poison darts from her ruffles.

Best Embodiment of the Full Variety of Sexiness: Scarlet Johansson and Alan Cumming

   Big props to both of these guys for being so funny and gracious about not being nominated, but also, dayamn!! With ScarJo in black and Alan Cumming in white, they were like the yin and yang of sexy: completely opposite types, one lush and voluptuous, one skinny and unusual, but both possessed of that ineffable juju that makes everyone in the world want to do it to them.

Best Visual Description of a Weird Problem with Broadway: the NINETY BILLION PRODUCERS onstage with every show. 

  Sweet lord jeebus, there were a ton of people accepting awards for the winning shows! I counted 26 people for ‘Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf’, a show that featured a cast of four people. I know the economics of producing Broadway are getting increasingly complicated, but it feels like if we keep going this way it’ll just be easier to put the camera on the audience and have everyone who DIDN’T produce the show raise their hands.

Best Accessorizing of a Tony: Fran Weissler

  She won a shiny silver Tony for the stellar revival of ‘Pippin’, and it happened to go perfectly with her awesome and gigantic necklace. Whether she had won or not, that is the necklace of a winner. Or a queen from an exotic kingdom on ‘Game of Thrones’, which is pretty much the same thing.

Just the Best: NPH, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tommy Kail, and Audra McDonald. 

   Just, blargh, you guys. This quartet – my brain can’t form worthy words. Between the opening number, the final rap, the sassiness with which Audra McD chimed in, there’s just too much goodness here, so I’ll let their final moment speak for itself:

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My Thoughts on the New TV Shows

8 Oct

I’ve been a bit busy lately, what with the grad school and all, but since television watching is the best study break (read: occasionally the best study break, when you can actually stick to the one worthy show you’ve chosen, and then when it ends resume your work instead of dragging yourself off to bed four hours later, having watched two hours of ‘Drop Dead Diva’, one new show, and an episode and a half of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’) I’ve also managed to catch up on some of the many new shows offered this season. I originally planned on Haikus for them all, but since I’s gots papers to write, I’m going to stick with the simpler direct address.

Dear ‘Person of Interest’,
Congratulations! You are officially the first show I have programmed into my DVR to tape regularly. Trust me, this is a surprise to me, considering that when I first heard about you I thought your title was rather ironic, considering I cannot think of a person of less interest than Jim Caviezel. I saw his movie version of ‘The Count of Monte Christo’, and he was so insufferably dull that you rooted for the villainous Guy Pearce, who had to act enough for the both of them. Which he did (even his dental prosthetics acted more than Jim Caviezel.) That being said, I like you, ‘Person of Interest’, despite the fact that I still think Jim Caviezel’s expressions are limited to three: ‘longing look of rueful regret’, ‘stoic nobility’ and, my favorite, the ‘slow blink of trustworthiness’ (watch for it, I swear the man blinks at one third the normal human speed). I like you because even if you do have Jim Caviezel, you also have one of the most fascinating actors to watch, Michael Emerson, who makes any line seem like it contains volumes. You also have picked up on the great benefit of shooting in New York: the vast number of incredible New York actors available. My heart leaped for you, ‘Person of Interest’, on the very first episode, where the two suspects were Brian D’Arcy James and Chris Chalk, two actors so stellar I began to hope for a pilot spin-off called ‘Suspects’ just delving into the lives of those two guys. The episode I watched last night featured James Carpinello, Keith Nobbs, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Great actors, ‘Person of Interest,’ and smart choices for you!! Because I will tune in every week if I get not only a twisty entertaining action/mystery show, but, bonus, I get to watch it enacted by some of the best performers out there. And Jim Caviezel to act as a contrast to prove how great the other actors really are.

Dear ‘Pan Am’,
I feel like you should also be given credit for your theater-actor casting, so here’s your credit for that. And I’ll admit, I was entertained by you; I appreciate that you don’t seem to take yourself too seriously and can embrace the potential candy-colored camp-fest that you are. I am a little curious as to just how much intrigue can happen on a plane (and please let it never feature those airsick bags), and I’m not setting my Tivo for you, but you and I might cross paths again.

Dear ‘The Playboy Club’,
I feel bad picking on you since you’re already cancelled. And I loves me some Laura Benanti, especially singing Laura Benanti. But dang, you were a terrible show. As it turns out, you can’t be Mad Men just by having people say grotesquely sexist things – that’s like saying “hey look, picasso painted people with one eye on the side of their face and he’s a genius, that must mean my wonky terrible drawing here is a masterpiece!” Also, really, your attempt at Don Draper was Dimples McGee over there? How’d that work out for you? Oh, right.
Oh, and on a technical side note: you know what happens when someone is stabbed in the neck? They bleed. In fact, they bleed out. So while I guess it was handy not to have the guy who died by being stabbed in the neck bleed any blood on the floor that needed to be cleaned up later, I was a little sidelined by the question of whether he was a cyborg and whether that meant this show was going to go somewhere unexpected. I guess not, though.
As it turns out, I already wrote a haiku for you, so I figure I’ll share it:
Babes, business and booze
Just like it is on ‘Mad Men’
Except ‘Mad Men’s good.

Dear ‘Two Broke Girls’,
I love Kat Dennings, I enjoy some good hipster humor, but why god why the laugh track? Is it in fact a meta-hipster thing, in which you exploit the hipster tendency to take the least cool thing imaginable and make it cool simply by doing it, and you guys figured that an old-school sitcom laugh track was the TV version of this? In which case… I guess that works.
Also, subways never looked like that. Or Williamsburg.

Dear ‘Charlie’s Angels’,
Oh, ‘Charlie’s Angels’. You are so close to being complete campy fun, but you insist on taking yourself seriously. Please stop doing that – I felt super icky watching the scene two of the angels trying to cry over their fallen comrade, not because their pain was so real but because watching two actresses try that hard to emote for that long, while attempting to sell lines like “I didn’t know it was possible for my heart to hurt this much” felt like some sort of sadistic hollywood game. Can we just stick with the multiple outfit changes, multiple bad-guy ass-kickings, and lovely vistas of Miami? Because then I’m on board.

Dear Minka Kelly,
Are you sure you’re not Leighton Meester? Really? Because dang you two look alike.

Dear ‘Whitney’,
I am breaking my own ‘I’ll watch anything once’ rule for you. I will not watch you once. Teasers are supposed to highlight the best lines of the episode, and yet your teasers are so unfunny it makes me wonder how truly terrible the rest of the show is. I have no great desire to find out.

Dear ‘A Gifted Man’,
Again with the great casting!! This year’s TV shows casting departments are ON it. That being said, is it too much to ask for one little pesky song to be sung by Patrick Wilson? Preferably shirtless? I mean, I know he plays a mean surgeon and all, but even mean surgeons must have moments where they think what a beautiful morning it is, or that they feel younger than springtime. Or here, I’ll write the dialogue for you – “a scalpel, that’s all I ask of yooouuuuu.” Done!

Dear ‘American Horror Story’, specifically ‘Family of ‘American Horror Story’,
You live in what is obviously the most haunted house in the world. In one episode, you found out about its murder/suicide past, the creepy murals painted on the walls, the creepy employees who just show up and weirdly seduce you, the creepy neighbors who just show up and tell you you’re going to die in this house, the creepy burned neighbor who tells you he killed his family, the creepy gimp suits in the attic, and the creepy gimp-suited person you inexplicably had sex with. Your house is in the middle of LA, and not trapped in a snowbound middle of nowhere, so I would say move. Just move. ‘Mkay?