News surfaced a week or two ago about a new play in the works all about our favorite little wizard, Harry Potter. The play will focus on Harry’s early life, before he gets his Hogwarts letter, and aims to premiere on London’s West End sometime in 2015. Though J.K. Rowling will not pen the script herself, reports state that she will co-produce the piece and work with the playwright.
Merry Christmas, everyone! I think I speak for everyone when I say that on this joyous day there’s nothing quite like sitting back, relaxing, and catching up on the week’s latest Broadway buzz, right? Of course right. Well, I can think of no better way of doing just that than by watching the Broadway.com show, the weekly series for news, gossip, and reviews on all things Broadway.
As you all know, the United States’ East Coast has been very affected by Hurricane Sandy and Broadway has been no exception, cancelling scheduled performances and special events as NYC, like many other cities, was crippled by the dangerous weather. Thankfully, as of Wednesday, Oct. 31st, most Broadway shows have returned to their regularly scheduled performances!
It’s good to see the city getting back on its feet and comforting to know that the lights of Broadway will be shining once more. I don’t mean to belittle or downplay any of the damage caused by Sandy. I’m not here to say “Broadway’s up and running so nothing else matters!” because I know there has been loss of life from this storm and damages to neighborhoods which will mean hardships for those who try to rebuild and those tragedies greatly outweigh the small misfortune of a play being cancelled. The reason I’m celebrating this is because after a tragedy there needs to be hope and that’s what this news says to me.
The performers, technicians, and theater staff employed by these shows are able to return to work; the audience members get to be transported again by the magic of the theatrical arts; and everyone involved gets to enjoy this gift once again. I really believe that the arts can have an uncanny ability to heal and Broadway’s return will hopefully be a promising start to the rebuilding for those affected by this storm.
So did anyone else watch the Tonys on Sunday night?
Well, they actually put on a damn good show. There was an opening number from last year’s best musical winner The Book of Mormon, general all-around clever wonderfulness from host Neil Patrick Harris, and plenty of musical theatre jokes sandwiched in with the snippets of this year’s best musical and play nominees. I was particularly pleased to see the latter, as I found myself woefully ignorant of even the titles of most of the top shows.
Here’s the full list of winners if you want to peruse it. Once (one of those I’d never heard of, but apparently about a young songwriter?) won eight awards, making it the stand-out winner of the night. Hugh Jackman won a special Tony for being awesome in general (“the Hugh Jackman Award For Being Hugh Jackman goes to… Hugh Jackman,” as a friend put it) and adorably accepted it from his wife. And I was personally pleased in the core of my geek soul to see that James Corden (Craig in Doctor Who series 5 and 6) won the Best Actor in a Play Tony above huge names like James Earl Jones, Frank Langella, John Lithgow and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The one thing that made me sad, although I totally understood why they did it for the sake of steamlining the show and not turning it into an Oscar-length fiasco, was that they did all the backstage awards (lighting, sets, costumes, etc.) during the commercial breaks, and flashed back to them when the show returned from commercial. As a costumer I’m interested in these, but like I said, I totally understand that most people would rather watch the actor awards and are content with a recap of who won what design things.
In passing, let NPH sum up the awards for you better than I ever could:
That’s right, we’re starting a new weekly theme and it’s Theatre Thursday! Now every day of the week has a theme and I think we deserve a round of applause!
Well, anyway, Theatre Thursday will consist of various articles related to the world of theatre, including reviews, previews of new shows, general thoughts on the importance and relevance of theatre, fanning over various people involved with theatre, and anything else we can think of related to the topic! I must be honest though, for my part my posts will be related almost entirely to musical theatre and at that, primarily American musical theatre. I don’t mean to imply that musical theatre is more important or relevant than legitimate theatre; it’s just that it’s my preference and American musicals are the ones I’m most familiar with and exposed to.
Before I launch into my first post I’ll cover some terms I may throw around in the future (NOTE: Some of these are official definitions, some are just my working definitions):
Broadway: The pinnacle of live theatre, particularly musical theatre, located in New York City.
Off-Broadway: Also located in New York City, smaller theaters in which it is cheaper to run a show, shows here tend to be more experimental than Broadway shows as the expense (and therefore risk) in producing is less great.
West End: The English version of Broadway, located in London.
National Tour/Touring Production: Productions of musicals whose casts and sets travel from city to city, performing limited runs in local theaters.
Non-Eq Tour: Non-Equity tours are the same as the above productions except the performers are not members of Actors Equity, the Union for working actors in the US, and are typically less experienced and cheaper.
Sit-Down Production: Open-ended run of a show performed continuously in one location for as long as ticket sales hold up.
Regional Production: Professional production of a show in a particular city, not related to any other production, often performed mostly by local actors, but frequently employs Equity performers.
Out-of-Town Tryout: A production of a show which runs in a smaller city to gauge audience and critical response before attempting a New York run.
Community Theatre Production: Local cast and crew putting on a show without pay.
Revival: A new production of a piece of theatre which has already had an official opening and closing.
Replica Production: A production using the original creative team’s work including costumes, lighting, sets, wigs, etc. with few to no significant changes. Most tours, international transfers, and sit-downs are replica productions.
Non-Replica Production: A production which uses new creative direction either from the same creative team revisiting their work or a new creative team tackling the piece. Most revivals, regional, and community theatre productions are non-replica productions.
Stage-Dooring: Fans like me waiting at the Stage Door of a theater to congratulate the cast and/or get their autographs. Kind of awkward but so thrilling.
Theatre: The abstract concept of performing arts, most often referring to plays and musicals, but as with any term related to art the meaning is flexible.
Theater: The physical building in which theatre typically occurs.
Tonys: The Antoinette Perry Awards. The equivalent of the Oscars for Broadway theatre.
Olivier Awards: The equivalent of the Tonys for West End.
I think I’ll leave it at that for today. I wrote a bit of a post about the new Broadway Revival of Evita but this intro ended up being longer than I originally intended so I’ll save it for next week!