Monday, June 16, 2008

Tony Jerkins

Wow. How dead is Tony Award viewing? I glanced at the TV ratings for last night. Now I know The Tonys are always a ratings loser, but darlings, this year it was soundly beaten in the ratings by a golf game! GOLF!!!! The most boring sport of all, Mark Twain's famous "A good walk spoiled," and it beat out The Tonys! Was the Watching Paint Dry Channel having a pledge drive? How does golf even outrate "OFF"?

I was enjoying The Tony Awards, where people sang, danced, and dressed as animals, and where folks who even I, after a century in the theater and the movies, had never heard of, thanked other people I'd never heard of, for roles in plays I haven't seen.

So is this August: Osage County "Straight play" some sort of August Wilson show, only done with a white cast, like a reverse on Debbie Allen's production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which she set on the only black-owned southern plantation on earth? (It's like a version of The Ten Commandments where the Hebrews keep the Egyptians as slaves.)

Notice how, when Whoopi Goldberg is announced as an award show host (How does she keep getting these gigs? She's never good in them.) people never say "Whoopi!"; they always say "Whoopi? Really?"

I finally realized that the joke in Whoopi's running gag of popping up in plays she hadn't been in was "Wouldn't this show have been ruined if Whoopi had been in it?" (Yes.) So maybe her whole hosting gig was just a gag on the audience. The best thing I can say about Whoopi on The Tonys is that she could have been worse - but I dread to think how.

I too was wondering "What the fu...?" when The Lion King opened the show. Just as I'd said aloud, "Is this the Tony broadcast from 10 years ago?" they said it was celebrating ten years of The Lion King. That's reason to celebrate? How about noting that a much better show that opened 10 years ago, Ragtime, didn't run anywhere near that long, apparently because it wasn't an acted-out cartoon, and the title terrified husbands.

Then they
thanked The Lion King for "Bringing families back into the theater." even though this is what has populated Broadway with acted-out cartoons, and fluff like Legally Blonde, while killing "Straight" plays. You know why there were so many plays in that straight plays montage? (Like anyone straight goes to Broadway Theater.) Because most of them ran a week. Thank you The Lion King.

By the way (For you children who "Text", that means "BTW"),
why are the animals all so happy that another lion has been born? Wouldn't most animals in the area prefer fewer lions, rather than more? Does the Lion King ever say "Thank you my loyal subjects and future meals." or "Hey you, Lunch, c'mere"?

When did Best Book of a Musical become a category too minor to be on the show? At least when they did the first hour on PBS, you saw all the awards.

To me, the
Rent tribute was "Remember when this show didn't seem tired and dated? No? Me neither."

I did
not like Lin-Manuel Miranda's rapped acceptance speech. I know he had a lot to overcome, what with two out of his three names being girl names and all, but by the end of his unendurable cacophony - I mean speech - I knew I would never see In The Heights or ever subject myself to it's cast album. And I was struck that, while holding a Tony for Best Music and Lyrics in his hand, which is supposed to represent the highest standards of lyric-writing, he "rapped" this bit:

"Vanessa, who still leaves me breathless.
Thanks for lovin' me when I was broke
And still makin' breakfast."

Lin darling, "Breathless" and "Breakfast" do NOT rhyme! Not even close! It's not even assonance. It's just lousy lyric writing. Sondheim this guy ain't.

I am not a Patti LuPone fan at all, (She can be a trifle unpleasant, but only to people who are breathing
her air.) but I have to say that hers was the most electrifying perfomance of Everything's Coming Up Roses I have ever seen. (I made a movie with that title, although in our film, where I played Rose, there was also an apostrophe in "Rose's".) Musically it was shrieking, howling, and ugly, but dramatically, Arthur Laurents finally got it the way he's wanted it for 50 years, terrifying. You could immediately see how deeply insane Mama Rose is, and how terrified Louise and Herbie are of her focusing her evil eye on Louise. Finally the sunny optimism of those lyrics shone with their true irony, that this is a moment of horror. It was like my own mother was standing there, singing again. I ran from the room, screaming.

I was thrilled by it, and I can certainly see why she won her Tony tonight.

How depressing to see John Waters delivering boring banter, when he, unscripted, is a thousand times more engaging.

Megan Mulally's "I've just been fucked, refucked, and uberfucked" look while singing
Deep Love from Young Frankenstein was very funny, and very true to life, and I speak as the former Bride of Frankenstein. (Well, Boris Karloff. Same thing.)

Mark Rylance reading a completely-non-pertinent piece from what sounded like a tourist guide was hilarious. I was only disappointed when he vitiated it slightly by actually saying "Thank you" at the end. In 1983, Rylance became the second male to play
Peter Pan in England on stage. A man in his 30s playing the small boy usually played by a middle-aged woman. What an outrage! He's taking bread out of Jo Anne Worley's mouth! (Where there's plenty of room.)

Whoopi said: "Remember that Hitchcock movie with the spies?" Well that narrows it down to 30 movies. Remember that James Bond movie where he defeats the villain's plans?"

If only Mandy Patinkin (Is he playing Tevye?") had brushed his beard upwards, we wouldn't have had to see his face at all. (Thank heavens he didn't sing. That man overacts even when he's asleep.)

Sondheim has known about this tribute to him for months, and he couldn't clear his schedule? Boy, he must never have forgiven Whoopi for her gender-blind Pseudolus. Nor have the people who paid to see her.

Ah, Julie Chen. When the Great Names of Broadway Memory are spoken, she will say them. For a moment I thought she was going to announce a competition for a Tony, and we would then have seen Carol Channing, Dame Edna Everage, James Earl Jones, and Harvey Fierstein, all in Speedos, rolling about in spaghetti sauce, hitting each other with nerf bats.

Liza was there, I assume trolling for gay husbands. Liza must have been tremendously unfazed by the legalization of Gay Marriage as, like me, she's had lots of gay marriages! Marrying Liza was how you came out back in the day. During the perfomance from South Pacific, she was throwing pre-written marriage proposals at the hunky, shirtless gay men unconvincingly singing There is Nothing Like a Dame. (A close examination of the private lives of some of the men singing that ditty would have quickly proved that there is something like a dame.)

Harry Potter is getting therapy from his nasty Uncle Vernon Dursley who hates him? Uncle Vernon is the reason why he needs therapy in the first place. No wonder he's become inappropriate with horses. (They
can be hard to resist. They're hung like centaurs!) But at least that casting will bring a lot of tween girls over from seeing Wicked and Legally Blonde 30 times each, to seeing Equuis 30 times. Well, pubescent girls do love horses.

No one has mentioned the
Good News at last night's Tonys: No ONE DIED!

There was no obituary montage. Apparently no one involved with Broadway theater died last year!

Of course, that may be news to the families of Kitty Carlisle Hart, Paul Scofield, Deborah Kerr, Robert Goulet, Michael Kidd, Gretchen Wyler, Alice Ghostley, Tom Poston and Charles Nelson Reilly.

(Next day update: Turns out they did run a Dead Folks montage, but during a commercial break for the audience in Radio City Music Hall only. I guess they needed the extra time for Whoopi to spoil anopther old show.)

But sadly a genius did die yesterday, Stan Winston, a true artist of special effects. The Tonys ignored him because, for some reason, CGI has not caught on in Broadway plays, which is why their special effects always look so fakey. Here is the last photograph ever taken of Stan, snapped just instants before his head was bitten off.

Stan began in make-up and segued into special effects. He was always up for a challenge. In fact, he did the special character make ups for The Wiz. Yes that's right, he was the man who had to make Diana Ross look 24 when she was 87. That he failed at that task we can only chalk up to it being his first movie.

He never failed after that. He won Oscars in both Special effects and make up categories. "The enderdainment indusdwy has wost a genius and I wost one of my best fwiends," Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement Monday. "Stan's wook and four Ahscars speak for demselves and will wive on fowever."

Ahnold should be grateful for Stan, who did his effects make up in the second Terminator movie. Check out how Ahnold looked with and without Stan's make ups.

A genius! 4 Oscars, Emmys too, yet no Tony. No wonder America was watching golf.

Cheers darlings.

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