Saturday, June 09, 2007

Tony vs. Tony

Just time for a quick entry before I have to run off and have myself cloned so one of me can watch the Sopranos swansong while the other watches the Tony Awards. Perhaps I should have a spare made that actually goes out and does things, but three's a crowd, I think I've heard.

Well the ur-Maury, the one who exists now and is primarily occupied with typing, was outdoors long enough to score halfsies for Spring Awakening because studies show the Tony Awards* are most fun when you have a few horses in the race. Somehow the season went by and I saw almost nothing until the bitter end. Maaaaybe because I was somewhere else most of the time, somewhere that starts with M and rhymes with "Petropolitan Opera." I'm not naming names. [I have the faint sense of perhaps having made that crack before. Me and my senile dementia offer our apologies.]

My impressions, in list form:

1) Fuck me running! $59 is a half price ticket these days?! I'm not exactly in my dotage and I have a feeling my first Broadway show cost less than that at full price. (This is pure speculation since the D'Annato family shall we say rarely pays full price.) Well, I had my chance. I think before they lugged it to Broadway, the thing was playing in an elementary school gym or something, but I was too busy seeing my 29th Aida no doubt. Tak oshibsja, tak nakazan, as Onegin might say, lamenting his failure to see, I dunno, Cats.**

2) That said, it was thoroughly enjoyable, and p.s. what does it take in this town to be financially secure enough that one needn't think of EVERYTHING in terms of how much it costs? The answer, I suspect, is the theme of my alternate viewing option. Look for a spinoff blog about my new career in Waste Management.

3) Thoroughly enjoyable, but oh my god, the lyrics. Like: how the hell did this make it from off to Broadway without someone saying, "Um...guys? About the lyrics?" Top notch song-writing if you're a native of Zambia and can't understand what anyone is singing.*** One friend says, and I tentatively agree pending further review of the soundtrack, that "We've all got our junk, and my junk is you," wins the abomination award. But I'm pretty sure the Act II finale contained the phrase...let me stop and compose myself before saying this..."a child will lead the way." If not that, something a lot like it.

4) Good performances. That should probably not win Tony Awards, because they were mostly of the variety that inspires phrases like "fresh, spirited young cast." They were super enthusiastic and, for the most part, a little green. Actually the guy who's up for "featured" maybe should win. But if it's that Groff fellow (cute, nice ass, totally decent singing voice) versus Raul Esparza, whose Bobby in Company yea verily seared my soul, there is an objective right answer. Somewhat tucked away in the cast is a gal with a not quite standard issue Broadway voice that made me sit up and take notice. Retrieving program from bathroom (what, like you read Ulysses on the goddamn toilet) so I can tell you her name is...Lauren Pritchard.

5) I can't decide whether to take half-hearted umbrage at the way the tiny gay subplot was played for laughs while everything else was so angstily serious, albeit occasionally laced with an underlying hipster irony. It doesn't really seem worth the effort. No thank you, no umbrage for me. I'm on a diet.

In other Tony races, well...I do think Christine Ebersole should win. All else aside, if Audra MacDonald gets any more Tony Statuettes, she's going to be able to play chess with them. But no, she should win mostly because of the uncanny thing she did up there: half acting, half seance. Same goes for Mary Louise Wilson, I think, though maybe I mostly want her to win because I'm so fucking tired of actors with one name, and think they should be discouraged when possible. In the same spirit of teaching by punitive example, Legally Blonde must win nothing so people will write fewer musicals based on pop culture detritus, which is so tiresome, except for Xanadu which I really want to see before it closes, presumably on opening night.

Other than that, I guess I'm out of opinions.

Next up: pictures of my cat, or something equally fascinating.

*no, I can't quite bring myself to pluralize the word Tony. Tonys, Tony's, Tonies. They all make me squint.

**Seriously, though, the only time I've ever seen Jesus Christ Superstar (I can tolerate religion in the context of showtunes, apparently) was in Russian. Funny thing is I'm sure musicals and anything else lyrical involve massive re-writing since things in Russian tend to have way more syllables.

***Great, I go and pull a country out of the hat and it turns out the official language is English. At least this time I did a preemptive mistake google and avoided huffy emails from my heretofore silent Zambian readership with this footnote! Please amend to "native of Zambia who by circumstances too elaborate to outline here, is a monolingual speaker of Wendish."


Chalkenteros said...

Ok so I assume you watched ... what's with the black hole of silence? Spill it.

PS - just heard that Xanadu opens in two weeks. You have your ticket yet?

Maury D'annato said...

I did watch, but they were discussing it over at Parterre, plus there weren't that many comments on my Tony posts, so I got all "aw shucks you guys don't care anyway." Needy blogger, what can I say.

Maybe I'll post about it. The short version is I was happy about most of the decisions and predicted 18 out of 25.

Xanadu: I really should get tickets. Did you watch the little clip on It could be amazingly bad. Maybe close-on-opening-night bad. Have you heard anything?

Chalkenteros said...

... running to check out the Xanadu clip now ...

I'd read your posts over at parterre, btw -- I was referring to your thoughts on the final episode of the Sopra[black]

Maury D'annato said...

Oh, that. I should comment on your blog, since you devoted a miffled entry to it.

Chalkenteros said...

[pout]The Xanadu clip at is not working![/pout]

Maury D'annato said...

That's too bad. It was pretty funny--a bunch of writers and cast members et al. trying really hard not to look embarrassed.

I commented on the Sopranos chez toi. I also didn't want to make an entry over here because I know so many people didn't get to watch it when it aired and it is, I hear, turning out to be 100% impossible to avoid spoilers.

winpal said...

Only 18 out of 25? And Antonietta Stella wasn't even nominated.

Chalkenteros said...

ok i just saw the clip from the xanadu dress rehearsal. yeah, i think it's gonna be bad. like hindenburg bad. not-since-carrie bad .. and that kind of deliciousness is rare. the lead in the OLJ role seems like a total ditz. The biggest problem is that most of them seem to be taking it way too seriously.

Maury D'annato said...

Chalk: it's a fine line. You wouldn't want it to be super cheeky ironic in that way that is very tired, but at the same time, you don't want to hear people talking about the artistic truth of Xanadu and what it's [pause] about. I think actually the acting at least in the lead should be totally earnest and unironic because the main reason the original is beloved despite its inherent awfulness is ONJ's sincerity, right?

Will: Antonietta Stella won the category of "Best Spinto from the mid 20th century that Opera Queens Really Get Into but Maury D'Annato has Never Heard." It was a close race between her and Gabriela Tucci

Chalkenteros said...

Hmm -- lemme get this straight -- are you suggesting that in order to pull off kitsch (as opposed to stupid, mainstream "camp"), they need to cast young actors in the leads who are incapable of sensing the vapid ridiculousness of the material? In other words, they need a cast of idiots? LOL. From what I have seen, they're on their way!

winpal said...

I believe Anita Cerquetti may have also been nominated, but her claque was watching The Sopranos.

Maury D'annato said...

Winpal: Cerquetti was disqualified at the last mintue when it was discovered I have a Gioconda with her in it. Bit of a scandal.

Chalky: I don't think they need to cast young idiots, just good sports. There's a difference between recognizing the idiocy of something and needing to wink and nudge a lot to show you're in on the secret.

The camp/kitsch distinction is one I think about a lot at theater/opera. I always start to write about it in blog postings but find I'm unable to be very articulate about it.

Chalkenteros said...

Oh I know what you meant -- I was just being unnecessarily nasty to the "good sports" of the Xanadu cast.

As for the difference between kitsch and camp, for a long time I just applied an artificial distinction: the former being unintentional, the latter being intentional. But I think that distinction fails to account for a lot of the camp/kitsch that's out there, and does not adequately describe a rather subtle mode of representation that is at once objective, ironic, AND sincere and sentimental. Like, uh, Ariadne. And, erm, Billyboy's Judycast.

La Cieca said...

chalkenteros: Speaking of Carrie.

Chalkenteros said...

La Cieca, I have watched all those clips more times than I care to admit here.

Did you see Charlotte D'Amboise at the Tony's?