It's pretty tough to write a blog post when you just can't put your thoughts into words. My mind races. The thoughts gush like Old Faithful on her best days and I look at a blank screen and try to type.
Is it "writer's block," you ask? No. The thoughts are plentiful and the material to write of is the best in the world.
Is it a sports story? No.
Is it your favorite thing, music, guitar, rock 'n' roll? Classic rockers? No.
Is it the world of motion pictures, is it your dream job? Are you writing about the one place we all love to go to escape, like the plot of Purple Rose of Cairo, when Cecilia (Mia Farrow) heads to that old South Amboy, N.J., theatre to get away during the Great Depression?
I'm trying to write about the BEST.
Yep, the BEST!
You mean... BROADWAY!
Yes. That's it. I can write now, although the screen is not clear because tears cloud my eyes.
So just suck it up, gather yourself and your wild and emotional side and say it, man.
When it comes to the very best in entertainment, Broadway just blows it all away. It's not even close. When you seek entertainment, there are so many wonderful options whether it be the ARTS, the CINEMA, the FIELD of PLAY, or the world of MUSIC -- rock, jazz, classical, the blues.
But the magic of BROADWAY just blows them all away. It's the performance, the show-stopping, mind-blowing, spark every raw bone, emotional, stunning spine-tingling, grab-your-soul moment of a great dramatic moment that gets 'ya. It's been going on as along as human beings have been around and, for some strange reason, we've always tried to entertain ourselves.
Broadway perfects it.
Lincoln Center is the only thing that's close, I will admit, but the SPECTACLE of Broadway is the best entertainment in the world and I'll include the WEST END of London right along side in my ONE and ONE A categories of entertainment perfection.
The 2013 TONYs Show reminded me of the fact and, it was amplified after the show... when my bride, turned to me and put it so simply.
"The TONYs are the BEST," she said.
I love the Academy Awards and I'm always a "sap" when it comes to watching an accomplished and distinguished actor moved to tears of emotion or maybe a rambling, discombobulated speech because of the fact the OSCAR meant so much to the him or her. I'm always game to hear about the actor's story of endless auditions, rejection, years of bartending or waitressing, more auditions, more rejection and then -- the PART. The opening, the role of a lifetime and success. It's great to see the stars of HOLLYWOOD, all dressed up and walking the Red Carpet in LA. I just love it.
But, the TONYs. It's the TONYs that get to me.
Last night, the event was staged at Radio City Music Hall, in New York, right down the block from my old office. I've walked by the building 10,000 times and I particularly love it when the theatre is all dressed up for a big event
Radio City in the heart of Manhattan, just a few blocks away from the THEATRE DISTRICT, and just a block off BROADWAY.
Inside, the TONYs audience is like a summer drama camp for dedicated kids.
Everyone WANTS to be there. They are the very best actors, dancers and singers. They are backed up by the very best in set design and lighting. They are guided by the very best of musical and theatrical directors and producers. In front, they have the world's greatest orchestras, all playing scores of music written by the very best. Some of the tunes are new, original works and we are inspired by them, while others are old favorites, like the opening scene from "PIPPIN," entitled "MAGIC TO DO."
I vividly remember Ben Vereen playing the part of the "LEADING PLAYER." and, oh how well he did, when he won the 1973 TONY for Best Lead in a Musical. The credit and the glory of PIPPIN was largely gained by Bob Fosse, and the clips from '72-'77- to the 1981 release of a DVD of Pippin show the scope of his innovative work. Fosse passed away in 1987, dead of a heart attack undoubtedly caused by one too many a cigarette. I remember watching the 1979 motion picture "All That Jazz" and Roy Scheider's portrayal of the chain-smoking, hard-charging, demanding Fosse and I was mesmerized by George Benson's score, "On Broadway," of which I wrote about not too long ago.
It must have lit the fuse, and, at an early age, it sparked of my love of BROADWAY.
So what about last night?
The revival of PIPPIN took four TONYs -- and rightfully so. The LEAD PLAYER of 2012-13 is Patina Miller and her portrayal, while different as a female lead, is even more POWERFUL than that of Vereen. Miller's acceptance speech was perfect, genuine, heartwarming and very well delivered to an audience of her peers.
The rest of the list is just as amazing and deserving of a TONY -- one and all.
Somehow, MATILDA wasn't the 2013 TONY winner for Best Musical because Billy Porter and Kinky Boots took home the honors and no one could argue their merit.
Matilda wasn't left out. Nope, not at all. Gabriel Ebert took home the TONY as Best Actor in a featured role in a Musical for his work as Matilda's father. That TONY went alongside of Best Book of a Musical, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design -- all winners amongst the 12 TONY nominations for Matilda, one shy of the 13 nominations for Kinky Boots.
On the drama side, the TONYs went to "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" for Best revival and "Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike" -- the latter of which I haven't had a chance to see (yet). Of the dramtic actors, Tracey Letts TONY Award-winning performance and his acceptance speech for his award-winning role in Virginia Woolf was a show stopper for the CBS network show, which aired on Sunday night.
Not to be forgotten, TONY host Neil Patrick Harris (Sweeney Todd, but mostly known as TV star Doogie Howser MD or Barney on How I Met Your Mother was written up as "incomparable." I might steal a line from LA Times theatre critic, Charles McNulty, who simply wrote in his second paragraph of his show review, in a short parenthesis, "Please CBS, make him sign a lifetime contract!"
Well, I agree, except the contract must add Mr. Doogie Howser -- as lifetime host of the OSCARS, as well.
Great job CBS. Great job, Ms. Patina Miller -- you are a great role model for the youth of 2013 and I applaud you for it to the highest possible degree. Great job Broadway. Now, let's get out there and promote the actors, the musicals and the plays with a newfound enthusiasm and sell some tickets.
The criticism I have of The American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League is not of the product. As stated here, the product is the best in the world. The main problem is with the archaic and inefficient methods of the promotional aspects holding back the theatre with "Old school" and "Set in their Ways" mechanisms that hold back more aggressive, enlightened and effective promotion. On Broadway, it's protect the "old school" and the "union rules" so the new kids don't take over the shoppe. Meanwhile, the actors, the playwrights, the directors and the ticket-takers pay the high price of poor "1950s-style" promotion. Too bad.