Broadway Bites

Ken AshfordPopular CultureLeave a Comment

(1) From the Playbill Tony backstage blog:

11:14 PM The happiest producers of the evening have now joined the press folk: the Spring Awakening producers. When asked whether there are other productions planned of the Tony-winning Best Musical, the producers said, "Yes, we do. There’s going to be a road company. It’s already taking form now. I think we already have 72 weeks booked, and then there’s going to be productions in England, in Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Japan, Korea, Israel, Australia. We’re getting inquiries from all over the world." The producers said Germany and Austria are particularly excited over the prospect of presenting the musical, which is not too surprising since the work is based on the Frank Wedekind drama of the same name.

(2)  Also, Pirate Queen out; Young Frankenstein in — previews start October 11.

(3)  Good article on Broadway bloopers.  An example:

JONATHAN GROFF stars in the hit Off-Broadway transfer "Spring Awakening," for which he is nominated as lead actor.

Near-disaster: As Melchior in "Spring Awakening."

"There’s a scene where I’m supposed to beat [actress] Lea Michele with a switch. I don’t know if I was getting stronger or the sticks were getting weaker, but for five performances in a row, they kept breaking. The day Sarah Jessica Parker was in the audience, it broke and flew into the seventh row, and it hit some lady in the head."

There are also contributions from Nathan Lane, Brian Dennehy, Kristin Chenowith…

(4)  Mo Rocca’s thoughts on the nominated plays:

The Plays: Oh, right, the plays. This is where everyone feels a little bit guilty. They don’t get the attention of the press. They don’t get the dollars from the tourists. They don’t get much play on the Tony telecast. (To be fair: Would you rather watch the cast of Mary Poppins kick up their heels to ”Supercalifragilistic” or…listen to The Year of Magical Thinking‘s Vanessa Redgrave drone on about what a drag it is being a widow? Be honest!) Still, this year’s crop of Best Play nominees is imposing, Tom Stoppard’s Coast of Utopia and Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon among them. I really should go see them.

(5)  Does winning a Tony make a difference?  Depends:

Jeff Whitty, Tony-winning librettist of Avenue Q: "We were doing fine, but we weren’t playing to capacity. After we won the Tony, we were brought up to capacity. The premise [of the show] is so hard to get across. People thought it was a children’s show, and it is adolescent and smutty. Winning the Tony pushed people over their initial reluctance to see a show with puppets."

Harold Prince, who received one of his 21 Tonys as director of The Phantom of the Opera: "I wish I could say that the Tony Award had genuine impact . . . but I think we were running strong even before we arrived in America [from London]. It didn’t make much [immediate] difference [at the box office]. However, had we lost it . . . who knows?"

(6)  With Spring Awakening, there are 7 other Tony-Winning "Best Musicals" still playing on Broadway.  Can you name them?  (No, we’re not counting revivals of A Chorus Line and Les Miz, which both won "Best Musical" for the original productions).  Answers below the fold…

Spring Awakening joins The Phantom of the Opera (1988), Rent (1996), The Lion King (1998), Hairspray (2003), Avenue Q (2004), Monty Python’s Spamalot (2005) and Jersey Boys (2006).