Tag: Christopher Jackson

“Hamilton” Governs 2016 Tony Awards; Four Black Actors Win in Major Categories

"Hamilton" wins big at the 2016 Tony Awards
“Hamilton” wins big at the 2016 Tony Awards (photo via theepochtimes.com)

article via newsone.com

The 70th Annual Tony Awards set the bar for diversity on Sunday evening as several actors and actresses of color were recognized for their work; a major difference from the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that ensued earlier this year. For the first time in the ceremony’s history, four musical acting awards were nabbed by Black actors.

Broadway hit show Hamilton took home eleven awards including Best Musical, Best Lead Actor, which was won by Leslie Odom, Jr., Best Featured Actor, which was given to Daveed Diggs, and Best Featured Actress, which was awarded to Renee Elise Goldsberry. Cynthia Erivo won Best Lead Actress for her role in the revival of The Color Purple.

The nominees for different categories were diverse as well. Both Christopher Jackson from Hamilton and Brandon Victor Dixon from Shuffle Along were in the running for best featured actor. Diggs said diverse productions like Hamilton serve as inspiration for young children of color who want to get involved in theater. “There is so much diversity on Broadway right now,” he said“It’s nice to have it feeling a little more mainstream and a lot more inclusive.”

See a full list of winners below:

Best Musical
Hamilton (WINNER)
Bright Star
School of Rock—The Musical
Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Waitress

Best Play
The Humans (WINNER)
Eclipsed
The Father
King Charles III

Best Revival of a Musical
The Color Purple (WINNER)
Fiddler on the Roof
She Loves Me
Spring Awakening

Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge (WINNER)
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Blackbird
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Noises Off

Best Book of a Musical
Hamilton: Lin-Manuel Miranda (WINNER)
Bright Star: Steve Martin
School of Rock—The Musical: Julian Fellowes
Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed:George C. Wolfe

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Hamilton (WINNER)

Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Bright Star
Music: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Lyrics: Edie Brickell

School of Rock—The Musical
Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Glenn Slater

Waitress
Music & Lyrics: Sara Bareilles

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Frank Langella, The Father (WINNER)
Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
Mark Strong, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
Continue reading ““Hamilton” Governs 2016 Tony Awards; Four Black Actors Win in Major Categories”

“Hamilton” Breaks Tonys Record with 16 Nominations

Shortly after the news broke that “Hamilton” had landed 16 Tony Award nominations, the musical’s director, Thomas Kail, sent a text to choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and others on the show’s creative team. “I just woke up. What happened?” Kail asked facetiously.

What happened, as it turned out, was one for the Broadway record books.

“Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical about America’s founding fathers, wrote its own piece of history Tuesday morning. After selling out theaters and becoming a cultural sensation since it opened on Broadway last summer, the show has now broken the record of 15 Tony nominations previously held by “The Producers” (2001) and “Billy Elliot” (2009).

In the top category of best musical, “Hamilton” will compete, nominally, against Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “School of Rock,” the small-town charmer “Waitress,” the Appalachian bluegrass piece “Bright Star” and the race-themed meta-tale “Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed.”

But those other shows may consider it an honor just to be nominated. “Hamilton” is considered by nearly all experts to be a shoo-in to win for best musical, and it will aim for the record of 12 Tony wins (set by “The Producers”) when theater’s biggest night kicks off June 12 on CBS from New York’s Beacon Theatre.

“Hamilton” was boosted by multiple nominations in acting categories, including lead actor (Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr., the latter a front-runner) and featured actor (Daveed Diggs, Christopher Jackson and Jonathan Groff). “Hamilton” also will compete for score, choreography and direction of a musical, among others.

The nominations continue a magic-carpet ride that began with a Miranda performance of a “Hamilton Mixtape” at the White House in 2009, continued with an august run at downtown’s Public Theater in early 2015 and then a building juggernaut after opening at the Richard Rodgers in the summer.

The record set Tuesday is an industry capper of sorts on what had become the most unlikely of phenomena: a Broadway musical, often regarded as the narrowest of cultural niches, becoming a crossover hit and a gateway to a larger discussion about history and race.

“Someone asked me today if this is all old hat,” the newly minted Tony nominee Blankenbuehler recalled from the North Carolina set of “Dirty Dancing,” where, in part thanks to the success of “Hamilton” he is choreographing the new ABC reboot. “And I said, ‘Are you kidding? I’m still like a kid in a candy store.’ We all are.”

Miranda, at 36 already one of the theater world’s most influential creators, offered his own valedictory, noting in a statement that “for ‘Hamilton’ to receive a record-breaking number of nominations is an honor so humbling it’s so far been beyond my comprehension.”

To read more, go to: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-tony-nominations-20160502-snap-story.html

Tupac Shakur’s Songs Fuel Broadway Musical ‘Holler if Ya Hear Me’ Opening June 19 at Palace Theater

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Saul Williams, center, in “Holler if Ya Hear Me.” (Credit Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)

In the spring of 2001, Todd Kreidler met his boss, the playwright August Wilson, for breakfast at the Cafe Edison, as was their custom. Mr. Kreidler was assisting Wilson as he brought his play “King Hedley II” to Broadway, but really he was there to learn whatever Wilson wanted to teach him. And that morning, the subject was Tupac Shakur.

After a bit of chitchat, Wilson was exasperated with his charge. “You don’t really know ‘Dear Mama,’ ” he said, referring to Shakur’s signature ode to his mother. He got up, threw money on the table, marched out the door and to the nearby Virgin Megastore. There, he bought a copy of Shakur’s album “Me Against the World” and pressed it into Mr. Kreidler’s hands.

“There’s nothing contained in your life that’s not contained in that music,” Wilson told him, Mr. Kreidler recalled. “There’s love, honor, duty, betrayal, love of a people. There’s a whole universe in that music!” He made it clear, with some vulgarities for emphasis, that Mr. Kreidler wasn’t to return to rehearsal until he’d absorbed it all.

Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur in 1992. (Credit Eli Reed/Magnum Photos)

So on the day in 2010, when Mr. Kreidler opened a FedEx box with 23 of Shakur’s CDs and two books of his writings, tasked with building from them a musical rooted in that rapper’s words, he was prepared.

The result is “Holler if Ya Hear Me,” which opens at the Palace Theater on June 19, and weaves 21 songs by Shakur (two of which are musically arranged versions of his poems) into a story about a community struggling to pull hope from the grasp of entrenched social ills. Put differently, it’s not a Broadway-ification of Shakur’s life or vision so much as a repurposing of his words into an emotionally felt, family-friendly context.

“It’s a story about unconditional love that uplifts all of his words,” said Kenny Leon, the musical’s director, a veteran of Wilson’s “Fences” and the current “A Raisin in the Sun.” In that, “Holler” has plenty in common with the rest of Broadway, and the creative team was careful in managing how the play handled what Mr. Leon termed “the things that people think they hate” — bad language, guns, violence.

But it’s an open question whether the familiar Broadway audience, or even the middle-class black theatergoers who have been drawn in by “Raisin,” can make room in their hearts and wallets for Shakur’s words. Hip-hop has made it to Broadway before, but the Tony-winning “In the Heights” tested the waters Off Broadway first, and didn’t have to contend with an implied star whom people find controversial even years after his death.

The $8 million production seems to be splitting the difference; opening directly on Broadway — in a prime Times Square location that last housed “Annie,” no less — but after the Tony awards deadline. (Pop-minded shows like “Bring It On – The Musical” have lately taken a similar route.) Though influential producers were invited to the show’s workshops, they by and large declined to invest. Instead, the lead producers are Eric Gold, a longtime Hollywood manager and producer who is new to Broadway, and Shin Chun-soo, a South Korean theater impresario. “I’m prepared to nobly fail or to nobly succeed,” Mr. Gold said.

Murdered in 1996 in a case that’s still unsolved, Shakur remains, even after all these years, one of hip-hop’s most celebrated figures, a radical thug intellectual with an outsize gift for creating his character in real time. He was prolific and contradictory, a child of activists signed, late in his career, to Death Row, the label that mainstreamed gangster rap.

Continue reading “Tupac Shakur’s Songs Fuel Broadway Musical ‘Holler if Ya Hear Me’ Opening June 19 at Palace Theater”