Tag: Public Theater

“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

Professor and Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks Wins the 2015 Gish Prize for Excellence in the Arts

Award Winning Playwright and Professor Suzan-Lori Parks
Award Winning Playwright and Professor Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks, who teaches creative writing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, has been chosen as the winner of the 2015 Gish Prize, established through the will of the late actress Lillian Gish. The prize, considered among the top honors in the arts, comes with a cash award valued at $300,000.

The Gish Prize Trust said that Parks’ work “challenges contemporary conceptions of race, sexuality, family and society, and is distinguished by its striking wordplay, vibrant wit, and uninhibited style.” Parks will be honored at a ceremony on November 30 at the Public Theater in New York.

Parks is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. She is a former MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” winner. Professor Parks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her play “Topdog/Underdog.”

article via jbhe.com

Pulitzer-Prize Winning Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts, 1, 2 & 3)” Opens Tuesday at Public Theater in New York

Sterling K. Brown in “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3).” (Photo: Richard Termine)
Sterling K. Brown in “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3).” (Photo: Richard Termine)

In “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3),” a new drama by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (“Topdog/Underdog”), Hero, a slave, is offered a deal by his master: Leave behind his family and fight for the Confederacy in exchange for his freedom.  This decision and its implications are at the heart of this historical tale, whose first three parts open Tuesday at the Public Theater.  If this work sounds too familiar to be a “world premiere,” as it is billed, that’s because it has been gestating for years, with workshop productions staged at the Public Lab in 2009 and this year.  Sterling K. Brown (“The Brother/Sister Plays”) is Hero, and Jo Bonney directs. (425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, 212-967-7555, publictheater.org.)

article by Jason Zinoman via nytimes.com

Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney to Adapt and Direct ‘Antony and Cleopatra’

Tarell Alvin McCraney in 2009.Tarell Alvin McCraney (“The Brothers Size”) will direct and adapt a new production of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” as part of a collaboration among the Public Theater, GableStage in Miami and the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Public announced on Monday. The play will have its premiere at the Stratford-Upon-Avon home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where Mr. McCraney is an artistic associate, in November 2013, before being staged in Miami in January 2014 and later that month at the Public.

In addition to directing the production, Mr. McCraney edited the text, reordered the scene structure and relocated the play to “the late 1700s against the backdrop of Saint-Domingue, on the eve of the Haitian Revolution against the French,” according to a news release. Casting will take place in London, New York and Miami, Mr. McCraney’s hometown.

A 2007 graduate of Yale, Mr. McCraney has also written the trilogy “The Brother/Sister Plays,” “Wig Out” and other plays, including “Head of Passes,” which will have its premiere in Chicago next year.

The production will be the latest collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company and a New York stage. In 2011 the company had a residency at the Park Avenue Armory as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. In March 2013 its production of “Matilda the Musical,” based on the Roald Dahl children’s book and now running in London, is to begin performances on Broadway.

article by Erik Piepenburg via nytimes.com