The 2017 Chita Rivera Award Nominations

This year’s 2017 Chita Rivera Nominations are:

Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Josh Bergasse, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Warren Carlyle, Hello, Dolly!
Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day
Kelly Devine, Come from Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn
Sergio Trujillo, A Bronx Tale

Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show
A Bronx Tale
Bandstand
Cats
Come from Away
Hello, Dolly!
Holiday Inn
Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show
Corbin Bleu, Holiday Inn
John Bolton, Anastasia
Max Clayton, Bandstand
Tyler Hanes, Cats
Ryan Kasprzak, Bandstand
Ricky Ubeda, Cats

Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show
Andrea Dotto, Bandstand
Lora Lee Gayer, Holiday Inn
Eloise Kropp, Cats
Georgina Pazcoguin, Cats
Emma Pfaeffle, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Megan Sikora, Holiday Inn
Christine Cornish Smith, Cats

Outstanding Choreography in an Off-Broadway Show
Joshua Bergasse, Sweet Charity
David Dorfman, Indecent
Merete Muenter, The Golden Bride
David Neumann, The Total Bent
Misha Shields, Baghdaddy

Outstanding Female Dancer in an Off-Broadway Show
Yesenia Ayala, Sweet Charity
Asmeret Ghebremichael, Sweet Charity
Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Sweet Charity
Emily Padgett, Sweet Charity
Lyrica Woodruff, Finian’s Rainbow

Outstanding Male Dancing in an Off-Broadway Show
Ato Blankson-Wood, The Total Bent
Brandon Espinoza, Baghdaddy
Curtis Wiley, The Total Bent
Cody Williams, Sweet Charity
Blake Zolfo, Kid Victory

Two musical theater giants walk into a theater . . .

The subject of this post sounds like a joke, but lucky for all of us . . . it ain’t one.

 

Last Sunday, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Andrew Lloyd Webber (a guy who I’ve learned a lot from lately) shared the stage at The Other Palace in London to talk all things musical theater.

 

It was a master class beyond all master classes.

 

And they did it on Facebook live.

 

Oh, and did I mention people like Tim Rice were in the audience?

 

It was an incredible session as the two giants talked everything from “melody banks” to reading reviews to the origins of their own ideas.

 

I mean, just getting one of these guys onstage talking about their craft would be worth putting down the remote, but two?

 

And what’s truly incredible is how much they both have in common, in craft, and definitely in passion for what we all do.

 

If you missed it, you can watch it here.

 

WARNING:  You will want to write after you watch it.

 

Check it out, get inspired and get educated.  And then go imagine yourself on a stage like this someday with people tuning in to learn from you.  Because I know you’ve got a lot to say.

 

Watch Andrew and Lin-Manuel here.

 

Best,
Ken

 


P.S.  If you want to hear more writers talk about their craft, make sure you tune into my podcast.  It has hours upon hours of Tony award winners talking about what makes them tick.

The 2017 Drama Desk Award Nominations

This year’s 2017 Drama Desk Award Nominations are:

Outstanding Play
If I Forget, by Steven Levenson (Roundabout Theatre Company)
Indecent, by Paula Vogel (Vineyard Theatre)
A Life, by Adam Bock (Playwrights Horizons)
Oslo, by J. T. Rogers (Lincoln Center Theater)
Sweat, by Lynn Nottage (The Public Theater)

Outstanding Musical
Anastasia
The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company)
Come From Away
Hadestown (New York Theatre Workshop)
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

Outstanding Revival of a Play
The Front Page
The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory)
Jitney (Manhattan Theatre Club)
The Little Foxes (Manhattan Theatre Club)
Master Harold”… and the Boys (Signature Theatre Company)
Picnic (Transport Group Theatre Company)

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Falsettos (Lincoln Center Theater)
Hello, Dolly!
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Sweet Charity (The New Group)
Tick, Tick…BOOM! (Keen Company)

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Bobby Cannavale, The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory)
Daniel Craig, Othello (New York Theatre Workshop)
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
David Hyde Pierce, A Life (Playwrights Horizons)
John Douglas Thompson, Jitney (Manhattan Theatre Club)

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Cate Blanchett, The Present
Laura Linney, The Little Foxes (Manhattan Theatre Club)
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Amy Ryan, Love, Love, Love (Roundabout Theatre Company)
Harriet Walter, The Tempest (St. Ann’s Warehouse)

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Nick Blaemire, Tick, Tick…BOOM! (Keen Company)
Jon Jon Briones, Miss Saigon
Nick Cordero, A Bronx Tale
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day
Jeremy Secomb, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Christy Altomare, Anastasia
Christine Ebersole, War Paint
Sutton Foster, Sweet Charity (The New Group)
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Laura Osnes, Bandstand

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Michael Aronov, Oslo (Lincoln Center Theater)
Danny DeVito, The Price (Roundabout Theatre Company)
Nathan Lane, The Front Page
Jeremy Shamos, If I Forget (Roundabout Theatre Company)
Justice Smith, Yen (MCC Theater)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Randy Graff, The Babylon Line (Lincoln Center Theater)
Marie Mullen, The Beauty Queen of Leenane (BAM)
Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes (Manhattan Theatre Club)
Emily Skinner, Picnic
Kate Walsh, If I Forget (Roundabout Theatre Company)

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Jeffry Denman, Kid Victory (Vineyard Theatre)
George Salazar, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
Ari’el Stachel, The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company)
Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos (Lincoln Center Theater)

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos (Lincoln Center Theater)
Jenn Colella, Come From Away
Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia
Nora Schell, Spamilton

Outstanding Director of a Play
Richard Jones, The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory)
Anne Kauffman, A Life (Playwrights Horizons)
Richard Nelson, What Did You Expect?/Women of a Certain Age (The Public Theater)
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Jitney (Manhattan Theatre Club)
Daniel Sullivan, The Little Foxes (Manhattan Theatre Club)
Daniel Sullivan, If I Forget (Roundabout Theatre Company)

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Bill Buckhurst, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
David Cromer, The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company)
Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!

Outstanding Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Warren Carlyle, Hello, Dolly!
Aletta Collins, The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory)
Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn (Roundabout Theatre Company)

Outstanding Music
Stephen Flaherty, Anastasia
Dave Malloy, Beardo (Pipeline Theatre Company)
Richard Oberacker, Bandstand
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away
David Yazbek, The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company)

Outstanding Lyrics
Gerard Alessandrini, Spamilton
GQ and JQ, Othello: The Remix
Michael Korie, War Paint
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away
David Yazbek, The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company)

Outstanding Book of a Musical
Terrence McNally, Anastasia
Itamar Moses, The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company)
Richard Oberacker and Rob Taylor, Bandstand
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away
Joe Tracz, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

Outstanding Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, Anastasia
Bruce Coughlin, War Paint
Benjamin Cox, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
August Eriksmoen, Come From Away
Jamshied Sharifi, The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater Company)

Outstanding Music in a Play
Daniel Ocanto, Graham Ulicny, and Sean Smith, Alligator (New Georges in collaboration with the Sol Project)
Marcus Shelby, Notes from the Field (Second Stage)
Bill Sims Jr., Jitney (Manhattan Theatre Club)

Outstanding Revue
Hello Dillie! (59E59)
Life is for Living: Conversations with Coward (59E59)

Outstanding Set Design for a Play
David Gallo, Jitney (Manhattan Theatre Club)
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Laura Jellinek, A Life (Playwrights Horizons)
Stewart Laing, The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory)
Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page

Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
Lez Brotherston, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips (St. Ann’s Warehouse)
Simon Kenny, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Jason Sherwood, The View UpStairs

Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Jane Greenwood, The Little Foxes (Manhattan Theatre Club)
Susan Hilferty Present Laughter
Murell Horton, The Liar (CSC)
Toni-Leslie James, Jitney (Manhattan Theatre Club)
Stewart Laing, The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory)
Ann Roth, The Front Page

Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Linda Cho, Anastasia
Toni-Leslie James, Come From Away
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Anita Yavich, The View UpStairs
Paloma Young, Bandstand
Catherine Zuber, War Paint

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
Christopher Akerlind, Indecent (Vineyard Theatre)
James Farncombe, The Tempest (St. Ann’s Warehouse)
Rick Fisher, The Judas Kiss (Brooklyn Academy of Music)
Mimi Jordan Sherin, The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory)
Stephen Strawbridge, “Master Harold”…and the Boys (Signature Theatre Company)
Justin Townsend, The Little Foxes (Manhattan Theatre Club)

Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Jeff Croiter, Bandstand
Mark Henderson, Sunset Boulevard
Bradley King, Hadestown (New York Theatre Workshop)
Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Amy Mae, Sweeney Todd: The Barber of Fleet Street
Malcolm Rippeth, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips (St. Ann’s Warehouse)

Outstanding Projection Design
Reid Farrington, CasablancaBox (HERE)
Elaine McCarthy, Notes from the Field (Second Stage)
Jared Mezzocchi, Vietgone (Manhattan Theatre Club)
John Narun, Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey (Life Jacket Theatre Company)
Aaron Rhyne, Anastasia

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Mikhail Fiksel, A Life (Playwrights Horizons)
Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, The Encounter
Brian Quijada, Where Did We Sit on the Bus? (Ensemble Studio Theatre/Radio Drama Network)
Leon Rothenberg, Notes from the Field (Second Stage)
Jane Shaw, Men on Boats (Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb)

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
Simon Baker, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips (St. Ann’s Warehouse)
Peter Hylenski, Anastasia
Scott Lehrer, Hello, Dolly!
Nicholas Pope, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Mick Potter, Cats
Brian Ronan, War Paint
Matt Stine, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Outstanding Wig and Hair
David Brian Brown, War Paint
Campbell Young Associates, Hello, Dolly!
John Jared Janas, Yours Unfaithfully (Mint Theatre Company)
Jason Hayes, The View UpStairs
Josh Marquette, Present Laughter
Tom Watson, The Little Foxes (Manhattan Theatre Club)

Outstanding Solo Performance
Nancy Anderson, The Pen (Inner Voices) (Premieres)
Ed Dixon, Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose
Marin Ireland, On the Exhale (Roundabout Underground)
Sarah Jones, Sell/Buy/Date (Manhattan Theatre Club)
Brian Quijada, Where Did We Sit on the Bus? (Ensemble Studio Theatre/Radio Drama Network)
Anna Deavere Smith, Notes from the Field (Second Stage)

Unique Theatrical Experience
CasablancaBox (HERE)
The Paper Hat Game (The Tank/3-Legged Dog)
The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (National Theatre of Scotland)
The Ephemera Trilogy (The Tank/Flint & Tinder)

Outstanding Fight Choreography
J. David Brimmer, Yen (MCC Theatre)
Donal O’Farrell, Quietly (Irish Repertory Theatre)
Michael Rossmy and Rick Sordelet, Troilus and Cressida (New York Shakespeare Festival)
Thomas Schall, Othello (New York Theatre Workshop)
Thomas Schall, The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory)
U. Jonathan Toppo, Sweat (The Public Theatre)

Outstanding Adaptation
David Ives, The Liar, (Classic Stage Company)
Ellen McLaughlin, The Trojan Women, (The Flea Theatre)

Outstanding Puppet Design
Basil Twist, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Lyndie Wright, Sarah Wright, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips (St. Ann’s Warehouse)
Special Awards

The Wolves – Outstanding Ensemble
“The superbly talented cast of Sarah DeLappe’s debut play—Mia Barron, Brenna Coates, Jenna Dioguardi, Samia Finnerty, Midori Francis, Lizzy Jutila, Sarah Mezzanotte, Tedra Millan, Lauren Patten, and Susannah Perkins—jelled as one, proving that team spirit is just a alive on the stage as it is on the soccer field.”

Special Award to Phil LaDuca
“Proving that character comes from the ground up, the designer’s innovative flexible dance shoe ensures that hoofers on any stage remain on point.”

Lila Neugebauer – Sam Norkin Award
“During a season that saw her helm the original works The Antipodes, Everybody, Miles For Mary, and The Wolves, and resurrect the works of esteemed playwrights Edward Albee, Maria Irene Fornes, and Adrienne Kennedy in Signature Plays, director Lila Neugebauer has shown that her dauntless insight into the human condition knows no bounds.”

The Drama Desk nominating committee determined that the Broadway productions of Dear Evan Hansen and Significant Other were ineligible this year, as they were considered in the 2015–2016 season for their Off-Broadway engagements. Indecent, Sweat and Oslo were considered for their Off-Broadway stagings despite also transferring to Broadway this season.

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 was considered eligible for its design, staging, and new members of the company, but not for book and score as the committee determined them not sufficiently different from its earlier, already eligible Off-Broadway productions.

The Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George was not considered in accordance with the wishes of its producers.

The Official 2017 Off Broadway Alliance Award Nominations

Here are this year’s Off Broadway Alliance Award nominations:

Best New Musical
The Band’s Visit
Ernest Shackleton Loves Me
Hadestown
Othello: The Remix
The View UpStairs

Best New Play
Church and State
Daniel’s Husband
Indecent
Skeleton Crew
Small Mouth Sounds
The Wolves

Best Musical Revival
Finian’s Rainbow
The Golden Bride
Pacific Overtures
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Sweet Charity

Best Play Revival
The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead
The Emperor Jones
The Hairy Ape
Othello
Picnic

Best Unique Theatrical Experience
Her Opponent
Puffs
Spamilton
Taylor Mac – A 24-Decade History of Popular Music
Vanity Fair

Best Solo Performance
Chris Gethard, Career Suicide
Marin Ireland, On the Exhale
Sarah Jones, Sell/Buy/Date
Joe Morton, Turn Me Loose
Anna Deveare Smith, Notes From the Field

Best Family Show
1001 Nights: A Love Story About Loving Stories
The Commedia Cinderella
Love That Dog
Pip’s Island
Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure

Legend of Off Broadway Honorees
Harvey Fierstein
Athol Fugard
Israel Horowitz
Charlotte Moore
Estelle Parsons
Paula Vogel

Hall of Fame Award
James Houghton

Why You Need to Read to Write

There’s no question that writing more often makes you a better writer.

 

Especially when that’s writing for an audience, any audience, no matter if they are in a theater, or even online. (Want some personal proof?  Go back and ready some of my first blogs from almost 10 years ago . . . and read some of my later blogs to see how I’ve gotten better just by 10 years of repetition!)

 

But one of the best things that writers can do besides write in order to improve . . . is not to write, but to read.

 

I’ve always been a reader, but lately, I’ve become a structured reader.  For example:

 

  • We started a Davenport Theatrical book club that reads and discusses a new book every quarter.
  • I read at least a few pages of a marketing book every day.
  • I read one “Fun” book a month.

 

Lately, I’ve devoured Save The Cat (which I told you about), Razzle Dazzle (the history of the feud between the Shuberts and Nederlanders on Broadway) and The Checklist Manifesto. 
And, of course, I read scripts . . . at least one a week . . . from the many submissions, I get from agents, artistic directors, and of course, from all of you.

 

There’s no question that reading makes me a better writer.  When I read, I learn what I like, what I don’t, what makes me want to keep reading even if I miss my subway stop (that just happened), or what makes me want to close a script and pick up another one instead (that also just happened).

 

That’s why I encourage all of you to be a better structured reader.  Give yourself a goal of what you want to read per week/month/year and make it happen.

 

Maybe you want to read one classic and one book on writing each month.  Or maybe you want to read the plays on our Broadway Producer Pick List over the course of six months.

 

I don’t really care how often you read . . . you should only set a schedule that you can actually accomplish (“ambitious yet achievable” are the best goals to set . . . not unrealistic ones).

 

But whatever your reading schedule is, make sure you set one.

 

Because reading will help you get better at your craft, and it’ll inspire you to get back to your computer and write yourself, so someone else can read you!

 

Go get ’em.

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