Friday, June 9, 2017

Tony awards!!!

If you know me in real life, you know that "Beckee's Deal" is that I have a few great loves in life: my family, my church, football, and Musicals probably rank highest! :) I was a drama teacher once upon a time and still love to perform when I get the chance between all the mommin'.

So, the Tony awards and the Superbowl are equivalent events in my world!  This year, I am even more excited than usual though because I just returned a few weeks ago from an AMAZING Anniversary trip to NYC to see some of those amazing musicals! (And I have obsessively listened to the soundtracks of those I could not get tickets to). Just for reference, the shows I saw were Hamilton (last years winner of basically everything), Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, Miss Saigon, Groundhog Day The Musical, Wicked, and Chicago (which my husband's cousin is in!!).
I want to get YOU excited (and ready) for the Tony awards too!! 

So, I have compiled below some things you should check out before Sunday's Tony Award show (Sunday June 11, 2017 CBS 8/7C):

You can see a full list of nominees here, but I am going to talk about a few major categories (only musicals this time because that's my obsession-nothing against the plays!!):

Come From Away
Dear Evan Hansen
Groundhog Day The Musical
Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (commonly referred to as just The Great Comet)

Musical Revival
Hello, Dolly! (starring Bette Midler)
Miss Saigon

Leading Actor (Musical)
Christian Borle, Falsettos
Josh Groban, The Great Comet
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Leading Actress (Musical)
Denee Benton, The Great Comet
Christine Eversole, War Paint
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon

Let's focus on the 7 musicals nominated for either Best Musical or Best Musical Revival and what you should know about them:

Come From Away: Based on the "true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them". It is about planes that were grounded in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11 when the terrorist attacks happened. Check this out:
Sadly I did not get to see this one in NYC, but I have listened to the music. I love the music to this, and I LOVE that it is a TRUE story of something amazing and good that happened on a day that was so, so dark in our history. It is beautiful. 

Dear Evan Hansen: The story of a teenager (Evan Hansen) who kind of accidentally end up as an important player in a tragedy that in reality had nothing to do with him. Evan is struggling himself and has a short encounter with another student at school, Connor, who ends up committing suicide that night. Conner has a letter in his pocket when he kills himself that makes his parents thing he and Evan were friends. When he is confronted about the letter and asked whether he and Connor were friends, he does not want to disappoint the grieving parents so he invents a friendship with Connor. As with most lies, his explodes, becoming bigger and bigger. The show explores suicide, anxiety, social media and other timely themes. Check this out:
I really, really wanted to see this show, but it is a hot ticket right now and I did not get tickets. From all I have read, this show is the favorite to win. The music is beautiful, it is a beautifully haunting story to me. My teen age son LOVES this music. I think it will likely take the big prize home even with other amazing shows up against it this year.

Groundhog Day The Musical: Musical based on the 1993 Bill Murray Groundhog Day about an arrogant weatherman that gets stuck in the same town repeating Groundhog day over and over again. Starring Andy Karl (who also starred in the Rocky musical on Broadway).
This is one of the shows I DID get to see. It was really funny, which I always appreciate since so many musicals have such intense themes these days. It was not my favorite show, and I do not think it will take home the big prize, but it is a FUN show to watch! It felt like a vehicle to spotlight Andy Karl as the other actors/characters did not get enough character development in my humble opinion. But I understand why-Andy Karl is amazing. But even with his incredible performance, he is not the best part of this show-the stage effects are ingenious and fun! I am still thinking about how in the world they get Andy Karl in the bed so fast over and over again, and there is a chase scene that I will never forget seeing live! I truly hope it wins something for the stage effects, but as I said before, I don't think it will be taking home the Best Musical statue.

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812: The plot of this show will not sell you on it-I promise, but you'll have to trust me when I tell you that it is amazing. It is based on a little 70 page piece of Tolstoy's War and Peace that is about Natasha's affair with Anatole. And it starts Josh Groban as Pierre (for a few more days at least). They wanted the audience to feel a part of the action of the show and adjusted the theater to make that work. There are seats on the stage, and cast members are on stage, in the audience, all over. It is pretty incredible. I cannot find a great video to share with you that captures how incredible this show is, but there is a video of the cast performing on Good Morning America, so here's that: 
I got to see this show live and actually we splurged on what I think are the best seats in the house (they were the most expensive for sure) and we sat ON stage at one of the tables where a lot of the action of the play happens. Characters interact with you, they sit with you, talk to you, sing to you, make sure you toast with them etc. I definitely got Josh Groban spit and sweat on me several times (is that gross or awesome...I'll go with both-it's gross and awesome). I went into this show not knowing at all what to expect (the CD hadn't even been released so I hadn't even heard the music). I was very pleasantly surprised! I LOVED this show. Almost as much as I loved Hamilton (if you know me irl, you know that is saying A LOT!). As I said before, I know Evan Hansen is the favorite to win this category, but I think it would be a mistake to overlook this show-I think it has a fighting chance to surprise the masses and take home the big prize. It was absolutely a fun, emotional, beautiful show! I loved it and did not want it to end. (PS, I have admittedly always been a bit of a Groban hater-I like his voice, but was certainly NOT a fan. This show changed my mind. He was amazing and honestly this was not a show all about him. In a lot of ways Pierre is almost an observer and not as big a part of the show as you would expect with his name in the title. It was NOT a show about Groban, but he certainly was incredible as Pierre!)

Falsettos: I legit know very little about this production, but it had a stellar cast! Falsettos is "The story involves Marvin, his ex-wife Trina, his psychiatrist Mendel, his son Jason, his gay lover Whizzer Brown, and his neighbors Cordelia and Dr. Charlotte." (Thanks Wiki) Watch:
By all accounts this was a brilliant production. It not only got nominated for Best Musical Revival, but also got 4 acting nominations. 

Hello, Dolly!: Starring Bette Midler. Another hot ticket right now on Broadway. Bette is the favorite to win Best actress in a musical for this one. If you don't know about Hello, Dolly!, Dolly Levi  is a strong-willed matchmaker, trying to find a match for Horace Vandergelder.  (Guys, there are no videos online to promote this revival that I can find to share...sorry) 

Miss Saigon: This show is about the last group of GI's in Saigon during the Vietnam war and the results of a love affair between a young Vietnamese girl and an American soldier during those last days. It is beautiful music and a very touching, sad story. This production was beautifully done. Here's some background on the revival:
I was so, so lucky to see this amazing revival in May. I had seen the original production 20 years ago when I went to NYC for my high school graduation trip. I loved it and truly did not think this could live up, but it did. It really did-this production exceeded my expectations is so many ways. I cannot give it enough praise, and I hope it beats out the favorite (Dolly) to win because I think it deserves the win! (Plus, to be honest, I hate Hello Dolly!) I am voting for this one for the win!

I cannot wait until Sunday to see who takes home all the big prizes! This is a year FULL of amazing shows and it will be so fun to watch all the talent on stage on Sunday! As for me, I will just be sitting here across the country rooting for The Great Comet and Miss Saigon (Even though I think Evan Hansen and Hello, Dolly, the favorites, might actually win...sigh...)

Remember, You can see a full list of nominees here

Who are YOU rooting for?!