Sunday, July 13, 2014

The 5th Annual David Desk Awards

Audra McDonald adds a David Desk to her numerous awards for
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
Yes, I know it's July already and the season's been over for a month, but here they are--the David Desk Awards. For the fifth time, here are my choices for the top performances in New York theater during the past season. The classifications are my own. The Tonys and the Drama Desks decided Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill was best suited for Actress in a Play while the Outer Critics put her in the musical category. I know the play choice would be in keeping with Jane Lapotaire in Piaf and Tracey Bennett as Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow, with the musical numbers being part of the main character's performance in concert. But even the Drama Desk has not been consistent with this. Sian Philips was in the running for Best Actress in a Musical in Marlene even though her performance was largely dramatic. That year (1999) there were very few available nominees for the category--Bernadette Peters in Annie Get Your Gun and Carolee Carmello in Parade where the only other ones vying for the top award and they tied. I think that McDonald's performance was so dependent on the musical element, she should have been in that category and that's why I placed her there. (Plus when Lonette McKee played the original production in 1987, she was nominated as Outstanding Actress in a Musical). I also felt Marin Ireland in Marie Antoniette was ignored.

So here are my picks for the tops of 2013-14:

All the Way (Robert Schenkkan)
Domesticated (Bruce Norris)
The Night Alive (Conor McPherson)
Nikolai and the Others (Richard Nelson)
Outside Mullingar (John Patrick Shanley)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

B'way Update: 'King and I,' 'Illusionists'

Oscar nominees Ken Wantanabe and Sally Hawkins in
Godzilla or We Need a Paycheck
As summer progresses, more Broadway shows are announced for the fall and winter. One of the most anticipated will be Lincoln Center Theater's revival of The King and I starring Kelli O'Hara and Ron Wantanabe, directed by O'Hara's South Pacific and Light in the Piazza stager Barlett Sher. We just saw Wantanabe in Godzilla on a double bill with Edge of Tomorrow at the Coxsackie drive-in last weekend. I'm still itching from the mosquito bites. I thought Edge of Tomorrow would be as bad as last year's Oblivion because both involved Tom Cruise going through some kind of time-loop or multiple-identity crisis. But it was actually pretty entertaining.