PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 15-21: Awards, Old and New

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 15-21: Awards, Old and New
 
The producers of the new John Kander and Fred Ebb musical, The Scottsboro Boys, announced that their show will go into Broadway's Lyceum Theatre this fall. Halloween, Oct. 31, will be the show's Broadway opening date. Previews begin Oct. 7. This will make it the second Kander and Ebb show, after Curtains, to make it to Broadway following the death of Ebb in 2004.

The Scottsboro Boys star John Cullum
The Scottsboro Boys star John Cullum Photo by Carol Rosegg

The musical had its world premiere earlier this year at Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre, which has previously sent Avenue Q and [title of show] to Broadway. Casting for Broadway will be announced soon, but it's expected that most of the Off-Broadway cast will move forward with the show.

As previously announced, prior to Broadway, The Scottsboro Boys will play a limited engagement at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN, July 31-Sept. 25 on the McGuire Proscenium Stage.

The Scottsboro Boys will have some interesting company on Broadway this fall in the form of The Pee-wee Herman Show. The show is the work of creator-writer-actor Paul Reubens, who is now 57 and will again play the bow-tied man-child in the too-tight grey suit and white bucks of the title — the role that made him famous in the 1980s.

The new show played a limited engagement at Club Nokia @ L.A. LIVE this past winter. The Broadway run will begin a limited six-week, 48-performance engagement Oct. 26 at the newly christened Stephen Sondheim Theatre (formerly the Henry Miller's Theatre). Not exactly what you'd expect for the inaugural production at a theatre named after the stage's greatest living artist, but what can you do? Alex Timbers, who helmed the Los Angeles run, will again direct. Performances will play to Dec. 5.

*** Since New York theatre doesn't have enough awards, new ones have been created.

The Committee for Recognizing Women in Theater (the purpose of which group being pretty clear) has announced the first annual Lilly Awards. Lilly is the late playwright Lillian Hellman, one of the more successful women in American theatre history. The trophies will be presented May 24 at Playwrights Horizons. Seventeen awards will be given, including a Lifetime Achievement Award to composer Mary Rodgers. Kristin Chenoweth, currently back on Broadway in Promises, Promises, will also be honored.

The committee that created the awards is comprised of Julie Crosby, John Eisner, Gary Garrison, Tina Howe, Julia Jordan, Marsha Norman, Susan Rose, Tim Sanford and — the artist without whom no statement about the status of women in the theatre would be complete — playwright Theresa Rebeck, who has often made the case that women artists don't get their due in the theatre. Their mission is "to celebrate the work of outstanding, successful and up-and-coming women playwrights, directors, designers and advocates in the theatre."

The theatre's oldest prizes, the Theatre World Awards, also have a new trinket to give out. It's called the Dorothy Loudon Starbaby Award. No, really. No, really. It really is.

As has been reported, the Theatre World Awards have been struggling financially. The Dorothy Loudon Foundation, which was founded five years ago, recently offered the group some generous support. In thanks, the organization has taken on the new award (which already existed and was first given out last year). "Starbaby" was apparently a term of endearment used by Loudon's most intimate friends from her early days in the theatre and it stuck with her.

 

Bobby Steggert

Bobby Steggert will be the proud recipient of this year's Dorothy Loudon Starbaby Award, given out June 8 at the 66th Annual Theatre World Awards at New World Stages. He will be honored with the award for his performances in Broadway's Ragtime and Off-Broadway's Yank!. I'd like to hear that acceptance speech.

***

Some of the older awards are still around, of course, and a couple of them got busy this week. The winners of the 60th annual Outer Critics Circle Awards, which honor the best in Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre, were announced May 17. The new musical Memphis and the revival of La Cage aux Folles each won four awards apiece, the most of any production of the season. Red won for Outstanding New Broadway Play. The Orphans Home Cycle won for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play. There was a tie for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical between Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Scottsboro Boys.

The 55th Annual Village Voice OBIE Awards were also given out. Playwright Annie Baker was a big winner, honored for Best New American Play for both Circle Mirror Transformation and The Aliens. The entire ensemble of Circle also won. Playwright-actor David Greenspan and actor Rocco Sisto won for Sustaining Achievement. And there was a special citation for the SoHo space, the Ohio Theatre, which is soon to go out of the business of staging plays.

Remember last week when the Tony Awards withdrew its nomination of Santo Loquasto for his costume design for Ragtime, because he was previously nominated for the same show in the same category in 1998? Well, it's happened again, only this time at the Drama Desk Awards.

The leadership of the Drama Desk has informed its membership that Loquasto's 2010 nomination for the Broadway revival of Ragtime have been withdrawn. They want the public to know that, of course, "The Drama Desk makes its own decisions." But, "when the Tony Awards withdrew its nomination for the Ragtime revival's costumes because they were not sufficiently different from the original production and when the lead producer and nominated costume designer Santo Loquasto did not disagree with the decision, we revisited the issue. The Drama Desk concurs that the excellent costuming was not sufficiently new to make it eligible. Therefore, the nomination will be removed from the ballot in the Outstanding Costume Design category."

The Drama Desk, however, went one better than the Tonys — they crossed out two nominations. The other was was William David Brohn's nod for Outstanding Orchestration for Ragtime, "because the highly regarded orchestration was not different enough from that of the original production to be eligible."

There was no word from Brohn as to whether he was OK with the rescinding of his nomination as Loquasto was.

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