hey. i was stuck for a day or so. wondering if my muse will sustain. i never dreamed i'd write 6 of these things in a week or so. and i find myself lying in bed at night, as always, marvelling at the universe through my own warped perception.
i watched the tony awards last night. i'm sorry. i mean, the americal theater wing awards. WTF does that mean? used to be the antoinette perry awards for theater. tony for short. oh well. you live long enough, everything changes a little.
i'm a big theater fan. oh, not like some. i live in fort lauderdale, (there, i've shared a piece of personal stuff), and i don't make it a habit to fly to new york every six weeks to see 6 shows on a weekend. as groucho used to say......i love my cigar, but i take it out of my mouth once in a while.
i have friends....well, acquaintances, that live in my 'hood, and still maintain an apartment "in the city", and do just that. fly up, see everything, and then.......they use theater as a weapon.
i say, the touring company of jersey boys is in town. we saw it and it's a great theatrical experience.
they say, yes, of course, dahling, we saw it on BROADWAY, the year it opened. not the same thing.
i say, years ago, i saw liz taylor do the little foxes with richard burton at the parker playhouse.
they say, nice, but when tallulah bankhead premiered it, it was magic.
shit. like liz taylor is "slumming it"? (i feel a bitch slap coming on..........)
why can't it just be, i say........i saw a great "fill in the blank", last night, and the answer is.........good for you, girlfriend, we must all support live regional theater. i dunno..........i think the answer is queens.)
speaking of which.....the tony awards. sean hayes was the host. that cute little gay man that just came out recently, and is currently the nominated star of promises, promises,, that burt bacharat hit, revived this year, and a smash hit at that. after years of his just jack, on will and grace, he's become a great character actor, and now, finally, a leading man. he sings, he dances, he's a comic, and is a well rounded fine entertainer.
digress....there was an article in a magazine lately, that threw vitriol. the reviewer purported that a gay man, shouldn't be playing a straight leading man, because it's not believable. um. really? like what fucking planet does this putz come from? how old was he when monty clift, marlon brando, tab hunter, richard chamberlain, and a whole bunch of others were hollywood and tv kings, while secretly gay/bisexual?
anyway, that's not this blog. that's for another time.
this one is about the state of theater today. as i said, i see the road shows. but once a year i get excerpts from the very broadway itself, in the form of the tony awards show. i'm sorry. the american theater wing awards. WTF?? and this year was outstanding, and a little disconcerting.
let's start with outstanding.
the show opened with a number from million dollar quartet. (now, truth be told, i have a horse in this race, but i'll talk about that later.) it was an amazing presentation of talented men. 4 of them. elvis, carl perkins, johnny cash, and jerry lee lewis, and these guys were smokin'. truly, a great opening number.
sean hayes rose to the occasion, in light of the slander/vitriol of the review. he appeard as himself, spiderman, little orphan annie, ballet tights, and other irreverant guises, and kissed kristen chenowith smack on the mouth....a little tongue, etc. a true trouper. not to be fucked with. (um, i offered in a previous blog, i'm a grammarian). let me rephrase.......a man with whom not to fuck. (how's that, janis? caught it before you did.)...
janis is my friend. my good friend. back in the day, during the learning years, she was a major english major. (oooh, i'm sorry, that sounds like it might be a tad redundant, but she'll correct me if it is). you see, she reads this blog and offers amazing insight whenever i fuck up. not often, but nice to have a literary person on your team.
so, there were all of the obligatory best nominee for a musical performances and all were breathtaking. geez, louise, if i lived in nyc, i'd see everything....shows, plays, opera, ballet, you name it......if, of course, i were a person of substantial wealth,.......(you see, before seeing the actual plays, there's rent, parking, (if you have a car), dinner (which in manhattan is actually more than my mortgage), and all that. but the excerpts, million dollar quartet, memphis, american idiot, fela,, were all outstanding. and among them.......the disconcerting.......
wow, what a great company.....costumes.....choreography......and a smash hit......
but truth be told.....and let's never forget my opening salvo on day 1, blog 1, i'm old.....and it was a cacophany........omg..... i never turn DOWN the volume on a musical number....except sometimes.....and um, this was one of those times. in this case i'll invoke my judaism. i'll take a passover on this one.
noiser than fela. omg. what's happening to me? (did my parents think that west side story was too noisy? hip? loud?
you probably heard by now memphis won the tony, antoinette perry, american theater wing, whatever.......award. and most likely, rightfully so. one of the objects of the game is to bring theater out of new york to the masses, and so you need a play that will travel and bring joy. (jersey boys, wicked, the 39 steps, in the heights, you get it. so, fela, a south african very black show, might not bring in the masses in, say, birmingham, or even orlando. (which can still be a little redneck-ish, sometimes.) but memphis, almost as black, is about rock and roll, and plays better with the boomers. (even the redneck ones). and it won best musical. and i can't wait to see it on tour.
now for my horse.
about 5 years ago, i was on a gay cruise. (oh, milord, i could go on about that, but i won't right now). and husband and i were on our way to the dining room for yet another foray into the elegant trough that is dinner on a cruise ship. and as we walked the corridor i heard music from one of the areas designated as "lounge lizard" turf. we'd walked the ship for a few days prior, and never lost our gait, but that night, um.......how can i describe it?
digress......i have many degrees in classical music. i have ears that people only dream about. i wish there were a competition. i'd win. i hear things. (don't get crazy.....i don't hear things that aren't there.....i just hear things that are).
so as we shuffled toward the baby lamb chops, i was stopped in my tracks. literally.
i heard a piano and a man singing. different. it was some good shit. so i grabbed my husband's shirtsleeve and said "let's go in here". and so we sat.
there was a man. a boy, actually. probably 20-ish. early 20's. singing. and playing piano. softly, as a whisper. loudly, like jerry lee lewis. i was smitten.
(ok, he was 20 something and gorgeous, but this is not about that, this is about his talent). anyway, husband and i got cozy, and listened for an hour or so. and then the next night, and the next...each night on our way to dinner.
i chatted the young man up, and found out his story, and bought a couple of his cds, to help further his career. i said to husband, "this boy is going places".
i kissed the boy good luck at the end of the cruise and went on my way.
on that same cruise, my husband and i met del shores and jason dottley. (ok, i know what you're thinking......the queen is dropping names......but i swear it's an intergral part of this story.....and my husband had a business meeting with del....), and subsequently, we became.....email buds........
not bffs, nothing like that, just professional acquaintences that occasionally email.
fast forward 2 years.........
as i said, i live in fort lauderdale. and during the course of emails with del and jason, i learned that they were coming to town to do a double bill of sordid lives and southern baptist sissies., 2 plays written by del, with jason in both plays, and directed by mr shores. (jason's quite the accomplished actor.....who knew back then?) so as good little groupies we attended, and there was this weird thing......during the course of sissies, there was the part of the "male prostitute", played by a mostly naked, hot, man, with not much of a part. and at the end of the show....the very end, kindof after the credits, he got to sing a song. and everyone said, "geez, the boy is terrific, but what was the purpose of the song at the end"?
and the answer is......no purpose, other than del wanted him to sing, to show off what he had. (have you guessed yet? this is the same kid from the cruise lounge.)
so now that's twice i've seen the lad.
next up, i hear from facebook that he's in a show in memphis called million dollar quartet about elvis and them, and i say "good boy getting gigs." and it's a hop-skip til i hear that they're taking the show to broadway with the young lad in tow.
last fast forward.
my young discovery (my ears, remember?), is currently in million dollar quartet on broadway, and this last sunday night, (i'm kvelling), he won the tony award, the very goddam antoinette perry, american theater wing, award for best featured actor in a musical! (oooh, as annie hall would say.....la de dah.....la de dah....).
the boy's........ahem......man's name is levi kreis. extraordinary.
digress.......back in 2001, there was a movie entitled frailty, with bill paxton and matthew mcconaughey. seriously disturbing movie. crazy people, murders, etc. and levi had a small but crucial part. i didn't know who he was back then, but i've rewatched it since.
back......i read a review that said "when he plays piano, it's like he's speaking in tongues". pretty good description. anyway, look for him. he'a gonna be a big star.
gosh i've always loved the tony awards. ok, the goddam american theater wing, antoinette perry awards. i especially loved them this year.
hats off to sean hayes for hosting a good time and of course to levi.
and as always, i'll drink to that.