Monday, April 21, 2008

It's nominated!

Ok, now this I don't understand. The Outer Critics Circle, which recognizes Broadway and off-Broadway shows, released its award nominees this morning and Young Frankenstein leads the pack. It earned 10 nominations - 10 - the most of any show this season. Young Frankenstein? What were they thinking?

The other musicals that got nods were Cry-Baby, A Catered Affair and Xanadu. I'm assuming In the Heights wasn't eligible because it won last year's award for outstanding off-Broadway musical. Of the other three, I've only seen Cry-Baby, and like Young Frankenstein, I was underwhelmed.

Sure, there were some things I liked about Young Frankenstein. I loved Christopher Fitzgerald as Igor, and I'm glad he snagged a nomination. And Andrea Martin was great as Frau Blucher. (Neigh!) And there were a couple of good numbers, including "Roll in the Hay." It was fun to see "Puttin on the Ritz." But overall, Roger Bart was a disappointment in the title role, and I didn't think it was very funny or imaginative. It just struck me as a tired retelling of the movie and not nearly as good.

If you want to see a really inspired and hilarious translation of a movie into theatre, try The 39 Steps. I'm glad that at least it snagged a nomination for best new play, although of course it doesn't have a chance against August: Osage County. The other nominees for best new play are The Seafarer and Rock 'n' Roll. I didn't see The Seafarer, but Rock 'n' Roll was mostly a big disappointing, disjointed bore.

Like all awards, the nominations are a mixed bag for me - some hits and some misses.

I'm glad that two of my favorite shows, South Pacific and Gypsy, received numerous nominations. I just wish the critics had shown more love for Passing Strange, which seems to have been nominated only for best score. I can't believe they bypassed Daniel Breaker's amazing, incredibly appealing performance and Kevin Adams' lighting design that really illuminates the musical's two very different acts. And while I'm happy for Deanna Dunagan's nod, I think Amy Morton and Rondi Reed deserved nominations for their work in August: Osage County, as did Todd Rosenthal for his awesome three-story set. I also liked Tom Pye's scenic design - featuring an immense brick wall - and Gregory Gale's costumes for Cyrano, and I wish they'd received nominations.

I don't know much about the Outer Critics Circle, but according to Playbill, they're a group of writers "covering New York theatre for out-of town newspapers, national publications and other media beyond Broadway." And they've got a pair of pretty scary looking comedy and tragedy masks on their Web site. The winners of the Outer Critics Circle awards will be announced May 12.


Vance said...

I actually laughed at the noms as a whole when I saw them. I hope it's not a sign of the Tony's but from what it seems, the lists look like they are going to be TOTALLY different.

Yeah, Fitzgerald was great in YF but I felt like everyone else was talented but underused.

I'm hoping to catch 39 Steps when it opens again!

As for August, I would have thought it should have gotten more nods. At least for Amy Morton.

And the Xanadu crew? What's with those snubs?

Seriously. Joke.

Sarah B. Roberts said...

I think it's all about getting touring dollars.

Esther said...

I just couldn't believe it when I saw that "Young Frankenstein" had the most nominations. Of all the shows in all the world! (Or at least on Broadway!) I guess it is kind of funny that someone would consider "Young Frankenstein" the year's best musical. Or horrifying.

I haven't had a chance to see "Xanadu," but I've heard it's a lot of fun. Plus, I'd really like to see Tony Roberts. "Annie Hall" is one of my all-time favorite movies.

I think you'll like "The 39 Steps." But if you haven't seen the Hitchcock movie, I would definitely watch it first.

Esther said...

Yeah, I guess you're right Sarah. I'm sure "Young Frankenstein" will do very well on tour. People were laughing hysterically when I saw it. I saw "Spamalot" on tour and people were laughing hysterically!

I just thought YF was mildly funny. Of course, I always have to preface my remarks on YF by saying that I wasn't feeling well that day, but I soldiered on with my usual eight hours of sightseeing. (It's a crime to waste a nice day in Manhattan!) So I was feeling a little wiped out by 8 p.m.

Vance said...

Sadly, and maybe its because he's next to Jackson, Butler, Testa and Hoffman but Tony Roberts was the weakest link in Xanadu, but again, he's next to the high energy cast in a campy campy fun show.

And yeah, it's all about touring dollars. Ugh.. still. it's not THAT funny. (then again, I didn't really think The Producers was that funny either so what do I know?)

I live in Toronto where Dirty Dancing and We Will Rock You are HUGE hits... its depressing really.

Vance said...

Oh, and when i meant it's not funny. I was refferring back to YF again though I figure you gathered that.

Esther said...

Hey Vance,
I agree - "Young Frankenstein" really wasn't that funny. I just think it worked better as a movie, where Mel Brooks was really able to mimic the look and style of an old horror film. On stage, it just didn't work as well. It was too bright and sunny when it should have been dark and scary in a funny way. Plus, Roger Bart didn't excite me. I listened to the cast CD once and I haven't had a desire to listen to it again. But, like I said, everyone around me loved it. So what do I know!

I never saw "The Producers" on stage. I even skipped it when the tour came through Providence a couple weeks ago. I have seen the movie with Nathan and Matthew, and the original, of course, which I liked. I'm a big fan of Mel's movies.

And I'm sure you get a lot of great shows in Toronto, too!