04 April 2006

dorking out about theatre awards

i feel obliged to join in with the collective 'wha??' the theatre community's letting out this morning at the announcement of the completely whack lortel nominations. outstanding play is the only category that actually seems sensical - maybe not the four i'd have chosen, but sure, rock on. (yay ruby sunrise, right?) but then, we begin the scrolling down of the list. i have mixed feelings about the near-snubbing of [title of show]. i wanted it to be nominated. i expected it to be nominated. i loved seeing it. but is it a super-good high-quality show? i don't know.* but if the clever-witty choreography can be nominated, then the show should be, too - it's the same sort of brilliant cleverness, which is not brilliant brilliantness, but is still wonderful, and close.

the other thing is, as much as i can think of shows & people whom i think should have gotten nominated, and i have opinions about the people & shows who did,** but there are a lot of nominated shows that i didn't see. abigail's party? no clue. and is it really a travesty that christine ebersole wasn't nominated, or are we all just set to think that because ben brantley wanted to have, like, a million of her babies? there is not a single category from which i've seen every nominated show. i think it's part of the theatre person game to be able to have opinions about shows you've never seen, but then how hypocritical are we - we lament the one-review state of things, the way one of these guys has a cranky night and a show is doomed, but then we read their review and, if we haven't seen the show, our opinion is formed. sure, we can read all that chat, and let the crazy theatre queens do our thinking, but i've read what they've written about shows i have seen, and those are not entirely minds i want to trust.

because i'm a sucker for broadway***, this becomes much more of an issue for me with the tonys. this feels a little dirty and wrong, a little teeny-bopper fannish, especially since i work at an off-broadway theatre, and i am such a believer in the importance and goodness and quality of off-broadway... but i love the tonys. it is an absurd, irrational, wistful romantic love. high sentimental value. this is why i don't do well at raucous tony parties**** - i first started watching the tonys alone, at home, and it was always a sort of private thing. my thing. like these three hours of communing with my future. or whatever. i only started ever watching the tonys with other people a couple years ago, and i still would not be okay with a large crowd. there are strict no-talking rules, but unspoken cases for breaking them. you have to be on the same intuitive level about these things. and you have to be someone i'm okay with having around for what is still an irrationally important night to my little twelve-year-old-girl heart.

somehow, the last two years, i have seen all of the shows nominated for best musical before the tonys. (talking about this last night i mistakenly thought 2005 was the first year of that - sorry for the misinformation, joe.) i have still not had a year of knowing all best play nominees, which is a little shameful.***** not knowing all the nominees has never stopped me, or anyone in the history of anything, from having opinions about who should win. i would have been pissed that spamalot won if i hadn't seen it. but actually knowing, from my own experience, that it was not even in the universe of the other three shows is entirely different. and better. i know that sounds obvious - maybe it's how unusual it is to actually know all the nominees in a category. oscars and whatever else included, it's probably only happened a handful of times. (i just don't see that many movies.) maybe it's not that i always have an opinion about who should win (though i do), but that i always care who does. again, it's obvious how it should be a different experience of watching and caring when i've seen all the nominated shows or performances... there's just something about it, the way it's different, that surprises me. and that i'm, apparently, proving unable to clearly put into words.

i don't know what's gone wrong with my planning this year that it looks so unlikely that i'll be able to do that again. last year march was exciting, shows opening left and right, and me actually getting to see them. i'm not seeing any less theatre this year - behold the next few weeks of my life: stuff happens, landscape of the body, they're just like us, living room in africa, shining city - but somehow the big shiny broadway shows are harder to come by.

so basically, if you want to buy me tickets to the wedding singer and festen, and the history boys, rabbit hole, pajama game, awake and sing, bridge & tunnel, the caine mutiny court martial, faith healer, lieutenant of inishmore, three days of rain, and well, that would be really cool.

*i'd thought, for a good half hour this morning, that i'd finally gotten it out of my head. i was all 'thank you, brand new second-hand ipod. thank you brand new hand-me-down computer. thank you franz ferdinand, with your crazy homoeroticism banishing the musical theatre.' and now i'm all 'in come the vampires, down sweep the vampires, die vampire, die.'

**just spend a second wondering if it wouldn't be grammatically proper to, for parallel's sake, write 'whom did.'

***did you actually think i was going to link to broadway.com? broadway.com can-- (if you know [title of show] you can finish that lyric for yourself.)

****though having people to shriek with about avenue q was pretty amazing.

*****though last year, even not having seen doubt, i had no trouble being sure that pillowman should have won. and later, when i did see doubt, i was assured that i was right. and here let's take a moment to seethe about the times article (which i hated enough that i won't find to link to, or to be able to attribute) about the two plays, which was basically about how doubt was 'better,' which was entirely wrong. doubt was a very very good play. pillowman was, forget better, but bigger. more important. did new things. when i talk about doubt vs. pillowman, rather than type, there are hand gestures that go along with it, indicating a neat little frame around doubt and its goodness. it still fit inside the little box of "a play." pillowman did things to the walls of that box, exerted its force beyond them. and it was also fucking amazing.

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