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Category: Angela Lansbury

Will Angela Lansbury win a record sixth time at Tony Awards?

May 4, 2010 | 11:33 am

Angela Lansbury Tony Awards A Little Night Music Last year, Angela Lansbury tied record-holder Julie Harris when she won a fifth Tony Award for her featured performance as the madcap Madame Arcati in the Noel Coward play "Blithe Spirit."

On Tuesday, she got a chance to break that tie with her featured nomination as the cynical Madame Armfeldt in the first rialto revival of Stephen Sondheim's 1973 Tony-winning tuner "A Little Night Music." Hermione Gingold, the originator of the role, lost the 1973 race to her co-star Patricia Elliot, who played Countess Charlotte Malcolm.

Lansbury's first four Tony wins were for lead actress in a musical: "Mame" (1966), "Dear World" (1969), "Gypsy" (1975) and "Sweeney Todd" (1979). Indeed, Lansbury has only gone down to defeat once at the Tony Awards. In 2007, she was nominated for lead actress in a play for "Deuce" but lost to Julie White ("The Little Dog Laughed").

Lansbury already holds one Tony Awards record having hosted the ceremony four times. Two of her record 18 Emmy losses came for hosting the 1987 and 1989 Tonycasts. For the first, she lost to Robin Williams for "Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin" and for the second to Tracey Ullman for "The Best of the Tracey Ullman Show." She also racked up a staggering 12 consecutive nominations for lead actress in a drama series for "Murder, She Wrote" from 1985 to 1996.

Harris won five Tony Awards for lead actress in a play: "I Am a Camera" (1952), "The Lark" (1956), "Forty Carats" (1969), "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln" (1973) and "The Belle of Amherst" (1977). She holds the record for most nominations, with 10 bids. Harris lost the play performance prize for "Marathon 33" (1964), "The Au Pair Man" (1974), "Lucifer's Child" (1991) and "The Gin Game" (1997) as well as a lead musical bid in 1966 for "Skyscraper," to Lansbury in "Mame."

Photo: Angela Lansbury in "A Little Night Music." Credit: Walter Kerr Theatre

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Experts predict Tony Award nominations


Experts predict Tony Award nominations

April 29, 2010 |  9:57 am

There's a lot of drama surrounding the Tony Award nominations, which will be unveiled Tuesday. Take, for example, the battle over best musical. The pundits cited below are split over eight contenders to take those four category slots. "American Idiot" is the favorite to win, but an upset is possible. The biggest drama of all is over best drama — there's no clear front-runner.

We've recruited predix from a team of savvy prognosticators: Melissa Bernardo (Entertainment Weekly), Martin Denton (NYTheatre), Thom Geier (Entertainment Weekly), Andy Humm (Gay City News, Gay USA), Kenneth Jones (Playbill.com), Brian Lipton (Theater Mania), Patrick Pacheco (L.A. Times, NY1), Paul Sheehan (TheEnvelope.com), David Sheward (Back Stage), Matt Windman (amNY) and me.

American Idiot Broadway Tonys Tony Awards nominations news 2

BEST PLAY
"A Behanding in Spokane" — Geier, Humm
"Enron" — Bernardo, Denton, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward
"In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play" — Humm, Windman
"Next Fall" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Race" — Denton, Jones, O'Neil, Sheward
"Red" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Time Stands Still" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, Pacheco, Sheehan, Windman

BEST MUSICAL
"The Addams Family" — Jones, Sheward
"American Idiot" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Come Fly Away" — Bernardo, Geier, Windman
"Everyday Rapture" — Lipton, Pacheco
"Fela!" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Memphis" — Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Million Dollar Quartet" — Bernardo, Denton, Humm, Sheehan
"Sondheim on Sondheim" — O'Neil, Humm

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
"A View from the Bridge" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Collected Stories" -- Humm
"Fences" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Hamlet" — Bernardo, Humm
"Lend Me a Tenor" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"The Royal Family" — Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
"A Little Night Music" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Finian’s Rainbow" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"La Cage Aux Folles" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier,Humm,  Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Ragtime" — Bernardo, Humm
"Promises, Promises" — Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
John Gallagher Jr., "American Idiot" — Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, O'Neil, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Kelsey Grammer, "La Cage aux Folles" — Denton, Jones
Sean Hayes, "Promises, Promises" — Bernardo, Geier, Lipton, Pacheco, Sheehan, Windman
Douglas Hodge, "La Cage Aux Folles" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Chad Kimball, "Memphis" — Bernardo, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Nathan Lane, "The Addams Family" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheward
Sahr Nguajah, "Fela!" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Kate Baldwin, "Finian’s Rainbow" — Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Kristin Chenoweth, "Promises, Promises" — Bernardo, Humm, O'Neil
Montego Glover, "Memphis" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Bebe Neuwirth, "The Addams Family" — Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheward, Windman
Christine Noll, "Ragtime" -- Bernardo, Denton
Sherie Rene Scott, "Everyday Rapture" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Catherine Zeta-Jones, "A Little Night Music" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

Continue reading »

Tony Awards predix: Angela Lansbury will score historic sixth win

April 7, 2010 |  3:50 pm

Last year, Angela Lansbury tied record-holder Julie Harris when she won a fifth Tony Award for her featured (supporting) performance as the madcap Madame Arcati in the Noel Coward play "Blithe Spirit." Martin Denton (NYTheatre.com) predicts Lansbury will break that tie this year when she wins for her featured (supporting) role as the cynical Madame Armfeldt in the first rialto revival of Stephen Sondheim's 1973 Tony-winning tuner "A Little Night Music."

It is a tad early for Gold Derby to be bugging Broadway journos for Tonys predix with 10 shows still to open in the home stretch of the eligibility period before nominations are announced on May 4. But we're asking the experts anyway and will be featuring lots of their views here. Let's start with Martin, who admits, "Since I haven't seen a lot of the shows yet myself, everything else is seat-of-the-pants, gut instinct stuff." But here goes. Martin's views below.

Angela Lansbury Broadway tonys news

Only sort of obvious shoo-in: Angela Lansbury will win No. 6 for "A Little Night Music" as best featured actress.

Best musical: "American Idiot" looks like the major contender. I loved "Come Fly Away," but I don't think it's going to register big in the race this year (except look for Karine Plantadit to get nominated). Other likely nominees: "The Addams Family" on account of it feeling like a hit, "Fela," "Memphis" and "Million Dollar Quartet."

The acting categories for musicals feel wide open to me except for Lansbury. For best actor in a musical: Sahr Ngaujah in "Fela" or Douglas Hodge in "La Cage aux Folles" maybe? Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane ("The Addams Family"), Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth ("Promises, Promises") could all be contenders -- haven't seen their shows yet!

The best-play race feels like it may ultimately be impacted by the new composition of the voters this year. Lots of possibilities here: "Next Fall," "Race," "Enron," "Red" seem like likely nominees. I feel like Christopher Walken ("A Behanding in Spokane"), James Spader ("Race"), and Liev Schreiber ("A View From the Bridge") are very strong best actor contenders; maybe add Denzel Washington ("Fences") to the mix and you'll have a very starry category. Best Actress in a play is very much wide open. If the Tonys included off-Bway, Cate Blanchett would be walking away with it, however, right?

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Photo: Angela Lansbury in "A Little Night Music." Credit: Walter Kerr Theatre

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Gold Derby nuggets: Golden Globes go live in L.A. | Up close peek at 'Up' | Who'll adopt these Oscar orphans?

April 3, 2009 |  1:20 pm

• For the first time, the Golden Globes will be aired live across the U.S. when the ceremony is held on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010. There will not be a three-hour delay for West Coast viewers. REUTERS

• "The summer Olympics leads the field of nominees for the 30th annual Sports Emmy Awards, reports Reuters. "NBC's coverage of the Beijing games landed 12 nominations, followed by ESPN's program 'Outside the Lines' with nine."

Jennifer Hudson EW

• When Jennifer Hudson crooned "You Pulled Me Through" at the Grammys, just months after the murder of her family members, "she was singing to God," says a close pal in EW's cover story. "God pulled her through." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• Theatre for a New Audience's revival of the Bard's "Othello" leads with the most nominations (six) for the Lucille Lortel Awards, which hail the best of off- Broadway. (Consider them a rival to the Village Voice's Obie Awards.) "Fela! A New Musical" comes in second place with five. The latter competes for best new musical against "My Vaudeville Man," "Road Show," "Saved" and "This Beautiful City." Contenders for best new play: "Animals Out of Paper," "Becky Shaw," "Ruined," "The Good Negro" and "The Sound and the Fury (April Seventh, 1928)." Winners will be announced on May 3 at the Marriott Marquis. PLAYBILL / BROADWAY WORLD

• "I really thought it was a joke!" insists the chief of a party-planning company in Georgia when he learned the he's being sued by the Oscars for using giant replicas of the Academy Award statuette for decorations at his bashes. He's not laughing now that suit has been officially filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Here's a classic example of the lengths the academy will go to protect its trademark. LAW.COM

Michael Cieply cites six potential Oscar orphans — films, that is, that seem to have high derby potential but, alas, no theatrical distributor yet: "Agora" (directed by Alejandro Amenábar), "Bright Star (Jane Campion), "Creation" (Jon Amiel), "The Young Victoria" (Jean-Marc Valle), "The Way Back" (Peter Weir), "Men Who Stare at Goats" (Grant Heslov). NEW YORK TIMES

• "Quentin Tarantino's WWII epic "Inglourious Basterds" is headed to the French Riviera," reports Variety. "The Brad Pitt starrer, set in Nazi-occupied France, has been invited to play in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Insiders said Tarantino, a longtime favorite of the French, has accepted the offer and has told the film's backers -- the Weinstein Co. and Universal Pictures — that the pic will be ready for its world premiere during the May fest."

• Below, a featurette offering glimpses of Pixar's 10th flick — "Up," a fanciful tale of a grumpy old man (voice of Ed Asner) who ties thousands of balloons to his house so he can travel in comfort and see South America. Nifty advance look at the 3-D effects, but it's painful to suffer through all of the gushing of filmmakers, promising it's "brilliant," "breathtaking," "out of this world," "unlike anything you've ever seen." Why couldn't any of them say anything with substance? Four previous Pixar flicks won best animated feature at the Oscars: "Wall-E" (2008), "Ratatouille" (2007), "The Incredibles" (2004), "Finding Nemo" (2003).

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Can Angela Lansbury tie Tony record with a fifth win for 'Blithe Spirit'?

March 17, 2009 |  2:31 pm

Angela Lansbury has returned to her first love — the theater — in triumph, earning rave reviews for her appearance as a larger-than-life medium in the revival of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit." Angela Lansbury has already won four Tony Awards for lead actress in a musical — "Mame" (1966), "Dear World" (1969), "Gypsy" (1975) and "Sweeney Todd" (1979). Two years ago, she contended for the first time as lead actress in a play for "Deuce" but was bested by Julie White for "The Little Dog Laughed." Were she to win for this new role in the old chestnut "Blithe Spirit,"  Lansbury would be tied with Julie Harris who has five Tony Awards, all for lead actress in a play.

Angela_lansbury_blithe_spirit_ton_2

The original 1941 run of "Blithe Spirit" predated the Tony Awards by six years. However for the 1987 revival, Geraldine Page contended as lead actress for playing Madame Arcati. She lost to Linda Lavin in Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound." Page never won a Tony in her three bids and did not win an Oscar till nod No. 8 in 1985 for "A Trip to Bountiful."

While Angela Lansbury lost only that last Tony race of hers, she failed to prevail in any of her three Oscar nods for supporting actress ("Gaslight," 1944; "The Picture of Dorian Gray," 1945; and "The Manchurian Candidate," 1962). And she holds the dubious distinction of having lost more Emmy races for acting than any other performer — 18 times including 12 consecutive nominations for lead actress in a drama series for "Murder, She Wrote" from 1985 to 1996.

One of Lansbury's chief rivals for the lead actress in a play Tony will be two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda ("Klute," "Coming Home") who opened to her own great reviews for "33 Variations" last week. While Lansbury had been away from Broadway for a quarter of a century before returning in "Deuce," Fonda was last on stage in 1963. While she contended for a Tony for her 1960 Broadway debut, Fonda lost that race. However, unlike Lansbury, she does have an Emmy Award, winning on her only try for her lead performance in the 1984 telefilm "The Dollmaker." And were Fonda to win the Tony, she would become the 17th performer to have taken the triple crown of acting awards.

Among the critics who cheered the loudest for Lansbury was Ben Brantley of the New York Times who said, "It’s Madame Arcati who walks, or rather dances, away with the show, as she has always been wont to do. Those who know Ms. Lansbury only as the bland, level-headed Jessica Fletcher of television’s 'Murder, She Wrote”' may not be aware of this actress’s depth and variety of technique."

Michael Kuchwara of the AP thought, "Lansbury's performance also captures the essence of the elegant Coward fizz, champagne bubbles of witty conversation that should trip along effortlessly." And for Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News, "Watching the 83-year-old Lansbury work her magic is endless fun, as she seemingly channels past characters, from the loopy Mrs. Lovett from 'Sweeney Todd' to the cagey detective Jessica Fletcher from 'Murder, She Wrote.' You wonder what the actress will do next, and when she launches into her go-into-my-trance dance, she’s simply hilarious."

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Photos: Shubert Theatre

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Beware, 'Gypsy' fans: Will a 'South Pacific' tsunami hit the Tonys?

March 30, 2008 |  9:20 pm

"Yes, that quiet crunching sound you hear is me eating my hat," admitted New York Times Broadway theater critic Ben Brantley when he saw the new production of "Gypsy" and admitted he had been wrong to dread it.

Last summer he pooh-poohed an early staging of the show at City Center as "enjoyable but unenthralling." Now he's declaring this production at the St. James Theater to be a "wallop-packing revival" of a show that he and his Times predecessor, Frank Rich, have both called the greatest American musical ever, period.

Patti_lupone_gypsy_1

Yes, true, it's the role Patti LuPone was born to play. As Brantley noted last summer, "If any actress of her generation seemed fated to play Momma Rose, the juggernaut of a stage mother in the musical 'Gypsy,' it was Patti LuPone, the juggernaut of a Broadway star.

"After all, Ms. LuPone became famous for her no-holds-barred portrayal of an actress of ravenous and ravening ambition in the title role of 'Evita' three decades ago, and ambition is Momma Rose’s oxygen. What’s more, Ms. LuPone has lungs and larynx of brass to rival those of Ethel Merman, the rafter-shaking star of the original 'Gypsy' in 1959, to whom Ms. LuPone has often been compared."

Sure, everybody's saying that LuPone has the Tony Award for best musical actress in the bag, but does she? It was more than 25 years ago that she won for "Evita." She's lost twice since then: "Anything Goes" (1988) and "Sweeney Todd" (2006).

Every gal who's portrayed Momma Rose on Broadway has, at least, been nominated: Ethel Merman (1960), Angela Lansbury (1975), Tyne Daly (1990) and Bernadette Peters (2003). Lansbury and Daly won. That original iron diva, the Merm, actually, egad, lost to sweet, lil Mary Martin in "The Sound of Music," which beat "Gypsy" for best musical. OK, maybe that's understandable — at least The Greatest Broadway Musical Ever lost to another stage classic, but here's the catch: "Sound of Music" tied "Fiorello!" for the win!

So is this "Gypsy" version really that much of a Tony shoo-in win for best musical revival?

The last production at the Shubert Theatre wasn't, but there was a lynch mob out for it led by New York Post theater reporter Michael Riedel who thought Bernadette Peters was miscast. She lost the best-actress trophy to Marissa Jaret Winokur ("Hairspray," winner of best musical). "Gypsy" lost best musical revival to "Nine."

There was no revival category back in 1975 when Lansbury won the Tony. That changed by 1990, and Tyne Daly's "Gypsy" won, beating a relatively weak field.

Now many Tony pundits are proclaiming that LuPone's "Gypsy" has this year's best-revival Tony in the bag, too.

South_pacific_tonys

Of the four eligible shows — "South Pacific," "Grease," "Sunday in the Park with George" and "Gypsy" — New York magazine's Vulture blog declares, "The only real contenders are 'Gypsy' and 'Sunday,' but it seems pretty likely that Patti and the power of 'Gypsy' will blow the well-regarded but not star-studded 'Sunday' revival out of the water." (READ MORE)

Now let me recommend to you Tony Awards Haven (CLICK HERE), a new website just launched by one of our trusty posters here, "RadioTV2," who sizes up this category thus: "At the moment, I think 'Gypsy' will sneak by 'Sunday in the Park with George' and grab the Tony . . . . 'South Pacific' is the wild card in this category because it is sure to be well received and it is the first Broadway revival of the show, but I believe that people just won't find a reason to vote for it over 'Sunday' or 'Gypsy.' "

RadioTV2, your new site is well done, bravo! But your take (and the N.Y. mag's, too) on this category is off. Why is everybody dismissing "South Pacific"? Just because it doesn't open until April 3? As already noted, this is the first revival ever! Back in 1950, it swept 10 categories at the Tonys. By comparison, 10 years later, "Gypsy" lost all eight of its races when a different musical starring Mary Martin hit Broadway like a tsunami.

If this historic revival, staged by Lincoln Center, gets rave reviews and becomes a hit — as widely expected — the fifth staging "Gypsy" on Broadway won't look too special, will it? And if Tony voters feel like they can pay off "Gypsy" with an award for LuPone, they may be strongly tempted to put their vote for best production on a show that's bigger, sprawling, more joyous and splashier, don't you think?

If "South Pacific" becomes a fierce kudos tsunami, it could even sweep aside LuPone. Remember: Mary Martin won best actress for "South Pacific." Now its current star, Kelli O'Hara, is a major force LuPone should be worried about. O'Hara is a hot new Broadway star who many Tony-watchers believe is overdue for a win, having lost in 2006 ("The Pajama Game") and 2005 ("The Light in the Piazza").

Below: LuPone singing "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Rose's Turn" at the City Center production of "Gypsy" last summer.

'EVERYTHING'S COMING UP ROSES"

"ROSE'S TURN"


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