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Category: Whoopi Goldberg

Can 'Joe Turner's Come and Gone' win a Tony the second time around?

April 17, 2009 |  3:14 pm

The first rialto revival of August Wilson's "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" was greeted by great reviews from many of the leading theater critics. Such good notices could put the play in the running for the Tony Award for best revival. The original 1988 production contended for best play, director, and four featured performances. However, the only win on Tony night was for featured actress L. Scott Caldwell as the kind-hearted landlady at the center of the action. "Joe Turner" lost the top race to David Henry Hwang's gender-bending "M. Butterfly." That defeat began a tragic, unending losing streak for August Wilson with the Tony Awards.

Tony Tony Tony Broadway Broadway Broadway The playwright had picked up a 1985 Tony nod for his first play on Broadway — "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." While he lost that race to Neil Simon for "Biloxi Blues," Wilson won the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize two years later for "Fences. Though Wilson had written "Joe Turner" before "Fences," it did not make it to Broadway till 1988.

Both of those works, as well as "Ma Rainey," form part of Wilson's Pittsburgh cycle of 10 plays that examine the African-American experience over the course of the 20th century. "Joe Turner" takes place in 1911 and looks at the lives of freed slaves in the North.

Six more installments of the cycle would appear on Broadway in the following years and all would earn Tony nominations for best play, but none would win. (Only "Jitney" did not make it to Broadway.)  The first of Wilson's plays to be revived on Broadway was, appropriately enough, "Ma Rainey" in 2003. But even with Whoopi Goldberg and original star Charles S. Dutton headlining, this revival did not earn a Tony nod.

When "Joe Turner" lost the best play race 21 years ago, another of the also-rans was "Speed-the-Plow," which was revived earlier this season to equally good reviews. That production made the headlines when Broadway newcomer Jeremy Piven bowed out of the show just weeks into the run citing mercury poisoning from overeating sushi as the reason. Tony voters may want to reward the producers of that show to compensate them for the loss of their leading man. "Plow" playwright David Mamet's 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning "Glengarry Glen Ross" took the best revival Tony in 2005.

Three Tony-winning best plays were revisited this year in revivals that met with mixed reviews. All were  notable more for the names appearing in them than the quality of the productions. Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" won at the very first Tonys in 1947. This second rialto revival featured paparazzi darling Katie Holmes in a supporting role.  "A Man For All Seasons" took the top prize in 1962 but went unproduced again until three-time Tony champ Frank Langella dared to take on the role that won Paul Scofield both the Tony and the Oscar. And the first remounting of 1976 champ "Equus" stirred up notoriety with "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe stripping off.

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Is this the year 'The View' co-hosts can finally win an Emmy?

March 9, 2009 |  4:00 pm

"The View" is riding high in the ratings as it begins a week of shows from LA. Now in its 12th season, this ABC morning gabfest is drawing over 4.2 million viewers a day and scoring well in key demographics. And critics are enjoying the lively discussions that dominate the front half of the hour-long talker. Last week's leaking of the pre-nom lists for daytime dramas puts us in mind of the biggest mystery in daytime -- can the co-hosts of "The View" ever win a daytime Emmy Award?

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While the revolving cast has been nominated as outstanding talk show hosts in each of the first 11 seasons, they have never won the award. And the show has only won one of its 11 consecutive daytime Emmy bids, when it tied with "The Wayne Brady Show" in 2003.  The ladies of "The View" have blamed their losing streak on the possibility that voters have always found at least one of them to dislike at various times.

Certainly Emmy voters have historically preferred solo nominees. Since Dinah Shore won the first daytime Emmy for hosting back in 1974 for her talker "Dinah's Place," no multiple-host nominees have ever prevailed. Indeed, the only time perennial runner-up Regis Philbin won this award was in 2001 when he was in between co-hosts. He could never win with Kathie Lee Gifford and he has yet to repeat with Kelly Ripa by his side.

Could the current quintet of women on "The View" break this tradition? Is this the year that creator and occasional co-host Barbara Walters will finally get to deliver the speech she has had in her purse since 1998? That first year, the original co-hosts — Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos, Joy Behar, and Walters — lost in a three-way race to both Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O'Donnell.

Certainly there is a ease among this panel that was missing for much of the show's first decade. For the first nine years, Star Jones was one of the co-hosts and her popularity plunged in direct relation to her ever-shrinking waistline. Once Jones was jettisoned in 2006, hopes were high that bringing on board Rosie O'Donnell as the new moderator would change the show's Emmy fortunes.

After all, O'Donnell had enjoyed a long love affair with the daytime Emmy Awards for her own talker. She had won six consecutive hosting Emmys beating, among others, "The View" panel. Alas, while her run-ins with conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck  made for gripping TV, they did not sit well with Emmy voters who preferred the softer edges of Ellen DeGeneres.

With O'Donnell's departure after only one season, Whoopi Goldberg came on board to steer the conversation. Yet even the presence of Goldberg — one of only 10 people to win the grand slam of Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy awards — could not win over Emmy voters last spring who went with DeGeneres for the fourth consecutive year. However, following the recent election there is a relative calm on the show. Hasselbeck, who recently announced her third pregnancy, has been gracious in defeat though she still makes her points in a forthright manner.

The irony of all this might be that "The View" co-hosts finally win the daytime Emmy in a year that the kudos are held without the usual fanfare. There is still no word as to when and where the award ceremony will be held and who, if anyone, will be airing it. Many media sources have reported that the four top broadcast channels — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — have all passed on the kudocast as has   cable network Soapnet.

RELATED POST:

Daytime Emmy pre-noms list has 'shameful omissions'!

Photo: ABC

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Oscars are the Emmys' biggest winner

February 20, 2009 | 11:25 pm

The Oscars ceremony is the most honored television program in the history of the Emmys. The annual celebration of the best in movies has racked up 42 wins out of 185 nominations from the television academy. That puts it five Emmys ahead of "Frasier," with no end to the winning streak in sight. This year's Oscars promise to be something extra special and are sure to do well with the Emmys. In particular, expect host Hugh Jackman to be a strong contender in the individual performance category if his track record as the host of the Tony Awards is anything to go by — one win, two noms, three years hosting.

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In recent years, the Oscars show has averaged seven or eight Emmy nominations per year in various technical categories as well as nods for the host and the program itself. Last year, Gil Cates produced his 14th Oscars and, while the show sagged in the ratings, it did earn nine Emmy nods, winning for art direction and direction of a variety, music or comedy program. Jon Stewart earned an individual nom for his second time hosting, but lost to Don Rickles ("Mr. Warmth"). And the program — shunted off to a special class category created just for awards shows — lost to the Tony Awards.

Two years ago Laura Ziskin returned for her second try as producer of the awards show, having helmed the 2002 telecast hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. The 2002 ceremony went one for eight at the Emmys, winning only for choreographer Debra Brown (a feat Debbie Allen never managed even with her "Schindler's List" ballet). And the 2006 Oscars won two of nine noms — art and music direction. Host Ellen DeGeneres lost the individual race to Tony Bennett ("An American Classic").

For the first 25 years that the Oscars were telecast, the shows earned little in the way of Emmys simply because the TV kudos didn't have categories to accommodate them. The first two Oscar telecasts, in 1953 and 1954, were huge ratings hits, but the first Emmy nomination came only with the third telecast, in 1955. The show competed in the category of best special event or news program. The NBC telecast — hosted by Bob Hope in L.A. and Thelma Ritter in NYC — along with the World Series, the Rose Bowl and even the Emmys, lost to the CBS coverage of the A-bomb tests. That Oscar night is remembered as much for who lost (Judy Garland in "A Star is Born") as for what won ("On the Waterfront" with eight statuettes).

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Who will be the next winner of the showbiz awards grand slam?

August 15, 2008 |  2:32 pm

Currently, there are 10 people who've won the four peer-group industry prizes bestowed for film (Oscar), TV (Emmy), music (Grammy) and theater (Tony): Mel Brooks, John Gielgud, Whoopi Goldberg, Helen Hayes, Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Mike Nichols, Rita Moreno, Richard Rodgers and music arranger Jonathan Tunick.

Who could be the next to join that lofty pantheon?

The key word is "win" when discussing these awards. Honorary trophies don't count. Therefore, Barbra Streisand isn't on this list because, while she has the Oscar (2), Emmy (5) and Grammy (8), her Tony was an honorary trophy she got in 1970 after failing to win for her two earlier nominations: best supporting actress in a musical for "I Can Get It for You Wholesale" in 1962 and best actress in a musical for "Funny Girl" in 1964.

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There's a devilish irony to Babs' loss for "Funny Girl" on Broadway, a performance that would yield her first Oscar when it transferred to the screen four years later (her other Oscar is for songwriting, "Evergreen"). Babs lost the Tony to a star whom she would replace when "Hello, Dolly!" became a film. (A vastly underrated pic, I hasten to say. Snooty film critics skewered it as a flop in 1969, but I think it's one of those wrongly trashed masterpieces like Burton and Taylor's "Cleopatra," but I digress.) Now Carol Channing has her ultimate revenge by having denied Babs entry to the grand slam pantheon.

Memo to Babs: Nowadays the Tonys have a new, special competitive category for one-person shows that's been won by Billy Crystal and Elaine Stritch in the past. The next time you do an absolutely final farewell concert tour, stop along the rialto for a while, dearie, beef up the script with more chatter and you're sure to snag that elusive, real Tony at last.

Who else? I posted this question in our forums and got amazingly detailed reax. Click here to check out Boomer's run-down of where many candidates stand. For example, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Elton John just need an Emmy.

Considering Broadway made Julie Andrews a star when she bowed in "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot," it's surprising to see that all she needs is a Tony to place on her mantle next to the Oscar, Grammy and Emmy. Also missing a Tony: Cher, Robin Williams and composer John Williams.

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VOTE: Who should host the next Emmys?

July 9, 2008 | 12:52 pm

Since ABC is telecasting the Emmys this September, the emcee will probably be Jimmy Kimmel. Networks usually tap their late-night hosts. However, the last time the alphabet web staged the telecast, we got stuck with we got the never-hilarious Garry Shandling. (Why? And why is that man still in show business?) But perhaps Emmy chiefs are actually open to suggestions? Let's hear yours. Since this discussion is already under way in our forums (CLICK HERE), I've culled some of those suggestions for this poll.


Tonight's Tony Awards: Who'll present awards, who'll perform

June 15, 2008 | 12:44 pm

Tony Awards fanfare begins early today, starting at 6 p.m., when Broadway's finest will start walking the red carpet outside Radio City Music Hall in New York. The ceremony to be seen on CBS doesn't begin until 8 p.m. ET/PT, but some of the "below-the-line" awards will bestowed earlier (scenic design, lighting, costumes). That portion of the gala will commence at 7:10 p.m. and will be presided over by past Tony Award winners Michael Cerveris ("Assassins") and Julie White ("The Little Dog Laughed"). You can watch it live at the Tony Awards website: CLICK HERE.

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Here's the list of award presenters: Alec Baldwin, Barry Bostwick, Gabriel Byrne, Julie Chen, Kristin Chenoweth, Harry Connick Jr., Glenn Close, Adam Duritz, Laurence Fishburne, Richard Griffiths, Jack Klugman, Laura Linney, John Lithgow, Liza Minnelli, Mary-Louise Parker, Mandy Patinkin, David Hyde Pierce, Daniel Radcliffe, Duncan Sheik, Brooke Shields, Marisa Tomei, Lily Tomlin, John Waters.

Who will those stars present awards to? Check out our pundits' predictions — HERE. Ceremony host is Whoopi GoldbergCLICK HERE to see our video chat.

Performances will include portions of all four best-musical nominees — "Cry-Baby," "In the Heights," "Passing Strange" and "Xanadu" — plus the tuners up for best revival: "Grease," "Gypsy," "Sunday in the Park With George" and "South Pacific."

My personal gripe every year is that Tonycast never grants sufficient time for ample snippets of the plays. Producers better do so this year because they've somehow found time for snippets from three musical that got largely skunked by voters: "A Catered Affair," "The Little Mermaid" and "Young Frankenstein." If those end up getting a higher showcase on the program than the great plays in competition, then Tonycast producers deserve a good spanking. And since I'll be backstage blogging, I may be strongly tempted to give it to them.

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Whoopi Goldberg on being Tony Awards' host

June 15, 2008 | 10:03 am

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How will Whoopi Goldberg fare as host of the Tony Awards this Sunday night? No doubt she'll be socko. Whoopi Goldberg consistently scores great reviews when presiding over award ceremonies. In our video chat, which was taped one day after Tony nominations were unveiled, the past Oscars emcee (four times) and Grammycast ringmaster reveals the secret of succeeding in the job.

This is the first time Whoopi will take command of the Tonys' stage, which must mean a lot to her. It was Broadway that made her a superstar in 1984 after director Mike Nichols discovered her off-Broadway show and moved it to the rialto where Steven Spielberg saw it and cast her in "The Color Purple." Over the course of her career since, she has emerged as one of only 10 famous folk to win the whole showbiz grand slam: Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy.

Curiously, she didn't win her Tony for her (infamously outrageous) Broadway show — or for its revival 20 years later. What did she prevail for? Watch our video chat!


Sneak peek: What you'll see on the Tony Awards telecast this Sunday

June 9, 2008 |  9:39 am

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Fourteen years ago, Whoopi Goldberg gave voice to a cackling hyena in Disney's film version of "The Lion King." This coming Sunday, as host of the 62nd annual Tony Awards, Whoopi will welcome the cast of the Broadway show to the stage of Radio City Music Hall. The tuner take on the hit movie swept the Tony Awards back in 1998 and the players will open the awardscast with their stirring rendition of "Circle of Life."

Unlike previous Tonycasts, which featured only nominated musicals, this one is slated to include performances from snubbed shows like "The Little Mermaid." The star of that, Sierra Boggess, will perform "Part of Your World." Allotting a few minutes of precious CBS airtime to a show that got only two Tony noms is sure to raise eyebrows along the rialto.

The four best musical nominees will all be showcased. As per Playbill.com, the cast of "In the Heights," which leads with 13 nods, will perform "96,000," a song about, of all things,
winning -– in this case the lottery. "Passing Strange" will spotlight four-time nominee Stew with "Keys." The choice of song for longshot nominee "Cry-Baby" is appropriate — "A Little Upset" — while the cast of "Xandau" will perform "Don’t Walk Away."

All four nominated musical revivals will also take to the stage. Expect show-stopping numbers from "Grease," "Gypsy," "South Pacific," and "Sunday in the Park With George." The last two of those tuners won the Pulitzer prize for drama for their original runs, in 1950 and 1985, respectively. On Sunday, the most recent musical to win the Pulitzer, "Rent," will also be showcased with the original 1996 cast joining the current one in song.

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Whoopi Goldberg lets slip secrets about the Tony Awards

May 23, 2008 | 11:32 am

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Whoopi Goldberg is planning some surprises when she hosts the Tony Awards for the first time next month, though she can't help spilling a few beans. She has already told the rest of the ladies of "The View" that she has been shooting spots all around Gotham, including such iconic locations as Times Square in the heart of Broadway.

Now Whoopi tells the New York Daily News that Mayor Mike Bloomberg will appear alongside her in a skit at the top of the awards show on CBS June 15: "He's my friend and who better to start the night than the mayor of New York City," she said.

This grand-slam award winner (Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony) has hosted the Academy Awards four times (picking up Emmy nods twice for her efforts) and the Grammy Awards once. Goldberg grew up only blocks from Radio City Music Hall, home to the Tony Awards, and got her start in the theater -– she was discovered performing downtown by fellow grand slammer Mike Nichols.

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Tonys 2008: Can Whoopi Goldberg outdo Rosie O'Donnell as host?

May 8, 2008 | 12:36 pm

First Whoopi Goldberg took over for Rosie O'Donnell as moderator of "The View." Now she's been tapped to host the Whoopi_goldberg_oscars62nd annual Tony Awards on June 15. As theater fans recall, O'Donnell was an enthusiastic supporter of Broadway and hosted the Tonys three times (1997, 1998, 2000). Goldberg — one of only 10 people to win all four big awards in show biz —has hosted the Oscars four times and the Grammys once.

Rosie O'Donnell was unabashed at using her self-titled talk show to promote her upcoming hosting gigs and drew great ratings for this theater awards show that usually touts its desirable demographic over its numbers. While Whoopi Goldberg did make the announcement on today's installment of "The View," it is unclear how much time she will get to tout the Tony Awards in between Barbara Walters hawking her new memoir.

All we ask of Whoopi, who picked up two Emmy nods for hosting the Oscars, is that she not try to sing for her supper. While Rosie may have won an Emmy Award for producing the 1998 Tonycast, she did not get even an Emmy nom for individual achievement. To see why, watch and wince as Rosie hits all the wrong notes in this medley with Tony winners Patti Lupone, Betty Buckley and Jennifer Holliday. At least one of those divas (Patti) will be back this year.

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(Photos: ABC)


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