Talkin' BroadwayV.J.

Tony Weekend

Well, the 2001 Tony Awards are now over, and a fun weekend it was! Everyone knew The Producers was going to take home a bunch of awards, but a clean sweep! Reminds me of the year A Chorus Line blew Chicago out of the water with zip awards going to the latter. The Full Monty felt the jolt of the juggernaut by Mel Brooks.

I flew in on the red-eye from Las Vegas, arriving Friday morning. Without boring you with details on how I got from JFK Airport to my hotel for 3 bucks, I'll just fill you in on the important stuff.

After checking in I planned my weekend. I knew I had the Talkin' Broadway Tony party on Saturday, but I also arrived with no tickets to shows. Here's a very brief rundown, for the most part, anyway. I got 2 tickets to One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest at the TKTS booth. I just had to see one of my favorite actors, Gary Sinise. I felt the production was good, but not great. The story is a bit dated and his fellow actors are not up to his par. If they were, it could have been something else. If you haven't seen Gary in the filmed version of That Championship Season I urge you to do so. He's phenominal.

A Class Act was more crass than class. I hated it. A mediocre show about a mediocre composer. During the first act I couldn't wait to get out of there. I said to my companion, "I don't know about you, but I ain't stayin' for act two." In agreement, we didn't walk out at intermission, we bolted. Ewwwww!

What can one say about The Full Monty, but pure unadulterated fun from the minute the curtain goes up. It's fluff, but a helluva lot of fun. I enjoyed myself immensely.

Jane Eyre was my favorite show over the weekend. The curtain went up and I heard this lush music and it caught me off-guard. It drew my attention, and I do have an attention span longer than 5 minutes. Immediately, I sensed what the creators were doing. I was rhapsodized by the music, the visuals, and the performances. I was so caught up in it that I was totally enthralled. This was not just a Broadway musical, but a work of art. As the scenes changed, and very cleverly too, I saw the pages of a book turning. The lighting was incredible as were the graphics. Some people say this was a dark, brooding musical, and that it lacked color. To them I say, you didn't understand it, nor the artistic journey the authors and creative team were taking us on. I found it uplifting with its finale which totally left me a basket case. I loved Jane Eyre. I found the score to be the best thing written since Sweeney Todd. And it's a real credit to Paul Gordon and John Caird for bringing it to Broadway. It's closing this Sunday, and it really shouldn't be. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea at the moment, but for those of you who will have missed it, well, you've missed something totally brilliant.

The Talkin' Broadway Tony Party 2 was a resounding success. We did it different this year. No entertainment, but just a social gathering, but what a gathering! In addition to the world-famous chatterati and the T.B. staff, a bunch of swells were on hand, including Peter Filichia from the Newark Star Ledger (and that former purple website), Michael Riedel (New York Post columnist and host of Theater Talk), Susan Haskins (Theater Talk host), David Kenney (WBAI Radio personality), Joe Franklin (Radio personality, and of course, our event was at his restaurant), Broadway star Alison Frasier with Lizzie Borden composer Christopher McGovern. What really knocked my socks off was that we had 2 Broadway composers attending. Bill Russell (Sideshow) and Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre) were there and I was amazed that both these guys made themselves so accessible to everyone. Bob Stempin from Duke University was there. He's written the book for Miss Spitfire and is looking for a composer/lyricist. I've known Bob for 30 years and his project is truly a labor of love. James Marino (in attendance), as well as Bruce Kimmel (in spirit) of Fynsworth Alley, BMG (Rocky Horror, Tommy Krasker of psclassics, The Genesius Guild, Tom Andersen, and Alison Fraser provided CDs for everyone to take home. It was really a night to remember. However, special mention must go to Jim Malloy for his efforts in pulling this party off. Angel, the restaurant manager and the staff of Joe Franklin's Memory Lane Restaurant get a big thank you, too, from me.

I promised no jokes during my welcoming speech but I got one in there anyhow. I kept it brief but wanted to point out to the audience that it occurred to me that I, and Ann and Mike, simply do not own Talkin' Broadway anymore. It's become something beyond ownership. We've all made so many friends because of the site. People ask me where the corporate offices of Talkin' Broadway are, and I just smile and think, 'I know where our offices are. They are in the hearts of the readers of the site, and in the hearts of the staff. We all love Broadway and the theater no matter where we live.' You can't own anything like that, but surely, someone owns Talkin' Broadway.

You own Talkin' Broadway; you are Talkin' Broadway. I own a domain name, that's all. Think about it. What would this place be without you?

And so it was another year in our journey. Let's see what the next year brings. Let's hope joy, peace, and good theater. And of course, Broadway at its best.

See you at next year's party!

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