Bobby baby bobby bubbe: The starry cast of the New York Philharmonic’s Company, which hits movie screens across the nation. Photo courtesy of the New York Philharmonic. Below: Tony Award-winner Anika Noni Rose (portrait) and Rose (far left), Christina Hendricks and Chryssie Whitehead perform “You Could Drive a Person Crazy.”
After performing on the Tony Awards last Sunday with her fellow Company cast members, Anika Noni Rose, all glammed out in a gorgeous white gown, devoured a giant plate of nachos.
The Tony Award-winning actor laughs at the thought of herself devouring the late-night snack in all her red-carpet glory. “There I was grubbing on nachos. They were delicious.” And how do we know that Rose enjoyed the snack? She posted a photo of the meal on her Twitter feed (@AnikaNoniRose).
Rose, 38, is having a good week. The American Conservatory Theater-trained actor enjoyed the Tony Awards ceremony – one of the best I’ve seen in years” – because, as she puts it, “I was there to have fun, put on some pretty clothes and root for my friends. You see people you don’t get to see very often, and you meet some fantastic people. I met (best actor winner) Mark Rylance, who is just amazing. God took amazing and put skin on it. That’s Mark Rylance. I met(best actress nominee) Patina Miller and got to hang out with (best actress winner) Sutton Foster, who I’ve known for years but never get to see. I’m an investor in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, but that was the first time I got to meet Daniel Radcliffe, who could not be lovelier. And he’s so good in the show.”
And that was just Sunday night.
The rest of the week, Rose will be making a splash across the country. She’s part of a starry cast that the New York Philharmonic pulled together for three concerts Stephen Sondheim’sCompany presented last April but forever preserved in an HD broadcast to be screened in movie theaters from coast to coast.
The first screenings start Tuesday, June 15. At San Francisco’s Embarcadero Cinema, for instance, it screens June 15, 16 and 19, but there are also screenings in Cupertino, Rohnert Park, Napa, Pleasant Hill, Mill Valley, Sausalito, Walnut Creek, San Rafael, San Jose, Hayward and many more. As you can see, this Company is inviting lots of company.
Rose plays Marta, one of the many girlfriends of the main character, Bobby (played by stellar Tony host Neil Patrick Harris. Her big number is “Another Hundred People,” and in a tiny bit of delicious irony, the woman who debuted the song in the original 1971 Broadway production, Pamela Myers, is now on stage at Rose’s old stomping grounds as an ensemble member in ACT’s Tales of the City (and she’s wonderful).
This is only the second time Rose, a 2004 Tony winner for best featured actress in Caroline, or Change, has performed Sondheim on stage (the first was a tune from Sunday in the Park with George at a tribute to George C. Wolfe), and she says, learning the ins and outs of Sondheim is “no walk in the park,” especially when, like the Company cast, you have a week and two days of rehearsal.
“Being in this show was like being shot out of a cannon,” Rose says on the phone from New York. “It ended up being a spectacular experience because, to a one, we were surrounded by brilliant, caring, lovely, fun, funny, smart professionals. No one brought nasty behavior, no one brought an ego to rehearsal. It was fantastic to be with each other.”
No egos? That’s impressive, especially given the pedigree of a cast that includes current “it” boy Harris (who was filming his sitcom, How I Met Your Mother in LA), Tony-winning diva Patti LuPone, TV’s favorite fake pundit Stephen Colbert, Mad Men vamp Christina Hendricks and Tony-winner Katie Finneran (from last season’s revival of Promises, Promises).
Because the busy actors were busy acting in all their various projects, rehearsals were … interesting. Not everybody was actually in the same room until dress rehearsal, which happened to be two hours before the opening-night performance. But director Lonny Price hired musical theater students to stand in and learn the parts for the benefit of the principal actors who were able to show up.
Rose says the pressure was on, and what could have been a disaster was a triumph. “It clicked because it had to,” she says. “Thank God for training and professionalism and dedication. It made for a pretty wrinkle-free production.”
She was far from embarrassed. The show opened on a Thursday and repeated Friday and twice on Saturday. “By Saturday night,” Rose says, we were brilliant.”
Rose was involved in a previous live broadcast into movie theaters, only that one was truly live from Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Rose was Juliet to Orlando Bloom’s Romeo in a Los Angeles Philharmonic evening of Tchaikovsky music.
“I think these broadcasts are wonderful,” she says. “They allow people access who wouldn’t otherwise get to see these things. And people can’t always afford a ticket to a show, never mind a ticket to the city, a hotel room, food, car rental. If you’re a family, it’s not even just you anymore. They also welcome people to an art form who might not think it’s for them, then they see it actually is for them and want to see the live thing. It’s a welcome mat to our art form, especially for people who might never have seen a live performance before. They see what it is we do, makes it familiar to them. It’s not so scary, not really stepping out of their realm.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
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Live (well, the West Coast version of live, which is actually three hours NOT live, but hey, we’re on the West Coast) 63rd Annual Tony Awards blogging!
Please comment and join the conversation! Hit refresh for anything new. P.S. Comments will be shared (with your permission) in the main part of the post as they arrive.
Warning: there’s liable to be a lot of gushing ahead because I LOVE Dolly Parton, Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Fonda, Angela Lansbury, Next to Normal, Billy Elliotand Broadway itself. It’s party night because it’s Tony night.
To get things going, here’s a handsome photo of our host for the evening, Neil Patrick Harris, who, after watching him host “Saturday Night Live,” deserves his own variety show (btw, so does Justin Timberlake, who was also brilliant on “SNL”). NPH sings, dances, has impeccable comic timing and is just cool as hell. Can we please bring back the variety show (and not the way Rosie O’Donnell, bless her Broadway-lovin’ heart, did last fall — that was a disaster!)??? Tony Awards host Neil Patrick Harris (Photo by the Associated Press)
It’s showtime! Fantastic opening number with Billy Elliot and fantastic counterpoint between West Side Story’s “Tonight” and Guys & Dolls’“Luck Be a Lady.”
Not entirely sure Stockard Channing (who looks AMAZING) should have been opposite the very young and very alive Aaron Tveit.
Shrek the Musical’s “Let Your Freak Flag Fly” was cute, but it looks like Disney gone haywire.
If only Dolly Parton were actually IN 9 to 5, I’d be there every night. Still, big love to Alison Janney, Stephanie J. Block and Megan Hilty, who actually are in the show.
Love Liza, but the vocals? Not so much.
The Hair revival definitely lets the sun shine in.
I’m so happy to see Dolly Parton on a Broadway stage. Don’t think she’ll be going home with any trophies, so let’s get her photo up here. Photo by Associated Press
Jane Fonda showing some major cleveage in a black gown. She presented the best performance by a featured actor in a play to Roger Robinson in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. That’s the play the Obamas saw last weekend. Photo by Associated press
The Shrek number: Trying too hard to blend Beauty and the Beast with Spamalot.
Says commenter “bracelets”: “The guy clapping after the SHREK number sums it up exactly.”
Tracy writes of the opening number: “Bret Michaels on the Tony’s? That’s a surprise. He called me when I was 21. I sent him fan mail and a poem. That crush is long over.”
James Gandolfini says he and Shrek are no relation. Fuggedaboutit. He and Jeff Daniels presented the best featured actress in a musical award to Angela Lansbury!!! This is her fifth Tony. God love her. She is the essence of gratitude and happiness and joy! Photo by Associated Press
Ah, a Mamma Mia moment — something for the viewers in the great Midwest.
Pre-broadcast award: Lee Hall best book of a musical for Billy Elliot. Now best score: winners Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey for Next to Normal. Well deserved. Fantastic cast album. How do you beat Elton John and Dolly Parton? Well, you write a kick-ass score. Kitt won for best orchestrations as well. It’s so incredibly rude to cut people off mid-speech. Sorry, guys.
West Side Story number: “Dance” at the Gym, “Tonight.” Could Matt Cavenaugh and Josefina Scaglione be any more adorable? And she almost didn’t hit that high note.
Could I look that good if I sleep with Tim Robbins? Kidding. All due respect to the wondrous Susan Sarandon. She gave the best director of a play award to Matthew Warchus for God of Carnage (he was also nominated for the trilogy The Norman Conquests).
Commenter Ms. Small, commenting on the West Side Story number says: “Josefina almost didn’t hit that high note because Matt Cavenaugh is de-LISH!mmmmm….” Um – that is probably true.
Sarandon also handed the best director of a musical award to Stephen Daldry of Billy Elliot — he also directed the movie on which the musical is based. Photo by Associated Press
Journey on the Tonys! I never stopped believin’ (neither did Liza Minnelli, all evidence to the contrary). Rock of Ages looks like a blast. And has anyone noticed that Journey, and specifically “Don’t Stop Believin'” has become super hot? (best use of the song on TV’s “Glee”) Photo by Associated Press
Commenter Trixie says: “I could use a glitter gun and some ginormous angel wings.” Honey, they’re in the mail.
Commenter Mike says: “Rock of Ages looks like the Hair of the 80’s. I want to SEE that.”
Edie Falco (stunning) presents the Tony for special event to Liza Minnelli and her boys for Liza’s at the Palace. Sorry, Will Ferrell. Thank God Slava’s Snow Show didn’t win. Boy did I hate that show on tour. What can you say about Liza except maybe: baby, take a breath. A really long breath. Photo by Associated Press
God of Carnage clip — not a great selling point (and what’s with that cracked mud artwork in the background?). Guys and Dollsnumber — saved by a hand mic. The guy in charge of sound tonight ought to look for work in the wonderful world of fast food.
Commenter Dyan says: “Some of these shows look like a big, fat, hot mess.”
We’re on a hot mess trend here. Ms. Small says: “Ok…Liza is just a hot mess…I’m sorry. `a great America treasure’ ok, Ok..OK…OKAY!!!…fine…hot mess. BUT, great hold tactic! Whenever I’m being played off the stage I’m totally pulling the `Wait, not yet! I have to thank my crazy-famous parents’ card!!!”
Creative arts Tonys (presented pre-broadcast): Regional theater Tony to Signature Theatre of Arlington, Va. Tie for orchestrations, Billy Elliot and Next to Normal. Blah blah blah, www.americantheatrewing.org.
Ghost of Broadway yet to come: John Stamos in Bye Bye Birdie. Could Bob Saget be far behind?
Gregory Jbara wins best featured actor in a musical for his role as Billy Elliot’s dad in Shrek — kidding — in Billy Elliot. He dragged his wife, Julie, up on stage with him. Really sweet speech.
And best featured actress in a musical goes to Karen Olivo as Anita in West Side Story. Her first Tony Award. Her advice: surround yourself with people who love you. Photo by Associated Press
Brilliant idea to have Carrie Fisher introduce Next to Normal: bipolar lady, meet bipolar musical. I know how brilliant this show is on disc — not sure it’s really coming across on the tube. OK. Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer and Aaron Tveit pulled it off. Electrifying.
Jessica Lange — a long way from Big Edie in HBO’s Grey Gardens — she makes reading glasses gorgeous and classy. She handed Geoffrey Rush his award for best actor in a play for his performance in Ionesco’s Exit the King. This is the Oscar winner’s first Tony. Classy Aussie. Photo by Associated Press
Bebe Neuwirth’s tribute to Natasha Richardson was affecting. Sorry they chose “Memory” as the underscore. Broadway Inspriational Voices’ “What I Did for Love” was lovely as we remembered Estelle Getty, Dale Waserman, Edie Adams, Bruce Adler, Horton Foote, James Whitmore, Sydney Chaplin, Clive Barnes, Marilyn Cooper, Tom O’Horgan, Bea Arthur, Ron Silver, Robert Prosky, Robert Anderson, Lee Solters, Pat Hingle, Anna Manahan, Sam Cohn, George Furth, Eartha Kitt, Hugh Leonard, Rodger MacFarlane, William Gibson, Tharon Musser, Paul Sills, Lawrence Miller and Paul Newman.
Commenter Ms. Small: “not to be vulgar during a sensitive time….the `in memoriam’ section…but you know someone thought about it being appropriate to have the vampire-hued Bebe Neuwirth introduce the dead people. right? very nicely done segment.” P.S. Ms. Neuwirth will be playing Morticia in the upcoming Addams Family musical.
Frank Langella, in whom awards season brings out the best, chided nominators for missing his brilliance in A Man for All Seasons last season. On with business: best actress in a play goes to Marcia Gay Harden for God of Carnage. I’m a little sad Jane Fonda didn’t win because I wanted to hear her speech. Whoops — in the intros they mixed up Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter. Shame, Tonys! Photo by Associated Press
Sir Elton introduces Billy Elliot, the show for which he wrote a wonderful score that, for the most part, doesn’t sound remotely like Elton John. Billy’s angry dance amid a riot is pretty phenomenal. Photo by Associated Press
Why oh why are we wasting precious prime time on Legally Blonde the Musical? Tours should get their own show — this is all about Broadway.
Harvey Fierstein, his clarion voice a thing of beauty, presents the best revival of a play award to The Norman Conquests, which is actually three plays. Delighted to see Jessica Hynes in the crowd up on stage accepting the award. She was in one of my favorite TV shows, the British series “Spaced.”
And best play goes to Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage. Not really much of a surprise there. Why does everyone associated with this play seem so downbeat? Photo by Associated Press
Commenter LY has a fashion note: “As my roommate put it, Marcia Gay Harden looks like an asparagus.”
Time for the tribute to Jerry Herman, a worthy and deserving candidate. He’s a true American treasure. Lots of good footage from the terrific documentary Words and Music by Jerry Herman. Lifetime achievement indeed. Great shot of a tearful Harvey Fierstein. “It just doesn’t get any better than this, does it?” the 77-year-old Herman said to the audience in mid-standing ovation. “The thing I want you to know is I will hold this moment fast because the best of times is now, is now, is now, is definitely now.” Photo by Associated Press
Anne Hathaway (scrumptious) should bolt from the Central Park production of Twelfth Night and join the cast of Hair. She’d probably have more fun. The well-heeled audience probably didn’t expect to have cast members’ crotches in their faces tonight. Lucky them.
Oh, look! It’s Kristin Chenoweth and the girls! They’re all up and out to present the best revival of a musical to Hair. Yay Oskar Eustis (artistic director of the Public Theater) — “Equality now!” Photo by Associated Press
Commenter Tracy says: “That hair number was kind of scary. I wouldn’t want Fringe Guy gyrating on my armrests.”
Commenter bracelets says: “Thanks, Oskar!”
David Hyde Pierce comes out to present leading actress in a musical. Oh hooray! It’s Alice Ripley from Next to Normal. Wow. She is fierce. And wonderful. And incredibly talented. Photo by Associated Press
Audra McDonald presents leading actor in a musical to the trio of Billys from Billy Elliot. Tony history is made as three actors win a single award. Completely adorable. David Alvarez, Kiril Kulish and Trent Kowalik. Photo by Associated Press
Ms. Small says of the winning Billys: “1. Precious! 2. Poised! and 3. Perfect!! Love those boys…”
Five Frankie Vallis makes this gratuitous tour moment worthwhile!
A final thought from commenter Tracy: “Sweet surrender! I want to see Jersey Boys again and again and again and again.”
And we’re coming to the finish line. Here’s Liza. Best musical goes to — no surprise here — Billy Elliot. Great to see all those kids on stage — Broadway needs young people. Photo by Associated Press
And that’s all, folks! A highly enjoyable evening. Neil Patrick Harris did a wonderful job (again, someone please get this man his own variety show!!!). At last they gave him a song! Apparently Angela Lansbury hooked up with Poison backstage. Great lyric about performing on your knees only working for Golden Globes.
In spite of the state of the world, Broadway looks to be in good shape — at least that’s how it seemed on TV.
A final thought from commenter Mike: “OMG. Five Frankie Vallis, Elton John, Dolly Parton and a cast of literally thousands. I have never seen an even comparable performance. Well, maybe Jersey Boys. But what a production! That was fantastic. I’m totally glad I got culture.”
Thanks to my commenters for making this evening so enjoyable for me. Now let’s all go see a Broadway show!