Tony Awards Red Carpet Brings Out Fashion’s Top Models

Francisco Costa with Kendal Jenner, Joan Smalls and Constance Jablonski, Dao-Yi Chow, Grace Mahary, and Maxwell Osborne. Images courtesy of @costafrancisco, @joansmalls @publicschoolnyc

Fashion world suddenly embraces the Tony Awards red carpet — here’s why that’s a good thing.

With so many Vogue cover girls on the Tony Awards red carpet, is it any surprise that the models featured in the fashion mag hit the awards show photo line too?

Fashion is New York’s industry — so is Broadway. Just because it’s unusual to see the two worlds merge doesn’t mean we couldn’t get used to witnessing some incredible runway fashion — courtesy of the industry’s top models — on a theatrically inclined red carpet. It’s the intertwining of some of New York’s best — so of course it makes sense. Seeing our city’s reasons for boasting in this joint party is cause for an extra jolt of New York pride.

Last night saw a bevy of favorite faces — Gigi Hadid showed up with Prabal Gurung wearing the designer and a handful of Chopard jewels, the Public School boys brought Grace Mahary on their arms, Calvin Klein creative director Francisco Costa‘s date was the lovely Kendall JennerJoan Smalls was there, Constance Jablonski wore Wes Gordon… Anna Wintour and daughter Bee Shaffer were in attendance as well.

Here’s to much more merry intermingling.

Bella Hadid wearing Prabal Gurung and Chopard. Image courtesy of @bellahadid

Grace Mahary, Dao-Yi Chow, Prabal Gurung, Bella Hadid, Hillary Rhoda, Joan Smalls and Maxwell Osborne. Image courtesy of @prabalgurung

Bella Hadid and Prabal Gurung. Image courtesy of @prabalgurung

Constance Jablonski. Image courtesy of Constance Jablonski

Tony Awards 2015: Is it Time For The Curtain To Close on The Award Show?

Tony Awards
Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori at the 2015 Tony Awards via CBS

The red-headed stepchild of awards shows, The Tony Awards, aired last night on CBS celebrating the accomplishments in Broadway Theater. Well, most of them, anyway.

To start off with the good, “Fun Home” snagged the award for Best Musical, a touching show that deals with sexuality, abuse, suicide and dysfunctional family life. Helen Mirren won for once again playing the Queen of England (but on stage this time). John Cameron Mitchell was awarded a special Tony for…being John Cameron Mitchell, I guess. Kristin Chenoweth was at her pixiest hosting, and co-host Alan Cumming strutted the stage in plum shorts.

But one of the reasons the Tony’s might need to be reevaluated (or put out of its misery) is the sheer pomp and circumstance that’s eclipsing honoring the true talent, hard work and perseverance the awards ostensibly celebrate.

The most egregious snub thanks to the CBS broadcast, in my opinion, was the exclusion of Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, the first female team to win the Tony for Best Original Score for “Fun Home”. Obviously, as the last four minutes of the broadcast showed, the American public needed to see a number from “Jersey Boys”, a decade-old jukebox musical, for the 11,00000th time. Yes. That’s surely more important than watching an historic achievement and an incredibly moving speech about working in the arts. The odd thing is, Original Score isn’t really a “minor” award (not that Costume Design or Set Design is, either, but…) so the choice not to air it to make room for another musical number baffles me. Yes, it’s a commercial affair and any attempt to boost ratings is expected, but at the expense of history?

The Tony’s have never been a ratings juggernaut (it had a paltry 7.24 Million in 2013, which was actually its highest in four years); compare that to the 36.6 Million the Oscars received this year (which is also pretty low). As disheartening it is that the general public seems to care less about the theater, it’s not surprising. Broadway is a very narrow slice of the theater world, and considering it’s geographically remote to most Americans and getting more and more expensive, there’s less reason to invest in it, emotionally or otherwise. And because of that, CBS cuts what the ceremony should actually be about to make a dog and pony show in a last-ditch effort. We’re not treated to live performances of the Best Play nominees, or coverage of all the awards. Instead, we watch musical numbers of shows that weren’t even nominated, or long rants by Larry David.

At this point, the Tony’s should probably move to a cable network who’ll produce it better. It’s breaking tradition for what has been a major award show to die a slow death, but if you’re not going to show awards going to the people who craft and create theater, well, what’s the point of an awards show?

Check out the full list of Tony Award winners here. 


Tearing The Roof Off This Sucker With New ‘August: Osage County’ Poster

The play-to-movie jump can be ambitious, sometimes amazing and sometimes treacherous, especially when dealing with an acclaimed work. Adding to the hype around the upcoming adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Tony Award-winning August: Osage County, about a dysfunctional Midwestern family coming together after a death, is the stacked cast in this ensemble performance, from the Mighty Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts to perpetual Tumblr crush Benedict Cumberbatch to other big names like Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis and Dermot Mulroney.

Now, the film version has a poster that certainly gets “Midwest,” “dysfunctional family” and “all-star cast” across. The names of the cast appear to be falling into a house with an open roof, like a tipped hat, of a very classic American home, complete with a white picket fence and a lovely porch. The film hits theatres this November.

[via Pop Culture Brain]

Broadway Gets Kinky: Tony Award Nominations Announced

Well, well, well, the truth comes out. The Great White Way’s kinky, laced-up, leathered side has officially slinked its way into the public eye with the announcement of this year’s Tony Award nominations – specifically the 13 nominations for Kinky Boots – the musical about a failing shoe factory’s success when it starts producing fetish footwear. With music by Cyndi Lauper, the musical adaptation of the 2005 British film garners the greatest number of nominations of any show this season. Couple that with the over-$1 million it makes a week, and it’s clear the people want kink with their song and dance, and Broadway knows how to deliver.

But beyond the sex, rock and roll, and more sex, the nominations also reveal that movie musicals are the only musicals worth producing on Broadway. Best musical nominees include: Bring It On, The Musical, A Christmas Story, The Musical, Kinky Boots, and Matilda The Musical, thereby proving that if you once paid $12 to see this story in cinemas, then it’s worth paying $125 to see it live and with song, percussion accompaniment, and revolving, wooden sets.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here.

The Voice Behind The Voices: Top Vocal Coach Liz Caplan

You’ve heard her joyously thanked in Tony and Emmy Award acceptance speeches, and you’ve sung along with the fruits of her work on record-breaking pop/rock albums, blockbuster movie musicals, and Broadway shows about Mormons and Dublin street musicians. As the voice behind the music industry’s top voices, vocal coach-teacher-supervisor Liz Caplan is a story all her own. Since arriving to New York in 1978 with just $300-worth of babysitting money, she’s amassed a clientele that includes The Goo Goo Dolls, James Blunt, Lily Allen, Neil Patrick Harris, the Broadway casts of Book of Mormon and Once, and more. And when you couple her students with her two apps, her consultation to all major record labels, and her team of associates that teach her licensed technique, a Liz Caplan empire is born.

But you’d never know it when you meet her. Clad in a bright tunic in her sun-lit Chelsea studio where you’re greeted by her very vocal and gentlemanly dog Schanuzee, Liz is the image of contentment. Better yet, joy. The secret: her mind-body approach to coaching. By mixing homeopathy, physical alignment, and nutrition, Liz has created a style that seeks to, as she explains, "melt" people – drawing forth their true spirit, and giving it the freedom to be heard in their voice. 

And she does exactly that. For an afternoon, I had the chance to have a lesson and conversation with Liz, where she shared some of the most thrilling moments of her career, a shocking singing no-no, the truth behind tone-deafness, and one miraculous story.

You have a kind of sixth sense, and you’re also a bit of a guru. When did you realize you have this talent to understand voices?
Since I was a child, I’ve always had this freaky gift of being able to hear what frequencies are missing in somebody’s voice. I’m able to locate it and hear when someone is locking their head, their shoulders, tensing their feet. The moment that tension is released, the sound pops open. I truly believe the voice is completely perfect; it’s what we do to it before we breath and sing that makes it imperfect. 

What’s it like for you to watch a live performance? Are you constantly in coaching mode?
I can’t help it, but the answer is yes. For instance, I work with Amanda Seyfried, and worked with her on the movie version of Les Miserables. When I sat down next to her to watch the premiere, which was so exciting, I told myself, "Okay self, relax, let the movie just wash over you." But I couldn’t help but dive into every person’s voice. It’s just what I do. When it comes to what you were put on this Earth to do, for me it’s analyze voices.

How did you prepare her for the role of Cosette?
Amanda didn’t just get an offer; she had to audition a bunch of times. She came into classes pretty much everyday for six months. There was a moment where I said, "I’m going to make this happen for her. I’m going to do everything I possibly can to get her this role." And I still have the voicemail on my phone when she called and said, "Hi. I’m calling to let you know I just got off the phone with the director. And I’m Cosette." 

You have so many thrills like this.
I think it’s the kind of thrills I’m supposed to have in my life. When I was a singer, I couldn’t handle them, but when I apply them to my students, I can; it’s so joyous because it’s in my heart but outside of me. It’s like the energy my client, composer/lyricist and performer Lin Manuel Miranda, gives off everyday. It’s pure joy, because you’re doing what you’ve always wanted to do. So my applause is when my client gets the part.

What about the time Book of Mormon actress Nikki M. James won the Tony? 
I was in the third row because I was working with Neil Patrick Harris on the Tony Awards, as I always do, and when Nikki said, "to Liz Caplan, my voice teacher who saved my life and my voice," my husband turned to me and said: "She just said your name." And I went into this place where a vacuum happened and I had to watch it myself to remember it. 

You work mostly with clients sent by Broadway producers and management companies. But you also do emergency consulting work with record labels. 
Yes, recording companies will call me when an artist has to do a really huge gig and they were on tour and suddenly lost their voice. I’ll be with them for an entire day and give intermediate voice lessons – 15 minutes here, 20 minutes here, 30 minutes here – from 9am to when they do their gig at night.

And that doesn’t overwork their voice?
Nothing I do will ever fatigue the voice. I feel like when I’m teaching, I have a miner’s cap on with a flashlight. I’m always inside the voice and throat and trying to get a feel for what’s going on. Everything I do is to limber up the intrinsic muscles that cause that fatigue and are overcompensated. 

What’s it like promoting a healthy, holistic vocal approach in an industry known for debauchery?
I’ll never judge what artists want to do with their mind and body, but I do feel that if you want to be at the top of your field and aim for that award, then you want to take care of yourself; do yoga, meditate for just 10 minutes a day, eat properly. It can be a hard, depressive industry, and if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’ll always feel a step behind the artists who work out, eat right, win awards. If you treat yourself positively, all of that will actualize itself positively into your career. 

Besides drinking and depressing yourself to death, what’s the #1 worst thing for your voice?
Advil. Do not take Advil. Ibuprofen is a blood thinner, so it thins the blood going to the vocal cords. If you’re singing something really hard and you’re taking ibuprofen, the risk of hemorrhaging your vocal cord is tremendous. Take extra strength Tylenol. 

Be honest: do you think anyone can sing?
Yes. If you can hear the pitches of police or fire engine sirens, then you can sing.

Then what about tone-deafness? Does that exist?
Actually, no. People who say they are tone deaf were just not exposed to music growing up. I call them "tone-ignorant." They were usually very into athletics as a kid, and rarely saw shows or listened to music, so they weren’t exposed to any music. With a good deal of lessons, it’s easy to reverse, and always a revelation for them when they finally hear themselves sing in-tune. 

Four paws appear underneath the door, as Schnauzee scratches to come in. Liz opens the door, and he takes a seat beside her.

Your dog can really sing. How old is he?
Eleven. He got diagnosed with cancer in June, during Tony week when I was working with Neil. They gave him 30 days to live and said he has the worst kind of cancer an animal can get. So I called all of my homeopathic healers and medical intuits, and today is day 188. He’s on supplements and enzymes and I cook him organic food. 

And it’s gone?
He’s in remission. He went into remission on the day they said he would not live. While the medical professionals told me nothing would help him, my homeopath said, "This is going to be hard, but if you do this regimen, you might be able to get him okay." And he was. I will tell you, I have had students who have won Tony Awards, Grammys, all of that, and this is my biggest accomplishment yet.

Josh Gad

Your Daily Guide To Trending Topics

Every day there are some topics that are trending. Since many of them don’t make sense, we provide easy contextualization. Also, this way, you won’t actually have to know anything about anything.

Tony Awards

Who knew Google users were so theatrical? The trendingest term on the site this morning has to do with last night’s awards show, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, which celebrated all things theater. Once, adapted from the twee movie of the same name, took the award for Best Musical, and the beloved revival of Clybourne Park took the award for Best Play.

Auburn University

Googlers are also curious about Auburn University or, more specifically, the shooting that took place near its campus Sunday. A pool party was interrupted, cops say, when Desmonte Leonard arrived at the soiree, shot three people dead and wounded three others in what might have been a fight over the affections of a lady. Leonard is still at large. Though people are tying the crime to the nearby school and its football team, but Auburn’s police chief has said, “The only connection that the Auburn football team has to this is they are victims of a brutal shooting. Sometimes the young men get a bad rap, I feel like, but they are the victims today.” 

Deena Cortese

Yahoo! users are more interested in the crimes of Jersey Shore star Cortese, who was arrested Sunday in Seaside Heights, NJ for disorderly conduct. According to TMZ, this came after a weekend that saw the show’s gents get into a bar brawl that left one cast member with a sprained ankle.  Since Snooki’s about to be a mom, someone’s gotta take over her role of being an out-of-control boardwalk hobbit. You can check out a video of the ordeal here.

Joe Paterno’s Will

Something else capturing the minds of Yahoo searchers this morning is the odd news that the will of the late Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach who died in January (and was tied up in all of that nasty pedophilia scandal stuff), has been mysteriously sealed. And it goes deeper than that. “Even the judge’s sealing order and the petition a Paterno attorney filed to request the order were sealed, erasing from the public record any explanation for the maneuver, which estate law experts and the Centre County register of wills called exceedingly rare,” reported Citizen’s Voice, a local newspaper. Something creepy’s going on! 


You’re doing better today, Twitter. While most of your worldwide trending topics are still exceptionally simple minded, in the U.S., news about tennis and the alleged butchering of some interesting Jeb Bush quotes are trending. Unfortunately, it’s just people postings the same stories again and again. Here and here. For variety in tweets, we had to go with this charmer. You’re welcome.  

THe One 4

The One 3

The One 2

The One 1

‘Nice Work’ for the 2012 Tony Award Nominees

If you were part of a big revival, adapted a popular film this year, or were involved in a production involving music by the Gershwins, you’re probably up for a Tony Award. Congratulations!

Leading the nomination pack for the American stage honors is Once, the adaptation of The Swell Season’s sweet little indie musical that could, with 11 nominations including Best Musical, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Choreography, with a revival of Porgy & Bess and Nice Work If You Can Get It (an appropriate musical title for these times, no?), the jazz-era musical comedy starring Matthew Broderick and some Gerswhwin jams, following close behind with 10 each. Rounding out "Best Musical" are Newsies and Leap of Faith.

Peter Pan tale Peter & The Starcatcher, Pulitzer Prize-winner Clybourne Park, family drama Other Desert Cities (starring Stockard Channing, also up for an award) and David Ives’ Venus In Fur are the nominations for Best Play.

Other adapted musicals include the recently-launched stage version of the Disney cult film Newsies and Bonnie & Clyde, which is up for Best Original Score. Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, the Bono-backed, (formerly) Julie Taymor-helmed musical theatre punchline of the summer, still found itself with two nominations, for Scenic Design and Costume Design.

In a year full of revivals—including the usual crop of Lloyd Webbers, Sondheims (Follies!) and Gershwins—there were a few standouts in the Best Revival category, notably the Diane Paulus-directed production of the latter’s Porgy and Bess, the biblical funk of Jesus Christ Superstar and a new production of Evita starring Ricky Martin as Che and Argentine actress Elena Roger as Eva Perón. BlackBook’s own Tyler Coates sat down with Roger and Michael Cerveris, who plays Juan Perón, back in April to talk about the production.

"It was big when it opened on Broadway, but in Argentina, everyone was like, Oh they did a musical about Evita," Roger says of the original production and the response to it in her home country. "Some hated it, and some loved it. But still, it was not Argentina. That’s why I believe in this production—even Andrew Lloyd Webber now says the arrangements have a more Argentinian flavor."

Play revivals up for top honors include Death of A Salesman (star Philip Seymour Hoffman is also up for Best Actor), Wit (and Cynthia Nixon for Best Actress) and Master Class (James Earl Jones up for Best Actor).

A full list of nominations can be found over at the WaPo. The Tonys will be held on June 10th. Ever-popular host Neil Patrick Harris returns for another year, which means we can expect more production numbers like this one:

And here’s a look at Once: The Musical:

Nice Work If You Can Get It:

Rupert Gets Spanked and a Queen Is Crowned

Happy May Day! Occupy Wall Street’s general strike is today with protests planned in 135 cities. [Occupy]

In case you want to see some action on the screen, the third trailer for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming mother of all films, The Dark Knight Rises, has been released and features even more explosions and flying cars than we had previously seen. Don’t pretend like you won’t be waiting in line to see this one opening weekend. [YouTube]

In dethroning news of the day, in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, a British parliamentary panel has decided that media mogul Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run his empire. [NYT]

The nominations for the 2012 Tony Awards were announced this morning, and the little guy doesn’t always lose—the musical that could, Once, based on the sweet albeit twee film of the same name, swept up, garnering 11 nominations. [Tony Awards]

If you know gay people, and you should, you’ll know that last night RuPaul’s Drag Race, perhaps the best reality show around, crowned a winner for its fourth season. We won’t spoil it for you, but we will say that we are very, very pleased with the outcome. Oh whatever, fine, it was Sharon Needles. [EW]

The Poetics of Mark Rylance

Perhaps understanding that the Tonys get very little press outside of New York, Best actor winner Mark Rylance from Boeing-Boeing did his best at this past Sunday’s ceremony to ensure that the rest of us stood up and took notice. A little excerpt from his acceptance speech: ‘When you are in town, wearing some kind of uniform is helpful. Policeman, priest, etc. Driving a tank is very impressive…. If that isn’t to your taste you could join the revolution…. If you go into the woods…it is a good idea to wear orange and carry a gun. Otherwise it might appear that you have no idea what you are doing.” Forget the misty eyes, the granny tributes, the interracial smooches, and the operatic proclamations-of-love-while-jumping-erratically-across-the-stage (who was that guy again?)—this was a simple, understated poetry reading (a piece called ”Back Country,” by Minnesota poet Lewis Jenkins), and it was truly one for the ages. View it after the jump.