Friday, December 06, 2013

Intersections: The Music of Ellis and Williamson

My friend Sarah Taylor Ellis and her songwriting partner Lane Williamson are going to have a concert of their music at 54 Below next Thursday night. If you want to see them before they're famous, now is your chance. For 20% off the cover charge (which is already pretty cheap at $10), use code EW54BLOG. Here's the official description of the concert:

At the intersection of classic musical theater and contemporary classical music, Sarah Taylor Ellis and Lane Williamson's vernacular art songs cut to the core. Their smart and contemplative music encompasses settings of prose, sonnets, and tumblr posts, and their new chamber musical The Yellow Wallpaper adapts Charlotte Perkins Gilman's early feminist short story into a haunting theatrical work. Join Ellis and Williamson for the 54 Below debut of a distinctive new songwriting team. 

Featuring Michael Parker Ayers, Christina Benedetto, Sally Eidman, Camden Gonzales, Karen Hayden, Rachel Lee, Travis Leland, Mary Kate Morrissey, Rachel Sussman, David Alan Thornton, Rebecca Tucker, and Max Vernon.

For more about the concert and to purchase tickets, click here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How To Make Friends and Then Kill Them

Halley Feiffer is a talented actress and her play How To Make Friends and Then Kill Them, now playing at Rattlestick, proves that she is one to watch as a playwright as well.
Photo credit: Hal Horowitz
How To Make Friends... is sometimes weird, sometimes disturbing, but never boring. It's about two sisters, Ada (Katya Campbell) and Sam (Keira Keeley) who have an alcoholic mother and no friends, until Ada befriends another social outcast, Dorrie (Jen Ponton). The play follows the characters from the age of ten and revisits them at adolescence, young adulthood, and adulthood. Feiffer uses repetition--a technique that could be annoying or heavy-handed--effectively throughout the play with dialogue and actions, such as a hand-clapping game, being brought back throughout, but changing as power dynamics shift. The play is most successful (and funniest) in the early years as Feiffer effectively captures young female relationships and the cast are believable as children and teens. Campbell is especially fun to watch when she taps into Ada's mean girl side. The cast is strong throughout, but the play becomes increasingly dark and less realistic. Still, Feiffer has tapped into something here, and I'm curious to see her voice as a playwright continue to develop. 

Contest: Win the Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Cast Recording

Update: The contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. The winner was picked at random. Congratulations Max Schwager!

One of the biggest off-Broadway success stories right now is Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812. David Malloy's immersive musical based on War and Peace started out at Ars Nova in 2012. It then had a special venue in the Meatpacking District built specifically for its second run and it's now playing at the Theater District's supper club Kazino through January 5.

I'm giving away a copy of the new cast recording, which will be released on December 10 and features Malloy, David Abeles, Phillipa Soo, Lucas Steele, and more. In order to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite cast recording. You can also tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it (if you enter this way, you must be following on Twitter to win). You can enter once each way for a total of two entries. A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries on Friday, November 22, at noon. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Contest: Win Tickets to Macbeth

Update: The contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. The winner was picked at random. Congratulations @lanewilliamson!

I'll be honest. I have a bit of Macbeth fatigue. It seems like there's a production or two every year. But as soon as the cast for the Lincoln Center Theater production directed by Jack O'Brien was announced, it became a must see. Most exciting for me are Brian d'Arcy James as Banquo and Malcom Gets, John Glover, and Byron Jennings as the witches. Ethan Hawke plays the title role opposite Anne-Marie Duff.

Here's a trailer:

In order to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me who in the cast you're most excited to see. You can also tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it (if you enter this way, you must be following on Twitter to win). You can enter once each way for a total of two entries. A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries on Wednesday, November 20, at 5 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

If you don't win and still want to see the show at a discount, you can use the code MACBLOG89 or use the link here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

5 Reasons to See The Jacksonian

There are five reasons to see the New Group's production of Beth Henley's new play The Jacksonian at Theatre Row and they are: Ed Harris, Glenne Headly, Amy Madigan, Bill Pullman, and Juliet Brett. The Jacksonian is intriguing throughout its 85 minutes (the perfect length for this play), but its made even better by the performances.
Ed Harris and real-life wife Amy Madigan; Photo credit: Monique Carboni
Ed Harris plays dentist Bill Perch (Harris), who is staying at the Jacksonian hotel because his wife Susan (Madigan) kicked him out (it's 1964). He is just the right amount of scary (and may put you off from going to the dentist any time soon), but also gets across the character's more human side. Madigan's Susan is just as unhinged. Newcomer Brett plays their 16-year-old daughter and is completely believable as a teenager who is still innocent, but starting to understand more about the world. I know Headly as Mr. Holland's wife in Mr. Holland's Opus, but she is completely transformed here as a fun-loving maid who appears to have no morals. Pullman is likewise unrecognizable as a creepy bartender, far from the presidents and romantic figures he's played in the past, retaining just enough charm so you can see why the female characters are drawn to him.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Contest: Win Tickets to Nothing to Hide

Update: The contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. The winner was picked at random. Congratulations Jose Solís!

Following a sold out run in Los Angeles, Nothing to Hide is now playing at the Pershing Square Signature Center through December 8. Sleight-of-hand artists Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimarães star in this unconventional magic show directed by Neil Patrick Harris. I have a voucher to give away for tickets to see the show through November 5. Because that's coming up soon, I will pick the winner tomorrow at 3 p.m. to give the winner enough time to see the show.

In order to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to see the show. You can also tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it (if you enter this way, you must be following on Twitter to win). You can enter once each way for a total of two entries. A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries on Tuesday, October 29, at 3 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

An Early Preview of The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters

Playwrights Horizons invited me to attend and write about an early preview of The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters by Marlane Meyer. I say this to make clear that I'm not breaking any press embargoes. The show wasn't really for me, so I want to explore why that is rather than just give a review because as I said, it was one of the first previews.

Aubrey (Laura Heisler) gets out of her small western town to become a doctor but she comes back to open a free clinic. She starts to date her high school crush Calvin (Rob Campbell). There are a number of other eccentric characters, all played by the four other people in the cast (Candy Buckley, Haynes Thigpen, Danny Wolohan, and Jacqueline Wright), who all do an impressive job of making each character distinct. It seems like a straightforward enough story, but I struggled to make sense of it all. The tone is very over-the-top, but towards the end it seemed like we were supposed to feel something for the characters, which I had trouble doing. And when the characters make political statements and look at the audience, I wasn't sure if those were supposed to be taking seriously or if that was Meyer's way of making fun of characters used as a mouthpiece for the playwright.

Not that we can always know what a playwright intends or that it matters in how we experience a play, but in this case I wanted to know what Meyer was going for. I always appreciate the material Playwrights Horizons has material available on the website about their playwrights. I listened to interviews with Meyer, and she says Patron Saint is a love story and it's about trying to work out your dumb ideas about love and how you trick yourself. I did get that from the story, but the way it was told alienated me.

Discount Tickets to The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters
Regular run: October 18-December 1
Tues-Fri at 7:30, Sat at 2 & 7:30, Sun at 2 & 7
Order by Nov. 5 and use the code SAINTBLOG
$40 (reg. $60) for all performances Oct. 18-Dec. 1
Call Ticket Center at (212) 279-4200 noon to 8 p.m. daily
In person: Ticket Central Box Office, 416 W. 42nd Street between 9th & 10th Avenues

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Contest: Win Tickets to Disaster!

Update: The contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. The winner was picked at random. Congratulations Amanda S!

Do you like '70s music, Mary Testa, Seth Rudetsky, and/or disaster movies? If yes, then you might want to enter this contest to win a pair of tickets to Disaster! A 1970s Disaster Movie Musical, which takes place in 1979 at the grand opening of Manhattan's first floating casino and discotheque.

In order to win*, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite '70s song. You can also tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it (if you enter this way, you must be following on Twitter to win). You can enter once each way for a total of two entries. A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries on Friday, October 25, at 5:30 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

*Winner will receive a ticket voucher redeemable for two tickets to a performance of his/her choice through November 20, 2013. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

If you don't win tickets, you can still see the show at a discount.

$39.50 (tickets are regularly $79.50) for October 14th through November 1st
$49.50 November 5th and beyond

Online: Visit and enter code DIRRGEN
Phone: Call 212-947-8844 and mention code DIRRGEN

Restrictions: Offer may revoked at any time and is subject to availability. Not valid on prior purchase. Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions; blackout dates and restrictions may apply. Maximum of 10 tickets with offer. Ticket price includes $1.50 facility fee.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Limitations of Theater

As much as I love theater, even I have to admit that it has its limitations, just like any medium, and not all works translate to the stage. John Grisham's A Time To Kill might be one of those works. It's possible that a production could be more effective than the one adapted by Rupert Holmes and directed by Ethan McSweeny that opened last night at the Golden Theatre, but I doubt it would ever really work as a play.
Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
In a small town in Mississippi, a 10-year-old black girl is raped by two white men. Her father, Carl Lee Hailey (John Douglas Thompson), takes the law into his own hands and kills the rapists in a courthouse. He hires Jake Brigance (Sebastian Arcelus) as his attorney. It's a compelling story that brings up interesting questions about justice and race, though that mostly gets lost in this production.

The 1989 novel was turned into a popular movie in 1996. But there is a lot you can do on film that you can't do on a stage due to budget and size of cast. Projections are used for some scenes, such as to show a crowd of protestors, but that's just not as scary as it would be to see a mob of KKK members, who threaten Brigance and his family (they are never shown; neither is Hailey's daughter). All of the violence takes place offstage and there is a more humor than necessary, which makes it easy to forget the stakes involved. It's difficult to watch a play that includes description of the rape of a 10-year-old girl and some lightness to relieve the tension is welcome, but at times it plays too much like a comedy.

It is fun to watch Patrick Page chew scenery as the smarmy D.A. And it's nice to see the dependable Thompson in a big Broadway role, but I hope next time to see him star in a play that will stay with you longer than the subway ride home.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Revisiting a Playwright's Early Work

Keen Company's revival of Jon Robin Baitz's The Film Society is the first time the playwright's work has been revived in New York, but one has to wonder why. When a playwright has success, as Baitz had with Pulitzer-finalist Other Desert Cities, it can be appealing to go back and revisit his early writing, but maybe this creaky 1988 play didn't need a second look.

The Film Society of the title is one run by young teacher Jonathon Balton (Euan Morton) at a boarding school in South Africa in the 1970s. His colleague Terry Sinclair (David Barlow) is an activist whose politics shake things up at the school while Jonathon tries to stay out of the politics as best he can.

A play about a boarding school with no students is already lacking something and the production is low on energy. Director Jonathan Silverstein stages each scene similarly with the actors standing around rather stiffly conversing with one another. It becomes tedious. I'm generally a fan of Keen Company, but I guess every company is bound to have the occasional miss.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Q&A with Michael Mitnick

If you don't know the name Michael Mitnick yet, you probably will soon. His musical Fly by Night (co-written with Will Connolly and Kim Rosenstock) will get its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons in May, 2014. He's writing the book for Broadway-bound Animal House (with music and lyrics by David Yazbek), and he wrote the screenplay for a little movie called The Giver. And this Monday, September 9, he is having his "first public concert in 30 years" at Joe's Pub in honor of his 30th birthday. The concert will include performances from Santino Fontana, Will Connolly, Austin Durant, Peter Friedman, Jessica Grove, and more. Somehow he found some time to talk to me. So read on if you want to know more about the concert, his upcoming projects, or just want to see my failed attempts to not fangirl over David Yazbek too hard.

Q: So tell me a little about this concert of yours.
A: It's my first concert in 30 years. First public concert. It's a collection of songs that I wrote on my own or in collaboration with friends on different projects. Ones where I wrote both music and lyrics with friends. And then I think the only song that fits outside of it is from the musical King Kong [ed note: yes, that King Kong musical] where I did the lyrics and the band Massive Attack did the music.

Q: Are most of the songs stand-alone or from a musical?
A: Almost every song is from a musical. I think there are four different musicals represented and then there are three stand-alone songs.

Q: Are you performing?
A: Thankfully it will mostly be the professionals. I'm going to do two or three songs at the piano but it's best to hand these things off to the professionals. Also I have tremendous stage fright, so it would be ugly.

Q: Are the people that are involved friends of yours?
A: Almost everyone I knew from various projects. Daniel Jenkins, who was in Big River and Big and really any musical that has "big" in the title except Big Fish was in a play of mine at Second Stage called Sex Life of Our Parents. That was a straight play, but I grew up listening to him on records and he and I have a shared affinity for almost the same pop culture touchstones so we bonded over that. Peter Friedman is going to be in a workshop of Fly by Night that we're about to do at Playwrights and so I seized that opportunity to poach him a few days early and asked if he would do a song that he's going to do in the workshop at the concert. He also happened to be in the first Broadway show that I saw which was Ragtime.

Q: So what are those pop culture touchstones that you have an affinity for as you mentioned?
A: Most of all, Back to the Future. [ed note: internal monologue at this point, "Don't spend the rest of the interview talking about Back to the Future."] The trilogy. Even the third one isn't that bad. Danny and I both love those. We have a similar sense of humor and I think I make him rather uncomfortable asking him what it was like being an enormous child star on Broadway because I have fantasies of what my childhood would have been like had I not grown up doing close-up magic in front of a mirror in Pittsburgh but instead was in the hit musical.

Q: Actually, your sense of humor is something I noticed on your website and the blurbs for the concert. Very self-deprecating. Do you see yourself that way?
A: I think with any writer, self-deprecation is necessary otherwise you just come across as hugely arrogant. Which of course I'm not. But I find it amusing. One of the reasons I wanted to do the concert was that I hadn't done one and a lot of my friends who are younger writers of the theater seem to do one every week. And consequently it got to the point where people didn't realize until Fly by Night that I wrote songs. And songwriting is where I started. It's what I did most of my classes in in undergrad. I thought I wanted to do film scoring. And at the same time trying to figure out what I wanted to do for my 30th. But I think at the same time, asking people to show up and listen to songs I wrote requires a certain amount of chutzpah, so I'm going to try to make it fun and people will see that in the introductions to the songs and also in the way that I'm marketing it.

Q: Is there one moment that you consider your big break?
A: I went to graduate school at Yale Drama and studied playwriting and while I was there I kept writing songs, but what I did is I used that time to write a lot, so I graduated with three or four plays and I was able to hit the ground running. My big break was through Chris Burney at Second Stage for taking one of those plays, Sex Lives of Our Parents, and giving me my first New York production. At the same time, my path had a couple of times crossed with Adam Guettel through various master classes and he recommended me to write lyrics on this spectacle of King Kong that's currently playing in Australia and that allowed me to keep a roof over my head for my first two years in New York. And I got an agent in grad school and I did a song called "Darryl is a Boy (and he Lives in My Closet)" that'll be in my concert and I played that song and a song from Fly by Night at a showcase night put together by my agency and through a weird course of events Broadway producer Jeffrey Richards heard the songs and liked my sense of humor and asked if I wanted to audition to write a musical version of Animal House and I politely said no. I don't think you can take a hit movie and then make it into a musical. And then my agent said, "Are you fucking crazy? You have no money and this is a Broadway show." And so it became about trying to find what I could do that a) wouldn't cause damage but b) would actually make the material more exciting to see onstage.

Q: Every time I see an announcement about a musical in development, I think, "I'll believe it when I see it." So for Animal House, how close is it to being a reality?
A: I think we're about two seasons away. We really want to make sure that we get it right and not throw it up before it's ready. But we have a significant portion of it written. We're constantly writing and rewriting.

Q: David Yazbek is one of my favorite musical theater composers. What's it been like working with him?
A: We're very like-minded. We're two cranky Jewish people. We just have a lot of fun together. He's someone who's so skilled at comedy and comic situations that there really is what you would hope for in a collaboration. It isn't I do book and he does music and lyrics. He absolutely writes all the songs himself, but he knows also because I'm a songwriter that I throw out ideas and we talk about the songs. And similarly we reconfigured the opening of the show based on an idea that he had. We mostly just have a lot of fun hanging out and playing with his dog and then eventually getting down to work.

Q: What do you listen to when you're writing?
A: I used to be able to listen to music with lyrics when I wrote. I'd listen to a lot of Beatles or Belle and Sebastian or Elbow. Now it's harder for me for some reason in the last year. I get distracted by lyrics. So I listen to Tchaikovsky or Ravel or Prokofiev or nothing. More often than not it's silence.

Q: What shows or artists have inspired you?
A: I never wanted to copy the sound but more the ambition. Writers that are touchstones for me are Tennessee Williams and Kaufman and Hart. Chris Durang. David Lindsay-Abaire. Paula Vogel. Lynn Nottage. Songwriters: Frank Loesser, Kander and Ebb, Steve Sondheim, and for three or four summers I was Ahrens and Flaherty's assistant. So they were really responsible, whether they'd like to be or not, for my early education in songwriting.

Q: You said Ragtime was your first show, so is that a coincidence that you ended up working with them?
A: Stephen Flaherty is from Pittsburgh where I'm from and when Ragtime came out it happened to be the first show that I saw. And I also loved it. I thought it was hugely ambitious. I thought it was intensely melodic and I thought the lyrics were very carefully constructed. And when I was in high school and I saw Ragtime at the same time I started to write musicals with friends, I got out the white pages and I looked up Stephen Flaherty's parents in the phonebook and as a brash annoying kid I called them up on the phone and I said I'm a huge fan of your son. They were lovely people and they said, "Steve can't come, but we'll come see the show." And so they came and saw my high school show and I gave them a copy of my demo score and they sent it to Flaherty and he wrote back with a very carefully-worded critical six-page single-spaced letter which I still have, taking me through my show and giving me a couple of years education in an afternoon. And we stayed in touch. And when it came time for them to do A Man of No Importance at Lincoln Center I was hired as their assistant to fetch coffee and update the music score and make sure that all the lyric updates went to everyone in the cast and they were wonderful people to work for and very supportive.

Q: I always like to ask this question because I really like themed drinks, so if you had a themed drink for your Joe's Pub show, what would it be called and what would be in it?
A: It would be something highly alcoholic because I'd want people to enjoy the show more. It would be called the Michael Mitnick and it just be a cup of Hendrick's Gin. Not exciting but it gets the job done.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Contest: Win Tickets to A Time To Kill

Update: The contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. The winner was picked at random from all the entries. Congratulations Amanda F!
Well, summer is unofficially over, but that means the fall Broadway season is almost here. One of the new plays this season is Rupert Holmes' adaptation of John Grisham's novel A Time To Kill, about a young lawyer defending a black man for taking the law into his hands after a horrible crime is committed against his daughter. Previews begin on September 28 at the John Golden Theatre with an official opening set for October 20. The cast includes Sebastian Arcelus, Patrick Page, Tonya Pinkins, and Tom Skerritt.

In order to win a pair of tickets to see the show, leave a comment on this post telling me which novel you would like to see adapted into a play. For an extra entry, tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it. You must be following on Twitter for the extra entry. A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries on Friday, September 6, at 5:30 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Hey all. I know you enjoy contests, so I wanted to let you know that my friends at Seasons of Savings are running a contest every Wednesday for the run of the program. It's called Win it Wednesdays and you can win a pair of tickets to participating shows and drinks for two at Inc Lounge. For more information and to enter, visit Facebook.

Season of Savings is a special-edition Playbill with tons of discounts to Broadway and off-Broadway shows, restaurants, and more. Participating shows this year include Annie, Big Fish, Chicago, A Christmas Story, Cinderella, First Date, and more.

While we're on the subject, check back on Tuesday for a contest for tickets to an upcoming Broadway show.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Bluest Drink: Q&A with Max Friedman and Charlie Rosen

If you're reading this blog, you're probably a Sondheim fan. (If not, why are you reading a theater blog? Did you think it was a science blog? If so, I apologize). Anyway, this Monday, August 26, at 10 p.m. at (le) poisson rouge, there is going to be a multimedia revue of Stephen Sondheim called The Bluest Ink. Everyone involved in the show is under 25 years old (way to make me feel like an underachiever). It stars Kasie Gasparini, Will Roland, Ariella Serur, and Keith White and there will be projections with animation by Ilana Schwartz. The show was conceived and directed by Max Friedman, who is also a director and producer of Charlie Rosen's Broadway Big Band, which frequently plays at 54 Below. The Charlie Rosen of the big band is also the arranger for The Bluest Ink. You might remember him from The Craze, the band in One Man Two Guvnors. I sat down with Friedman and Rosen to learn more about the show.

Q: How did you get the idea for the show?
Friedman: Well, in high school, many of us did love Sondheim and in exploring some of his lesser known material I discovered the show Saturday Night and loved that it was a show about young people in their early 20s in New York City even though it was set in the 1920s, I loved the energy of that show and I loved the song "What More Do I Need." I realized that a lot of Sondheim material deals with young people problems. And also a lot of them could be really contemporized to tell today's stories, millennial stories, and as I got into my 20s, it became clearer and clearer to me that there was a show there and a couple of new stories to tell using that material.

Q: Can you talk about any of the songs that you're going to use in the show?
Friedman: Kind of. Without giving too much away, there are songs in the show from Merrily We Roll Along and Company, both of which deal with like we said New York City and somewhat young people and things that they face. There's also songs that are a little bit of a blank canvas like unproduced films, songs from Evening Primrose which people don't know as well what the meaning of them is even if the songs are really well known as is the case with "I Remember," which lends the show its title.

Q: What do you think gives millennials a unique perspective?
Friedman: I think people who have come of age in this time period, we've been inundated with a crazy amount of technology. I don't remember ever not having a cell phone or Facebook. That's really unique and that's something we explore a little bit in the show. Not so much Facebook, but cell phones and instant gratification and instant communication are really millennial ideas and almost values in a way that we're exploring in this show. Digital misconception--how easy it is to take a text out of context.
Rosen: Music-wise we're using contemporary jazz. I personally think that jazz is a very New York and metropolitan genre in general. But what it's become by being played also by kids in there 20s that study it and how that's different than more traditional sounding jazz. You can use complex Sondheim harmony in that genre but still be modern with it.
Friedman: When I heard jazz, I thought it might sound stuffy, but I'm dazzled with how contemporary and dynamic Charlie's arrangements are.

Q: Are there other musical theater composers that you think would benefit from this kind of presentation?
Rosen: Cole Porter.
Friedman: I mean we haven't given a ton of thought to doing a show like this with other composers, but we do do a lot of contemporizing of Broadway in our other long-term project which Charlie can talk a little bit more about.
Rosen: It's called Charlie Rosen's Broadway Big Band. It's a 17-piece jazz orchestra. It's had kind of a residency of 54 Below. We take old and we turn it to new and we have a rotating line-up of Broadway stars. Or sometimes we take new and we make it sound traditional in a cool way as well.
Friedman: Yeah, we love playing with the classic Broadway sound and how it relates to modern sounds that you hear on the radio and just playing the two back and forth. I think there is something really genius about the way Charlie is able to navigate classic and modern and bridge them together and make them feel like you can't tell the difference.

Q: What do you attribute your success at such a young age to?
Rosen: A combination of enthusiasm, professionalism, and hours of practice and trial-and-error.
Friedman: And not being afraid to take on big projects at a young age. We really are self-starters on every project we've done together. We just felt like we really had a show here and really had something to say with it and so we booked a date and just did it. That's the biggest thing that got our foot in the door.
Rosen: Just do it.
Friedman: Just do it. And also not being told that you're too young to do anything. I certainly have not been told that and if somebody did tell me that, I really wouldn't listen because I know that we're not.
Rosen: Don't half-ass it.
Friedman: Absolutely and don't be afraid to make a big mistake if you're also not going to be afraid to capitalize on the opportunity that comes with every mistake.

Q: How did the animator get involved?
Rosen: The animator is a friend of mine from a performing arts camp that I went to... I've been writing film scores to her animations for the past three years.
Friedman: When I pitched the show to Charlie, I mentioned that my dream was to have it be integrated with animations of New York City that felt really new and not Hirschfeld-y at all. Not that I don't love Hirschfeld. I just wanted something that's a unique voice. The new headline on this article is "Bluest Ink Director Hates Al Hirschfeld." I love Al Hirschfeld. I almost got the Ethel Merman tattooed on my body. But I didn't.

Q: Do you have a favorite Sondheim song and/or show?
Friedman: My favorite Sondheim show is Merrily We Roll Along. Although that's largely because I feel like it applies to my life on such a crazy daily basis. My favorite Sondheim song is... I love "Finishing the Hat" a lot. I love "Opening Doors" a lot. I think "So Many People" is a really undervalued Sondheim ballad. I love Sondheim at his most economic as much as I love him at his most grandiose. And my favorite Sondheim book is "Night Music." Wabam [editor's note: I don't know how to spell this] Hugh Wheeler.
Rosen: I don't have anywhere close to that detailed of an answer. Nor do I have an answer at all maybe. I agree with you on Merrily because of right now what we're doing, I'd have to go with Merrily.
Friedman: There's a little Frank and Charley in both of us. And a lot of Gussie in me.

Q: So I really like themed drinks at shows. If your show had a themed drink, what would it be called and what would be in it?
Rosen: The Bluest Drink.
Friedman: The Bluest Drink Isn't Really Sky. But I would say that it would be The Bluest Ink Manhattan. That it would be Maker's Mark Bourbon with blue curacao instead of sweet vermouth and I think it would just turn either the most beautiful shade of blue you've ever seen in your life or it would be really muddy and gross. I'm actually rethinking this. But I'm thinking The Bluest Ink Manhattan would be right. Definitely a lot of bourbon. A lot of bourbon has gone into the creation of The Bluest Ink.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fringe Review: Not Another Teen Solo Show

I feel like Rati Gupta and I could be friends. She speaks in references to '90s teen movies, a language I am fluent in. And even if you aren't familiar with the films, while watching her show, Not Another Teen Solo Show, it's easy to feel like you're already friends with her. She constantly exclaims, "You guys!" like you're besties and she has the coolest story to tell you.

Gupta grew up in Indiana, an Indian girl at a Catholic private school. She wanted her life to be like the teen movies, which taught her that the secret to being popular was to be the perfect combination of cheerleader, slut, and bitch. Gupta is an engaging storyteller. During her costume changes (no costume designer is listed so I'm not sure if Gupta picked out the outfits herself, but they are perfect for each scene), there are short videos (directed and produced by John Wynn and Kurt Anderson of Punching Bees Productions) that spoof movies like Bring It On and Cruel Intentions.

If you've ever put a lot of thought about your AIM away message, this show is probably for you. Oh and Rati, if you're reading this, I'm up for a teen movie marathon any time.

There is one remaining performance of Not Another Teen Solo Show on Thursday August 22 at 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Shakespeare and Rock Concerts at The Fringe Festival

One of the nice things about the Fringe Festival listings is that it includes run times. I think I speak for many when I say I'm more willing to take a chance on a show if it's not too long. I think I chose well for my first day of Fringe shows with two short, entertaining shows: Double Heart (The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick) with a run time of one hour and Lollapacoacharoozastock Music Festival with a run time of 45 minutes.

I was drawn to Double Heart because it's a prequel to Much Ado About Nothing about Beatrice and Benedick as teenagers. If there are two things I love it's Shakespeare and teen romance. The play by David Hansen was originally commissioned by Great Lakes Theater in Cleveland as a free touring production that would support the main stage production of Much Ado. In this plausible backstory, Benedick (James Rankin) and Beatrice (Emily Pucell), skilled at verbal sparring even then, become fast friends, but their attraction is too strong to ignore. They sleep together and she ends up getting pregnant. I won't give away the rest, but it's not a happy ending, thought if you know Much Ado, you can comfort yourself with thoughts of what's in store for them.

Props to Hansen for writing the play, which includes conversations about one-night stands and abortions, in verse. Not that anyone today can write quite like Shakespeare, but Hansen does a commendable job of capturing the spirit of these characters. Hansen and Annie Hickey play the other roles, which are sometimes unnecessary and drag down the story. It would almost work as a two-hander. Rankin and Pucell both have a natural presence and convincing chemistry. One of the highlights is a simple, wordless scene in which the two dance and you can see them fall in love.

Remaining performances for Double Heart are Wednesday August 14 at 8:30, Thursday August 15 at 7:00, and Saturday August 17 at noon.

While Double Heart takes its inspiration from Shakespeare, Lollapacoacharoozastock Music Festival takes its from the music charts. As the name implies, the show takes place at a mock music festival. There are four acts: teen pop stars Eli Porter and Destyn Reign, country group The Meadow Muffins, '90s alternative rock band Simon Never Said, and '80s hair band Plymyth Voyager. Adam Blotner wrote the book, music, and lyrics and fronts all four acts with his wife Jenny Pinzari Blotner. Musical director Matt Tobin on keyboard, Joe Headrick on drums, Daniel Namm on electric guitar, and Danny Weller on bass subtly change their dress between sets and are just as fun to watch, but, and this is more of a complaint about sound than the band, they sometimes drown out the lyrics, which is too bad because the ones I heard perfectly captured the genres they were spoofing. Take Simon Never Said's "Interesting Girl": "The girl is so ironic. It's like she does is opposite from the way that a normal person would do things. Isn't that interesting?" And I wouldn't be surprised to hear "Party in the Basement," sung by the Justin Bieber-like Eli Porter, on the top 40. The show ends with a parody of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" which would probably make Weird Al proud.

Remaining performances for Lollapacoacharoozastock Music Festival are Wednesday August 14 at 7:30, Saturday August 17 at 11:15, Friday August 23 at 2, and Saturday August 24 at 9.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Contest: Win Tickets to Romeo and Juliet

Update: The contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered. I love that there were so many different Shakespeare plays represented in your answers. The winner was picked at random from all the entries. Congratulations Liz!
Romeo and Juliet is coming back to Broadway for the first time since 1986 and I'm giving away a pair of tickets. The star-crossed lovers will be played by Orlando Bloom of Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings fame and two-time Tony nominee Condola Rashad. It starts previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on September 19 with an official opening of September 19. The production also stars Brent Carver as Friar Laurence, Jayne Houdeyshell as the Nurse, Chuck Cooper as Lord Capulet, and Christian Camargo as Mercutio. This will be a contemporary take which will retain Shakespeare's language.

The coolest thing about this production, in my opinion, is that $20 tickets will be available for each performance for college students and educators. College students can purchase $20 tickets in advance either at the box office with valid ID or online, exclusively through TIX4STUDENTS.COM. Limit of two tickets per order; price does not include facility fee. Educators may purchase $20 tickets in advance at the box office with valid ID. Educator tickets are only available for purchase at the box office. Limit of two tickets per order; price does not include facility fee.

In order to win a pair of tickets to see the show, leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Shakespeare play and why. For an extra entry, tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it. You must be following on Twitter for the extra entry. A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries on Friday, August 16, at 5:30 p.m. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Lot of Tango

You can probably figure out if Forever Tango is for you based on the title. If you like tango, then you will enjoy yourself. If you don't, you probably wouldn't want to sit through almost two-and-a-half hours of it. If you are a Dancing With The Stars fan, you might be like the many at the performance I attended who would like to see Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy live (they are appearing in the show through August 11). And if you're a fan of singer Gilberto Santa Rosa, who is appearing in the show through July 28 (Luis Enrique will take over on July 30 for three weeks), that could also be a draw.

This is the third Broadway engagement for Forever Tango, first seen at the Walter Kerr Theatre, where it is currently playing, in 1997. It returned in 2004. That's enough time in between to find a new audience each time. I for one had never seen the show before. It's the type of tourist bait that is perfect for summer engagements when lots of theaters are open.

The 16 dancers and 11 musicians are all extremely talented and take turns in the spotlight. Tango is used sometimes in unexpected ways, such as comedic dances performed by Natalia Turelli and Ariel Manzanares. But most of the dances were of the sultry variety, especially those performed by Mirnoff and Chmerkovskiy, though it must be said that the other dancers were just as engaging to watch. After a while, it does start to feel repetitive. The show could be about 20 minutes shorter and not lose anything. But then maybe they'd have to change the name from Forever Tango to Temporary Tango.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Contest: Win Tickets to Unbroken Circle

Update: The contest is now closed. Congratulations @stagemaven!

Did you spend fourth of July weekend with your family? What better way to recover than seeing a play about someone else's family? I have a pair of tickets to see Unbroken Circle by James Wesley at St. Luke's Theatre. The play is set in Galveston, Texas in 1970 on the day of its patriarch's funeral. The cast includes Jan from The Brady Bunch Eve Plumb, Anika Larsen (Avenue Q), Wesley, and his real-life daughter Juli Wesley.

To enter to win a pair of tickets*, all of you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to see the show. Easy, right? For an extra entry, tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it. You must be following on Twitter for the extra entry. A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries on Monday, July 15, at noon. Please include your e-mail address or Twitter handle in the comments so I have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

*Winner will receive a ticket voucher redeemable for two tickets to a performance of his/her choice through July 31, 2013. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

If you don't win tickets, you can still see the show using this deal:
OFFER: $39.50 tickets
ONLINE: Visit and enter code UCRED
PHONE: Call 212-947-8844 and mention code UCRED
Restrictions: Regularly $59.50. Subject to availability. Not valid on prior purchase. Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions; blackout dates and restrictions may apply. No refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked at any time. Standard service fees apply to all phone and internet orders.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bella's Dream

It's no wonder that Dana Boll wanted to write a play about her grandparents' experiences during the Holocaust. Their story, like so many, is an inspiring and moving one. Bella and Raymond were young newlyweds in 1939 Poland when Bella had a dream in which her uncle told her they had to leave their home. They left the next day (she was pregnant at the time) and started on a six-year journey that included traveling through Siberia and Uzbekistan.

Bella's Dream is playing at Celemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center through June 30. Boll plays herself and the action switches back and forth from Bella (Lisa Kathryn Hokans) and Raymond's (Jon-Michael Miller) story to Boll's father, Ronny (Bob Angelini), dealing with anti-Semitism in a present-day supermarket. Much of the text was taken from recorded interviews with Bella and Raymond and sometimes we get to hear these recordings. It would have been nice to have a few more of these, though the play is already a little too long and could use some tightening, especially in the second act. Boll also choreographed this "play with dance" and all of the most horrifying moments, such as when a group of women is shot, are told through dance, creating a powerful contrast between the beauty of the movement and the horrible moments being depicted. This play is clearly a labor of love for Boll and that makes it easy for the audience to love with Bella and Raymond as well.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Harry Potter in 70 Minutes

Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Potted Potter, a Harry Potter parody in which all 7 books are performed in 70 minutes, is back at the Little Shubert Theatre for the second summer in a row. Full disclosure: I interviewed the creators and stars, Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, last year, and they are nice and have British accents.

The show is exactly what is advertised: each book about the boy wizard is acted out and discussed in about 10 minutes. Turner plays Harry and Clarkson plays all the other characters. Sometimes the show goes off on silly tangents that don't have much to do with the books and Harry Potter fans like myself will find favorite plot points and characters that could have been included instead. But it is clear that Clarkson and Turner are fans themselves, and make some humorous observations (Why did Dumbledore, the greatest wizard who ever lived, go into teaching?). Those less familiar with the books and movies may miss some of the better jokes. But everyone, whether they read the books or not, will be able to enjoy the game of Quidditch. Kudos to Clarkson, Turner, and director Richard Hurst for figuring out how to stage a game of Quidditch that could get the whole audience involved. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Contest: Win Tickets to Forever Tango

Update: The contest is now closed. The winner was picked at random. Congratulations @kyledmorales!

It seems like we're still recovering from last Broadway season, but it's almost time for the 2013-2014 season. First up is a ten-week engagement of Forever Tango at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Performances start July 9. The first guest vocalist will be five-time Grammy Award-winner Gilberto Santa Rosa. The show originally opened on Broadway in 1997 and earned Tony and Drama Desk nominations. I've never seen the show, but tango is one of the sexiest dances there is, and when it's performed well, it's stunning.

I'm giving away a pair of tickets to the show. It's really easy to enter. All you have to do is tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it to enter. You must be following on Twitter to win. A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries on Wednesday, June 19, at 5:30 p.m. Good luck!

If you don't win, you can use the following discount:
Purchase before 6/17/13:
$65 (orchestra & mezzanine, reg $125-$139)
Purchase after 6/17/13:
$75 (orchestra & mezzanine, reg $125-$139)
TELEPHONE: Call (212) 239-6200/(800) 432-7250 and mention code FTGNA603

ONLINE: Visit and enter code FTGNA603

VISIT: Bring this offer to the Walter Kerr Theater box office (219 West 48th Street); opens Monday, June 17

Restrictions: Blackout dates may apply. All prices include a $2 facility fee. Limit 8 tickets per order. Offer subject to availability and may be revoked or modified at any time.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The SMASH Reality Index: Season 2 Episode 17

Back by popular demand, Dave (@NineDaves) and I have teamed up to bring you our take on what’s keepin’ it real and what’s faking it each week on SMASH. Follow the 'caps here or on Dave's site.

Well, here we are. After two seasons, and countless hours spent away from the theater and in front of our televisions, we’ve come to the end of SMASH. For all our complaining (and we know there was lot), we truly wrote each and every one of these Indexes from a place of love. Sure, we yelled at our TVs from time to time. Threw things, once or twice. And there may have been a few “DAMN YOU SMASH” tweets that you could probably look up. But ultimately, we never really hate-watched the show, even when it was its worst (we’re looking at you, Rebecca Duvall). For us, SMASH was a chance to see a show devoted to the New York theater scene - the scene we immerse ourselves in every day - on national television. It was a chance to see theater actors who we adored on our screens week after week. To hear amazing new original musical theater compositions from talented theater composers for free. For that, we’ll always be grateful to SMASH.

But what we loved most about SMASH was the way it connected us to the greater theater community out there. On a typical Monday night (or Tuesday or Saturday or eventually, Sunday), our Twitter feeds became alive with commentary. Everyone from the 14-year-old drama club ensemble member in bumblefuck USA to the Tony-winning Broadway superstars had something to say about SMASH - which says just how much we all care about theater out there (and bad television).

Meanwhile, the response we got from all of you on our SMASH Reality Index added an entire layer to this insanity we were never expecting. So many of you reached out to us in support and praise (and sometimes lengthy debates). Actors in the show told us they were religious readers (Hi Ann Harada, Christian Borle, and Megan Hilty!). Creatives threw us support in ways we still can’t explain (Theresa Rebeck, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and judging from the line that some commenters think Hit List is overrated, maybe even Josh Safran himself!). New York Magazine’s - the inspiration for our pieces in the first place - picked us up (please, guys, don’t ever delete this URL). There was an overwhelming amount of love thrown our way, and we couldn’t be more thankful for everything.

So thanks again for sticking with us and SMASH. We’re really going to miss writing these (as nice as it will be to not have to plan our lives around a television show). And we hope you’ve enjoyed reading them too.

Without further ado, let’s get to SMASH’s final episode, “The Tonys.” And if you like what we have to say about the fake Tonys, we’ll probably have plenty to say on Twitter about the real Tonys on June 9. Join us, won’t you?

Totally True
• As ridiculous as this “Under Pressure” opening is, at least we got to hear a second of Jack Davenport singing before the series ended.
• One upside to having the fake Tonys at the Marquis Theater: the acoustics have to be better than Radio City!
•  Tom says that he loves Pasek and Paul, who were nominated in SMASH’s fake Tonys for their Last Good Year score. We want to hear that. In real life, they were nominated for their score of A Christmas Story, which is really good.
• Pasek and Paul wrote songs for Hit List, so they exist as dual songwriters in the SMASH world, which kind of makes our heads hurt. But since Shaiman and Wittman do too, we’ll allow it.
• Tom refers to Patrick Dillon as his future husband. Plus 100 because that’s how we refer to Christian Borle.
• Leigh Conroy is watching Bernadette Peters’s Tony win for Annie Get Your Gun as if it were her own and everything is amazing.
• Can we talk more about Leigh watching this Bernadette Tony win? First of all, it play on Ivy’s TV, meaning Leigh has it on tape. Unless Ivy has Apple TV or something and is streaming from her iPhone. But it looks too high quality for that! Second of all, Leigh’s actually watching it, pointing out how gracious she was! And then Ivy reminds her that Leigh forgot to thank her. Which Leigh did! Because it was Bernadette! Ahhh! This is amazing! Even if it also gets into that confusing realm of the line between the fake and real on SMASH.
• “If you can tear up a little, they love it!” Leigh tells Ivy, on what makes a good Tony acceptance speech. Plus 50 because we agree.
• Ivy is convinced she’s not going to win anything. “I’m nominated twice, that always splits the vote.” Plus 10 because that’s what any award predictor would tell Ivy too.
• Leigh thinks they won’t vote for Ivy in Featured Actress in a Musical because Leigh’s nominated there, and Ivy will instead go on to win Lead Actress. We agree!
• Ivy’s having a hard time fitting into her dress, now that she’s pregnant. “Have you been stress eating again?” Leigh asks her. “Now’s not time to get fat, my dear!” Plus 500.
• Ivy still has those pictures of Marilyn by her mirror. Plus 20.
• Ivy’s thinking about taking some time off after her contract ends with Bombshell. Leigh, disagrees. “The day after I won my first [Tony], my career just skyrocketed. I had so many offers, I didn’t know what to do! You have to dive in. It’s all about momentum. You lose that - you may never get it again.” We hate to sound like a broken record here, but Leigh’s right again.
• The New York Daily News did a piece about Daisy Parker called “Daisy Parker speaks about how she went from victim to vixen.” Looks like Bombshell isn’t the only one with a good PR department!
• The whole Hit List cast hates working with Daisy Parker now. It’s because she has red hair, right?
• Bombshell is performing “Let’s Be Bad” at the fake Tonys. Good choice, but “Let Me Be Your Star” would have been a better one.
• Jimmy still hasn’t picked up his tickets to The Tonys! HURRY JIMMY! YOU ONLY HAVE UNTIL 3!
• “You guys outnumber her,” Ivy tells Karen, about Daisy. “If you don’t want to perform with her, you shouldn’t have to.” Does that really work? ‘Cause if so, the cast of A Little Night Music should have fought for “A Weekend in the Country” instead of that Catherine Zeta-Jones “Send in the Clowns” mess!
• Jerry tells Daisy she’s going to do “Reach for Me” on the Tonys instead, since no one will perform with her. Guess that didn’t work, Karen! Great advice, Ivy!
• Julia gives Jimmy a big pep-talk about not sabotaging himself and continuing on with his work and dammit, it’s kind of sweet.
• “Well you don’t look good,” Ivy says to Derek, as he lies in a pile of his own filth. Plus 20!
• Ivy asks Derek if he’ll be at the Tonys, and his response is perfect. “Oh yeah for sure. Spending the evening in a room full of sanctimonious pricks who have it in for me. Yeah, I’ll be there.”
• Ivy tells Derek she loves him even though he’s treated her bad and she’s treated him bad and we guess that’s what love is like sometimes.
• Julia meets with Frank (plus 100 every time Brian d’Arcy James is on the screen!) and admits that she loved Michael Swift and couldn’t let him go for much of her marriage. “And it wasn’t because I didn’t love you,” she tells him. “I just didn’t love you the right way.” Ultimately, she says she won’t refute anything Frank wants to do regarding the settlement and Frank grabs her arm and says “Thank you” and cries a bit and so we do.
• Karen is nervous about how things are going with Jimmy. “You are a Tony nominee,” Ana assures her. “No matter what happens, no one can take that from you. Google Karen Cartwright and that’s what is going to come up from now until the end of time.” Actually, we hope it’ll be our recaps.
• We have to agree with Ana that Karen looks beautiful (see, we can be nice to her).
• Jimmy shows up after all! And he looks dapper in a tux!
• Ana only needs to 15 minutes to get ready for the fake Tonys, because she’s a hipster.
• The fake Tony art is actually pretty not bad! Plus 10!
• Moments before their category is up, Leigh asks whether Ivy has practiced her “losing” face. Plus 10.
• Plus 20 for Tony presenter Lillias White.
• Daisy Parker wins Featured Actress for Hit List and everyone groans when they clap. Plus 5.
• Anika Noni Rose didn’t win a fake Tony, but she send out a tweet of thanks, so there’s that!
• Plus 20 for Tony presenter Ron Rifkin.
• Kyle Bishop wins the Tony for Best Book, which everyone saw coming. Not that he deserved it, but anyone who died that young and was nominated for a Tony would win. 
• In his acceptance speech for Kyle’s award, Jimmy thanks the theater industry for “giving him something to love his whole life.” And dammit, that’s how we feel about theater too. Plus 500. 
• Plus 100 to David Lindsay-Abaire for this tweet. He didn’t technically lose to “that Newsies kid,” Jeremy Jordan, but it’s still a great tweet.

• David Lindsay-Abaire is on fire. Here’s another SMASH-related tweet he sent:
• Julia admits that she did want to win for Best Book, even though she said she didn’t. Plus 10! 
• In addition to Pasek and Paul, Jimmy Collins, and Tom and Julia, it turns out that Shaiman and Wittman were also nominated for Best Score - though we can’t hear for what show! Plus 50 because that’s a sweet little nod to the two guys who wrote so many of the original songs on the show!
• Bombshell wins a fake Tony for best score!!! It’s like Shaiman and Wittman are winning a Tony for their work on SMASH, which they deserve. Plus everything. 
• Tom and Julia were so consumed with chatting, they didn’t realize they’d won a fake Tony for Best Score. LOL!
• Side note: Linda watched the finale at her parent’s house in California and she legit cheered when Bombshell won best score, causing her whole family to explain to her that these awards aren’t real. Dave also cheered, but his dog didn’t ask questions. 
• Thanks for keeping your speech short and sweet, Tom and Julia! 2013 Tony nominees, take note.
• Plus another 20 for director choreographer Kathleen Marshall presenting the Tony for choreography. • Derek wins a Best Choreography Tony for Hit List. Eh, we can’t argue against that.
• Derek thanks Tony voters for judging the work and not the man. LOL. Plus 10.
• Derek dedicates his Tony to Ivy. Take that Karen. Who’s his muse, now?
• Lead by Derek, the Hit List cast revolts and instead of letting Daisy do her solo, they perform “Broadway Here I Come” like a scene from Stomp. It actually sounds amazing. Bravo.
• This “Broadway Here I Come” version is pretty. But it’s very Pitch Perfect “Cups,” don’t you think
• Patrick Dillon asks Tom and Julia to write the music for a movie musical he’s working on. Awww! Jobs! We’re gonna work again!
• Tom runs and asks Patrick out and kisses him and even though Patrick isn’t gay, AHHHHHHHHHH! PLUS 50!
• Plus 20 for Marin Mazzie presenting the award for Lead Actress in a Musical. But where’s her handsome husband, Jason Danieley?
• Ivy Lynn wins! All is right with the world! We forgive you everything, SMASH. Plus 1,000.
• Ivy thanks the audience for coming to see her and we love her even more.
• Actually, Ivy’s speech was pretty damn-near perfect. It reminded us that for everything SMASH got wrong, it was always a love letter to the theater. We would have totally rewound and watched that shit over and over again if it happened on the actual Tony Awards. Here, why don’t we just transcribe it for you, okay?
Wow. Okay, I honestly didn’t think I would win. Tom, Julia, Eileen - thank you so much for the     chance of a lifetime. I’d like to thank my mother, Leigh Conroy. The magnificent Leigh Conroy. For giving me the greatest gift. And that is a life in the theater. I can only hope that one day I can give that gift to my children. For me there is nothing more magical than that moment, right when the lights go down, and the crowd is waiting in silence with anticipation of the show to begin. It’s a moment full of hope and full of possibilities. So I’d like to thank the audience for coming and for believing, like I do, that there’s nothing more important and special as live theater. Thank you so much! 
• Always the class act, Audra McDonad tweets her support to Ivy. Plus 10. 
• Former Tony host Rosie O’Donnell presents the award for Best Musical. Plus 50 because she’s always been Broadway’s biggest fan. 
• Bombshell wins the Tony over Hit List!!! Best episode of SMASH ever! 
• Eileen invites Derek to accept the award with them, which was oddly touching.
• OH HEY REAL TONY NOMINEE WILL CHASE. Nice to see you again for two seconds. 
• Julia ends up with Michael Swift! True love, just like Debra Messing and Will Chase. 
• It’s time for the ANN HARADA LINE OF THE WEEK. “You didn’t see me in the ‘Big Finish’ montage, but I was sitting on my couch at home, eating ice cream, and laughing at the fact that I didn’t have to sit through that nonsense in person.” CONGRATULATIONS ANN! 
• As much as we hate this “Big Finish” song, we have to give props for Shaiman and Wittman including this gem of a line: “Just give them a big finish, and they’ll forget what happened before.” Not going to work on us, but we know that was your wish all along, SMASH. And for that, you get standing ovations.

Oh Hell No! 
• Ivy, Karen, Jimmy, Ana, Tom, Julia, Eileen, Derek and Sam sing a cover of “Under Pressure” that, to borrow a phrase from some good friends of ours, is totally craptacular. The whole gang meets at the Marquis Theater, home of the fake Tony Awards, where they eventually stand in a line together repeating “Under Pressure” over and over again. It’s all very Rent (the movie). The only thing missing is the ghost of Kyle Bishop. And Tracie Thoms.
• We’d say Freddie Mercury was rolling in his grave at this, but we’re pretty sure he did that already when they made We Will Rock You.
• This is the second episode in a row starting with a pop/rock song and we expected more from the final two episodes.
• Also, if ever there were a number where Ann Harada would sing, it would be “Under Pressure.” That’s Linda the Stage Manager’s entire life! Minus 50,000!
• Meanwhile, let’s get back to the the fact that the fake Tonys are at the Marquis. Talk about a logistical nightmare! Minus 200 because that would never happen.
• Turns out that whole sequence was a dream Tom was having. That’s no excuse.
• Julie wakes up Tom in his apartment. Didn’t she move out? How does she still have a key. This isn’t Will & Grace, Debra!
• Only 12 hours ‘til the Tonys and Tom and Julia have finished writing “the Tony number.” WTF is that?
• Frank thinks that Julia was in love with Michael Swift from the moment she met him, and the only person who doesn’t seem to agree with that is Julia because she’s delusional.
• Ivy and Leigh are getting ready for the Tonys in Ivy’s small ass apartment. Surely Leigh’s would be bigger, no?
• Also, Ivy and Leigh look fabulous. But they’re dressed a little early, aren’t they? Doesn’t Ivy have to head over to the Marquis for run-through?
• Karen brings Derek supplies because he’s a shut-in drunk now and no one cares. Karen and Ivy run into one another at the lobby of the rehearsal studio. IS THERE NO OTHER REHEARSAL STUDIO IN NEW YORK?
• Also, what is Ivy doing at the rehearsal studio? Wasn’t she just all dressed up for the fake Tonys? Minus 10.
• Hit List was supposed to be performing “Voice in a Dream” at the fake Tonys, but Jimmy didn’t want to sing so they’re changing it up to “I’m Not Sorry.” This is super last-minute, isn’t it? They should be at the Marquis doing run-through by now!
• Jimmy’s packed up his apartment, and his landlord says it “looks good” and asks where to send the deposit back to. Um... what? A NYC landlord is giving a deposit back? To Jimmy Collins, no less? This might be the most unrealistic thing they’ve shown yet! Minus 10!
• This is the last episode of SMASH. Stop wasting our time with Nick. No one cares.
• Tom tells Julia that he had hooked up with Kyle a few times, and she totally didn’t know. Congratulations on being the last person on earth to find out about that, Julia. Like, Jimmy totally told everyone at the bar that night! Which basically led to Kyle getting killed. Kind of surprising that no one told you!
• Jimmy tells Tom that Kyle really liked him. Tom is flattered, but we still remember the fact that Kyle had a boyfriend. Minus 10.
• Derek says even the food delivery guys won’t look at him. Like they’d know who he is or care that he offered an actress a part if she slept with him.
• Jimmy gives Ana Kyle’s ticket to the fake Tonys. Why would Kyle have a ticket to the fake Tony’s? He’s dead! And if anyone would have that ticket, it would be his parents, wouldn’t it? WHERE’S CAROLEE CARMELLO?
• We see shows of marquees for Follies and Evita. Man, it’s a busy night at the Marquis! Minus 50.
• Among the other closed show marquees SMASH shows us? Porgy and Bess, Bonnie & Clyde, and How To Succeed when John Larroquette was still in it. You couldn’t show some actual running-showing on Broadway that could use the box-office boost? Minus 50.
• Ana looks amazing for only having 15 minutes to get ready. Minus 10.
• Ivy changed her dress. She’s now wearing a blue dress and even though it’s pretty, the black one was better. Minus 5.
• Why is Jimmy’s speech for Kyle all about Karen? Minus 500.
• These awards are happening so fast! Shouldn’t there be a commercial break by now? Or a musical performance? Some speech from the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League representatives, at least? Where’s Neil Patrick Harris with a bit?
• Now that we mention NPH, who is the host of this damn thing anyway?
• When Derek’s name is called during the nomination announcements, people audibly boo. Come on, the Tony audience wouldn’t be that rude. Especially when 10 seconds later, he wins the goddamn award.
• Also, what was with Kathleen Marshall just announcing that Bombshell performance like that. There should have been a description!
• The television audience is going to be really confused when the announcer says Daisy Parker will be singing “Reach for Me” and they get Karen, Jimmy, and the rest of the cast (including Ana!) singing “Broadway Here I Come.” Especially because no one seems to be mic’d!
• Then again, there’s only like, one handheld camera in the audience, so it’s not like audiences at home are really seeing this anyway. And again, that’s now how introductions for show numbers are done on the Tonys! Minus 10.
• Jimmy and Karen end “Broadway Here I Come” with a kiss. Barf.
• Oh please, like Audra McDonald and Sutton Foster would both miss the Tonys. Surely at least one of them would have been willing to cameo. How great would it have been to see Audra and Will Swenson at the fake Tonys? DAMN YOU SMASH FOR TAKING THAT AWAY FROM US!
• As happy as we are for Ivy, Audra rarely loses a Tony.
• Eileen, it’s the middle of the goddamn Tonys. Now is not the time to go and have a heart to heart with Karen Cartwright in the fucking lobby.
• Wait, it’s Best Musical already? WHO WON BEST DIRECTOR? MINUS 500!
• Jerry Rand went to the fake Tonys with Susan Blackwell? We love her, but that makes no sense. Minus everything!
• Jimmy reveals to Karen that he was with a girl when she overdosed (but apparently didn’t die) and then he ran away and had to change his name. This is so Gossip Girl. Ugh, Josh Safran.
• Jimmy is now going to jail for 6-18 months for possession of a controlled substance. BYEEEEEE GURL!
• At the Bombshell afterparty, Tom and Julia are given a remote to see their number that they missed. We assume it’s going to be “Let’s Be Bad,” but apparently it’s this number that they vaguely mentioned writing earlier. And it’s a duet between Karen and Ivy? That’s not “Let Me Be Your Star?” Minus 100.
• Where is the Bombshell music? WE WANT THE BOMBSHELL MUSIC!
• Why would Karen and Ivy perform a duet at the Tonys? We could understand if this was a number for all the Tony Best Actress nominees (that would actually be brilliant). But then where’s Audra? Sutton?
• And why does it say SMASH in big letters behind them? Is this supposed to be some sort of meta ending? It sucks.
• The lyrics to the song say they are going to give us a big finish and leave us wanting more, but this song doesn’t do that at all.
• Then, during the song, we see a montage of all the couples - Derek holding Ivy’s stomach, Jimmy and Karen kissing as Jimmy goes off to jail, Eileen and Nick, Julia and Michael - and we’re really disappointed that this is how they chose to end.
• How come all the ladies end up in happy relationships with total creeps and poor Tom is left alone? Is it because he wants to date us? WE’RE AVAILABLE, TOM!

What’d you think of SMASH’s “big finish?” Did you hate the last five minutes as much as we did? Did you love the Tony results? Let us know in the comments... for the last time!

The SMASH Reality Index: Season 2 Episode 16

Back by popular demand, Dave (@NineDaves) and I have teamed up to bring you our take on what’s keepin’ it real and what’s faking it each week on SMASH. Follow the 'caps here or on Dave's site.

For a true theater fanatic, there aren’t many more exciting places to be than the theater district at awards season. The excitement around going to a crowded house in the days leading up to those nominations; hearing other fans share their predictions at intermission; seeing Broadway stars make the rounds on the morning talk shows - it’s all very intense. And for what it’s worth, “The Nominations” - the second to last episode of SMASH ever - was pretty damn near accurate in its portrayal of Tony season. Down to the fangirl chatter at stage doors and gossipy pieces in the tabloids (RIP Michael Musto and The Village Voice).

That being said, there was something missing from the nominations this time around: surprise. IRL, there’s always a good snub or two. But in SMASH-land? Everyone got nominations! Heck, even Sam picked up an Outer Critics Circle Award for his role in Hit List that’s never really been defined. Woohoo!

We won’t spend too much time breaking that apart now. After all, that’s what the Index is for. So let’s see how things played out in the first part of the two-part series finale:

Totally True
• The “previously on” part of this episode is basically a recap of the season. Already getting us in the mindset to say goodbye to SMASH. (A retrospective with interviews would have been even better. We can dream can’t we!)
• Ivy Lynn wakes up signing. She’s a real-life Tracy Turnblad! Plus 10.
• Bombshell got 10 Outer Critics Circle nominations and Hit List got 11. This year, Chaplin got 8 and Matilda got 5, so the OCC does crazy shit like this all the time.
• “The Outer Critics Circle are a bunch of sadists,” says Tom. “They don’t tell you they’ve won, you have to keep refreshing their website to find out.” Plus 50.
• Tom, Eileen, and Agnes attend a production of The Gathering Storm. “There’s Tony voters in there,” says Agnes. “They need to see we support the competition.” Plus 20.
• Tom is checking his phone during The Gathering Storm to see if he’s won an Outer Critics Circle Award and it pisses off everyone around him. “Are you kidding me?” gripes Luke MacFarlane’s character. “Haven’t you ever been to a theater before?” Plus 100 because this is the type of theater etiquette SMASH should be promoting, not that nonsense over at Hit List.
• Luke MacFarlane is playing some character named Patrick Dillon. Because guys with full names that sound like two first names is like, so goddamn hot.
• Tom wins his Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Director! Guess they must have really loved that new staging of “Dig Deep,” huh?
• Karen also wins an Outer Critics Circle Award over Ivy Lynn, which we can believe because the OCC Awards make even less sense than most other theater awards. Bobby and Jessica think Ivy’s relapsed. “She black-swanned once before,” Bobby tells Sam. “And that was only Boston. This is Broadway!” Plus 60 for Bobby’s last bitchy line.

• Apparently Tom tied with Derek for his OCC Award for Best Director. Sure, why not! This is all fake anyway - why not make everyone win!
• Apparently, Bombshell only picked up two OCC Awards: Tom for Director and Julia for Book. The rest went to Hit List. Again, it’s just the OCCs, which often plays out differently than the Tonys.
• Patrick Dillon is signing autographs on The Gathering Storm Playbills, outside the theater, despite not being in the show. Plus 10 because we see celebrities do that all the time (even though it’s totally annoying).
• “I love his movies,” Tom says, of Patrick Dillon. “His Long Day’s Journey Into Night last season, not so much.” “Well he won a Tony for it,” Agnes responds. Plus 85 because Hollywood stars win Tonys for mediocre turns on Broadway all the time (see: Scarlett Johansson, and probably Tom Hanks).
• “Only winners get to go to the Outer Critics Circle luncheon,” Jerry tells Derek, Jimmy, and Karen. “But since we practically swept the awards, we have a whole table.” Plus 15 for accuracy!
• Jerry shows the Karen and Jimmy mockups of posters with Tony Award nominations.
• Jerry says that they don’t expect Kyle to get a fake Tony nomination for Best Book. “Our show is basically sung-through,” he says. “So were Rent and Passing Strange,” Karen barks back. “And they won.” Dammit we hate when she’s right.
• Ana is suing Derek because he promised the Diva role to Daisy Parker. Man, the meetings she must have had at Equity...
• “Maybe some things are more important than a career,” Karen tells Derek. “Like self-respect.” Let that be a warning to any theater actor during pilot season, please.
• Ivy hasn’t told Derek yet about the baby, and isn’t sure she’s keeping it. LET IT BE YOUR STAR, IVY.
• “In some circles, they don’t consider that a gift at all,” Tom says of the bottle of wine he sent Patrick Dillon. Plus 10.
• Oh hey Michael Musto. Sorry you just lost your job at The Village Voice, but all these actors on SMASH lost their jobs too!
• Like any good Michael Musto interview, this one with Jimmy Collins is totally gossipy and shit, we love it.
• A fangirl at the Bombshell stagedoor tells Ivy Lynn that Hit List shouldn’t have won any awards and that Bombshell is so much better. “Karen should not have beaten you,” she gripes. Plus 100 because we’ve seen those fangirls. Heck, we’ve been those fangirls.
• Also, plus 100 because Ivy is positive to the first fangirl, saying that “Hit List is a wonderful show and Karen’s wonderful in it.” Ivy Lynn tells another fangirl that the only reason Hit List made it to Broadway was because Kyle Bishop died. PLUS 500!
• Plus 1,000 for that creepy dude who filmed Ivy at the stage door and then ran off. He was so ridiculous!!
• “If You Want Me,” which Ana sings at her audition, is such a beautiful song! Go see Once if you haven’t already!
• Ivy is still not sure if she’s keeping the baby, and still not sure if she’s telling Derek, but now she told Sam, so there’s that?
• Ivy’s created an online backlash against Hit List. Except it was probably there way before her. “If it isn’t my two favorite PR disasters,” Agnes says to Tom and Ivy. “What are you going to do today? Burn down Table 46?” Plus 100 because IF ONLY.
• Eileen and Jerry trade quips. “Eileen, I thought you’d be wearing black today!” “No Jerry, I’m saving it for your funeral.” Plus 10.
• “Thank you for waiting patiently while I fixed something that was nearly broken,” Julia says in her OCC Awards speech. She’s talking about SMASH, right?
• Tom lets Derek give his acceptance speech first. “You first, I’ll finish. That seems familiar.” Plus 10.
• Tom thanks Derek Wills in his Outer Critics Circle Awards speech. Because he’s classy like that!
• He also makes a lame joke that doesn’t get a huge laugh--”You and I go together like Lena Dunham and a bra.” Thank you speeches are so hard to get right.
• Ivy tries to apologize to Jimmy halfway through the Outer Critics Circle Awards luncheon, which leads to a giant pile up fight between Ivy, Jimmy, Julia, Tom, Derek, Karen, and eventually, Eileen. Aww the whole gang’s back together!
• Halfway through Karen’s number, Jimmy looks around, as if he’s distracted and bored. We guess he’s just surveying the crowd, but LOL.
• “My life has to be about more than this show,” says Eileen. “WE AGREE!” says every SMASH recapper out there, who’ve given up their evenings for the past two seasons.
• “You know what they say about Tony voting,” Patrick Dillon tells Tom. “First you vote for yourself. Then you vote against your enemies. And then you vote for your heart.” Man, for a big Hollywood movie star who’s a first-time Tony voter, he sure knows a lot!
• Jimmy waits for Karen’s autograph and we guess that’s kinda sweet.
• Also, Karen doesn’t recognize Jimmy at first when he’s at the stage door in a hoodie because she’s signing autographs without looking at people’s faces. It didn’t take her long to learn how to rush through a stage door line.
• Julia comes to the Hit List stage door and apologizes to Jimmy (for doing nothing wrong) and he apologizes back and OMG GET ON WITH IT.
• “Artists shouldn’t feel ashamed about helping each other. It shouldn’t always be a competition,” says Julia, and she has a point. In real life, we love seeing Broadway artists support each other.
• Ivy sums up Derek’s entire arc this season on SMASH: “You’ve never done the right thing, Derek. And you never will.” Plus 10, even though we still want to make out with him.
• Julia arrives at Tom’s to watch the Tony nominations with him and Ivy. “I brought scones,” she says. “And scotch in case things go badly.” Plus 10.
• Leigh Conroy and Ivy Lynn pick up Featured Actress fake Tony nominations! And they said the category right and everything! Plus 10!
• Ann Harada wasn’t in this episode, but it’s time for our favorite feature, THE ANN HARADA LINE OF THE WEEK. “I was even snubbed in the fake Tonys for a nomination for featured actress in Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella!” CONGRATULATIONS ANN!
• Derek gets two nominations for Best Choreography - for both Hit List and Bombshell. But he’s up against Casey Nicholaw for The Gathering Storm and Susan Stroman for Imitation of Life. Nicholaw gets it, right?
• Kyle Bishop gets the Tony nomination for Best Book of a musical, becoming the youngest person ever nominated for a fake Tony for Best Book of a Musical! CONGRATULATIONS KYLE!
• Kyle’s competition, meanwhile, is Julia for Bombshell, Harvey Fierstein for The Gathering Storm, and David Lindsay-Abaire for The Last Good Year. Tough category.
• Man, the few seconds we heard of The Gathering Storm while Tom was checking his phone didn’t do much for us, but directed by Susan Stroman with a book by Harvey Fierstein? TWO TICKETS PLEASE!
• Tom and Derek both pick up nominations for Directing, going up against Rob Ashford and Diane Paulus (Oliver). A Diane Paulus Oliver? Do Fagin’s boys come into the audience and pick the pockets of audience members? This we also need to see.
• Derek is apparently the second person in fake Tony history to be nominated for three awards in the same year. The first one was Bob Fosse! (Okay that one was real). Also, let’s not forget about Kenneth Posner and his three lighting design nominations in the same category this year (in the real Tonys)!
• Bombshell and Hit List are obviously nominated for best score, and so is Jeanine Tesori for Imitation of Life. It’s about time she had a new score. Why are none of these shows real? We want to see all of them.
• Christine Ebersole forgets to mention Ivy’s Lead Actress fake Tony nomination, and has to go back. DAMN YOU CHRISTINE EBERSOLE! NO WONDER THEY LEFT YOU OFF THE POSTER FOR THAT WEDDING MOVIE!
• Ivy obviously gets the nomination. Because god forbid SMASH spare us from an Ivy vs. Karen fight ‘til the end.
• All in all, Bombshell picks up 12 nominations, and Hit List, 13. “That doesn’t mean anything, that’s just one more than us,” Agnes tells Eileen. Does she do PR for the folks at Matilda too? ‘Cause we bet they were saying that about Kinky Boots this season!
• Patrick Dillon sends Tom a bottle of Petite Syrah with a hand-written congratulations note on his own stationary. What a homo!
•  BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES IS BACK! PLUS 300! Brian d’Arcy James threatens to take Julia for all she’s worth and we’ve never been more attracted to him. 
• OH HEY MICHAEL RIEDEL! You’ve had more lines on this show than most of the recurring characters.

Oh Hell No! 
• Christ almighty, SMASH. It’s the final fucking episode, and you’re still trying to shoehorn in these ridiculous pop songs. Stop it!
• And no one looks that gorgeous and done up when they wake up. Not even Ivy Lynn.
• Ivy Lynn has been in eight Broadway shows. And the only show poster she has hanging in her room is Heaven on Earth? The show she was fired from after her pill addiction? No. Minus 10. Oh, and of course this number is going to be a montage. Minus another 10.
• Ana is looking at audition notices on some bullshit Tumblr. Get on, girl!
• Agnes tells Eileen Bombshell has received 10 Outer Critics Circle nominations by revealing a full-page Bombshell ad in the newspaper, touting said nominations. We’ve seen shows make fast turnarounds from nominations to print ads before. But presuming this is new news to Eileen as of the same morning, it’s pretty ridiculous to think Agnes would get that in the paper that fast.
• Tom would know better than to check his phone during a show, but the OCC wouldn’t be announcing the winners while everyone is in shows. Also, the Outer Critics Circle nominations are before the Tony nominations, but the winners aren’t announced until after Tony nominations.
• Ivy Lynn is in full Marilyn gear, lying on the floor of a bathroom stall, presumably after throwing up. But wait - she’s just been called to get out there for a curtain call! So either she missed “Don’t Forget Me” entirely, or that was the longest curtain call ever.
• When Ivy goes out for her curtain call, Bobby and Jessica are still backstage. Wouldn’t they go out first? Or does Bombshell not do company bows? Minus 50.
• Daisy exits the Hit List stage door making a growling noise, as if to scare fans. BECAUSE SHE’S THE VILLAIN. GET IT GUYS?!?
• Apparently Sam won an Outer Critics Circle Award too. For what? Hist List? That’s ridiculous, even for the OCCs. He’s barely even in it!
• Patrick Dillon would not be on the Tony nominating committee. Especially if we’re to believe that he’s a big movie star who won a Tony last season for doing a Eugene O’Neill play. Minus 10.
• Agnes says the term “glass closet” was invented for Patrick Dillon. Apparently in SMASH, Tom Cruise and John Travolta don’t exist either! Minus 50.
• Jerry has a new assistant. Poor Nikki Blonsky. Replaced by a nobody!
• Agnes is worried Patrick Dillon might hold a grudge, because Tom annoyed him with his cell phone during The Gathering Storm. We get that publicists are always trying to put out fires, but this is ridiculous.
• Karen is upset that Daisy’s photo on the Tony mockup posters is the same size as hers. Ugh. Karen’s really the worst, isn’t she? Minus 10.
• Actually, Derek is the worst and tells Karen to tell Ana to drop the lawsuit because it’ll ruin his career.
• Julia says that divorce proceedings with Frank aren’t going well. Brian d’Arcy James wouldn’t do that! IT MUST BE YOUR FAULT, JULIA! BDJ IS PERFECT!
• Tom sends Patrick Dillon a gift to apologize for the phone incident, not realizing that you can’t send gifts to the members of the nominating committee. “He can use that to sanction you, or worse still, disqualify you from the awards,” Eileen reminds him. We now present this next part in our best Jack from Titanic voice. “YOU’RE SO STUPID, TOM! YOU’RE SO STUUUPIDDD.”
• Also, Tom, have you learned nothing from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
• “I’ve worked my ass off,” Karen tells Daisy. No matter how often you say that, Karen, it’s not going to be true.
• Karen and Daisy get into a pissing match over how they got their roles in Hit List and whether it was ethical and no one wins because no one cares.
• Michael Musto is interviewing Jimmy Collins. Not for The Village Voice, obviously. Whomp whomp.
• Michael Musto tells Jimmy and Karen, “off the record,” that “someone should tell Julia to stop speaking about Kyle so much. It’s giving the wrong impression.” Oh please - nothing’s ever “off the record” with Michael Musto. Minus 10.
• Jimmy flies off the handle, thinking that Julia is trying to sabotage Kyle’s chance at a Tony. Seriously, does Jimmy have any emotion besides 0 and 60?
• Tom tries to get the bottle of wine back from Patrick Dillon and they meet in the lobby and hijinks ensue and this is the dumbest shit we’ve ever seen.
• Sam comes to see how Ivy is feeling, but then walks the stage door line with her. While we love seeing when theater actors come to support their friends, it’s super annoying when they walk the line with them, taking away from fan interaction time. Minus 10.
• “Did you hear what Karen and Jimmy said about you in the Voice?” another fangirl asks Ivy at the stage door, revealing that they claimed Ivy’s performance was an imitation and that Bombshell wasn’t original. While we’re all for gossiping with performers at the stage door, that sort of shit goes a little too far. Minus 15.
• Also, as much as we loved that guy who filmed Ivy, we think he would have stayed around for an autograph.
• Ana sounds good in her audition, but she would be TERRIBLE as Girl in Once. No disrespect meant to Krysta Rodriguez, but that part is not a good fit.
• Derek recommended Ana for the Once audition to pay her off. Surprise! Ana can’t get an audition on her own! Minus 10.
• Also, that should have been Jim Carnahan casting Once.
• Remember how Sam was super religious during season one? Did that all just disappear when he was on The Book of Mormon tour? Because we’re sure he’d have some pro-life jargon to throw Ivy’s way when she tells him she might get an abortion, wouldn’t he?
• The Outer Critics Circle Awards luncheon wouldn’t be at Table 46. It would be at Sardi’s. It’s always at Sardi’s.
• Jimmy wants Julia to tell everyone that she didn’t help Kyle with Hit List at all. That’s so Jimmy.
• Since when is Eileen the most/only professional person on the Bombshell team?
• Derek calls Hit List “the greatest triumph of my professional career.” Grumble.
• Jimmy’s sick and he’s losing his voice and he’s concerned because it’s the last show the Tony nominating committee will see, but he’s still smoking. HE’S SO BADASS. Minus 50.
• Jimmy doesn’t want to miss his last performance before the Tony nominations come out, even though he’s sick. But don’t worry - he doesn’t! Karen gives him a ticket to see the show instead. That’ll make him feel better (but not healthy).
• Jimmy wouldn’t need an actual ticket to sit in on his own show.
• Ana decides to rescind the letter with her lawyer and go out on the Once tour. What motivated that decision, we’ll never know because Ana never says. Minus 50.
• We still doubt that Ivy Lynn would have gotten that Featured Actress nomination for Liaisons. If The Performers wasn’t eligible, Liaisons shouldn’t be eligible.
• Let’s flashback to the nomination boards that Agnes had made... Victoria Clark, Katie Finneran, Patina Miller, and Chita Rivera were snubbed, in favor of Anika Noni Rose (Imitation of Life) and Daisy Parker (Hit List). Hmmm. 
• Jimmy is pissed Daisy Parker was nominated for The Diva instead of Ana. Um... ANA ISN’T IN THE SHOW ANYMORE! SHE’S NOT ELIGIBLE! 
• Minus 50 because they cut off the rest of the fake Tony best score nominees. Explain to us how Diane Paulus directed Pippin AND this new Oliver revival in the same season? Or was Pippin somehow cancelled because it received zero fake Tony nominations? Minus 100.
• Karen’s nominated for Lead Actress in a Musical. Meh. Going back to Agnes’s nomination boards, let’s check her record on Lead Actress in a Musical... pretty accurate, except that Jen Damiano got snubbed. Oh, and Sutton Foster, who is equally miscast, apparently replaced Laura Osnes in Oliver. Now THAT’S some drama we wish we saw on SMASH.
• Did Jimmy not get a nomination for Lead Actor in a Musical? Was he supposed to? Does anyone care? Not really, but why don’t we get to know who is nominated for the fake actor categories? Who are the male actors in The Gathering Storm and Imitation of Life? We need to know!
• And what about Sam? He won that Outer Critics Circle Award. Did he get a fake Tony nomination? Or are we done with his character?
• Eileen goes to see Nick in jail but he was released three weeks ago. Shortest jail time ever!
• Jimmy apologizes for pushing Karen away after Kyle died, explaining that he’s always been afraid to let someone else get close to him. Blah blah blah.
• When watching Hit List the night before, Jimmy finally realized the show stands on its own and can live on without him. FORESHADOWING?
• Derek quotes Veronica Moore in his interview with Michael Riedel. That’s fine and everything Derek, but when’s her Bravo concert airing? We need to set our DVRs!
• Derek commits career suicide by admitting to Michael Riedel that he promised Daisy Parker the role of the Diva if she slept with him. Are we supposed to find that noble? He basically screwed over himself, Daisy, and the entire cast of Hit List, who will inevitably feel the sting of Derek’s decision come fake Tony time. Minus 100.
• Derek could have at least done one of those pre-Tony tell-alls in the New York Times. Have some class.
• And while we’re at it, how come Michael Riedel gets all the scoops! Come on Broadway stars! Call us up sometime and give us a big break. We deserve it way more!

What’d you think of the first half of the finale, folks? Satisfied with those nominations? Rooting for Tom and Patrick Dillon?