Tony Awards are, once again, very gay

NPH performingPlano native Brian J. Smith was the unfortunate runner-up to three-time winner Mark Rylance at the Tony Awards last night, but our disappointment is lessened slightly by some noteworthy victories.

Six plays and six musicals split the 15 awards handed out Sunday night, which failed to see a clear favorite: Two shows won four awards apiece, and two won three.

Rylance took the first award of the evening, for best featured actor in a play, for Twelfth Night, defeating Smith in The Glass MenagerieMenagerie won only one award, for lighting of a play; Twelfth Night also won for best costume design of a play. Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way, a one-man show with Bryan Cranston playing Texan LBJ, won best play and best actor in a play.

Audra McDonald made history, winning her sixth acting Tony (she now has one in every female acting category, this time for lead actress in a play) playing Billie Holliday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.

The big winner for plays, though, was A Raisin in the Sun, which won revival of a play, director of a play (Kenny Leon) and featured actress in a play (Sophie Okonedo).

Gay fave Neil Patrick Harris, pictured, was a popular favorite when he won for best actor in a musical for his turn in the cross-dressing rock opera Hedwig and the Angry InchHedwig won three other awards: best featured actress for Lena Hall, best lighting of a musical and best revival of a musical.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, the standout hit of the season, took the prizes for best musical, book of a musical, director of a musical and costumes for a musical. Beautiful, the musical based on the life of songwriter Carole King, won best actress in a musical (Jessie Mueller), best sound and set design for a musical. The score award went to The Bridges of Madison County, which also won for best orchestrations.

The show clocked in at just more than three hours, with Hugh Jackman as host. Many of the technical awards were presented off-camera and only announced during the broadcast, and there was no “in memoriam” for those theater folks who have died. There was, however, time for a performance of a musical about Peter Pan, Finding Neverland, which has not opened and has not even booked an opening date yet.

Additional winners:

Featured actor in a musical: James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin

Choreography: After Midnight

Set design of a play: Act One.

Sound design of a play: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

Screen shot 2014-05-22 at 2.17.58 PMEveryone who dislikes time travel movies, stand up. … Is anyone left sitting? Dislike is perhaps the wrong term, it’s just that they seem so cheap, the sci-fi equivalent of the tearjerker. When a guiding principle of your story is that you can always start over and erase everything that came before it, and conceivably do that over and over again, what’s the point? So, when X-Men: Days of Future Past starts in a dystopian landscape of just a few years hence, and posits the notion that Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, whose vascular physique and butt shot are alone worth the price of admission) must travel back to 1973 to correct everything that’s happened since … well, since the first X-Men movie, it feels as if all the emotional energy you’ve invested into all these characters for more than a decade was for naught. Just erase and start over. Video games do that; movies are supposed to be above that.

It is with that caveat that I can still recommend this nth sequel in the Marvel franchise, a kind of smaller-scale Avengers series that keeps adding stars and superheroes as quickly as it kills them off. Jackman’s Wolverine is the unifying actor, though the characters of Professor X (Patrick Stewart as an adult, James McAvoy as a younger man) and Magneto (Ian McKellen/Michael Fassbender) are fairly constant as well — the big boys who give the X-Men story its arc.

And what a gay arc it is. Mutants are so vilified, they might as well be gay, which is the underpinning to the entire series. Mutants come out, and get bashed, and seek equal rights … sound familiar? But it’s hard to feel too sorry for them when they can stop time, command metal and listen into every brain on the planet.

At least until a scientist (Peter Dinklage) turns their own DNA on them to create super-robots who can track them down and use their own powers against them — Terminators to Sarah Connor’s survivor.

The story becomes a convoluted mess that relies too heavily on matters such as subtle political reactions, good PR, convincing psychopaths to behave sensibly and such, but the visual effects are stellar, and despite some lulls in the telling, the action is entertaining. There are quite a few Oscar winners and nominees among the cast, actors who know how to zero in on some emotional resonances. They sell this summer comic book, giving color to the drab world of the future.

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: First trailer for ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

Yes, the title sounds like a Moody Blues album, and yes, Hugh Jackman just got done playing Wolverine again this summer, but for the first time since X2, gay director Bryan Singer is actually behind the camera for X-Men: Days of Future Past. We’ve liked Singer ever since The Usual Suspects, so we’re willing to give this umpeenth sequel a chance (check out the lingering abs-shot of Jackman!). This one combines the original cast (Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry) with the new cast (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence) in a time-trippy romp through Mutant history.

Watch the trailer after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The Tonys, as always, are super-gay

The Tony Awards are hands-down the gayest of the major awards shows, from host Neil Patrick Harris (who called it “50 Shades of Gay”) to presenters and performers like Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ricky Martin and Raul Esparza … hell, even the nominees (Cynthia Nixon, writer Joe DiPietro) and winners (Newsies lyricist Jack Feldman, Death of a Salesman producer Scott Rudin) are gay, or gay-adjacent (Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Judith Light). And with Hugh Jackman presented a special award by his wife (in terrible shoes) and the Judas from Jesus Christ Superstar clad in crotch-hugging iridescent pants and Dallas’ own Cedric Neal clearly featured in best revival of a musical winner Porgy & Bess … well, it was a queerly delicious evening.

It was even better from the seats in the Winspear Opera House, where ATTPAC hosted a free Tony-watching party, marred only by co-host Sandie Newton’s ghastly banter (she cooed over how pretty Bernadette Peters looked, then sniped at John Larroquette as looking old while taking the cop-out “it’s a four-way tie!” approach to the costume contestants, when the team from Evita clearly won).

The big winner was the musical Once, with eight awards, and the play Peter and the Starcatcher with five. Only one of the four musical nominees was not based on movie; sigh.

Here are the winners:

MUSICALS

Musical — Once

Revival — Porgy and Bess

Director — John Tiffany, Once

Actor — Steve Kazee, Once

Actress — Audra McDonald, Porgy and Bess

Featured Actor — Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Featured Actress — Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Lighting Design — Once

Set Design — Once

Costume Design — Follies

Sound Design — Once

Score — Newsies

Book — Once

Orchestrations — Once

PLAYS

Play — Clybourne Park

Revival — Death of a Salesman

Director — Death of a Salesman

Actor — James Carden, One Man, Two Guvnors

Actress — Nina Arianda, Venus in Fur

Featured Actor — Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher

Featured Actress — Judith Light, Other Desert Cities

Lighting Design — Peter and the Starcatcher

Set Design — Peter and the Starcatcher

Costume Design — Peter and the Starcatcher

Sound Design — Peter and the Starcatcher

—  Arnold Wayne Jones