DSM’s Jenkins wins best presenter award

In my recent interview with Jeff Calhoun, the director of the national tour of 9 to 5: The Musical (which opens tonight at Fair Park), Calhoun praises Dallas Summer Musicals managing director Michael Jenkins as a great friend and mentor.

Well, Calhoun isn’t the only one singing Jenkins’ praises. Last week, Jenkins was awarded the Samuel J. L’Hommedieu Award as “outstanding presenter” by the Broadway League, an 80-year-old trade association of the Broadway industry. The award ceremony was hosted by George Hamilton, who will appear in the DSM’s tour of La Cage aux Folles next year.

Under Jenkins, the DSM has won two Tony Awards (best revival of a play for Boeing, Boeing and best theatrical event for Jay Johnson: My Two and Only) and produced many more hits.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tony Awards recap

Sean Hayes both hosted the Tony Awards Sunday night and was a nominee for his performance in “Promises, Promises,” but he also was a sassy lightning rod for politics. Hayes made the least news ever last March when, just before his Broadway debut opened, he officially came out as gay. (In other news, the sun set last night.)

Hayes was then the target of a weird thinkpiece in Newsweek (by a gay author, no less!) who claimed that when gay actors come out, they ruin the illusion that they could be straight for audiences; Hayes was singled out as not convincingly playing a hetero man in the musical. His co-star, Kristin Chenoweth — who also has appeared on “Glee,” another target of the article — was vocal in her disdain for the piece.

Without addressing the article directly, Hayes began his hosting duties with a Tipper-and-Al-style prolonged lip-lock with Chenoweth that seemed to establish, for home audiences, that kisses look real when the actors are good. Despite my criticism of the cast recording, these actors are good.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tony nominations have some gay

The Tony Award nominees were announced this morning. Not in the list was Cheyenne Jackson for his role in the revival of Finian’s Rainbow, but there were some other gay-notable inclusions. Among them:

Fela!, the dance musical conceived by choreographer Bill T. Jones, led the pack with 11 nominations.

• The revival of La Cage aux Folles also got 11 nods. Out actor Robin DeJesus, who co-starred in the North Texas-shot indie Fat Girls and was nominated two years ago for In the Heights, was cited as best featured actor. The production also got nods for stars Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge, as best revival and seven other awards.

• Sean Hayes — Jack from Will & Grace — got nominated as best actor in a leading role in a musical for his Broadway debut in the revival of Promises, Promises.

• Levi Kreis, the gay musician making his Broadway debut playing Jerry lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet, was nominated as best featured actor in a musical.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

'La Cage' actor dies

LaCage

I just heard that actor Gene Barry died last week at 90. He was in Westerns and a 1960s TV series called Burke’s Law and did guest shots on shows like Fantasy Island, but most gay people would probably remember his name from the cover of the album La Cage aux Folles — he was Tony-nominated for playing the gay lover of Albin, the drag diva, in the 1983 Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical. Barry’s best number from the show, “The Song on the Sand,” was a wistful reverie about first falling in love. Neither Barry nor his co-star, George Hearn (who beat him for the Tony) was gay, but their dignified performances really did a lot for gay people.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones