Dallas connections to the 2012 Tony noms

The 2012 Tony Award nominations came out this morning, with the new musical Once (based on the Irish film) getting the most nominations (11). But actually a couple of other productions are even more interesting to Dallas audiences.

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, which features Dallas actor Cedric Neal, received 10 noms, including best revival of a musical. And Lysistrata Jones, which began as a world premiere at the Dallas Theater Center (under the name Give It Up) received a nom for best book of a musical for Douglas Carter Beane. He’ll go up against fellow gay writer Joe DiPietro for Nice Work If You Can Get It. Unfortunately, Liz Mikel, who wowed Dallas and New York audiences, was not singled out for her performance.

This is the Tonys, so gay nominees abound. The revival of Sondheim’s Follies scored a number of nominations (including, for my money, likely winner Jan Maxwell). Gay playwright Jon Robin Baitz got a nod for best play for Other Desert Cities. Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (with a gay twist) was nominated for best revival of a play as well as best actor James Earl Jones; he’ll face against John Lithgow, who was nominated for another gay play, The Columnist (which also features former Dallasite Brian J. Smith as Lithgow’s  six-pack-ab’d trick). Lesbian actress Cynthia Nixon is up for her performance in Wit.

Jeff Calhoun, whom I interviewed last year, is nominated for best director of a musical for Newsies. Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark got only two design nominations, though ironically, the new movie Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield, was nominated for best featured actor in a play for Death of a Salesman.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DTC announces 2012-13 season

The Dallas Theater Center’s fourth season at the Wyly Theatre continues to extend performances into the Kalita Humphreys space where Uptown Players calls home, but this will officially be the last year A Christmas Carol is performed there. The upcoming season itself claims lots of new works or regional premieres in an eclectic season of comedy, professional wrestling, flying men and musicals with the word “fly” in the title.

See the schedule of shows after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

B’way: ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’

In the old days, cutting the original Broadway cast recording of a new musical was always expected — even if the show closed immediately. Economics have made that less of a given (the Tony-nominated flop Cry-Baby closed without a CD of the score being made). But when your show is called Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and it gets reworked during nine months of previews, who even knows what the score will sound like by the time it opens?

On the other hand, you have something unique in the score by Bono and The Edge: A built-in audience of rockers who couldn’t give a shit about a B’way musical but who are addicted to U2’s music. Thus was born this CD, carefully titled Music from Spider-Man. The implication: These are some of the songs, but maybe not all of them. And some tracks are even demos performed not by the cast, but by Bono and The Edge himself. “For fun,” the liner notes claim. More like for economic necessity.

Musical purists may sniff, but the songs are undeniably the product of some rock gods who are trying to create their version of The Who’s Tommy. Not all of the numbers work; “Bouncing Off the Walls” is both too literal and too corny exposition, with a dull, repetitive riff, and “Pull the Trigger” tries too hard. But there are the bones of some hits. The show itself might be a disaster, but at least some of the music swings.

— A.W.J.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 29, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens