Best Leading Actress Article in the NY Times

StickIt
Featured Actor
joined:8/29/08
Really interesting interview with the five ladies up for Best Actress this year (Kelli O'Hara, Sutton Foster, Jessie Mueller, Idina Menzel, Mary Bridget Davies).


NY Times
Updated On: 5/7/14 at 09:58 AM
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
It genuinely seems like they keep forgetting Mary Bridget Davies is there.
givesmevoice
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/07
Is it just me, or is the tone of this article a little odd?

When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
Updated On: 5/7/14 at 10:09 AM
StickIt
Featured Actor
joined:8/29/08
The whole thing is a bit "off" to me, but I can't put my finger on why. I don't know that interviewing Kelli so close to getting her closing notice was a great thing but she certainly makes some cogent points.
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Yeah, this is odd. It's also kind of cheating because it's really little more than a transcription.
"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
LYLS3637
Featured Actor
joined:5/1/09
"The score is acclaimed, but itís not commercial enough. Itís not the thing that is exciting and really in peopleís heads. Back when all the classics were written, people had a different mind-set of sitting still and listening to something and learning it. Nowadays, people want to love the music right now."

Wow-- Kelli hit the nail right on the head...
Steve721
Stand-by
joined:2/21/14
People work so very hard on these shows and when they fail, it is very difficult not to take it personally. O'Hara now has five Tony noms and rave reviews for her performance in Bridges, but the audience did not show up for her. That must be very hard to take. I really feel for her.
givesmevoice
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/07
"The score is acclaimed, but itís not commercial enough. Itís not the thing that is exciting and really in peopleís heads. Back when all the classics were written, people had a different mind-set of sitting still and listening to something and learning it. Nowadays, people want to love the music right now."

Wow-- Kelli hit the nail right on the head...


I think she has many good points, but I really don't like that mindset, or what I interpret that mindset to be. I love old musicals, I love the classic legit voices, but I also want musical theatre to be able to grow and breathe and evolve with changing climates in music and audience interest. It's not a stagnant creature, it should be reaching out and finding new voices and sounds, and whatever catches does and whatever doesn't, unfortunately, doesn't.
When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
IdinaBellFoster
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/06
Other than the comment about if there's room for classical style music, which is think there is, I see nothing awkward about this interview.

I think is five women speaking very frankly about the industry they work in. Loved the interview!

"Oh look at the time, three more intelligent plays just closed and THE ADDAMS FAMILY made another million dollars" -Jackie Hoffman, Broadway.com Audience Awards
Updated On: 5/7/14 at 10:57 AM
BroadwayGirl107
Broadway Legend
joined:8/26/03
Well, I LOVED this. It does seem a bit like it was cut and paste (wish they had filmed this like THR's roundtables), but it's so wonderful to get these women in the room together and get them talking about good and bad. It gave me a little jolt of inspiration.
"This country, this experiment, America, this hubris: what a lament if no one saw it go. Here today, gone tomorrow. Dissipation is actually much worse than cataclysm."--August: Osage County
LYLS3637
Featured Actor
joined:5/1/09
givesmevoice--

I thought she was talking less about the changing climate of music itself, and more about the difficulty of original scores. With shows like MOTOWN and MAMMA MIA and even BEAUTIFUL, the audience does not have to put in the effort of listening intently and learning new music. Because of its familiarity, people know they will love it immediately.

Updated On: 5/7/14 at 11:24 AM
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
"With shows like MOTOWN and MAMMA MIA and even BEAUTIFUL, the audience does not have to put in the effort of listening intently and learning new music. "

When Oklahoma, Kiss Me, Kate, Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, and countless others were new, no "effort" was required to either listen to or love their scores.

And no amount of effort, repeated listenings, or memorization will turn a bad score ino a good one.

Updated On: 5/7/14 at 12:34 PM
LYLS3637
Featured Actor
joined:5/1/09
Well AfterEight, if you don't put in any sort of effort when listening to a new piece of music, I guess we've figured you out then...
haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Good stuff, although I don't think it was odd or favored one performer more than another. Having been at roundtable things like this before, you just ask the question, people answer, you ask the next question. If someone isn't appearing as much in the story, they just didn't talk much during the discussion. I think the three veterans were more familiar with one another, so they felt freer to interject and cut each other off and build on the previous speaker's thoughts, but that's pretty normal.

I remember I did a press thing for Milk once, and you couldn't get a question out without Sean Penn interjecting or chiming in, to the point where you often didn't get a really good quote from the people you intended the question for, so... I ran a transcript.
formerly oasisjeff on here.
haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
"I don't know that interviewing Kelli so close to getting her closing notice was a great thing."

One imagines getting all five in a room together took some advance planning, and she knew the show was on its way out at this point, because it wasn't nominated for Best Musical.

"It's also kind of cheating because it's really little more than a transcription."

So, you'd rather have the Times chop this up and seemingly not "cheat," so that we would get more text from the Times and less of the actual words of the participants?!
formerly oasisjeff on here.
Updated On: 5/7/14 at 12:58 PM
HorseTears
Broadway Legend
joined:3/25/05
I enjoyed that. A very frank discussion from some smart, talented women.
AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
"When Oklahoma, Kiss Me, Kate, Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, and countless others were new, no "effort" was required to either listen to or love their scores."

AfterEight is actually right about this. I find Kelli's statement about the "classics" to be quite flawed, and actually the opposite of what it seems she was trying to say. Most of the classics are filled with songs that didn't require an audience to sit and process and come to love them through repeated listenings. People walked out of theaters with the songs in their heads, already loving them. Or, depending on when they saw the show, they walked in already knowing at least the one hit song from the show because it had been covered by the popular singers of the day, or had been performed on the Ed Sullivan Show, and the audience already had substantial exposure to it.
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
haterobics
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/14
Even at shows with overtures lately, where they are introducing you to some of the melodies and such that you're about to hear... it still seems like it is texting/talking time for most people. Until an actor walks onstage and starts talking, the show isn't started for a lot of people.
formerly oasisjeff on here.
SporkGoddess
Broadway Legend
joined:7/27/05
I found Kelli O'Hara's remark about The Light in the Piazza REALLY interesting. I remember that not everyone loved her portrayal of Clara acting-wise, and it's sad that she struggled to understand the character. I can understand her difficulty--I'm not sure that Clara is the most realistic. I actually remember an interview back with Kelli when she talked about how she studied traumatic brain injury for the role and she implied that she thought Clara is almost a little too high-functioning.

Anyone who's read my posts knows about my theory that the average modern audience doesn't like high notes or sopranos anymore, and I'm wondering if that hurt Bridges as well.

Jimmy, what are you doing here in the middle of the night? It's almost 9 PM!
Updated On: 5/7/14 at 01:19 PM
ray-andallthatjazz86
Broadway Legend
joined:8/2/05
I think Kelli O'Hara was merely referencing the catalogue musicals we see so much of today (and it's a bit awkward considering that Mueller and Davies are nominated for two of those). The thing is this issue has been part of musical theatre for decades now, Stephen Sondheim faced this issue throughout pretty much all his career writing new musicals (obviously, once he kinda of "retired," the conversation changed a bit and he became a legend). Do I think audiences today would welcome CABARET the way they did in the 1960s? Or even WEST SIDE STORY? I honestly don't know, it's a moot point, but I don't think so. It seems like less and less there's room for GREY GARDENS, or THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, or CAROLINE, OR CHANGE (which people thought would be a hit based on Tony Kushner) on Broadway, starting with the fact that those shows simply don't get produced anymore. To produce BRIDGETS OF MADISON COUNTY as a commercial venture was a huge risk and it makes you wonder (as O'Hara does in the article) whether the days when a show like that could succeed on Broadway are over.
Overall, I liked this roundtable. Roundtables like these tend to be awkward because yes, sometimes people don't feel comfortable enough to talk. Hollywood Reporter does one with the Oscar hopefuls every year and they are always a mixed bag (mainly too because the interviewers are terrible).
"Some people can thrive and bloom living life in a living room, that's perfect for some people of one hundred and five. But I at least gotta try, when I think of all the sights that I gotta see, all the places I gotta play, all the things that I gotta be at"
givesmevoice
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/07
AEA AGMA SM, I was going to make that point about audiences already knowing at least the one hit song from the "classics," so I'm glad you did.

haterobics, I feel like people still talk/text during the overtures because the house lights are often only dimmed at that point, not turned off all the way.
When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
IdinaBellFoster
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/06
Also so interesting that O'Hara referenced Clara as someone she "tried" to play
"Oh look at the time, three more intelligent plays just closed and THE ADDAMS FAMILY made another million dollars" -Jackie Hoffman, Broadway.com Audience Awards
bwayphreak234
Broadway Legend
joined:7/4/10
GREAT article with some great points.
"Thereís nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
Steve721
Stand-by
joined:2/21/14
If "The King and I" or "Kiss Me Kate" were to open today with no movie or TV stars in the cast, would it succeed? For shows that have original scores, the scores today tend to be more pop oriented (like Kinky Boots) than something like "The King and I". Given how expensive Broadway musicals are to produce, I'm not sure a musical with a more traditional classic-style score (and singers who sing in that style) would do well enough to survive, regardless of the reviews. I think that's what O'Hara was trying to say, and I'm not entirely sure that she's wrong about that.
Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/13
"haterobics, I feel like people still talk/text during the overtures because the house lights are often only dimmed at that point, not turned off all the way."

When the house dims, you put your phone away immediately so you can enjoy the overture. People should know that. Sigh.

"When we did ďSouth Pacific,Ē they did eight minutes of overture with 40 pieces, and people loved it. No one will pay for that anymore."

That's the most depressing line in this whole article. How could people NOT want to listen and experience that? Have things changed really that much in four years?
valeposh
Understudy
joined:11/5/13
I remember well the overture in South Pacific and how I felt literally transported into that world. Sad indeed. Great reading nonetheless. I especially enjoyed Kelli, Sutton and Idina talking from their more experienced point of view.
2013-2014: Kinky Boots - Pippin - Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike - A Comedy of Errors - Twelfth Night - 700 Sundays - Big Fish - The Glass Menagerie - If/Then - The Bridges of Madison County - All The Way - A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder ** Touring: Miss Saigon - American Idiot - Into The Woods - Bring It On - The Book of Mormon

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