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Music City Celebrates The Tony Awards with Special Concert, 6/6

Tony Awards excitement comes to a head in Music City USA, as the Broadway theater awards presentation gets the full Nashville treatment with two events designed to involve the local theater community in the celebration.

First up is First Night: The Tony Concert, to be presented by Keeping Scores Concerts at Franklin's Boiler Room Theatre on Monday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. Featuring some of Nashville's biggest and brightest theater stars performing songs from Tony Award-winning musicals, the concert serves as the kick-off of the 2011 First Night Season in Nashville, culminating with First Night, The Nashville Theatre Honors, which will be presented at Belmont University's Troutt Theatre on Sunday, September 4.

On Sunday, June 12, while the 2011 Tonys are being handed out in New York City, Nashville's theaterati will gather at The Keeton Theatre in Donelson for First Night: The Tony Party. A red carpet event starting at 6:30 p.m. will welcome party-goers who'll celebrate the night while watching the CBS telecast of The Tony Awards and indulging in fun and frivolity of a Music City variety.

Tickets for First Night: The Tony Concert and for First Night: The Tony Party are $15 each. For more information about First Night Events, call (615) 530-6178 and to learn more about First Night, The Nashville Theatre Honors, visit the website at

Martha Wilkinson, who's claimed nine First Night Awards during her career, just completed a run in Tennessee Repertory Theatre's Pump Boys and Dinettes and is in pre-production as director of Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre's summer musical Annie. After that, she goes into rehearsals to play the role of The Nurse in Nashville Shakespeare Festival's Romeo and Juliet.

What song are you singing in the concert? "With One Look" from Sunset Boulevard.

How does this song or this show speak to you personally - or reflect who you are? I feel it's the quintessential theatrical song...what every performer should hope to be able to achieve when their work should touch the audience.

What's your favorite Tony Award telecast memory? Well, I don't usually watch The Tonys. I'm not a big fan of selecting the "best," as I think we all strive to be our best and, well, it's a team effort. I know that sounds like a fricking embroidered pillow from Cracker Barrel, but I mean it. It takes more than one person to bring a show to life and to pick out the best seems silly to me. But with that said, I did enjoy the year Glenn Close won for Sunset Boulevard and she thanked my pal Alice Ripley - we were in Grease at Tennessee Repertory Theatre together - therefore, I felt like I was a part of the process

What show will win the Tony this year for Best Musical? Hell, I don't even know what's nominated...something with a bunch of young actors, a big, flashy set and puppets?

Matt Baugher won critical praise and audience love earlier this season for his portrayal of Frank Butler in Boiler Room Theatre's production of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun. He'll be among the performers headlining First Night, The Nashville Theatre Honors on Sunday, September 4, paying tribute to the 2011 Class of First Night Honorees.

What song are you singing in the concert? I'll be singing "She Likes Basketball" from Promises, Promises.

How does this song or this show speak to you personally - or reflect who you are? I've always been a huge Burt Bacharach fan. His melodies are unmatched and the music always has such a classic feel. This particular song appropriately celebrates that moment early in a relationship where each party begins to learn about the other. Sometimes, it's the silliest thing that gets our heart racing. In this case, it's the fact that the woman likes basketball. As the song says, "Who ever would've dreamed, every would've thought that my favorite girl likes my favorite sport?" I definitely relate to the fun and whimsical part of romance and this song is a great deal of fun to sing.

What's your favorite Tony Award telecast memory? When Julie Andrews sang a medley of My Fair Lady and Camelot in 1991.  I was 25 at the time and it brought back such great memories of why musical theatre stole my heart in the first place.

What show will win the Tony this year for Best Musical? I think The Book of Mormon has it locked up. We'll see!

Scott Logsdon, a veteran of Broadway and national tours, has made a name for himself in Nashville theater with his original musical An American Country Christmas Carol, which was given a staged reading last December at Boiler Room Theatre and as the creative force behind Keeping Scores Concerts, which presented Funny Girl in March. He is also the director of I Do! I Do!, which continues at Boiler Room Theatre, through June 11.

What song are you singing in the concert? "Being Alive" from Company.

How does this song or this show speak to you personally - or reflect who you are? Company was my introduction to Sondheim in high school. I was obsessed with it. I did the show in New York City and it was a major event for a few reasons. I got to meet Sondheim and be in the same room with him and get to hear him talk about the score with the cast. I met Janet Metz who played Amy to my Paul. We "clicked" and she told her agent "Sign him or I will get another agent." The agent signed me and that led to my being cast in Les Miserables less than a year later.

Company is scarily honest - it tells the truth. It's the musical equivalent of the friend you should never ask if you look fat because they will tell you "yes." If you want "Happily ever after, things are always swell" this is not the musical for you. It's about the difficulty of connecting and once one is connected, staying alive and intimate and not dying. It's ambiguously hopeful, kind of like "Sorry/Grateful."

Bobby is a perpetual outsider...and he yearns for something more....wanting to belong yet afraid he or someone else will ultimately be found lacking so he distracts himself...he's painfully idealistic in spite of being someone in a cynical age with cynical friends....he seems to be ready to try to connect...but we never find out if he does or not (ah the beauty of ambiguously hopeful) Margot Channing says: "I feel as if I've suddenly taken off all my clothing." Revealing enough?

What's your favorite Tony Award telecast memory? The year Sweeney Todd won was very exciting to me. There was not internet, no vcrs, no to get to see Angela Lansbury singing a song from the new Sondheim show was incredibly exciting to me. And yes, I used to record them with my clunky tape recorder so I could listen to them.
Also, the year Les Miserables won I watched it knowing as much as I knew my name I would be in it...and 15 months later I was. That was also a great telecast as it featured my soon-to-be-frien- for-life Andrea McArdle singing in a medley while in her Starlight Express costume.

What show will win the Tony this year for Best Musical? It is inevitable that The Book of Mormon will win. It's a great show, but I wish The Scottsboro Boys would win - it was breathtaking in its genius of telling a horrifying story using a minstrel show as a device. It will be revived in 10 or so years and win every award imaginable. It's too grim and people will need to be familiar with it before it becomes Chicago.

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From This Author Jeffrey Ellis