Sunday, May 21, 2006

Review - Blonde Bloggers Bitching (The Duplex Cabaret Theatre)

Stage Buzz Review by Jere Williams

These friends came to the Big Apple from Northwestern University with stars in their eyes and hope in their hearts … only to find out that life in Manhattan isn’t exactly all Sex in the City. So they took to the internet to bitch about their love lives, or lack thereof, on their blogs. And a cabaret show was born.

Clarice Mazanec and Kat Voboril’s Blonde Bloggers Bitching is roughly based on their real-life experiences dating a variety of losers and wannabes on their quest for that elusive Mr. Right. Wow! Who would ever have thought that even stunning blonde goddesses would have trouble finding a date?

Highlights included a priceless opening medley of showtunes representing dating life in NYC. These two hooked me right away and I was laughing hysterically at their contemporary takes on some musical theatre classics, as well as more modern fare. The popular favorite with the crowd was a rendition of Rent’s “Take Me As I Am,” which was later brought back as an encore at the end of the evening.

There was clever juxtaposition afoot when the ladies chose a little-known song by George Gershwin, Otto Harbach, and Oscar Hammerstein II called “Vodka” to follow the Fred Barton perennial “Pour Me A Man” from Miss Gulch Returns. Despite it’s pedigree, I wasn’t familiar with “Vodka,” a paean to the eponymous liquor, but it went along swimmingly with Barton’s comic, drunken ode to liquor as a substitute for people of the male persuasion.

Voboril and Mazanec ran the gamut from classic show tunes to more contemporary musical theatre (even including a song from one of this season’s Best Musical nominees, The Color Purple) to pop. There were even original compositions from musical director Robby Stamper, who ably abetted the ladies on the piano.

Flaws were few … sure, the second half of the show is a little too ballad heavy and could use an uptempo number here and there, but each and every ballad was well chosen and well sung. Voboril, the shorter of the two ladies, needs to be careful that the microphone stand isn’t so high that the mic blocks her face. And some of the between-song patter, especially the prerecorded stuff, needs to be reconsidered as it tends to veer the evening a bit too preciously close to Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw and her sometimes ponderous Sex and the City voice overs.
I definitely recommend checking this show out whenever Voboril and Mazanec book a return engagement. Keep an eye out for them. These blondes are going places.

Further information: Blonde Bloggers Bitching runs approximately 54 minutes and started 11 minutes late at the performance that I attended. If you are interested in checking out the blogs that inspired the show, Clarice Mazanec’s is called Sometimes A Blonde Just Needs To Vent and Kat Voboril’s is Real Emotional Girl.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

And the nominees are . . .

2006 Tony Awards nominees were announced today.

Best Play
The History Boys
The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Rabbit Hole
Shining City

Best Musical
The Color Purple
The Drowsy Chaperone
Jersey Boys
The Wedding Singer

Best Revival of a Play
Awake and Sing!
The Constant Wife
Faith Healer

Best Revival of a Musical
The Pajama Game
Sweeney Todd
The Threepenny Opera

Best Book of a Musical
The Color Purple, Marsha Norman
The Drowsy Chaperone, Bob Martin and Don McKellar
Jersey Boys, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
The Wedding Singer, Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics)
The Color Purple, Music & Lyrics: Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray
The Drowsy Chaperone, Music & Lyrics: Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison
The Wedding Singer, Music: Matthew Sklar, Lyrics: Chad Beguelin
The Woman in White, Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics: David Zippel

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Ralph Fiennes, Faith Healer
Richard Griffiths, The History Boys
Zeljko Ivanek, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial
Oliver Platt, Shining City
David Wilmot, The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Kate Burton, The Constant Wife
Judy Kaye, Souvenir
Lisa Kron, Well
Cynthia Nixon, Rabbit Hole
Lynn Redgrave, The Constant Wife

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Sweeney Todd
Harry Connick, Jr., The Pajama Game
Stephen Lynch, The Wedding Singer
Bob Martin, The Drowsy Chaperone
John Lloyd Young, Jersey Boys

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, The Drowsy Chaperone
LaChanze, The Color Purple
Patti LuPone, Sweeney Todd
Kelli O’Hara, The Pajama Game
Chita Rivera, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Samuel Barnett, The History Boys
Domhnall Gleeson, The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Ian McDiarmid, Faith Healer
Mark Ruffalo, Awake and Sing!
Pablo Schreiber, Awake and Sing!

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Tyne Daly, Rabbit Hole
Frances de la Tour, The History Boys
Jayne Houdyshell, Well
Alison Pill, The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Zoe Wanamaker, Awake and Sing!

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Danny Burstein, The Drowsy Chaperone
Jim Dale, The Threepenny Opera
Brandon Victor Dixon, The Color Purple
Manoel Felciano, Sweeney Todd
Christian Hoff, Jersey Boys

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Carolee Carmello, Lestat
Felicia P. Fields, The Color Purple
Megan Lawrence, The Pajama Game
Beth Leavel, The Drowsy Chaperone
Elisabeth Withers-Mendes, The Color Purple

Best Direction of a Play
Nicholas Hytner, The History Boys
Wilson Milam, The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Bartlett Sher, Awake and Sing!
Daniel Sullivan, Rabbit Hole

Best Direction of a Musical
John Doyle, Sweeney Todd
Kathleen Marshall, The Pajama Game
Des McAnuff, Jersey Boys
Casey Nicholaw, The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Choreography
Rob Ashford, The Wedding Singer
Donald Byrd, The Color Purple
Kathleen Marshall, The Pajama Game
Casey Nicholaw, The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Orchestrations
Larry Blank, The Drowsy Chaperone
Dick Lieb and Danny Troob, The Pajama Game
Steve Orich, Jersey Boys
Sarah Travis, Sweeney Todd

Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, Rabbit Hole
Bob Crowley, The History Boys
Santo Loquasto, Three Days of Rain
Michael Yeargan, Awake and Sing!

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
John Lee Beatty, The Color Purple
David Gallo, The Drowsy Chaperone
Derek McLane, The Pajama Game
Klara Zieglerova, Jersey Boys

Best Costume Design of a Play
Michael Krass, The Constant Wife
Santo Loquasto, A Touch of the Poet
Catherine Zuber, Awake and Sing!
Catherine Zuber, Seascape

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, The Drowsy Chaperone
Susan Hilferty, Lestat
Martin Pakledinaz, The Pajama Game
Paul Tazewell, The Color Purple

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Christopher Akerlind, Awake and Sing!
Paul Gallo, Three Days of Rain
Mark Henderson, Faith Healer
Makr Henderson, The History Boys

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Ken Billington and Brian Monahan, The Drowsy Chaperone
Howell Binkley, Jersey Boys
Natasha Katz, Tarzan
Brian MacDevitt, The Color Purple

Special Tony Award
Sarah Jones, Bridge & Tunnel

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theater
Harold Prince

Regional Theater Tony Award
Intiman Theater, Seattle