Monday, June 10, 2013

The Tony awards were last night and was a great glimpse at many of the Broadway Musicals being offered this season. It is truly the only place where the general public can scroll through the 400 TV channels and see a few scenes from a Musical show. Cable should offer a Broadway Channel. TLC should be giving our youth and our old people all of us, songs and dances not reality shows of dysfunctional people living their lives in such a shockingly way.

This years awards was a triumph for women in the theater. A lot of women received major awards in big categories. The musical from Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein took six awards. But the big winners may have been women and minorities, as Broadway touted its inclusiveness. On Broadway's biggest night, a feel-good cross-dressing musical kicked up its heels.

Kinky Boots the Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper show about a struggling shoe factory that turns to fetish-wear to survive, took home six awards, including the top prize of best musical during the 67th Tony Awards Sunday night at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan .While accepting the award for score, Lauper brought a bit of working-class charm to the ceremony with her trademark outer borough accent.

As Hollywood continues to be the subject of criticism for a lack of inclusiveness, 2013 was an extraordinarily good year for both women and minorities on Broadway. African American actors won four of the eight acting Tonys: lead actor in a musical for Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”), lead actress in a play for Cicely Tyson (“The Trip To Bountiful”) lead actress in a musical for Patina Miller (“Pippin”) and featured actor in a play for Courtney B. Vance (“Lucky Guy”)

Diane Paulus beat out the directors of both “Kinky Boots” and “Matilda” to take the Tony, her first, for best director for her circus-infused revival of “Pippin,” which, as expected, also won the Tony for best revival of a musical. The veteran comedian Andrea Martin, whose trapeze act is one of the shows most remarkable moments, won for best supporting actress in a musical and waxed lyrical on the pleasures of being an older woman, caught and held every night by a much younger man, “and never dropped.”

Although the Tony Awards seem to be a night for gay men to strut their stuff like happy peacocks showing off their plums, thanking their life long partners and loving every minute to be paid well to cross dress, it was good to see minorities and women receive awards. Ironically all of these talented song and dance people got their start probably from reading the pages of Variety magazine. It was the publication that got its start in the vaudeville era.

Now it gets stiff competition from various Internet sites. The way twitter and Face book and all kinds of cell phone video and cameras seem to have already taken over the news as the fastest way to report news replacing the “reporter” as a occupation, Variety news as a source seems to be fading. For more than a century Variety had played a staring role in the entertainment industry. It was where you could read for information of where and when auditions would be taking place for the next big show being produced.

It is a small town newspaper for the town of entertainers. It printed the first movie review in 1907. The publication began by covering vaudeville in NY City in 1905. By 1935 the publication covered things happening in Hollywood and a mention in those pages meant you arrived in show business. In its 107 years, Variety has covered it all. From the Titanic when it sank in 1912 to 86 years later when it rose to become the first Billion dollar blockbuster movie.

Even entertainment has evolved through different mediums. In 1929 sound took over silent films. In 1940 records took over radio shows. In 1950 video took over the live Broadway show. By 1984 home recording took money away from Hollywood. In Variety reporting, mew words were invented that are now included in the dictionary. Words like sit-com which is a noun for a television or radio series in which the same set of characters are involved in amusing situations. Other terms like strip-tease and punch-line were invented from those pages. What anyone can’t invent is our desire to sing and dance and have fun.

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