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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Community Celebrates Wins & Performances at the 2019 Tony Awards

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    On June 9, New York Film Academy (NYFA) was proud to see several members of the NYFA community and their work showcased and honored this year at the 2019 Tony Awards. The 73rd edition of Broadway’s biggest night was held at Radio City Music Hall, with musical Hadestown crowned standout of the night, earning eight total wins, including Best Musical.

    2019 Tony Awards
    A viewing party for the Tony Awards was held at the NYFA Theatre at our New York campus, where Musical Theatre students were joined by other NYFA students to watch the ceremony on the big screen. The crowd of enthusiastic young artists cheered the winners and sang along with several of the performances.

    James T. Lane, a faculty member of the Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA), performed live at the ceremony as a principal cast member of the Tony-nominated revival Kiss Me, Kate. Lane’s Broadway credits include King Kong, The Scottsboro Boys, and A Chorus Line.

    Dance Area Head Michelle Potterf was thrilled to see a NYFA instructor on the big stage, saying, “James T. Lane is an amazing Broadway performer and PCMT at NYFA is extremely lucky to have him as a teacher and a choreographer!”

    Potterf added, “Students in the program had the opportunity to view James in his element, as a Broadway Star … What an amazing experience!”

    2019 Tony Awards

    In addition to Kiss Me, Kate, the cast of Beetlejuice: The Musical, one of Broadway’s newest hit musicals, also performed on the Radio City stage. Catie Davis, who has Guest Directed for PCMT at NYFA—helming last February’s production of #MARS as part of our 2019 Winter New Works Series—is the Associate Director of Beetlejuice.

    The NYFA community celebrated some Tony Award wins this year as well. Bryan Cranston collected his second career Tony, winning Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play in the stage adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s Network. Cranston spoke with New York Film Academy students as part of our NYFA Guest Speaker Series in 2016.

    Tootsie, another successful adaptation of a Hollywood film, came away with two Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical for Robert Horn and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Santino Fontana. PCMT at NYFA instructor Dave Solomon served as Associate Director on the hit musical.

    “We’re incredibly proud of Dave’s work on this show,” says NYFA Chair of Musical Theatre Mark Olsen. “Adapting such a popular film is always a challenge, and this creative team has done a phenomenal job. The show is very deserving of all the accolades its received.”

    2019 Tony Awards
    The Cher Show
    also picked up two Tonys for Stephanie J. Block (Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical) and Bob Mackie (Best Costume Design of a Musical). Travis Greisler, the Associate Director on The Cher Show, has Guest Directed the PCMT at NYFA musicals Nine (2017) and Joni (2016). 

    New York Film Academy congratulates the winners and performers of the 2019 Tony Awards and is delighted to see its community members involved with Broadway’s biggest and most celebrated night! 

    Here is the full list of this year’s Tony Award winners & nominees:

    Best Play
    Choir Boy
    The Ferryman – WINNER
    Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ink
    What the Constitution Means to Me

    Best Musical
    Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Beetlejuice
    Hadestown – WINNER
    The Prom
    Tootsie

    Best Revival of a Play
    Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
    The Boys in the Band – WINNER
    Burn This
    Torch Song
    The Waverly Gallery

    Best Revival of a Musical
    Kiss Me, Kate
    Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – WINNER

    Best Book of a Musical
    Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Dominique Morisseau)
    Beetlejuice (Scott Brown & Anthony King)
    Hadestown (Anaïs Mitchell)
    The Prom (Bob Martin & Chad Beguelin)
    Tootsie (Robert Horn) – WINNER

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
    Be More Chill (Music & Lyrics: Joe Iconis)
    Beetlejuice (Music & Lyrics: Eddie Perfect)
    Hadestown (Music & Lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell) – WINNER
    The Prom (Music: Matthew Sklar, Lyrics: Chad Beguelin)
    To Kill a Mockingbird (Music: Adam Guettel)
    Tootsie (Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek)

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
    Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
    Bryan Cranston, Network – WINNER
    Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Adam Driver, Burn This
    Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
    Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
    Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
    Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery – WINNER
    Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
    Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
    Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
    Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
    Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
    Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Santino Fontana, Tootsie – WINNER

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
    Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show – WINNER
    Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
    Beth Leavel, The Prom
    Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
    Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
    Bertie Carvel, Ink – WINNER
    Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
    Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
    Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
    Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
    Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird – WINNER
    Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ruth Wilson, King Lear

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
    André De Shields, Hadestown – WINNER
    Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
    Patrick Page, Hadestown
    Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
    Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
    Amber Gray, Hadestown
    Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
    Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – WINNER
    Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

    Best Scenic Design of a Play
    Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Bunny Christie, Ink
    Rob Howell, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Jan Versweyveld, Network

    Best Scenic Design of a Musical
    Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Peter England, King Kong
    Rachel Hauck, Hadestown – WINNER
    Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    David Korins, Beetlejuice

    Best Costume Design of a Play
    Rob Howell, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
    Clint Ramos, Torch Song
    Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

    Best Costume Design of a Musical
    Michael Krass, Hadestown
    William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
    William Ivey Long, Tootsie
    Bob Mackie, The Cher Show – WINNER
    Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

    Best Lighting Design of a Play
    Neil Austin, Ink – WINNER
    Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
    Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

    Best Lighting Design of a Musical
    Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
    Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Bradley King, Hadestown – WINNER
    Peter Mumford, King Kong
    Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

    Best Sound Design of a Play
    Adam Cork, Ink
    Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Fitz Patton, Choir Boy – WINNER
    Nick Powell, The Ferryman
    Eric Sleichim, Network

    Best Sound Design of a Musical
    Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
    Peter Hylenski, King Kong
    Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown – WINNER

    Best Direction of a Play
    Rupert Goold, Ink
    Sam Mendes, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Ivo van Hove, Network
    George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

    Best Direction of a Musical
    Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown – WINNER
    Scott Ellis, Tootsie
    Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

    Best Choreography
    Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
    Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
    Denis Jones, Tootsie
    David Neumann, Hadestown
    Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations – WINNER

    Best Orchestrations
    Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown – WINNER
    Simon Hale, Tootsie
    Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
    Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-Competitive Categories

    Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
    Rosemary Harris
    Terrence McNally
    Harold Wheeler
    Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
    Judith Light

    Special Tony Awards
    Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company
    Jason Michael Webb
    Marin Mazzie

    2019 Tony Award Tallies by Show
    Hadestown (8)
    The Ferryman (4)
    The Cher Show (2)
    Ink (2)
    Oklahoma! (2)
    Tootsie (2)
    Ain’t Too Proud (1)
    The Boys in the Band (1)
    Choir Boy (1)
    Network (1)
    To Kill a Mockingbird (1)
    The Waverly Gallery (1)

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    June 10, 2019 • Acting, Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 1151

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Celebrates Tony Nominations for Instructor Dave Solomon’s ‘Tootsie’

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    Tootsie, the Broadway musical adaptation of the popular 1982 film starring Dustin Hoffman, earned a whopping 11 Tony Award nominations this season. Professional Conservatory at New York Film Academy (PCMT at NYFA) instructor Dave Solomon is the Associate Director on the show.

    Tootsie began previews in March of 2019 and opened in April and tells the story of a talented but difficult actor who impersonates a woman to land a role. The show features a score by David Yazbek, Tony-award winning composer of The Band’s Visit, and a book by Robert Horn, writer of 13: The Musical.

    Tootsie‘s 11 Tony nominations include Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role, Best Costume Design, Best Direction, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations.

    Tootsie
    “We’re incredibly proud of Dave’s work on this show,” says Mark Olsen, NYFA Chair of Musical Theatre. “Adapting such a popular film is always a challenge, and this creative team has done a phenomenal job. The show is very deserving of all the accolades it’s received.”

    The show is Solomon’s twelfth Broadway play. He was also the Associate Director on Side Show, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Sunday in the Park with George, The Ritz, Pal Joey, 9 to 5, and Curtains. He also assisted Bill Condon on the films Mr. Holmes and Disney’s 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast. In addition, he will be directing the upcoming show Pump Up the Volume at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, which will open in April 2020.

    Solomon isn’t the only NYFA faculty celebrating this year’s nominations. PCMT at NYFA instructor James T. Lane is in the cast of the Kiss Me, Kate revival, which is up for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Orchestration, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical.

    New York Film Academy congratulates PCMT at NYFA Instructors James T. Lane and Dave Solomon on their shows’ success, and looks forward to seeing the winners announced on June 9!

    Here is the full list of this year’s Tony Award winners and nominees:

    Best Play
    Choir Boy
    The Ferryman – WINNER
    Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ink
    What the Constitution Means to Me

    Best Musical
    Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Beetlejuice
    Hadestown – WINNER
    The Prom
    Tootsie

    Best Revival of a Play
    Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
    The Boys in the Band – WINNER
    Burn This
    Torch Song
    The Waverly Gallery

    Best Revival of a Musical
    Kiss Me, Kate
    Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – WINNER

    Best Book of a Musical
    Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Dominique Morisseau)
    Beetlejuice (Scott Brown & Anthony King)
    Hadestown (Anaïs Mitchell)
    The Prom (Bob Martin & Chad Beguelin)
    Tootsie (Robert Horn) – WINNER

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
    Be More Chill (Music & Lyrics: Joe Iconis)
    Beetlejuice (Music & Lyrics: Eddie Perfect)
    Hadestown (Music & Lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell) – WINNER
    The Prom (Music: Matthew Sklar, Lyrics: Chad Beguelin)
    To Kill a Mockingbird (Music: Adam Guettel)
    Tootsie (Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek)

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
    Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
    Bryan Cranston, Network – WINNER
    Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Adam Driver, Burn This
    Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
    Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
    Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
    Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery – WINNER
    Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
    Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
    Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
    Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
    Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
    Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Santino Fontana, Tootsie – WINNER

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
    Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show – WINNER
    Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
    Beth Leavel, The Prom
    Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
    Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
    Bertie Carvel, Ink – WINNER
    Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
    Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
    Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
    Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
    Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird – WINNER
    Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ruth Wilson, King Lear

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
    André De Shields, Hadestown – WINNER
    Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
    Patrick Page, Hadestown
    Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
    Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
    Amber Gray, Hadestown
    Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
    Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – WINNER
    Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

    Best Scenic Design of a Play
    Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Bunny Christie, Ink
    Rob Howell, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Jan Versweyveld, Network

    Best Scenic Design of a Musical
    Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Peter England, King Kong
    Rachel Hauck, Hadestown – WINNER
    Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    David Korins, Beetlejuice

    Best Costume Design of a Play
    Rob Howell, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
    Clint Ramos, Torch Song
    Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

    Best Costume Design of a Musical
    Michael Krass, Hadestown
    William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
    William Ivey Long, Tootsie
    Bob Mackie, The Cher Show – WINNER
    Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

    Best Lighting Design of a Play
    Neil Austin, Ink – WINNER
    Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
    Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
    Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

    Best Lighting Design of a Musical
    Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
    Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Bradley King, Hadestown – WINNER
    Peter Mumford, King Kong
    Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

    Best Sound Design of a Play
    Adam Cork, Ink
    Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Fitz Patton, Choir Boy – WINNER
    Nick Powell, The Ferryman
    Eric Sleichim, Network

    Best Sound Design of a Musical
    Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
    Peter Hylenski, King Kong
    Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown – WINNER

    Best Direction of a Play
    Rupert Goold, Ink
    Sam Mendes, The Ferryman – WINNER
    Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Ivo van Hove, Network
    George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

    Best Direction of a Musical
    Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown – WINNER
    Scott Ellis, Tootsie
    Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
    Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

    Best Choreography
    Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
    Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
    Denis Jones, Tootsie
    David Neumann, Hadestown
    Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations – WINNER

    Best Orchestrations
    Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown – WINNER
    Simon Hale, Tootsie
    Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
    Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
    Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

    Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-Competitive Categories
    Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

    Rosemary Harris
    Terrence McNally
    Harold Wheeler

    Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
    Judith Light

    Special Tony Awards
    Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company
    Jason Michael Webb
    Marin Mazzie

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    May 3, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Musical Theatre • Views: 924

  • Tony Winner Jeff Marx Visits New York Film Academy

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    Jeff Marx

    Avenue Q’s Jeff Marx

    Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Jeff Marx visited the New York Film Academy at our New York City Theatre in late February, much to the delight of our Musical Theatre students.

    Marx is best known for Avenue Q, the innovative musical starring both human and puppet characters that instantly earned critical acclaim and won over audiences across the country. It went on to win three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It is currently running Off-Broadway and has toured the country and been produced in both the West End and Las Vegas.

    Before writing Avenue Q, Marx passed the New York State Bar exam, planning to be a lawyer. He met partner Robert Lopez shortly after at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop, writing a spec Muppet film as a pre-cursor to their collaboration on Avenue Q. Since winning his Tony, Marx has gone on to write for the musical episode of NBC’s Scrubs, as well as songs for Bear in the Big Blue House and The Book of Pooh. He also co-wrote the theme song for Logo TV’s Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World.

    Speaking with the students of NYFA’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre, Marx highlighted his indirect path to Broadway stardom, mentioning that he didn’t even start writing until he was 28 years old. “The greatest thing that I can wish for you,” Marx told the audience of aspiring Broadway stars, “is hunger.” He also shared anecdotes about the making of Avenue Q.

    Jeff Marx visits NYFA

    Highlights from the @newyorkfilmacademy Instagram story featuring Jeff Marx’s visit to NYFA #PCMT

    In addition to inspiring students with his story, he also brought a special and well-received guest — puppet and star of Avenue Q, Nicky. Avenue Q’s cast of puppet characters included both rod puppets and live-hands, the latter of which are often operated simultaneously by two puppeteers. Nicky is a live-hands puppet, and students were delighted to see him in action on stage with Marx.

    Nicky wasn’t all Marx brought with him on his visit to NYFA. In addition to Nicky, he brought along his Tony Award, Broadway’s highest honor. Musical Theatre students were thrilled when Marx allowed them to hold it and pass it around — an inspiring moment for those learning at NYFA and hoping to win one of their own in the not-too-distant future.

    By the time the students had to say goodbye to Marx and Nicky, they had learned and laughed, and were extremely grateful for the generous time, energy, and inspiring words Marx brought with him to the New York Film Academy.

    Interested in joining the magical and puppet-filled world of musical theatre? Check out the programs of New York Film Academy’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre.

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    March 2, 2018 • Guest Speakers, Musical Theatre • Views: 4079

  • Highlights From the 71st Annual Tony Awards

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    The New York Film Academy was especially excited to watch the Tony Awards this year, as our Musical Theatre Program has welcomed many members of the Broadway community as instructors, guest speakers, and featured artists in our original movie musicals, from our Artistic Director Kristy Cates to visiting Master Class lecturer Jonathan Groff. For industry insiders and theatre lovers everywhere, the 71st Annual Tony Awards on Sunday was the theatre event of the season. The New York Film Academy provided live social media coverage on Twitter, while the live CBS broadcast of the Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall gave nearly 6 million home viewers a glimpse into an evening full of Broadway royalty, moving speeches, and much-anticipated performances.

    In case you missed it, here are some highlights from the 71st Annual Tony Awards:

    Best Musical

    After much anticipation, audience favorite “Dear Evan Hansen” swept the Tony’s this season, taking home awards in not one, not two, but six categories — including the coveted spot for Best New Musical. The groundbreaking musical is a true original, featuring a small cast and orchestra and offering some innovative tie-ins to social media.

    Best Actor in a Musical

    Dear Evan Hansen” also gave us one of the evening’s brightest new stars, when leading actor Ben Platt snagged the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical. Platt received a rousing standing ovation from the live audience and the orchestra at the Tony’s, and used his moment in the spotlight to spread some inspiration.

    As quoted in the New York Times, Ben offered encouragement to fellow theatre kids: “To all young people watching at home, don’t waste any time trying to be like anybody but yourself, because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.”

    Best Actress in a Musical

    “Dear Evan Hansen” was not the only star of the evening. The Radio City Music Hall audience also swept to its feet to recognize and celebrate beloved industry icon Bette Midler, as she won the the Best Actress in a Musical award for her portrayal of Dolly Levi in the revival of “Hello, Dolly!” 

    Best Play

    While musicals and musical performances punctuated the evening, the Tony’s also celebrate legitimate Broadway performers and plays. This year, the category for Best Play (non-musical) was especially competitive, but in the end the award went to “Oslo,” which dramatizes the 1993 Middle East peace accords.

    Best Actress in a Play

    Laurie Metcalf had been nominated for a Tony Award four times before her emotionally-charged win on Sunday, when she took home the category for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Nora in “A Doll’s House, Part 2.”

    Most-buzzed Acceptance Speech

    Cynthia Nixon took the stage to accept an award for Best Featured Actress in a play for “The Little Foxes,” the Lillian Helman classic which was also nominated in the Best Revival of a Play category. During her acceptance speech, Nixon caused major internet buzz for quoting the playwright to make a political statement: ““Sixty years ago, [Hellman] wrote, ‘There are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it and other people who just stand around and watch them do it.’ My love, gratitude and undying respect go out to all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it.”

     

    Surprise Stars

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, rocked Radio City during Jill’s moment on stage. Mrs. Biden made a brief appearance during the ceremony to promote Got Your Six, a campaign benefitting military veterans. And Variety reports that the crowd’s enthusiasm for the political superstars cased selfie-seekers to create traffic jams at the after-party as they clamored for a pic with the Bidens.

    Lifetime Achievement Award

    James Earl Jones received recognition for a full and incredible career on the stage, taking home the  2017 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theater. The superstar, who has portrayed roles from Darth Vader in “Star Wars” to Othello on Broadway, graciously thanked the New York City Police Department during his moment on stage for their work keeping the Broadway community safe.

    Here is the full list of this year’s Tony Award winners, as reported by The Tony Awards website:

    BEST PLAY

    “Oslo”

    BEST MUSICAL

    “Dear Evan Hansen”

    BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY

    August Wilson’s “Jitney

    BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

    “Hello, Dolly!”

    BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

    Kevin Kline for “Present Laughter”

    BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

    Laurie Metcalf for “A Doll’s House, Part 2”

    BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

    Ben Platt for “Dear Evan Hansen”

    BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

    Bette Midler for “Hello, Dolly!”

    BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

    Michael Aronov for “Oslo”

    BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

    Cynthia Nixon for Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes”

    BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

    Gavin Creel for “Hello, Dolly!”

    BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

    Rachel Bay Jones for “Dear Evan Hansen”

    BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

    Steven Levenson for “Dear Evan Hansen”

    BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE

    “Dear Evan Hansen” Music & Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

    BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

    Nigel Hook for “The Play That Goes Wrong”

    BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

    Mimi Lien for “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”

    BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

    Jane Greenwood for Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes”

    BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

    Santo Loquasto for “Hello, Dolly!”

    BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY

    Christopher Akerlind for “Indecent”

    BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

    Bradley King for “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”

    BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

    Rebecca Taichman for “Indecent”

    BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

    Christopher Ashley for “Come From Away”

    BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

    Andy Blankenbuehler for “Bandstand”

    BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

    Alex Lacamoire for “Dear Evan Hansen”

    SPECIAL TONY AWARD® FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE

    James Earl Jones

    REGIONAL THEATRE TONY AWARD

    Dallas Theater Center

    ISABELLE STEVENSON TONY AWARD

    Baayork Lee

    SPECIAL TONY AWARD

    Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin

    TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE

    Nina Lannan and Alan Wasser

     

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    June 12, 2017 • Entertainment Australia, Entertainment News, Musical Theatre • Views: 2803

  • Gingerbread House

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    Coming off the premiere of Lifeless at the Big Apple Film Festival, the Musical Theatre department at the New York Film Academy has announced its latest original movie musical short film, Gingerbread House. The musical film will be directed by VP Boyle and feature an original score with lyrics by Rob Rokicki.

    Originally from Colorado, Rob is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan and is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Actor’s Equity, and alum of the Tony award winning BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. As an actor, Rob was featured in the Evita 25th Anniversary Tour directed by Hal Prince & Larry Fuller. His musical, Love, NY (co-written with Mike Ruby) won the 2009 American Harmony Award and was presented at New World Stages. His latest album, I’m Ready: The Songs of Rob Rokicki is available on iTunes and Amazon.
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    November 26, 2012 • Musical Theatre • Views: 4746

  • The Art of Impact with James Lecesne

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    James Lecesne is an Academy award winning filmmaker, teacher, and philanthropist. It’s been an exciting time for James with a Tony nomination for The Best Man and soon after that receiving the role of Dick Jensen opposite James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury. However, we especially commend James on the release of his book The Letter Q, a passion project conceived to inspire the youth of America and to raise proceeds for The Trevor Project which he had founded in 1998. We had a chance to speak with James about his inspiration for the book and his teaching at the New York Film Academy. He also shared key insights into the craft of storytelling and how the industry landscape has changed for LGBTQ artists. Don’t forget to get connected with Mr. Lecesne on Twitter and learn about his impact in the arts.

    What was the inspiration for The Letter Q? You’ve already contributed so much to LGBTQ youth, and this book seems to be a continuation of your work with the Trevor Project. 

    Two years ago Dan Savage launched the phenomenally successful It Gets Better Project as a way of spreading the word to young LGBT and Questioning young people that the Trevor Project is there for them 24/7. As the only nationwide suicide prevention and crisis intervention helpline for LGBTQ youth, our organization receives over 30,000 calls a year. Not all of them are rescue calls, but each call establishes a life-to-life connection with a young person who is asking important questions. We provide an ear to listen and the encouragement to be who you are. The idea for the The Letter Q came from Sarah Moon, my co-editor. When she was a teenager, she was lucky enough to be surrounded by adults who shared their stories and their wisdom with her – sometimes in the form of letters, and as she says, “It didn’t seem quite fair to me that I should have been the only teenager to get wonderful letters to carry around.” Soon after coming up with the idea, Sarah approached me about not only writing a letter to my younger self, but also donating a portion of the royalties from the sale of the book to the Trevor Project. Together we compiled a wish-list of authors and began to write to them, ask them, stalk them. The book seemed to fit so perfectly with my own desire around that time to provide young people with tools to help them get through their difficult years. We had been exploring ways to help young people “make it better” right now. And the minute Sarah proposed the idea for the book, I knew we were on our way.

    Has your teaching at NYFA helped inspire your work in some way? Reading the bio on your website, teaching plays a strong role in your career. What are the most important lessons you impart to your students who aspire to make it in film and theatre industries? Have students ever surprised you with their insights in the art and craft of telling stories?

    Teaching is a way to not only give back some of what I’ve learned, but also a way for me to continue learning about story. Storytelling, in any form, is hard work; it requires honesty, courage, craft and above all determination. But it can also be a mysterious and mystical experience, a means to enlarge and enlighten not only the storyteller, but the audience as well. For each of us, it happens differently, the idea comes in the form of a hunch, a worry, an inkling a fear, or sometimes as a fully formed brainstorm; but however it happens it always arises out of something that we happen to believe. We might not be able to articulate what it is exactly, but something in us knows, something in us feels for a truth that we need to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    James as featured in the New Yorker.

    Stories are the blueprints of our passions told in code, the urge of something within our selves that is itching for resolve, the reliable and readable map of our beliefs. Leif Finkel, a professor of bioengineering at UPenn, once wrote: “Our cortex makes up stories about the world and softly hums them to us to keep us from getting scared at night.” I’m no professor of bioengineering, but I heartily agree. Of course, a good story does more than that. Stories hum not only for ourselves, but for our audience as well; their song transforms the muddled and often conflicted experiences of living in this troubled world into something valuable and enduring for us all; they are the means by which we can pass our wisdom along to future generations. The results are always surprising, or at least they should be.

    What are your thoughts on representation in the media regarding the struggles that independent filmmakers face as sexual minorities? How do you see the industry landscape for LGBTQ artists? Has it changed at all since you started as a young artist compared to the present day?

    When I was a teenager, the world was a very different place. I grew up without ever hearing the word homosexual spoken, I didn’t know a single gay person, there were no role models to whom I could look for encouragement or guidance. One of the great accomplishments of the LGBTQ community is this idea that we are not just here for ourselves. We have a responsibility to pass along our history and our pride to the next generation. Young people who are struggling and coming up in the world should not have to figure this out by themselves. Of course, there is still a ways to go in terms of achieving equality. Look to places like Uganda, South Africa, Russia, and Iran. Or right here at home to see what happens to certain people when they express themselves fully. But as Kate Millet, the revolutionary feminist recently pointed out —- gays and lesbians have achieved so much in a matter of mere decades, while women have been struggling for centuries to change things. To hear the President of the United States declare that the love of gays and lesbians is equal to that of their fellow (heterosexual) citizens, is certainly proof to me that the world is changing. More change is possible — and needed.  And I believe that by encouraging people to tell their stories, teaching them how to do it in the most exciting and engaging way, it will make for a better world.

    James with Daniel Radcliffe for The Trevor Project.

    To learn more about the Documentary Filmmaking program at the New York Film Academy, click here.

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    June 11, 2012 • Community Highlights, Documentary Filmmaking • Views: 4868