Preview: 2012 Tony Awards

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 11:55 AM

Left to right: Oliver Chris, Tom Edden, and James Corden in the Broadway production of 'One Man, Two Guvnors' Left to right: Oliver Chris, Tom Edden, and James Corden in the Broadway production of One Man, Two Guvnors (Joan Marcus)

The 66th annual Tony Awards are Sunday, June 10. If you've been meaning to brush up on your Broadway, now's the time. Here's a round-up of Kurt Andersen's conversations with some of the nominees.


One Man, Two GuvnorsOne Man, Two Guvnors
Nominations: 7
Awards: 1
- James Corden, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

A classical Italian farce set in 1960s Britain, One Man, Two Guvnors is seriously silly. The cast is lead by James Corden, best known as the co-creator and star of the British television show Gavin & Stacey. "I have to match the audience for fun," he explained to Kurt (as part of a special event for BBC America). "If they are having fun, I have to say, 'Well, I will see your fun and I will raise you more fun. And then the audience have to go, 'We have seen you having fun and we feel we can have more fun.' To the point that you never quite know where the audience stops and the play begins. And it's exhausting!"


The Gershwins' Porgy and BessThe Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Nominations: 10
Awards: 2
- including Best Revival of a Musical

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks was approached by George and Ira Gershwin’s estates to turn the opera into a musical. “Right away it was very clear that these people who were singing these songs of love and passion, triumph and failure,” she told Kurt, “they deserve a story that is equal to it.” She saw her job as not to rewrite but to fill in. “Dramaturgically, there are some holes in it,” she explains. “We just added a bridge ... to provide Porgy and Bess, and the whole community actually, with a strong story arc.”


Clybourne ParkClybourne Park
Nominations: 4
Awards: 1
- Best Play

In Bruce Norris' Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park, the characters argue about race, class, and gentrification — and it’s a comedy.  Norris made sure there’s no “good guy” in the play. “Audiences have this sort of childlike need to identify who their hero is in a story and to root for them and get behind them,” he says. “And one of my favorite things to do as a writer is to confound that impulse.”


Other Desert CitiesOther Desert Cities
Nominations: 5
Awards: 1
- Judith Light, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

A novelist returns home to her prominent California Republican parents with the manuscript of a new book — a memoir filled with very dirty laundry. Needless to say, the reunion is tense. Kurt talks with Jon Robin Baitz about how a combination of tension, comedy, and politics has become the playwright's specialty. “We have a running joke, my brother and I,” Baitz recalls sardonically. “When he gets a new play of mine he says, ‘Do I die in this one?’”


Venus in FurVenus in Fur
Nominations: 2
Awards: 1
- Nina Arianda, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Venus In Fur is a play within a play: a writer has adapted an erotic novel for the stage, and he’s having a hell of a time casting the lead. Enter Vanda: a sexy, sly actress who is by turns sultry and bombastic, and pretty much takes over the show. Playing a tenacious actress comes naturally to nominee Nina Arianda.  “Failure is not an option,” she tells Kurt. “There are too many people who have killed themselves to help me — parents, teachers, coaches — and it would be a real shame if I didn’t do 100% of what I could.”


More in:

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Supported by

Supported by