Whatever side of the Underwood debate you fall on, we think everyone can agree that the highlight of NBC's The Sound of Music, Live! were the Broadway veterans in supporting roles. Audra McDonald's "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" provoked the only emotion we saw on Carrie's face all night — other than "Meow, meow, meow, meow...," of course. Christian Borle made Max so likeable we kept forgetting about that Nazi sympathizer thing. And as Elsa, Laura Benanti changed the plot of the show to "Fabulous Baroness loses imagination-free whistle-fetishist to robot nanny in Sandra Bullock's costume from the Miss Congeniality talent competition scene." She. Was. Everything. In no particular order, her finest moments.
When she was the best-dressed woman in Austria.
Clearly, everyone but Laura did something to piss off the costume designer. While the rest of the cast was clothed in K-Mart's Heidi-meets-High School Musical collection, Elsa was devastating us in a black evening gown and a perfectly fitted and flowing pink and red pantsuit. Work.
When she single-handedly filled up our "Reaction Gif" folders.
We were already questioning the Captain and Maria's whirlwind "love" affair when they shared as much chemistry as I do with my Metrocard. But it was Benanti's eyerolls and raised eyebrows that really drove home the silliness of the situation. Go find yourself a nice Baron, Elsa.
Oh right — when she sang.
Laura has played Gypsy Rose Lee, Claudia in Nine, Cinderella in Into the Woods, and yes, Maria the novice on Broadway. So she hardly broke a sweat when she slayed her meager two songs on the live broadcast.
When she loved us for loving her.
"Hey all my gays and bitches out there," Laura tweeted. "Thanks for being #TeamElsa."
The frigid months to come will see our friends at NBC spending a good amount of time overseas — before trekking over to Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Peacock is making a quick stop in the Swiss Alps (or, at the very least, a network studio designed to look like the Swiss Alps) for a live production of The Sound of Music. But team figure skating (the Olympics' newest event) and singing convents will take a backseat to NBC's most anticipated addition: Jimmy Fallon as the host of The Tonight Show.
During its upfront presentation on Monday, NBC informed attendees that Fallon would be taking Jay Leno's seat during revealed the date during the network's broadcast of the Winter Olympics, stepping in during the second week of the international games (the Olympics kick off on Feb. 7; Fallon should take the reigns on Feb. 14). Following the conclusion of the dynamic tradition, Fallon will assume the regular 11:35 PM time slot permanently — as the Olympics is often cause for schedule shifting, leaving the Tonight Show broadcast times for the week rather nebulous at this time — on Monday, Feb 24, 2014. At this time, Fallon's fellow Saturday Night Live alum Seth Meyers will also step in as the official host of Late Night, airing at 12:35 AM.
NBC also revealed the planned broadcast date of its previously announced live production of The Sound of Music, a performance of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical (first immortalized on the big screen by Julie Andrews) starring Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp. The 3-hour special will air Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.
Alongside talks of Fallon's and Meyers' promotions, and the musical production, NBC also shared a handful of comedic and dramatic trailers for upcoming programs. Check them out here.
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Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Sutton Foster took the stage together. No, they haven't teamed up for a Broadway show, a new television series, or a Modern Family/Bunheads crossover (which would be awesome). But the theater-loving stars came together Tuesday to announce the nominations for the 2013 Tony Awards. (They are the hosts for this year's show, after all, so it only made sense that these two would have the honors of making the big announcement.)
Check out which plays and actors are nominated for Tony Awards for their work on the stage this year.
2013 Tony Awards Nominations:
Best Play:The Assembled PartyLucky GuyThe Testament of MaryVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Best Musical:Bring It On: The MusicalKinky BootsMatilda The MusicalA Christmas Story, The Musical
Best Book of a Musical:A Christmas Story, The MusicalKinky BootsMatilda The MusicalRodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Revival of a Play:Golden BoyOrphans The Trip to BountifulWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Revival of a Musical: AnnieThe Mystery of Edwin DroodPippinRodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Laurie Metcalf, The Other PlaceAmy Morton, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeHolland Taylor, AnnCicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Tom Hanks, Lucky GuyNathan Lane, The NanceTracy Letts, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeTom Sturridge, Orphans
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre: A Christmas Story, The Musical Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul Hands on a Hardbody Music: Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green Lyrics: Amanda Green Kinky Boots Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper Matilda The Musical Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood Carolee Carmello, Scandalous Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical Patina Miller, Pippin Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella Rob McClure, Chaplin Billy Porter, Kinky Boots Stark Sands, Kinky Boots
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Judith Ivey, The Heiress Judith Light, The Assembled Parties Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play:Danny Burstein, Golden Boy Richard Kind, The Big Knife Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical:Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella Andrea Martin, Pippin Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical:Charl Brown, Motown The Musical Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical Terrence Mann, Pippin
Best Costume Design of a Play: Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac Ann Roth, The Nance Albert Wolsky, The Heiress Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy
Best Costume Design of a Musical: Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical Dominique Lemieux, Pippin William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Best Direction of a Play:Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy
Best Direction of a Musical:Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots Diane Paulus, Pippin Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical
Best Choreography:Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots Chet Walker, Pippin
Best Orchestrations:Chris Nightingale, Matilda The Musical Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook, Motown The Musical Danny Troob, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Best Scenic Design of a Play:John Lee Beatty, The Nance Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties David Rockwell, Lucky Guy Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy
Best Scenic Design of a Musical:Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood Scott Pask, Pippin David Rockwell, Kinky Boots
Best Lighting Design of a Play: Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy Donald Holder, Golden Boy Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary Japhy Weideman, The Nance
Best Lighting Design of a Musical:Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots Kenneth Posner, Pippin Kenneth Posner, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella Hugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical
Best Sound Design of a Play:John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary Leon Rothenberg, The Nance Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy
Best Sound Design of a Musical:Jonathan Deans & Garth Helm, Pippin Peter Hylenski, Motown The Musical John Shivers, Kinky Boots Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre:Bernard GerstenPaul LibinMing Cho Lee
Regional Theatre Award:Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA
Isabelle Stevenson Award:Larry Kramer
Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre:Career Trainsition For DancersWilliam CraverPeter LawrenceThe Lost ColonyThe four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway: Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon, and Milly Shapiro
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
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How do you solve a casting problem like Maria? Hire Carrie Underwood to play the role!
NBC has cast the country-pop superstar in the part of the nun turned governess turned Nazi-fighting choirmaster in the new version of The Sound of Music they’re planning to air during the 2013 holiday season. Though the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical debuted on Broadway in 1959, it was the 1965 Oscar-winner for Best Picture that truly immortalized Maria von Trapp, played by Julie Andrews. The acting challenge that awaits Underwood is about as daunting as climbing a mountain, especially considering that it’s her first major dramatic role.
The Peacock’s presentation of the musical is intended to be a three-hour live broadcasting event. It’ll be produced by Smash’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who are also helming this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. Speaking about Underwood’s addition to the cast, Zadan and Meron said in a statement, “It’s a particular joy to us as producers to see this amazing artist stretch into new territory with this classic musical.” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt also added, “Speaking for everyone at NBC, we couldn’t be happier to have the gifted Carrie Underwood take up the mantle of the great Maria von Trapp. She was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist.”
Do you think Underwood is right for the role? And will this leave more of an impression than Brandy's 1997 version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella? It's at least gotta be better than that 2001 made-for-TV remake of South Pacific starring Glenn Close and Harry Connick Jr., right? (Yes, that happened.)
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: DJDM/Wenn]
Back to ‘Cinderella’: Brandy on Working With Whitney and the Film’s 15th Anniversary
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Impossible… For a pop culture fan to admit it’s been 15 years since her favorite musical aired on ABC. Impossible… that some of my coworkers don’t know the words to all the Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes. Improbable… that we’d get the star of this now classic flick to tell us about what a wonderful, magical time she had making Cinderella back in 1997, but what can we say? All it took was a little bippity-boppity-boo to get Brandy to dish on all her princess memories.
November marks the 15th anniversary of the ABC special and of course, the thing most of us remember as the big moment in Cinderella was when music legend Whitney Houston shared a song with the little cinder girl. And that’s Brandy’s most precious memory too: working with Houston in the studio and recording their infectious renditions of the classic songs. “We sang a song called ‘Impossible.’ And [she was] my fairy godmother, it was just so surreal,” she says.
But one doesn’t just waltz into a studio and bust a groove with Whitney. “I remember certainly the night before, I really wanted to impress her … I was really nervous to sing with Whitney Houston because I didn’t want to crack. I didn’t want to hit a bad note,” Brandy says. And while no one would be surprised at her desire to impress Houston, it’s what Brandy did once she was in the studio that impressed the celebrated singer.
Brandy was very aware of Houston’s ability to command an entire stadium with a single flourish of her voice, so she knew she’d have to work hard to make sure she made a place for herself in the song. “I told her to get back from the mic so people [could] hear me sing,” she says. And while most people would have never dared to say any such thing to a living legend, it seemed to win the young singer a little klout with Houston.
“She was encouraging; I was like her baby … like a little sister to her. That’s how she treated me,” Brandy says. And according to Brandy, this feeling came from Houston’s understanding that Brandy truly looked up to her. “I loved her so much and she felt it. It’s almost like she fed off that. I know I’m her biggest fan … her number one fan, besides her daughter and family, of course. She knew that – she knew it from me,” she says.
And what could be more appropriate for a role like Cinderella than a meeting between idol and lifelong fan and sometimes emulator behind the scenes? Not much, if you ask Brandy. “Cinderella was about your biggest dreams coming true and at the same time, my dream as Brandy … [was] coming true through Cinderella … It was weird, but so amazing,” she says.
Glass slippers are rare, but having one-on-one time with one of the greatest singers of our time is an opportunity so precious, some might have even said it was impossible.
Reporting by Lindsey DiMattina
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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The Taken star attended the event with Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson, the mother and sister of his late wife Natasha Richardson, to pay tribute to the six-generation acting dynasty and its contribution to theatre.
The three were honoured alongside Natasha, who was killed in a skiing accident in 2009, and other late family members Corin Redgrave, Michael Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave and Rachel Kempson.
The event was also attended by stars including actress Jessica Chastain and actor Alan Cumming, who sang Mein Herr from Broadway hit Cabaret in honour of Rodgers and Hammerstein executive director Theodore S. Chapin.
All proceeds from the event went to American Theater Wings' education and outreach programs.
The X-Men star set up Seed Productions in 2006 with his former assistant John Palermo, and the firm backed films including Jackman's superhero movies X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Jackman will continue working with the company on ongoing projects including the upcoming Wolverine sequel, which is set to begin filming in Japan early next year (11), and a remake of Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel.
But Palermo will form a new company without Jackman for future projects, according to Deadline.com.
The veteran star passed away last Wednesday (09Jun10) at her home in Kentucky. No further details about her death were available as WENN went to press.
Johnson, who was also known as Christine Johnson Smith, appeared in a series of famous shows including Porgy and Bess, and worked with the New York Metropolitan Opera company.
She is best remembered for playing Nettie Fowler in the original Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway production of Carousel when it opened in 1945. The musical duo is said to have written the play's famous anthem, You'll Never Walk Alone, especially for Johnson.
After Carousel closed she married a surgeon and moved back to her native Kentucky to raise a family.
She is survived by two daughters.
The Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music star doesn't want British fans expecting her to perform songs like Do-Re-Mi and A Spoonful of Sugar when she performs in London this May (10) - an illness earlier this century cost her her voice, and she fears she'll never get it back.
Andrews tells WENN the show at the 02 Arena will be similar to one she toured America with last year (09) - which was more a tribute to songwriters Rodgers & Hammerstein, and featured Andrews narrating her way through the songs the duo wrote for her, showing clips from her films.
The actress says, "I am not singing. It just so happens that there was this erroneous announcement that I was having vocal restoration, which coincided with the announcement of the concert, which was really unfortunate.
"I haven't had vocal rejuvenation or anything like that. I did five concerts last year. It's a gorgeous evening of music. I do participate in the five deep base notes that I have. I do sing/speak a lot. I narrate, I tell stories and I host.
"I go right out and say, 'You all know I have had vocal surgery and I do have about five bass notes left, so I can assure you I can still sing the hell out of Old Man River."
Rich, who worked in casting for Rodgers and Hammerstein and MGM and famed Broadway producer/director Harold Prince, died of natural causes on 28 December (09).
She also ran her own agency for three decades, Shirley Rich Casting.
Rich placed Hirsch in 1973 film Serpico and cast Penn and Cruise as military cadets in 1981 film Taps. She also cast actors James Spader, Edward Norton, Rod Steiger and Sada Thompson early in their careers.
On Broadway, she cast shows including South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, The Kind and I, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window and Sly Fox, among others. On film, she scouted talent for Saturday Night Fever, Three Days of the Condor, Kramer vs. Kramer and The Ballad of the Sad Cafe.
Rich is survived by her husband, Lewis M. Krohn, a son, Steven, and a daughter, Lisa.