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Avenue Q wins Best Musical, Score and Book

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by Phillip, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Congratulations to everyone involved in Avenue Q, as the musical came away with three Tony awards including best musical. It's an unprecedented achievement for a puppet production and our hat goes off to everyone involved. Find out more about Avenue Q at www.avenueq.com.
    Cheeky puppet tale wins best musical; 'I Am My Own Wife' captures best play

    By The Associated Press

    “Avenue Q,” a cheeky little musical that uses puppets, four-letter words and catchy, jinglelike tunes, was the upset winner Sunday at the Tonys where history was made as Phylicia Rashad became the first black actress to win for a leading dramatic role.

    “I Am My Own Wife,” Doug Wright’s gender-bending tale of survival, was named best play.
    “Avenue Q” also received Tonys for the best book and score in beating out “Wicked,” the lavish “Wizard of Oz” prequel for the top musical prize.

    “It certainly doesn’t suck to be us tonight,” said Robyn Goodman, one of the musical’s surprised and overjoyed producers, referring to the musical’s opening number, “It Sucks to Be Me.”

    Rashad’s acceptance speech was more composed.

    “Often I’ve wondered what does it take for this to happen,” said the actress, who received the prize for her portrayal of Lena Younger, the tough-minded matriarch in a revival of “A Raisin in the Sun.”

    “And now I know. It takes effort and grace ... And in my life that grace has taken numerous forms. The first was the family into which I was born, parents who loved and wanted me, and a mother who fought fearlessly, courageously, consistently so that her children above all else could realize their full potential as human beings.”
    Jefferson Mays bested much better known competition (Kevin Kline, Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella) to take the top acting prize for his portrayal of a German transvestite — and some 40 other characters — in Wright’s “I Am My Own Wife,” a role he called “a labor of love.”

    “Our entire cast just won Tony Awards,” joked Wright in accepting the best-play honor.

    Hugh Jackman, besides serving as host of awards program, won the actor-musical prize for portraying flamboyant entertainer Peter Allen in “The Boy From Oz.”
    “Peter, it’s an honor to play you and I dedicate this Tony to you,” Jackman said in saluting Allen who died of AIDS in 1992.

    “Wicked,” a lavish, $14 million look at the “Wizard of Oz” witches, was celebrated for its for one of its leading ladies, Idina Menzel, who took the actress-musical prize and for its spectacle, picking up two design prizes for its gargantuan sets (Eugene Lee) and ornate costumes (Susan Hilferty).

    A hint of the “Avenue Q” upset came earlier in the evening when the show won for book (Jeff Whitty) and score (Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx).

    “When we started writing ‘Avenue Q,’ Jeff (Marx) was an intern and I was a temp,” said Lopez. “Our lives kinda sucked so we came up with an idea for a show about people like us whose lives all kinda suck.”

    “But we’re here to tell you as living proof that things get better. L and Carol just gave us the Tony Award,” said an exuberant Marx after Carol Channing and LL Cool J gave them the prize.

    Just before announcing the award, the Broadway legend and rapper did a duet that had the audience roaring.

    Big night for 'Assassins'

    “Assassins,” Stephen Sondheim’s sardonic musical about presidential killers, picked up five Tonys, more than any other show. Its prizes included best musical revival and one for Michael Cerveris, who portrays John Wilkes Booth in the show.
    “You don’t have to kill somebody to get something like this. You can just pretend to on Broadway,” joked Cerveris, winner of the award for featured actor in a musical.

    The show also won for direction-musical (Joe Mantello), lighting design (Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer) and orchestrations (Michael Starobin).

    Featured acting prizes went to Audra McDonald, her fourth Tony in 10 years, this time for her role as the hardworking wife in the revival of “A Raisin in the Sun,” and to Brian F. O’Byrne, who plays a serial killer in “Frozen.”

    An emotional McDonald said, “The only thing I want ever wanted to do was be on Broadway.” She thanked the cast, her family and said, “This belongs to Lorraine Hansberry,” the play’s author.

    Anika Noni Rose won the featured-actress prize for her role as the defiant daughter in “Caroline, or Change.”

    Jack O’Brien received the director/play award, for Lincoln Center Theater’s limited engagement of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV,” which also won for best play revival.

    “I was so convinced, I talked myself out of this by repeating my mantra, ‘We’re a classic and we’re closed,”’ said O’Brien, who directed last year’s Tony-winning musical “Hairspray.”
    The regional theater award was presented to the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. James M. Nederlander, patriarch of the family which operates nine Broadway theaters, was awarded a lifetime achievement prize.

    It was a busy year with 39 productions opening on Broadway during the 2003-2004 season, compared to 36 shows the previous 12 months. Grosses were up, too, from $721 million to $771 million, but so were ticket prices. Attendance reached 11.61 million, an increase from 11.42 million a year ago, but still not as high as the 11.89 million during the season before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    If there was no universally acclaimed, megamusical such as “The Producers” or “Hairspray,” there were several high-profile successes. Besides “Wicked,” audiences flocked to the revival of “A Raisin in the Sun,” with hip-hop mogul Sean Combs the main box-office draw.

    The Tony winners in 21 categories were chosen by 735 theater professionals and journalists.


  2. mupvisiongirl

    mupvisiongirl Well-Known Member

    I was super excited when Avenue Q won- I really wasn't expecting it to win so many awards because it is so different, so yay for that! I've been hearing rumors of a national tour of ave q....
    And I was super happy that Assasins won- I love Sondheim! :flirt:
  3. lowercasegods

    lowercasegods Well-Known Member

    I am absolutely thrilled that Avenue Q has received best musical at this year's Tony's!!! The cast and crew of Avenue Q are absolute geniuses and deserve everything that they've achieved. Jim Henson would be so proud of them for bringing puppetry to a new plateau. To paraphrase Avenue Q, it certainly was the "felt good musical" of the year!
  4. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Did Little Shop get any recognition?
  5. lowercasegods

    lowercasegods Well-Known Member

    The closest thing Little Shop got to recognition was having the urchins sing at the beginning of the Tony's. I felt this was a serious rip off for Little Shop, which was one of the best shows of the new season, if not of all time. Technically it should have been placed under the category of best revival, except this year marks its first on actual broadway (it was originally off-off Broadway back in '82), so it really should have been nominated for best new show. Either way it got screwed, which is very sad. It would have been great to see it performed live at the Tony's, not to mention garnish some awards.
  6. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Feed Me, Git It would have been good to perform on stage.

    Well, at least AQ got some goodies! Puppetry is FINALLY getting it spotlight!
  7. goldenarrow05

    goldenarrow05 Well-Known Member

    I'll probably have alot of people mad at me for this one but oh well. I love Avenue Q and everything but I was really rooting for Wicked to win. I was shocked when Avenue Q won. I was happy about Idina Menzel winning best Lead Actress though. She deserved it. I still really want to see Avenue Q and I AM going to see Wicked this spring so even though it didnt win best musical I'm way excited. Congrats to both shows on all their awards!
  8. lowercasegods

    lowercasegods Well-Known Member

    I have to agree, Wicked was just as deserving of best new musical as Avenue Q, and obviously there was some stiff competition for the category. But hey, Wicked didn't do too bad for itself. It's still one of the most talked about musicals of this year and shows no signs of faltering in popularity. Besides, at least it didn't suffer the fate of Taboo. Man, that show must've been hella bad. Sure it was nominated once or twice, but it couldn't have gotten a Tony if it were stapled to its butt.
  9. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter Well-Known Member

    The man behind Seymour for Little Shop of Horrors was nominated for best actor in a musical, so there's a little recognition.

    The thing is, I think it would have been far too complex to lug that giant puppet onto the stage for the show.

    It was AWESOME to see the puppets from AQ in action! They were great! Terrific! And the stuff with Rod... LOL
  10. lowercasegods

    lowercasegods Well-Known Member

    You're right. I'd forgotten that the actor who played Seymour was nominated. Man, I wish there'd been a little more recognition for Little Shop. However, back in 1986, the song "Feed Me" got the movie of Little Shop nominated for best song, and the Audrey II puppet sang (with Levi Stubbs) live on stage at that year's Oscars. So if they could've done it back then, I can't see why they couldn't have done it at this year's Tony's.
  11. Jinx

    Jinx Well-Known Member

    It really would not have been that difficult to get Twoey on stage for the Tonys. Remember that those stage hands do it every night! And think of touring productions where they're moving to different theatres all the time. It would have presented a few challenges, sure, but nothing they could not have handled. Truly it would have been great to see!

    And just a minor correction, The movie of LSOH was nominated for "Mean Green Mother…", as Feed Me/Git It was written for the stage, and a song must be composed for the film in order to be nominated for an Oscar.
  12. lowercasegods

    lowercasegods Well-Known Member

    Dang! Once again I've been one upped in my knowledge of Little Shop trivia! You're right, much to my embarrassment. It was "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space." That was s ight to see, Audrey II performing live on TV and all. Hey, does anyone know if a 20th anniversary edition of Little Shop is in the works, hopefully with the original ending included? I know it wouldn't be until 2006, but they've gotta be talking about it somewhere!
  13. Jinx

    Jinx Well-Known Member

    It would be interesting if they were to release a special edition. However, I doubt that that will happen. When it was originally released on DVD, it DID contain the "original ending" footage. David Geffen, the producer, quickly had that stopped, and only a few are in circulation. I got one on ebay, I think I paid about $107 for it.

    The original ending (which, in my opinion, is SOOOOOO much better) was never really cut to a finished edit, so the footage is mostly effects shots, unfinished, of the various Audrey II's wreaking havoc on the world. There's some really great stuff in there, like a pod blowing down a chimney and all the windows of the building blowing out. The worst part its that its all black and white, as that was all that was salvaged from the Mexican effects house that produced the shots.

    And in my opinion, no one does better director's commentary than Frank Oz. I love his commentarties both on LSOH and on Bowfinger. Very informative stuff!
  14. lowercasegods

    lowercasegods Well-Known Member

    I can't imagine why Geffen would have removed the "original ending" Little Shop from shelves. What was he thinking? Fans worldwide would totally dig that sort of feature. That's quite a wealth of info you've provided us fans, and it's much appreciated. In the meantime, I'll keep hoping for an anniversary edition of Little Shop and start selling plasma for a potential e-bay purchase of the first DVD.
  15. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I seem to recall someone from LSOH saying that the twoey was built especially for the theatre. It is not the same as the original off-Broadway puppet, it's much bigger and more complex. Maybe they couldn't move it?
  16. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Oh. Too bad they couldn't do a remote kind of thing, then. Had Twoey speak to the audience from her own theater. That would have been nice. Not that I even got to see the Tonys at all... :smirk:
  17. Skeeter Muppet

    Skeeter Muppet Well-Known Member

    I was so psyched that Avenue Q won Best Musical. My mantra at that point in the show was "Wicked or Avenue Q. Wicked or Avenue Q." And did anyone else besides me get a kick out of Rod flirting with Hugh Jackman? That was just about as good as Hugh pulling Sarah Jessica Parker up onstage with him during "Not The Boy Next Door."

    I'm also glad that Idina Menzel won Best Actress in a Musical. I loved the number she and Kirstin Chenoweth did onstage, "Defying Gravity." The look on Kirsten's face when Idina was "flying" at the climax of the song said it all: "This is your moment to shine, girl." And it was cute how, when introducing the song, Joel Grey called them "my girls."

  18. Jennifer12

    Jennifer12 Well-Known Member

    Agreed. It was the best Tony show in years. Although, I did miss the behind the scenes bits at the beginning about the costumes, set design, etc. I guess they did away with it to make more time for the theatrical numbers. Can't complain too much.

    I didn't think Avenue Q had a chance. I thought it would all go to Wicked, since Wicked is more of a traditional musical, but I'm thrilled for Ave Q!

    And I thought Sarah Jessica Parker came off as a bit prissy when he pulled her up there. He tried to brush it off, but I think he thought she'd be more into it.

  19. radionate

    radionate Well-Known Member

    Don't know if this was addressed in another thread or not (I didn't look), but actually Avenue Q won't be touring for quite awhile. They just signed an exclusive contract to only have the show playing in New York City and Vegas.
  20. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    NATE!!!! :)

    Yeah, I read that somewhere (prolly TP). But, I'm disappointed that it's not going on the road. It'd have been great to see that at the Orpheum. Especially since I won't ever get to visit those other places.

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