31 Days of Arkansas Rep: THE ELEPHANT MAN in 2009

Thirty years after it opened on Broadway, Arkansas Rep presented The Elephant Man.  Due to anticipated renovations at the Rep’s main stage, it was performed at Wildwood Park in the Cabe Festival Theatre.

Rep founder Cliff Fannin Baker directed this production which starred Rep veteran Steve Wilkerson in the title role. Wilkerson, who had previously shown his skill and versatility in such varied roles as Peter Pan and Prior Walter, displayed his talents and physicality in portraying the deformed John Merrick.

Another Rep veteran, Joe Graves, played the doctor who befriended Merrick.  Others in the cast were Matt Walker, Nathan Klau, Val Landrum, Alanna Hammill Newton, and Wesley Mann.

The creative team included Mike Nichols (scenery), Marianne Custer (costumes), Matthew Webb (lighting), M. Jason Pruzin (sound), and Lynda J. Kwallek (props). The original score was composed by Buddy Habig, a Little Rock musician who died in December 2008.

69th Tony Awards Tonight!

Tony Tony TonyThe 69th Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards are tonight. The telecast starts at 7pm central on CBS.

Here are my predictions for winners (in bold) and my favorites (with an asterisk).

Play

  • *The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Simon Stephens
  • Disgraced, Ayad Akhtar
  • Hand to God, Robert Askins
  • Wolf Hall Parts One & Two, Hilary Mantel and Mike Poulton

 

Musical

  • *An American in Paris
  • Fun Home
  • Something Rotten!
  • The Visit

 

Revival of a Play

  • The Elephant Man
  • Skylight
  • This Is Our Youth
  • *You Can’t Take It with You

 

Revival of a Musical

  • The King and I
  • *On the Town
  • On the Twentieth Century

 

Actor, Play

  • Steven Boyer, Hand to God
  • Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
  • Ben Miles, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • Bill Nighy, Skylight
  • *Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

 

Actress, Play

  • Geneva Carr, Hand to God
  • *Helen Mirren, The Audience
  • Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
  • Carey Mulligan, Skylight
  • Ruth Wilson, Constellations

 

Actor, Musical

  • Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
  • *Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
  • Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
  • Ken Watanabe, The King and I
  • Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

 

Actress, Musical

  • Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
  • Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
  • Beth Malone, Fun Home
  • *Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
  • Chita Rivera, The Visit

 

Featured Actor, Play

  • Matthew Beard, Skylight 
  • K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
  • Richard McCabe, The Audience
  • Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
  • Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • *Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play

 

Featured Actress, Play

  • *Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You
  • Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
  • Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
  • Julie White, Airline Highway

 

Featured Actor, Musical

  • Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
  • Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
  • Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
  • Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris
  • *Max von Essen, An American in Paris

 

Featured Actress, Musical

  • Victoria Clark, Gigi
  • *Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
  • Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
  • Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
  • Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

 

Direction, Play

  • Stephen Daldry, Skylight
  • *Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It with You
  • Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God

 

Direction, Musical

  • Sam Gold, Fun Home
  • Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
  • John Rando, On the Town
  • Bartlett Sher, The King and I
  • *Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

 

Choreography

  • Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
  • Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
  • Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
  • *Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

 

Book of a Musical

  • Karey Kirkpatrick & John O’Farrell, Something Rotten!
  • *Lisa Kron, Fun Home
  • Craig Lucas, An American in Paris
  • Terrence McNally, The Visit

Original Score

  • John Kander & Fred Ebb, The Visit
  • Wayne Kirkpatrick & Karey Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!
  • Sting, The Last Ship
  • *Jeanine Tesori & Lisa Kron, Fun Home

 

Orchestrations

  • *Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, An American in Paris
  • John Clancy, Fun Home
  • Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!
  • Rob Mathes, The Last Ship

 

Scenic Design, Play

  • *Bunny Christie & Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Bob Crowley, Skylight
  • Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It with You

 

Scenic Design, Musical

  • *Bob Crowley & 59 Productions, An American in Paris
  • David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
  • Michael Yeargan, The King and I
  • David Zinn, Fun Home

 

Costume Design, Play

  • Bob Crowley, The Audience
  • *Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It with You
  • Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • David Zinn, Airline Highway

 

Costume Design, Musical

  • *Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!
  • Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
  • William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century
  • Catherine Zuber, The King and I

 

Lighting Design, Play

  • Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Paule Constable and David Plater, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
  • Natasha Katz, Skylight
  • *Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway

 

Lighting Design, Musical

  • Donald Holder, The King and I
  • *Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
  • Ben Stanton, Fun Home
  • Japhy Weideman, The Visit

Tony Awards Week – Tony Titles at Arkansas Rep

ark repNext year the Arkansas Repertory Theatre celebrates its 40th anniversary season.  Since its first season, the Rep has often programmed plays and musicals which have been recognized with the Tony for Best Play or Best Musical of the season.

Many other Rep productions have been titles which have also won Tony Awards in some Broadway production.  But this list only looks at those which won or were nominated for the Tony for Best Play and Best Musical.

The first Rep production was The Threepenny Opera.  While it did not win the Tony for Best Musical, it goes on this list because it received a Special Tony in 1956 for its production.  The original production in the 1930s ran for just a few performances. So this production was not eligible for the Best Musical award. But it was so outstanding, it received a Special Tony.

That 1976-77 season also included a Best Play winner – The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, which took home the silver medallion for Best Play in 1966.

Rep SalesmanOther Tony Best Play winners produced by the Rep have been:

(Tony Year; Title; Rep season)

  • 1949 – Death of a Salesman – 2012-13
  • 1955 – The Diary of Anne Frank – 1977-78; 1981-82
  • 1960 – The Miracle Worker – 2004-05
  • 1963 – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – 1978-79
  • 1965 – The Subject Was Roses – 1981-82
  • 1973 – That Championship Season – 1984-85
  • 1979 – The Elephant Man – 2008-09
  • 1981 – Amadeus – 1995-96
  • 1984 – The Real Thing – 1986-87
  • 1985 – Biloxi Blues – 1987-88
  • 1986 – I’m Not Rappaport – 1989-90
  • 1987 – Fences – 2006-07
  • 1990 – The Grapes of Wrath – 2000-01
  • 1991 – Lost in Yonkers – 1994-95 (featuring future Tony winner Will Trice in the cast)
  • 1993 – Angels in America: Millennium Approaches – 1995-96; 1996-97
  • 1994 – Angels in America: Perestroika – 1996-97
  • 1997 – The Last Night of Ballyhoo – 1998-99
  • 1998 – Art – 2001-02
  • 2001 – Proof – 2002-03 (written by LR Hall graduate David Auburn)
  • 2005 – Doubt – 2007-08
  • 2008 – August: Osage County – 2014-15
  • 2010 – Red – 2013-14
  • 2012 – Clybourne Park – 2013-14

 

Next season the Rep will produce Peter and the Starcatcher which was nominated for Best Play in 2012.  Other Best Play nominees produced by the Rep include: Barefoot in the Park; Broadway Bound; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Crimes of the Heart; Frost/Nixon; The Gin Game; Glengarry Glen Ross; Having Our Say; Home; Lend Me a Tenor; A Lesson from Aloes; ‘Night, Mother; The Night of the Iguana; Noises Off; The Piano Lesson; The Rainmaker; A Raisin in the Sun; The Retreat from Moscow; Talley’s Folly; The 39 Steps; and A Walk in the Woods.

The Rep also produced House of Blue Leaves six years before it was nominated for Best Play at the Tonys. In addition, it produced All My Sons which received a Special Tony for playwright Arthur Miller at the first ceremony and is sometimes erroneously listed as being the Best Play of 1947. There was none that year.

 

THEREP_MEMPHIS (no credits)-page-001The 1971 Best Musical Company was part of the Rep’s inaugural season in 1976-77.  Other Tony Best Musicals winners produced by the Rep have been:

(Tony Year; Title; Rep season)

  • 1951 – Guys and Dolls – 1989-90
  • 1952 – The King and I – 2006-07
  • 1956 – Damn Yankees – 1999-2000
  • 1957 – My Fair Lady – 2004-05
  • 1960 – The Sound of Music – 2001-02
  • 1964 – Hello, Dolly! – 2007-08
  • 1967 – Cabaret – 2001-02
  • 1975 – The Wiz – 2011-12
  • 1976 – A Chorus Line – 2005-06
  • 1977 – Annie – 2002-03
  • 1978 – Ain’t Misbehavin’ – 1984-85; 2004-05
  • 1980 – Evita – 1989-90; 2010-11
  • 1986 – The Mystery of Edwin Drood – 1988-89
  • 1987 – Les Miserables – 2008-09; 2013-14
  • 2003 – Hairspray – 2010-11
  • 2004 – Avenue Q – 2012-13
  • 2010 – Memphis – 2014-15 (produced at Rep and on Broadway by LR native Remmel T. Dickinson)

In addition, the Rep has produced staged concert versions of 1958 Best Musical The Music Man and 1973 Best Musical A Little Night Music in collaboration with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

Next season the Rep will produce The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which was nominated for Best Musical in 2005.  Other Best Musical nominees produced by the Rep include: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Blues in the Night; Chicago; Dreamgirls; Five Guys Named Moe; The Full Monty; Gypsy; Into The Woods; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; Mary Poppins;  Next to Normal; Oh What A Lovely War; Once On This Island; Peter Pan; Pump Boys and Dinettes; Quilters; Side by Side by Sondheim; Smokey Joe’s Café; Stop the World, I Want To Get Off; Sweet Charity; West Side Story; and The Who’s Tommy.