(Some) Tony nominees take a victory lap: Waiting for Hugh Jackman, however, takes time

Residence Theater (Some) Tony nominees take a victory lap: Waiting for Hugh Jackman, though…

Celebrating the Tony nominations this year has aroused a particular emotion: it’s the 75and anniversary, the first in-person return post-Covid, a year of re-emergence for shows closed in March 2020. Vaxxed, masked, Covid-tested, reporters met the nominees in a return to Broadway as usual. A dozen people sat in designated spots in a venue at the downtown Sofitel hotel, a stone’s throw from the classic stages where many of the nominees were performing for the evening. Managers offered stars as they worked the various outlets, as in, we’ve got Hugh Jackman, do you want it? Uh. who does not want Hugh Jackman? Okay, you have two questions.

And so on, as the stars came and went often, and yet the event was like a masterclass in theater production and an acknowledgment of the difficulty and specialness of live theater. Lessons are learned along the way. Allowed almost no time with Hugh Jackman, you can get the superficial, what he thinks of being named. Awesome. But then, with the choreographer “Music Man” Warren Carlyle, you discover that “Hugh’s success was no accident. He worked hard throughout the pandemic, rehearsed for three years for the Music Man revival. A vehicle par excellence of Broadway, “The Music Man” is not perceived as a dance performance. What changed? Two things, said Carlyle, Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. “All the choreography is new, every step is out of my head, nothing from past shows. I really went there. »

Dancing is an important part of the new show, “Paradise Square”, where a central plot point is a dance. The winner receives enough money to get out of the draft. Depicting two factions residing in Manhattan’s squalid Five Points neighborhood at the time of the Civil War, black people who may or may not be runaways versus newly arrived immigrants from Ireland, the actors Sidney Dupont and AJ Shively compete for money. As Owen Duignan, Shively’s accent and dance flair are so pronounced, you’d easily think he’d just come from “Riverdance.” No, he explained in flat American cadence, his moves came from training with a choreographer Bill T. Jones and an Irish team. Likewise, Dupont, as Washington Henry on the run, flaunts African-American styles. Garth Drabinski came in his wheelchair, and out of respect for this show that has many nominations and is one of the favorites of many viewers, no one posed to this producer of “Ragtime” and “Kiss of the Spiderwoman”, the difficult questions about the allegations and the lawsuits it is somehow evaded.

David Morse, Rachel Dratch, Amanda Green, Mare Winningham, Deidre O’Connell, Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz makes the scene. The “Mr. Saturday Night Writers Attested Billy Crystal’s written chops.

Long-awaited stars like Patti LuPone, Sutton Foster, Ruth Negga, I’ve never entered our little interrogation quarters, but if you walk around, look for a rest room and such, you might get lucky. I did, finding the highly praised Joaquina Kalukango from “Paradise Square” to the Sofitel exit. Again, the real miracle is finding Broadway so dynamic.

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