Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blog Birthday, and the Hayzies

These pages are celebrating two years online today, so I've looked back a bit at some of the items I felt the need to write about. Well, I started to look back, then decided no good could come of such navel gazing (I do enough of that already). Hidden amongst the obits, the personal trials of the actor's life, the remembrances of things past, and my personal reactions to the various shows I attend as an audience member, I also noticed that I never finished my loooooong project of converting my vinyl recordings to digital files. I wrote ad nauseum about my collection, but never completed the task. I have a hundred or so albums cut by various artists which interested me, all of which still sit on my closet floor gathering dust. I am determined, therefore, to finish the task I gave myself many months ago. As soon as I complete the current run, I'll have a lot of free time (read: unemployed again), and will tackle this last portion of my collection.

You'll want to stay tuned for those riveting entries.

Another thing I noticed when checking my old archives was the fact that the week this blog was birthed, I wrote about the Helen Hayes award nominations (they had just been announced). Not coincidentally, this year's nominees were announced earlier this week.

The most striking aspect of this year's group is the rather lop-sided domination of Signature Theatre, with a whopping 39 nods. I'm not in a position to determine if all those scads of nominations were deserved, as I didn't see all of the shows in question, but I saw a few. I'm pleased that both the leads in Kiss of the Spider Woman were mentioned, as I thoroughly enjoyed their work. And David Margulies was a sprightly hoot as the grandfather in The Happy Time, but I wish the Hayzies had also nominated Michael Minarik, whose role was the pivotal one, and who gave a very strong showing (I wrote about it here.) I suppose the nominations of Chita Rivera and George Hearn were given; the Hayes folks have a long history of celebrating the performances of actors whose names they recognize. And as for Les Miz, well, I enjoyed the show, despite personally disliking the material, and Signature's production will probably win in their categories.

I was glad Arena's Next to Normal was recognized, though I'm not quite sure why it was placed in the "nonresident" category. It's true the show was cast completely with out of town actors, but that's nothing new at Arena, and though most of the cast were in the original NY production, two were not, and the authors themselves reworked part of their show for the Arena staging. Perhaps this particular production moved on to another theatre of which I am unaware...Anyway, I hope J. Robert Spencer, who played the father figure, wins in his category.

Of the other productions I saw, I agree that both Major Barbara and Twelfth Night were stunners at The Shakespeare Theatre, though I wish Veanne Cox had been mentioned for her luscious Lady Olivia. I also think one or two more of the cast of History Boys at Studio should have made the cut.

I suppose my biggest surprise is the explosion in the newish "Most Outstanding Ensemble" category. There are a whopping 18 nominees, six for musicals and twelve for plays. I'm happy that Olney's Rabbit Hole made the list, though my friend Deborah Hazlett deserved a singular nom for the depth of her performance, which was duly praised all over town. Yes, I know, she's my friend and all that, but I've already established the fact that my friends are always the best things in their shows, haven't I? At any rate, I have a hunch that Olney seems a little old hat for the Hayzies, and they rarely treat the old warhorse with much critical respect, even when Olney's productions deserve it.

Ah, well. Nobody is ever perfectly happy with awards of this kind, and the DC community is busy blogging away about the oversights and omissions. Happens every year, as I can attest since I wrote about the nominations two years ago in the first week of this site. We'll have to wait until awards night to see how it all plays out.