Tag Archives: The Tony Awards

Thoughts on The Jagged Little Pill Controversy

Art has a way of changing the world as few things can. But that does not mean that the final product is approved of by everyone in the audience.

When the musical Jagged Little Pill (based on the Alanis Morissette album of the same name) hit Broadway opened at the end of 2019, it was met with rave reviews. The story of the Healy family and their struggles spoke to the shit we all go through everyday. With the show re-opening at the end of the month, there has been some issues with the character of Jo, played by Lauren Patten.

If what has been said is true, Jo was supposed to be non binary, but was written as a lesbian. In the statement released by the producers, they will be reworking the role to reflect the criticism.

One of the topics that has come up with this controversy is representation. I completely agree that representation these days is super important. Though there has been a vast improvement in both the image and numbers of non cis-gender heterosexual Caucasian men in the media, the truth is that we have a long way to go in truly reflecting the audience.

Speaking as a writer, one of the aspects of this conversation that is missing is how Jo evolved from the first draft until the premiere. In the process of writing, both characters and narrative change over the course of the creation of the work. What also may have happened is tryouts and previews, she was tweaked by both the actor, the writer(s), and the director until everyone was satisfied with the final product.

I have two concerns with everything that is whirling around Jagged Little Pill. The first concern is that it will ultimately force the show to close. When a scandal erupts over an IP, one of two things happen. The first is that it arouses interest and brings in audiences who otherwise would have passed it by. The second is that the scandal become so overconsuming that the executive team has no choice but to call it quits.

The second concern is that producers will look the scandal and if they see a script that is similar to JLP, it will go into the “no pile”. Not because of the quality of the work, but because of the possibility of negative press.

Only time will tell if JLP survives or closes. My hope and my prayer is that it survives because it proves that there is room for creativity and new concepts on Broadway.

P.S. Lauren won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical last weekend. It is an honor that is well deserved.

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Filed under Broadway Musical Review, Music, Thoughts On...., Writing

The Band’s Visit Musical Review

Sometimes, fate surprises us. We learn and grow in the most surprising ways.

In the play The Band’s Visit (based on the film of the same name) a band from Egypt is scheduled to play at the opening of an Arab Cultural Center in Israel. A mistake is made and they take the bus to the wrong city.  The locals take them in for the night. The leader of the band, Tewfiq (DARIUSH KASHANI) beds down for the night with Dina (KATRINA LENK), the owner of a small cafe. What starts out as a night of hospitality turns into a friendship and a conversation about being human and the experiences we have.

I loved this show. It absolutely deserved the 10 Tony Awards that were conferred on the show by the Tony voters. What makes the show interesting is that it has the running time of a play (about 90 minutes), but it has the narrative structure and character arc of a musical (using song and dance to tell the story). I read somewhere that the show stands out because it speaks to the heart and the intelligence of the audience, instead of appealing to the audience’s baser instincts when it comes to Broadway shows.

But what makes the show stand out for me is the fact that it speaks to the idea that even when two groups of people who are known not to like each other, individuals on opposite sides of the conflict can find common ground and perhaps friendship.

I absolutely recommend it.

The Band’s Visit is playing at the Ethel Barrymore Theater at 243 W 47th Street in New York City. Check the website for ticket prices and showtimes. 

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Filed under Broadway Musical Review, New York City

Thoughts On De Niro’s “F*ck Trump” Remark On The Tony Awards

As an FYI, the clip below is not bleeped out. This is your profanity warning.

Anyone with half a brain in America these days is more than aware of the deep political divisions that could potentially pull this country apart.

Last weekend, while presenting at the 2018 Tony Awards, Robert De Niro stated the following:

“F*ck Trump”

The audience loudly cheered and clapped in agreement.

De Niro is known for not liking Donald Trump and using his status to air his views publicly. Which is his right.

As much I agree with him, I believe his statement to be out-of-place and sending the wrong message. The Tony Awards, like any awards ceremony, is not a political rally. It is held to honor those who work in that particular profession.

In order to reunite this country politically, we need to prove to those who are for Trump that he is bad for the country. Alienating those who support Trump by continuing to back their claim that Hollywood and the coastal elites are not in touch with the real America does not help.

It’s akin to finding out that a friend’s significant other is cheating on them. When you tell this friend that their significant other is two timing them, this friend does not believe you and gets engaged to said significant other.

We need political unity in this country, not divisiveness. Unfortunately, De Niro’s comment only hurts, not helps this need to bring Americans together politically.

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Filed under Politics, Television, Thoughts On....