“Ratatouille” and “Bee Movie”: A Comparison

Last weekend, I decided to watch Ratatouille. After watching Ratatouille, I then made the decision to watch Bee Movie, which isn’t exactly the best thing to do. In honor of this viewing, I’ve put together a comparison to aid in anyone’s decision as to what film with a creature frequently viewed as a pest that was released in 2007.

Ratatouille is about a rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt) who dreams of being a chef and ends up helping a hapless garbage boy, Linguini (Lou Romano), in order to achieve this dream.
Bee Movie is about a bee, Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld), who leaves the hive, falls in love with a woman and finds out the human race has been stealing honey from people. He decides to sue the humans and fucks up the eco system.

Ratatouille is made by Pixar and manages to look realistic and cartoonish.
Bee Movie is not made by Pixar and looks like a cartoon.

Ratatouille not only features the voice talents of Oswalt and Romano, but also Brian Dennehy, Peter O’Toole, John Ratzenberger, Ian Holm, Brad Garret, and Janeane Garofalo. Each of these voiceovers feels more like acting; never once did it feel like an actor voicing themselves.
Bee Movie features the voices of Seinfeld, Matthew Broderick, Renée Zellweger, Kathy Bates, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Megan Mullally, and Patrick Warburton. Except for Zellweger, it feels like the actors are just doing what they usually do. I seriously kept expecting Warburton’s character to pull out a knife and kill someone at various points of the movie. Which would have made the movie a lot more interesting, but really shows just how much Venture Brothers I’ve watched.

Ratatouille does not employ pop culture references with its storytelling.
Bee Movie does employ pop culture references when telling a story. That being said, I did laugh very hard at “Bee Larry King.” (Barry: “How old are you?”) And that was about it.

Ratatouille has Peter O’Toole as the venomous food critic Anton Ego, “The Grim Eater.” And every second of the scenes with Ego is an absolute delight to watch and listen to.
Bee Movie doesn’t have Peter O’Toole. Period.

Ratatouille makes me cry every time when we hear Ego’s review of the titular restaurant in the film.
Bee Movie didn’t make me cry.

Things I Have Learned After Living in Chicago For a Month

-The crowds of tourists on Michigan Avenue are really annoying.
-The Chicago Transit Authority is a valid reason to be late for class.
-The musicians at L stations can be pretty good.
-Although Argo Tea is a chain, their tea is really, really good.
-Tea at Starbucks tastes like crap.
-Having to walk from a bus stop or an L stop to your destination is a good way to become oriented with the city. Which comes in handy when people ask you for directions.
-People who go to college to party don’t give a damn about what the Olympics would do to affordable housing on the South Side.
-And those same people will view you as being unpatriotic for not wanting the Olympics to be in Chicago.
-LED ads on the sides of buses are really startling to the eyes at any time of day. Yet the LED sign at ABC 7 on State Street is not that hard on my eyes.
-Nothing is open in the Loop for post-theater dining. So, pre-theater dining is a very good idea.

Things I Have Learned After Living in Chicago For One Week

1). The Brown Line is quite possibly the most scenic line of the L. Very lovely.
2). The Fullerton Dominick’s is really messed up.
3). If you call 911 and ask for an ambulance, the fire truck will also come. I’m assuming that this is because the ambulance is part of the fire department.
4). Navy Pier really is an overrated tourist trap that I will only go near for WBEZ or Chicago Shakespeare. I don’t know why I ever doubted anyone.
5). People in Chicago don’t drive like people in Iowa. Actually I already knew that, but it’s still something nice to remember.
6). Unless you really don’t feel like walking the distance to get there, there is no reason to take the Fullerton bus to get to Halsted. Because it takes about one minute to get from the Fullerton and Seminary stop to Halsted.
7). Any object exploding sounds really loud if it explodes near your open window.
8). Construction crews start work really early. Trust me, I learned this the hard way.
9). The Harold Washington Library is absolutely beautiful. They also have a lot of books there, but the architecture is beautiful.
10). On really beautiful days, some businesses/restaurants will open up their windows, which might be windows that fold back or slide back. The breeze you get from this is very nice, but you do have to have something holding down the newspaper so it doesn’t go flying everywhere.

Ten Best Plays of the 2008-2009 Season in Iowa

Normally, I just compile a list of the ten best plays of a certain year in Iowa. This year, due to the fact that I only reviewed plays in the first half of 2009, I have decided to list the ten best plays of the 2008-2009 season in Iowa. Any play that I attended that opened in the state of Iowa from August 1, 2008 through today qualified for this list, regardless of if it was a professional tour, a high school production or a community theater production.

1). Fences“–Theatre Cedar Rapids

Leslie Charipar’s brilliant production of August Wilson’s wonderfully written play featured stunning performances from all seven of the actors, the most notable performance from Vershawn Young as the brain-damaged Gabe, who probably gave the greatest performance of the season. The play was thoroughly engrossing and dealt with the issue of race in the 1950s without being preachy. In addition, Bret Gothe’s set was simple, yet effective and contained a spectral like tree on stage. I’m also pretty sure I stopped breathing during the last minute-and-a-half of the show because of what occurs in that portion of time. This production was so riveting that I had to force myself to look down at my notepad and take notes for my review.

2). Gypsy“–Theatre Cedar Rapids

This production of the classic Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim, Julie Styne musical about Gypsy Rose Lee and her controlling mother had a powerful performance from Jan McCool as Mama Rose, the end-all-be-all of stage mothers. Katie Knutson and Brian Anderson gave emotional performances as Louise and Herbie. Leslie Charipar’s production, which was performed in the McKinley Middle School auditorium, utilized the space very well, placing the orchestra musicians onstage and using simple panels that actors flipped around to signify the setting of a scene.

3). Kiss Me, Kate“–Cedar Falls Community Theatre

Liane Nichols direction of this delightful musical by Cole Porter and Sam and Bella Spewack’s was so utterly charming and fun that it made me smile through the entire show at both performances I attended. With an incredibly talented cast that had superb voices, the entire show was filled with energy and excitement. Brian McCarty and Kristin Teig Torres as Fred and Lilli not only sang with such beauty, but there was also so much emotion in their performances that before anything was explicitly said, I could tell that the two weren’t over each other. The performances from Greg Holt, Duane McDonald and Rhiannon Talbot as Flex, Duey and Lois Lane, respectively, were comedic, but authentic. Tim King’s set design was complex in order to show the behind the scenes occurrences, but also the set for the show-within-the-show.

4). The Velveteen Rabbit“–Black Hawk Children’s Theatre

Tyler Hayes Stilwill’s direction of this show gave the show a depth that made it more than just a story about a boy who loved his toy rabbit very much. The rabbit (Zoey Thune) was a friend to Steve (Cain Hendrickson as the younger version, Stilwill as the older version); a companion, someone there for him when he was sick. And while the rabbit received scorn from the battery operated toys (Logan Hewitt as the train and Maya Buchanan as the steamboat), the rocking horse (Luke Everhardt) spoke of a magic fueled by the love of the owner, which makes all toys real. The show was also filled with a magic that made it very real and very moving, from the casual way that Stilwill addressed the audience to the nuanced facial expressions that Thune utilized, giving a performance that at the end of the show moved me to tears. Geoff Ehrendreich’s set design, Brad Brist’s lighting design and Danielle Warnke’s costume design gave the show an almost pop-up book feel as the lights would come up and reveal a part of the stage previously hidden, or the bed that Steve had would have a bedpost moved and a lid opened to create a sailboat.

5). The Princess Who Wouldn’t Wear Pink“–Brucemore’s Outdoor Children’s Theatre

This show probably was the biggest surprise of the season, but I think that this show was probably the play that was the most fun that I attend. The show had rather delightful, colorful costumes and a simple but effective set. Director Joe Link’s script had a positive message for children about being true to yourself and that it is okay to not fit the mold for what is normal, but the message got through without being preachy and hard to stomach. The entire cast gave magnificent performances, notably from Jennie Kies as the feisty Princess Rose, Nathan Nelson as the sardonic omniscient narrator and Katie Knutson as a dimwitted, hard on the ears Rapunzel. I also don’t think that a lot of the sight aspects of this show, notably of a dwarf being shot into the air, will escape my memory for quite some time.

6). “Anne of Green Gables“–Black Hawk Children’s Theatre

Tyler Hayes Stilwill’s direction of this stage adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s novel “Anne of Green Gables” is evidence of this. Emma Rathe’s performance as Anne Shirley, the imaginative, melodramatic redheaded orphan was filled with such vibrant warmth and energy that it almost lit up the theater to the point that you forgot about how cold it was outside. She also didn’t seem to have very red hair, but she convinced me that she had red hair. The performances from Kent Guild and Fran Guild as Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert and Grace Grubbard as Diana Barry were also excellent due to the very gradual change you could see in the characters over the course of the play because of the characters having Anne in their lives. Geoff Ehrendreich’s set design, Brad Brist’s lighting design and Danielle Warnke’s costume design all had very minimalist elements to it, although Ehrendreich’s set was a bit more abstract with the use of several white boards covering up the set and white windows hanging off of set pieces on the sides of the stage. But the design elements gave the show a very natural feel that enabled the show to be the main focus.

7). “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”–Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center

This touring production of John Doyle’s minimalist production was very good, partially because of how the production is done, with the actors playing the instruments onstage and there being a small set. This allowed the creepy psychological aspect of Stephen Sondheim’s score and Hugh Wheeler’s book to really sink in. The actors with this touring company were also very good and weren’t trying to imitate the actors from the Broadway revival. Which is good, because no one can be Patti LuPone but Patti LuPone. But anyway, the show got under my skin, which tends to be a great feeling.

8). “The Rocky Horror Show”–Theatre Cedar Rapids

The 2008 production of the musical that was the basis for the cult film had a different director, cast and was in a different venue than the 2007 production at Theatre Cedar Rapids. But this production was more focused, which could be because it was performed at Theatre Cedar Rapids’ Lindale location. This production had a great cast and the actors made the characters their own creations, they didn’t seem to be trying to replicate the performances in the film. The actor that played the narrator also made comments about Joe Biden being hot, which you definitely wouldn’t hear anywhere else. The only problem at the performance I went to was that in the number “Hot Patootie,” the lyrics were muddled, which could have been a problem with the sound.

9). “Enchanted April“–Cedar Falls Community Theatre

While the script for “Enchanted April” is a bit meh, the cast of George Glenn’s production elevated the show to a delightful night of theater. As the women at the center of the play tried to brighten their humdrum London lives, I found myself interested in the problems the characters were experiencing, which was likely the result of strong performances from the two leads, Diane Maxwell and Susan Brown-Wadleigh. In addition to that, Rick Maxwell’s lighting design was simple, effective, and rather lovely to look at during a very long scene change.

10). Bell, Book, and Candle“–Waterloo Community Playhouse

Charles Stilwill’s direction of John Van Druten’s romantic comedy about a witch in Manhattan, her family, and a spell she casts to get revenge on an old college enemy was fun, whimsical, and had an extremely strong cast. John Molseed’s performance as the snide, cunning, tacky blazer wearing Nicky Holroyd was the most delightful performance of the year, along with Beverly McCusker’s performance as Aunt Queenie, whom costume designer Katrina Sandvik dressed in flowing black and gray clothes. Geoff Ehrendreich’s set accurately portrayed a living room in an old house in Manhattan. My only qualm with the show is that the second act dragged quite a bit. However, the actors were very tight with their lines and their actions, so it does not seem to be the fault of Stilwill’s direction or the actor’s performances, but more of a problem with Van Druten’s script.

How the Season On Broadway Looks So Far

Today came two more announcements about the 2009-2010 Broadway season. “Hamlet” with Jude Law (I’ll have more on that later) and “Oleanna” with Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles will be coming to Broadway. While this does mean that I’ll probably have more posts entitled “Dammit, Mamet” in the fall, this also means that the 2009-2010 Broadway season is also starting to become a bit more full.

So far, these are the shows that are probably coming to Broadway:

-“Lend Me a Tennor”
-“The Addams Family”
-“Spider-Man Turn Out the Dark”
-“Love Never Dies”
-“Superior Donuts”
-“Time Stands Still”
-“In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play”
-“Burn the Floor”
-“Bye Bye Birdie”
-“Brighton Beach Memoirs”
-“The Royal Family”
-“After Miss Julie”
-“A Steady Rain”
-“Collected Stories”
-“Finian’s Rainbow”
-“La Cage Aux Folles”
-“A Little Night Music”
-“Broadway Bound”
-“Wishful Drinking”
-“Present Laughter”
-Unannounced MTC Show at the Friedman (how about a transfer of “Ruined”?)
-“Catch Me if You Can” (?)

So, with that list, this is how the season on Broadway will look like.

New Plays: 8
New Musicals: 7
Play Revivals: 6
Musical Revivals: 5
Plays Written by David Mamet: 2
Plays Directed by David Cromer: 2
Chicago-centric Plays: 2
Shows We Don’t Know About: 1
Revived Musicals That Make You Go “Why are they reviving this?”: 1 or 2, depending on how you feel about “La Cage Aux Folles.”
Shows that if the Tony Awards Hadn’t Gotten Rid of the Special Theatrical Event Category Would Go Under That:: 2

On another note, at this moment, they won’t have to nominate every musical revival that opens next season like they’ve had to the past two years.

(By the way, if I missed anything, please tell me.)

2009 Tony Award Predictions


This and blogging about it next week will probably be the extent of me being ebullient for the Tonys. So here they are, presented with who I think will win and who will win in the event of an upset. Special thanks to my father who aided in the predictions for musicals.

Best Musical
-“Billy Elliot”
In the event of an upset: “Next to Normal”

Best Play
-“God of Carnage”
In the event of an upset: “Dividing the Estate”
Hey, it’s an American play.

Best Revival of a Musical
In the event of an upset: “West Side Story”
I really, really doubt that “Hair” will lose the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. But if any of the nominees beat out “Hair”, it would probably be “West Side Story”

Best Revival of a Play
-“The Norman Conquests”
In the event of an upset: “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”
I’m going with those two because they’re the two most critically acclaimed revivals, but I really doubt that “The Norman Conquests” won’t win the Tony.

Best Book of a Musical
-Lee Hall, “Billy Elliot”
In the event of an upset: Brian Yorkey, “Next to Normal”
Let’s just say that I’m predicting that if any show upsets “Billy Elliot”, it will be “Next to Normal”.

Best Original Score of a Musical
-Elton John and Lee Hall, “Billy Elliot”
In the event of an upset: Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, “Next to Normal”

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
-Geoffrey Rush, “Exit the King”
In the event of an upset: Jeff Daniels, “God of Carnage”
I adore Raul Esparza, but I’m not holding my breath for him to win a Tony this year. But if he does win, you’ll know about it.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
-Marcia Gay Hardin, “God of Carnage”
In the event of an upset: Janet McTeer, “Mary Stuart”

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
-David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish; “Billy Elliot”
In the event of an upset: Gavin Creel, “Hair”
If the three Billys don’t win, that will be quite the upset.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
-Alice Ripley, “Next to Normal”
In the event of an upset: Josefina Scaglione, “West Side Story”
I might be over confident that Alice Ripley will win. Watch me be wrong.

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
-Roger Robinson, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”
In the event of an upset: Stephen Mangan, “The Norman Conquests”

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
-Angela Lansbury, “Blithe Spirit”
In the event of an upset: Hallie Foote, “Dividing the Estate”

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
-Gregory Jbara, “Billy Elliot”
In the event of an upset: Will Swenson, “Hair”

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
-Karen Olivio, “West Side Story”
In the event of an upset: Haydn Gwynne, “Billy Elliot”
I am maybe overly confident that Karen Olivio will win this, but if not, Haydn Gwynne.

Best Direction of a Play
-Matthew Warchus, “The Norman Conquests”
In the event of an upset: Bartlett Sher, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” or Phyllida Lloyd, “Mary Stuart”
Statistically, Matthew Warchus has the best chances of winning.

Best Direction of a Musical
-Stephen Daldry, “Billy Elliot”
In the event of an upset: Diane Paulus, “Hair”
What is it with Stephen Daldry and juggernauts?

Best Choreography
-Peter Darling, “Billy Elliot”
In the event of an upset: Karole Armitage, “Hair”
I really doubt that Peter Darling won’t win the Tony Award. Come on, the show is about a boy who want’s to do ballet.

Best Orchestrations
-Martin Koch, “Billy Elliot”
In the event of an upset: Larry Blank, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”
From now on, “In the event of an upset” means “If this show doesn’t win, it will be this show”

Best Scenic Design of a Play
-Rob Howell, “The Norman Conquests”
In the event of an upset: Derek McLane, “33 Variations”

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
-Mark Wendland, “Next to Normal”
In the event of an upset: Ian MacNeil, “Billy Elliot”
What? Did you think I was going to say “Guys and Dolls” for an upset?

Best Costume Design of a Play
-Dale Ferguson, “Exit the King”
In the event of an upset: Anthony Ward, “Mary Stuart”

Best Costume Design of a Musical
-Michael McDonald, “Hair”
In the event of an upset: Nicky Gillibrand, “Billy Elliot”
I just think it’s safe to put “Billy Elliot” in.

Best Lighting Design of a Play
-Hugh Vanstone, “Mary Stuart”
In the event of an upset: David Lander, “33 Variations”

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
-Howell Binkley, “West Side Story”
In the event of an upset: Kevin Adams for either “Hair” or “Next to Normal”
Again, statistics.

Best Sound Design of a Play
-Paul Arditti, “Mary Stuart”
In the event of an upset:I have no clue.
There is a thunderstorm that happens in “Mary Stuart”.

Best Sound Design of a Musical
-Brian Ronan, “Next to Normal”
In the event of an upset: Paul Arditti, “Billy Elliot”
I read Hilton Als review of “Hair”. And every review I’ve read on a blog of “Rock of Ages” has said the show was loud.

Best Special Theatrical Event
-“Liza’s At the Palace”
In the event of an upset: “You’re Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush”
My father: It’s Liza. ‘Nuff said.

Remember to come back here next Sunday when I’ll be live-blogging, or more or less blogging during the commercial breaks.

Shut Up!: A Guide to Audience Behavior

Saturday, my mother and I went and saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Throughout the film, the row of people in front of us spent the film texting throughout the entire film. How they managed to do this with Marcus Theatre’s numerous “Turn off your cellphone” reminders pre-film, I don’t know.

But for some reason, bad behavior at a film is much less annoying than bad behavior at the theatre. This has recently been discussed by Leonard Jacobs on the Clyde Fitch Report and John Moore of the Denver Post has addressed this issue.

I have addressed this before on my blog, and thought I would just compile a list. Remember, I mainly see amateur theater, not Broadway or professional companies, and for some reason, the behavior seems just as bad.

(I would like to say that audiences at the Gallagher-Bluedorn seem to be rather well behaved, unless you count automatic standing ovations as bad behavior.)

1). Please, don’t talk throughout the entire show
I’ve waited until intermission to tell someone who’s with me what I’m thinking. Although my body language tends to convey this very well. Please don’t talk throughout the entire show. When I saw “Bell, Book, and Candle” at the Waterloo Community Playhouse, I was surrounded by people who couldn’t keep quiet and missed several of the actors’ lines. Also, if you’re going to talk, please talk about the show.

a). Don’t try to engage someone not in your party in conversation during the show
Chances are, they really want to enjoy the show, not talk about your granddaughter’s piano recital they didn’t go to.

b). Don’t talk to someone with a notepad at a show, especially if they’re writing
This is a good sign that they are a critic. So it’s a good idea to not talk to them during a show. Asking them “Why are you taking notes?” will probably annoy them greatly. Although, I’ve taken to waiting until intermission to answer this question.

2). Turn off your cellphones
Yes, everyone says this, but it really is annoying. I believe a cellphone went off during “Rumpelstiltskin” (I’m actually not sure if it was that or “Joseph”. I think it was “Rumpelstiltskin” because the theater was darker) and I just put my head on my hand and thought “Dear God!” Text messaging is very annoying as well. If the show is really that terrible, get up and leave. Trust me, I’ve been to shows where the audience understood this concept.

3). I really can’t sum this one up in a nice tidy sentence.
Let’s say you’re at a show because you know a cast member. (Funny story I’ll get to later.) First of all, who they are playing onstage is completely unrelated to who they are. Usually. So, if some guy you go to school with is kissing someone in a play, don’t go “Ewww…”, just sit there. I’ve used this example before, I’ll use it again. A friend of mine played John in a production of David Mamet’s “Oleanna.” To those unfamiliar with the play, he beats the other character at the end of the show. We get along very well and I have no fear of him ever doing this to me. He’s a really nice guy, actually. Second of all, don’t hoot after their scene is over. You can wait until the curtain call. It’s not as bad as automatic standing ovations in my book.

4). Leave the young children at home
Some theaters do not allow children under a certain age to be in their theaters. Other theaters do not have such a policy. (Strangely enough, the Gallagher-Bluedorn does not have a policy.) This is unfortunate because screaming, crying children are really annoying to other audience members. So annoying, I am sometimes amazed that an actor doesn’t break character and the fourth wall to tell an audience member to please take their child out of the theater. Please leave your infants and toddlers–unless you’re a group of preschoolers attending a play with special school performances–at home for the evening. However, due to the current economic situation and the fact that I doubt most babysitters are willing to do pro bono work*, if you must take your child, please take them out of the theater to console them as soon as they become fussy.

5). Leave the condiments outside
Candies or throat lozenges being unwrapped during the performance are very annoying (although, I find that Ricola wrappers aren’t very noisy). Throat lozenges I can tolerate more because the sound of a crinkly wrapper is nicer than someone coughing loudly throughout a performance. Most theaters have a no food or beverage policy, but some ushers are not always attentive and people can slip tiny candies in their bags easily. But drinks should be an obvious. I was almost clobbered in the face with a water bottle during “Joseph” because a woman was making very large hand gestures with her water bottle.

6). Don’t Sing or Clap Along With Songs
Just don’t. Unless the actors ask you to join them, don’t. Please.

And now for that funny story. When I went to get a ticket for “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the Cedar Falls Community Theatre, the woman at the Box Office asked if I knew anyone in the cast. She said it in a manner that implied that in order to be seeing it, I must know someone in the show. I didn’t know this was a prerequisite to see theater.

*I, your humble blogger, do hold a babysitters license. I took a very lengthy class to obtain it when I was in seventh grade. However, I have never babysat because people were content with their usual babysitters and I tend to look very serious and not very fun to be around. I would have been willing to do pro bono babysitting for people, but now I’ve given up on doing so.

What if This Show Won a Tony?

I would first like to say two things. One, the title of this post comes from [title of show], which is nominated for Best Book of a Musical. Second, I have no clue how I managed to be dead on with my predictions for Best Revival of a Play.

Anyway, “Shrek” did get nominated for Best Musical. “33 Variations” was nominated, “The American Plan” is not. The Tony Awards did not pull a nice trick on us and only nominated “Hair” and “West Side Story”. “Pal Joey” and “Guys and Dolls” were also nominated. And I still have no clue how I got all of the nominees for Best Revival of a Play right.

Oh, “Shrek” is nominated for Best Original Score, which is slightly baffling to me. But that’s my personal opinion on taste and I’m not a Tony voter. Raul Esparza is nominated once again, this time for “Speed-the-Plow”. (And, no, the thermometer isn’t nominated with him.) Will he actually win this time? I’m dubious of it because of his competition, but on a side note, both James Gandolfini and Jeff Daniels are nominated for “God of Carnage.”

Oh, also, we’ll probably see Dolly Parton at the Tony’s this year. Unless she decides to not show up.

Anyway, here’s the complete list. And I got really lazy at one point but I am really tired and really sore, so I will fix that later.

Best Play
Dividing the Estate
God of Carnage
reasons to be pretty
33 Variation

Best Musical
Billy Elliot
next to normal
Rock of Ages
Shrek the Musical

Best Book of a Musical
-Lee Hall, Billy Elliot
-Brian Yorkey, next to normal
-David Lindsay-Abaire, Shrek the Musical
-Hunter Bell, [title of show]

Best Original Score
-Elton John and Lee Hall, Billy Elliot
-Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, Next to Normal
-Dolly Parton, 9 to 5
-Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-AbaireShrek the Musical

Best Revival of a Play
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
Mary Stuart
The Norman Conquests
Waiting for Godot

Best Revival of a Musical
Guys and Dolls
Pal Joey
West Side Story

Best Special Theatrical Event
Liza’s at the Palace
Slava’s Snowshow
Soul of Shaolin
You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush

Lead Actor in a Play
-Jeff Daniels, God of Carnage
-Raúl Esparza, Speed-the-Plow
-James Gandolfini, God of Carnage
-Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King
-Thomas Sadoski, reasons to be pretty

Lead Actress in a Play
-Hope Davis, God of Carnage
-Jane Fonda, 33 Variations
-Marcia Gay Harden, God of Carnage
-Janet McTeer, Mary Stuart
-Harriet Walter, Mary Stuart

Lead Actor in a Musical
-David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish, Billy Elliott
-Gavin Creel, Hair
-Brian d’Arcy James, Shrek the Musical
-Constantine Maroulis, Rock of Ages
-J. Robert Spencer, next to normal

Lead Actress in a Musical
-Stockard Channing, Pal Joey
-Sutton Foster, Shrek The Musical
-Allison Janney, 9 to 5: The Musical
-Alice Ripley, next to normal
-Josefina Scaglione, West Side Story

Featured Actor in a Play
-John Glover, Waiting for Godot
-Zach Grenier, 33 Variations
-Stephen Mangan, The Norman Conquests
-Paul Ritter, The Norman Conquests
-Roger Robinson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

Featured Actress in a Play
-Hallie Foote, Dividing the Estate
-Jessica Hynes, The Norman Conquests
-Marin Ireland, reasons to be pretty
-Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit
-Amanda Root, The Norman Conquests

Featured Actor in a Musical
-David Bologna, Billy Elliot
-Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot
-Marc Kudisch, 9 to 5: The Musical
-Christopher Sieber, Shrek the Musical
-Will Swenson, Hair

Featured Actress in a Musical
-Jennifer Damiano, next to normal
-Haydn Gwynne, Billy Elliot
-Karen Olivo, West Side Story
-Martha Plimpton, Pal Joey
-Carole Shelley, Billy Elliot

Direction of a Play
-Phyllida Lloyd, Mary Stuart
-Bartlett Sher, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
-Matthew Warchus, God of Carnage
-Matthew Warchus, The Norman Conquests

Best Direction of a Musical
-Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot
-Michael Greif, next to normal
-Kristin Hanggi, Rock of Ages
-Diane Paulus, Hair

Best Scenic Design of a Play
-Dale Ferguson, Exit the King
-Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests
-Derek McLane, 33 Variations
-Michael Yeargan, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
-Robert Brill, Guys and Dolls
-Ian MacNeil, Billy Elliot
-Scott Pask, Pal Joey
-Mark Wendland, next to normal

Best Costume Design of a Play
-Dale Ferguson, Exit the King
-Jane Greenwood, Waiting for Godot
-Martin Pakledinaz, Blithe Spirit
-Anthony Ward, Mary Stuart

Best Costume Design of a Musical
-Gregory Gale, Rock of Ages
-Nicky Gillibrand, Billy Elliot
-Tim Hatley, Shrek the Musical
-Michael McDonald, Hair

Best Lighting Design of a Play
-David Hersey, Equus
-David Lander, 33 Variations
-Brian MacDevitt, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone
-Hugh Vanstone, Mary Stuart

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
-Kevin Adams, Hair
-Kevin Adams, next to normal
-Howell Binkley, West Side Story
-Rick Fisher, Billy Elliot

Best Sound Design of a Play
-Paul Arditti, Mary Stuart
-Gregory Clarke, Equus
-Russell Goldsmith, Exit the King
-Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

Best Sound Design of a Musical
-Acme Sound Partners, Hair
-Paul Arditti, Billy Elliot
-Peter Hylenski, Rock of Ages
-Brian Ronan, next to normal

Best Choreography
-Karole Armitage, Hair
-Andy Blankenbuehler, 9 to 5: The Musical
-Peter Darling, Billy Elliot
-Randy Skinner, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

Best Orchestrations
-Larry Blank, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
-Martin Koch, Billy Elliot
-Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, next to normal
-Danny Troob and John Clancy, Shrek the Musical

List of Plays in Eastern Iowa (and Marshalltown) for the Remaining Season

Well, I went and put all of the remaining plays at both the amateur and professional theater companies on the calendar. While looking at the calendar on my Blackberry is a bit scary now, I thought that I should share this list in order to inform you of the remaining plays in this season, which I will define as August 2008-July 2009. The dates listed below are opening dates.

-March 27: Arms and the Man at the Hope Martin Theatre (Waterloo Community Playhouse)

-March 27: An Enemy of the People at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Iowa City (Dreamwell Theatre)

-April 2: Raising Medusa at the Riverside Theatre

-April 3: Picasso at the Lapin Agile at the Iowa Realty Building in Coralvile (City Circle Acting Co.)

-April 10: Rabbit Hole at the Iowa Realty Building in Coralvile (City Circle Acting Co.)

-April 10: Tales of Two Cities at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (SPT)

-April 23: Always…Patsy Cline at the Old Creamery Theatre

-April 24: Rumplestilskin at the Hope Martin Theatre (Black Hawk Children’s Theatre)

-May 1: Hair at Theatre Cedar Rapids Lindale location (TCR)

-May 15: Inspector Drake and the Perfekt Crime at the Hope Martin Theatre (WCP)

-May 22: Nocturne at the Paul Engle Center (Stage Left Productions)

-May 28: The Odd Couple at the Old Creamery Theatre

-May 28: Squabbles by the Iowa Theatre Artists

-June 12: Kiss Me Kate at the Oster Regent Theatre (Cedar Falls Community Theatre)

-June 12: Hello, Dolly! at the Englert Theater (City Circle Acting Co.)

-June 12: Riverside Theatre’s Shakespeare Festival begins

-June 19: Harold and Maude at the Starlighter’s Theatre in Anamosa.

-July 2: Schoolhouse Rock Live at Theatre Cedar Rapids’ Lindale location (TCR)

-July 10: High School Musical at the Hope Martin Theatre (WCP)

-July 10: Germans! at the Paul Engle Center (Stage Left Productions) (It’s a staged reading)

-July 11: Failing Evolution at the Paul Engle Center (Stage Left Productions) (Another staged reading)

-July 17: Courting at the Paul Engle Center (Stage Left Productions)

-July 23: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at the Mount Vernon Community School District Auditorium (Mount Vernon Lisbon Community Theatre)

And I still have yet to have conformation on what Classics at Brucemore is doing this year.

-July 24: The Laramie Project at the Martha Ellen Tye Playhouse (Marshalltown Community Theatre)

Things I Don’t Care About and Do Care About–Week of March 2nd-8th

Things I Don’t Care About:

-I still don’t care about Octomom.

-A-Rod’s hip injury.

-Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

-The Kardashians.

-Iowa Boys State Basketball Finals, unless we’re talking about the Northern University High School Little Panthers from Cedar Falls.

Things I Do Care About:

Horton Foote dying.

Cedar Falls High School doing a production of “Guys and Dolls” that seems to be better than the current Broadway revival.

-How much the Broadway revival of “Guys and Dolls” sucks.

-Theater Cedar Rapids doing “The Producers” and the Black Hawk Children’s Theatre doing “The Hobbit” next year.

-Charles Isherwood appearing on an upcoming episode of “Gossip Girl” and him talking about it in today’s New York Times.