Monthly Archives: May 2016

Why the Tony Awards Need to #PutSimardOn

By Andrew Briedis

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Yo, guys. I’m speaking out of character, as me, Andrew Briedis. I’ve only done this one other time. There will be no forced jokes or ironic hashtags in this piece, because that’s how serious I am about Jennifer Simard. Sorry, TONY EFFING NOMINATED JENNIFER SIMARD.

Do I know Jennifer Simard in real life? Yes. Do we share a mutual obsessive love of Jurassic Park? YES. Did I come up with a campaign to get her to revive her showstopping performance of “Never Can Say Goodbye” from Disaster! on the Tony Awards because of either of these reasons? HELL NO. I did it because I believe that Jennifer Simard’s presence in this season represents a win for anyone in the world who has ever posted that “When so-and-so was thirty, they were working at a blank-ety-blank job,” meme. It’s also TOO DAMN GOOD not to be immortalized on YouTube or at Musical Mondays in every gay bar across America for years to come.

Look, I don’t need to try and explain why the Tony Awards need to #PutSimardOn. Everyone using the hashtag is doing just fine. Furthermore, I am completely aware that when it comes to performing on the Tony Awards, it is not the power of a hashtag, but the financial responsibility of each show’s producer. Unfortunately, Disaster! had to close early, which makes it unlikely that an expensive commercial payment is on the table. But how cool would it be if CBS just put it on anyway? Stranger things have happened. The Big Bang Theory is the most successful television comedy of all time. I think someone (I don’t know who, I don’t care) should just do it for us. Do it because there will be nothing else on the telecast like it. Do it because Lisa Howard brought the house down last year. Do it because she licks the handle of a slot machine while in the middle of screlting vocal pyrotechnics.

This season is slammed with so many brilliant performances by women, Audra McDonald didn’t receive a Tony nomination. There wasn’t a guarantee that Jennifer Simard would get recognized. She was the unknown actor in a show packed with stars, playing a nun with a gambling addiction in the limited run of a small disco musical comedy. Despite her brilliance, the cards weren’t necessarily stacked in her favor–but people noticed.

#PutSimardOn was one of the easiest hashtags I’ve gotten to catch fire, thanks to Matt (Disaster! press agent) Polk’s genius idea to live stream the closing performance on Playbill’s Facebook, so those who didn’t get the chance to make it to the Nederlander could see exactly why she earned her Tony nomination. Moreover, it’s something that members of the Broadway community can engage in, if not because there’s actually a belief she’ll get a free slot on the telecast, but because they can publicly come together to celebrate the work of a peer, and that’s been really cool to watch.

There have been several times when I’ve dubbed Annoying Actor Friend the ringleader of social media campaigns, or made various attempts at activism, and I’m occasionally accused of doing so for “attention” or “personal gain.” I have nothing to gain from anything I do here. I only make money as “Annoying Actor Friend” if someone buys my books, and I personally don’t believe that trying to get a hashtag to trend is going to land me on the New York Times best seller list or get me some killer writing job somewhere. I do these things because I care about them, it entertains me, and there’s only so many Hamilton jokes I can come up with.

Even if we don’t get the privilege of an encore performance by Jennifer Simard on the Tony Awards, we did get the brief, perfect moment of Jennifer Simard in Disaster!, and is there anything more thrilling than watching “it” happen for someone? When Disaster! opened, she was the person on the poster that people might not have known, and when it closed, she was the one that nobody could forget.

NOMINEES: 2016 AWARESIE Awards

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The AWARESIE AWARDS honor excellence on Broadway, Broadway Internet, and more specifically: Shit the Tonys Leave Out

IT’S THE 2ND ANNUAL AWARESIE AWARDS!

An ‘awaresie’ is an “intelligent follower of Annoying Actor Friend who is aware of the negative implications of social media masturbation.”

The AWARESIE AWARDS were created to spread awareness of lesser celebrated creative people within the industry, as well as highlight important (and maybe some not-so important) entities that contribute greatly to the community.

All nominees were handpicked by Annoying Actor Friend after a happy hour. Winners will be voted on by the Awaresie Academy, which is a group of 60+ industry professionals (actors, writers, producers, media) and complete randos (friends) chosen by Annoying Actor Friend. We can not confirm that the entire Awaresie Academy has seen every play or musical on Broadway this season, but Annoying Actor Friend trusts them, so you should trust their opinion. WE AREN’T THE DRAMA DESKS, OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE, ETC.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NOMINEES!

Best Sound Design of a Play

Christopher Cronin, Noises Off

Fitz Patton, The Humans

Tom Gibbons, The Crucible

Broken Chord, Eclipsed

Darron L. West, Fully Committed

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Nevin Steinberg, Hamilton

Mick Potter, School of Rock

Scott Lehrer, Shuffle Along

Nevin Steinberg, Bright Star

Gareth Owen, Spring Awakening

Best Casting of a Play

Fool for Love, Calleri Casting, Nancy Piccione (additional)

The Humans, Carrie Gardner, C.S.A.

Eclipsed, Jordan Thaler, C.S.A., Heidi Griffiths, C.S.A. and Laura Schutzel, C.S.A.

A View From the Bridge, Julia Horan CDG, Heidi Griffiths, C.S.A.

The Crucible, Bill Berloni for “The Wolf”

Best Casting of a Musical

School of Rock, Tara Rubin Casting

Hamilton, Telsey + Company and Bethany Knox, C.S.A.

The Color Purple, Telsey + Company and Justin Huff, C.S.A.

She Loves Me, Jim Carnahan, C.S.A. and Stephen Kopel C.S.A.

Disaster!, Seth Rudetsky’s Phone

Play or Musical that Best Passes the BECHDEL Test

Waitress

Eclipsed

The Humans

Hamilton

The Twitter Conversations Between Laura Benanti and Chelsea Nachman

Most Random Concert at 54 Below 

DEX! A Killer Musical: The Unauthorized Parody of DEXTER

Christmas Carols with Chris McCarrell

The Melody Lingers On: A “Benefit” for Victims of Earworm

TOO DARN HOT: Hot Pepper Theater LIVE!

Broadway Sings A*Teens

Best at Keeping SMASH Relevant

Debra Messing

Louis Peitzman and Matt Piwowarczyk (After Smash podcast)

Theresa Rebeck’s Book Tour

Gay Twitter

Hamilton

Best Performance by Jennifer Simard

Jennifer Simard in Disaster! (Sister Mary Downy – Broadway)

Jennifer Simard and Brian d’Arcy James announce the Outer Critics Circle Nominees

Jennifer Simard hosts part of the 30th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition

Jennifer Simard in Sisters (Pet Activist at Party – Universal)

Best Broadway Bound Musical We Know Nothing About

Mean Girls – Book by Tina Fey, Music by Jeff Richmond, Lyrics by Nell Benjamin

A League of Their Own – Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, Book by… Penny Marshall? Maybe? Aaron Sorkin?

Bombshell – Music and Lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Book by WHO DA FUCK KNOWS

Hamil2 – East of Broadway Company

Best Performance by an Actor Who Appeared on the Audiobook of #SOBLESSED

Lesli Margherita, Dames at Sea

Megan Hilty, Noises Off

Keala Settle, Waitress

Krysta Rodriguez, Spring Awakening

Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Tuck Everlasting

Will Swenson, That One Week in Disaster!

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Best Performance by a Hashtag

#KanyeDescribesAMusical

#NotMyService

#Stand4Ham

#ImWithHer

#FeelTheBern

Best Ensemble in a Musical

Hamilton

Bright Star

Fiddler on the Roof

Shuffle Along

Best Use of American Sign Language in a Play or Musical

Spring Awakening

Hamilton

Outstanding Performance By A Midtown Hangout That You Actually Love But Hate Going To

Glass House Tavern

Schmackary’s

World Wide Plaza

Olive Garden in Times Square

The Elaine Stritch Unemployment Avoidance Award

Aaron Albano

Cameron Adams

James Brown III

Lisa Gajda

Audra McDonald

Best Performance By Something That Makes You Want to Kill Yourself

Daily Hamilton News That Was Not Issued By Their Press Department

Caring About a Viral Equity Movement for Approximately Six Minutes

Broadway Chat Boards

Bitching About Broadway Chat Boards

Everything And Your Mom Being a New York Times Critic’s Pick

Best Lin-Manuel Tweet

Outstanding Broadway On Camera Hosting

NY1’s “On Stage” with Roma Torre, Donna Karger, and Frank DiLella

“Playbill’s Red Carpet Challenge” with Matthew Rodin

Broadway Style Guide

Lesli Margherita on Anything She Does for Broadway.com

Best Broadway Internet Brand/Organization

Broadway Black

The Interval: Smart Girls’ Guide to Theatricality

Justin “Squigs” Robertson

Hamilfans/Faniltons/Hamiltrash

Best Self Created and Produced Internet Thing

Theater People Podcast – podcast – created and hosted by Patrick Hinds/produced by Mike Jenson

Turning the Tables – web series – created by Ellyn Marie Marsh/produced by Katherine Paige

The Ensemblist – podcast – created and hosted by Mo Brady & Nikka Graff Lanzarone

#MakingMondays – live broadcast – hosted by Jordan Roth/created by Jordan Roth and Robbie Roth/produced via Periscope and fueled with wine

Best Marketing/Advertising Department for a Play or Musical

Hamilton, SPOTCo Inc.

Hamilton, Tumblr

Hamilton, The Grammys

Hamilton, That Cross Town Bus

Best Press Department for a Play or Musical

Hamilton, Sam Rudy Media Relations

Hamilton, Playbill

Hamilton, The New York Times

Hamilton, Rich People/Celebrities

Best Musical if Hamilton Didn’t Come Out This Season

(This award will be OPEN TO THE PUBLIC via a Twitter poll on @Actor_Friend’s feed between May 2nd – May 9th, 2016.)

Outstanding Production of a Musical Named Hamilton

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Thérèse Raquin

AWARESIE of the Year (Honoring excellence in both performance and social media presence and innovation. There are no nominees in this category. Winner will be announced at the Awaresie Awards ceremony in June.)


That about covers it! We look forward to presenting the very first AWARESIE AWARDS on June 6th, 2016 OR WHENEVER I FEEL LIKE IT.

Some of you might be wondering why a group of somewhat anonymous people with questionable knowledge about the theatre are allowed to choose whom takes home the coveted and respected Awaresie Award, which is why I must point out that despite the lack of expertise among Awaresie voters in assessing elements such as sound design, it is better to potentially celebrate the art incorrectly, than to ignore the art altogether.