Nominations Announced For Hamilton-ys

The Tony Award nominations were announced this morning, and “Hamilton” set a record with sixteen nods. Nothing unexpected about that: I knew it was headed for history when its leading lady, Philippa Soo, was nommed, and Audra McDonald, who has a record 6 Tonys and who is in “Shuffle Along,” did not. “Shuffle Along” got the second-most noms (10), but I doubt it will win many Tonys in the face of “Hamilton.” A bright spot was the 5 noms for “Bright Star,” created by the new Steve and Edie (Martin and Brickell). I’m not surprised: it’s a satisfying show which is starting to Read more »

Artist Creed Plants His Creed

Five years ago, the Turner prize-winning British artist Martin Creed had an idea – a secret handshake. It wasn’t for just anyone; it was for his stepdaughter, who was 10 at the time. “We’d go ‘peace, love and understanding’ with these hand signals when we were saying goodbye,” says Creed. Now, Creed is taking the word “understanding” from his secret handshake and emblazoning it in enormous red letters along Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier Six in New York City. Overlooking the East river, the 25ft-tall revolving neon sculpture simply says Understanding and is open for interpretation. Created with the Public Art Fund, which puts on major works for all in New York, it ties into Creed’s first US retrospective, which opens at the Park Avenue Armory on June 8.

Lupita’s Fashion Faltering

Lupita (to me she’s now a one-name celebrity) usually shines on the red-carpet, but not last night at the Met Gala. With the up-’do, she looked like Marge Simpson. Other looks — Madonna, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift — are here.

James Baldwin: The Fear Of A Nation

In the New York Review, Nathaniel Rich writes: ‘“On one side of town I was an Uncle Tom,” said James Baldwin in an interview with The Paris Review, “and on the other the Angry Young Man.” But the list of epithets was much longer than that. Robert Kennedy, apoplectic at Baldwin’s statement in a private meeting in 1963 that black Americans couldn’t be counted on to fight in Vietnam, called him a “nut.” Harold Cruse, who attended the same meeting with Kennedy, complained of Baldwin’s “intellectual inconsistencies,” while Richard Wright, his earliest idol and first champion, considered him an ungrateful apostate. To Eldridge Cleaver, Baldwin was a traitor, with a “grueling, agonizing, total hatred of the blacks.” J. Edgar Hoover, who kept a case file on Baldwin at the FBI that ran 1,884 pages long, declared him “a well-known pervert” and a threat to national security.’ [photo: Baldwin with Nina Simone, artist unknown]

Oh, That Kooky Camilla!

Haydn Gwynne (pictured) tells Gabriel Tate about her starring role as the Duchess of Cornwall in a daft new TV comedy, ‘The Windsors.’ Gwynne says: ‘This isn’t having a pop at the Royal family. It’s spoofy and silly, and having fun with various institutions. In our show, Camilla is a madly jealous, power-hungry woman. In real life, I don’t think she lies awake worrying about whether she will become the King’s Consort. I don’t imagine she gives a toss.”

“Dear Evan Hansen”: Go!

All I can add to the chorus of bravos raining down on “Dear Evan Hansen,” which has just opened off-Broadway at Second Stage, is that its songs to me have a certain sameness that made my mind wander a bit during the evening. Otherwise: very affecting. And Ben Platt, playing an emotionally troubled teenager, is superb. Last year, Alex Sharp won a Tony for playing an emotionally troubled teen in “The Curious Incident…” Next, year, it could very well be Ben Platt.

Quotation Of The Day

“Nuts but a great guy.” That’s Faye Dunaway talking about Mickey Rourke. The actress spilled plenty on her colleagues in an interview for TCM’s annual Classic Movie Festival. Read more here. I’m sure the network will air the interview soon.