Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 in Review: JK's TheatreScene Awards, Pt. I

Last year, I started making a list of the things about theatre that I felt went unrewarded and came up with "JK's TheatreScene Awards."  I still hate the generic name, but I can't think of anything else (feel free to offer suggestions).  Anyway, this year covers the actual calendar year, January - December 2010, as I actually attended theatre each and every month in 2010!  I am very thankful for that.

Later in the week, I'll blog about my favorite shows, actors and actresses for the year, as well as those that disappointed me. But I thought I'd start out with some "JK's TheatreScene" Awards for 2010, mostly to recognize things not normally covered by traditional awards. This year, I've included awards for topics some of you suggested - thanks for that!  Like last year, I've divided them into two categories, Non-Performance and Performance Awards.  Here are the former, in particular order:

(Winners that are a repeat from last year have an "*".)

*Best Place to Eat Cheap and See Broadway Stars: The Cafe Edison in the Edison Hotel
*Best Place to Eat Cheap and Still Afford Broadway Shows: Dallas BBQ on 42nd Street
Best New Fast Food in Theatre District: The Shake Shack - awesome hot dogs and shakes (go figure) and it won't bust your budget! (BELOW)

Most Welcome Opening in New York: The Pop Tarts World across from the Stephen Sondheim Theatre (ABOVE)
Most Fun in Times Square: Keeping the pedestrian mall open.  Gotta love the brochure guys from La Cage!

Best PR for a Broadway Show: The PR for American Idiot.  They are all over the place and in the news weekly.
Best PR for a Broadway Show That Isn't Working: The PR for American Idiot.  They are all over the place and in the news weekly, but still no one comes to the show.
Best Use of Bad PR: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.  Even my dad knows about this show now.  And ticket sales are through the roof.  Now, if they can just keep the show together...
Most in Need of PR for a Broadway Show: The lack of PR for The Scottsboro Boys was shameful. It should have been a blockbuster.   Rallying the audience after you close the show seems a little late for the party, don't you think?

Best Ads/Logo - Play: Brief Encounter (ABOVE)
Best Ads/Logo - Musical: La Cage aux Folles (ABOVE)
Best Ads/Logo - Broadway-related: Broadway Bares 20: Strip-opoly (BELOW)

Best Show Window Card - Play: Lend Me a Tenor (BELOW)
Best Show Window Card - Musical: The Scottsboro Boys (BELOW)
Best Broadway Body Part in an Ad: Benjamin Walker's "Sexypants" Ass - Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (BELOW)

Best New Trend: Broadway becoming so mainstream in the regular media - even bad news is good news for Broadway!
Worst New Trend: Traditional Broadway media being so tabloidish.  I mean really, Newsweek, The New York Times?  Since when has The New York Post become the thing to emulate?

Best Theatre Honor of the Year: Renaming Henry Miller's Theatre as The Stephen Sondheim Theatre.  An awesome achievement for an awesome legendary talent.
Most Comfortable Theatre: The Stephen Sondheim Theatre - Ample leg room coupled with excellent sight lines equals success in house design!

Best Stage Door Behavior: Cody Green at the Marquis Theatre stage door after a matinee of Come Fly Away.  Ego free, gracious and actual conversation.  He's come a long way since West Side Story.
*Worst Stage Door Behavior: Why ruin a nice awards blog? But you know who I'm talking about!  And this year I have to ask... is your post-show schedule THAT tight that you can't even pause and smile at us?  You aren't THAT great.

Best Use of Technology: Brief Encounter's use of projections.  How could you not be impressed and swept away by it?
Best Pre-Show Announcement:  Elf: The Musical.  Actually it happens during the show, but it is a hoot, regardless!

Best Merchandise for a New Musical: The array of gifts (10+ t-shirt designs, programs, paper cubes, magnets, playing cards, etc.) at The Addams Family (ABOVE)
Best Merchandise for a Long Running Musical: Wicked.  Nobody does it better.
Best Merchandise Trend: Sale of reusable water bottles.  Green and fun.  Best value: the super-size Lurch bottle from The Addams Family.
*Most Missed Merchandise: Playbill Collector cards. I'm not sure I'll ever be over this...
Best Souvenir Program - Play: Lend Me a Tenor
Best Souvenir Program - Musical: American Idiot
Most Creative Souvenir Program: Million Dollar Quartet.  It comes in what looks like an old record sleeve.  Very apropos.
Souvenir Program That Makes the Show Look like Much More Than It Is: La Cage aux Folles
Worst Souvenir Program: TIE Come Fly Away and Elf: The Musical.  Both are surprisingly lacking in content.

Best Original Cast Recording Packaging:  American Idiot.  Great booklet, graphics and pictures. (ABOVE, TOP)
Worst Original Cast Recording Packaging:  Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Off-Broadway cover version).  Lousy picture of Benjamin Walker in PINK?  EEW (ABOVE, BOTTOM)
Best Theatre Related Book: Finishing the Hat...  Really, what else could I have chosen?
Best Theatre Memoir: Patti LuPone: A Memoir.  What else could it have been? (BELOW)

Best Broadway Commercial: The Scottsboro Boys.  Brilliant in every respect.  Too bad it didn't work. (ABOVE)
Best Commercial Runners up: Come Fly Away and West Side Story.  Both captured the show they represented brilliantly.
Worst Broadway Commercial: Anything they've cranked out so far for La Cage aux Folles.  How about you really show us something that makes this version stand out?  And I know what you were trying for, but Kelsey Grammer's voiceovers still sound like an exercise in self-promotion.
Best BroadwayShow Website: The Scottsboro Boys - LOVE the status wall!

Look for the 2010 JK's TheatreScene Performance Awards soon!

Comments?  Leave one here, email me at, or Tweet me!


  1. Wow, what a comprehensive list!

    I had some wonderful stage door experiences, too. David Hyde Pierce was gracious, as usual, after La Bete. I had a chance to tell him, once again, how much I loved him in Curtains. Michael Shannon was so nice after Mistakes Were Made, off Broadway. They're two actors who will really have a conversation with you, which is great.

    I agree with you about Shake Shack, although hopefully the lines have gotten a little shorter. And I went to John's for the first time, which was really good.

    Also, any cast recording that includes the lyrics is a winner to me. So kudos to La Cage for doing that, as well as a new essay from Harvey Fierstein. A nice package.

    And it's funny, I really liked the artwork for Come Fly Away, even though I had no desire to see it. I thought it looked really stylish.

  2. Esther,

    Always a pleasue to hear from you! Every time you write, you sheer love of Broadway, the city and each and every experience jumps off the screen. You make me love it all the more.



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