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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mr. and Ms. Broadway 2011

WHY THEY ARE MR. AND MRS. BROADWAY OF THE YEAR:  This year the people of the Broadway year represent the most important people in theatre.  Without them, they shows they represent wouldn't even exist!  If they do their job well, most audience members don't really think about them - they think about the actors, the scenery, the singing and dancing... But when they do the job poorly, they are they first ones to get the blame (unless they are working on a Frank Wildhorn show)!  I'm talking, of course, all about the playwrights!  Collectively, they have 5 Broadway shows currently on the boards - 3 musicals and two plays.  It has been quite a year for all 4 of them!  Yes, four!

MR. BROADWAY 2011: Douglas Carter Beane
MS. BROADWAY 2011: Lydia R. Diamond, 
Katori Hall and Suzan-Lori Parks

DOUGLAS CARTER BEANE:
Work of his you might have seen before 2011: Film: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Stage: As Bees in Honey Drown, The Little Dog Laughed (Tony nomination - Best Play), Xanadu (Tony nomination - Best Book of a Musical)
Works of his that brought him to the top in 2011: Sister Act (Tony nomination - Best Book of a Musical) and Lysistrata Jones.  Nearly everyone - including producer and film star Whoopi Goldberg - loves the improvements he made to the London version of Sister Act, and it is a riot!  Funnier still is his original musical Lysistrata Jones, which is silly and smart, campy and sincere, and pretty damned sexy!


Beane with Kerry Butler, the director of
Family Equality Council and Lewis Flinn

Beane and Flinn with their children


Beane (TOP, CENTER) with the writing team of
Sister Act: The Musical


 Sister Act: The Musical



Lewis Flinn and Douglas Carter Beane at the
Broadway opening of Lysistrata Jones


 Lysistrata Jones on Broadway




LYDIA R. DIAMOND:
Works of hers you might have seen before 2011: The Bluest Eye, Stage Black, and The Gift Horse.
Work of hers that took her to the top in 2011: Stick Fly, currently playing an acclaimed run at the Cort Theatre.  She and her co-Ms. Broadways represent an important modern voice for African-American women.


Diamond at the Broadway opening
of Stick Fly



Stick Fly




KATORI HALL
Works of hers that you might have seen before 2011: Remembrance, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, Pussy Valley
Work that put her on top in 2011: The Mountaintop, which is currently having an acclaimed run on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.  Its limited run ends January 22.   She and her co-Ms. Broadways represent an important modern voice for African-American women.


Katori Hall at the Broadway
opening of The Mountaintop

The Mountaintop




SUZAN-LORI PARKS
Works of hers you might have seen before 2011: Film: Their Eyes Are Watching God, Girl 6, The Great Debaters; Stage: Fucking A, The America Play, In the Blood, Topdog/Underdog (2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama)
Work that put her on top in 2011: The new book for The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.  The controversial re-working of the book has made headlines for the show and Ms. Parks.  The revival is currently playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway.


Parks with Diane Paules at the
A.R.T. opening of Porgy and Bess


The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess



(Photos from opening nights and headshots: Getty Images, Broadway.com; Sister Act Lysistrata Jones: Joan Marcus; Stick Fly: Richard Termine; The Mountaintop: Joan Marcus; The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess: Michael Lutch, A.R.T)

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