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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Broadway on YouTube: The 2012 Tony Nominees: Clybourne Park and Other Desert Cities

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Today's blog is about two of the Tony Award nominees for Best Play: Clybourne Park and Other Desert Cities.  Their advertising approaches couldn't be more different.

CLYBOURNE PARK







An old time family film roll - the kind Lucy and Ricky or Ozzie and Harriet might have shown at a post-vacation dinner party - tells us instantly that Clybourne Park has something to do with an America of a bygone time.  White suburbia - a car in front of every garage, lush green lawns, and 2.5 kids and a dog is on full display.  Oddly, a somewhat solemn violin underscores the wordless commercial.  Perhaps all isn't well in an idealized America.  Then, at the very end, the "film" melts to reveal the road sign logo, announcing we are at an intersection of Clybourne Park.  What happens during the film, though, gives us the most information.  The play comes to Broadway by way of an Off-Broadway debut, several regional productions and the West End.  And along the way it has picked up some awards - The Olivier for Best play in London and no less than the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. But lest we get too serious, the critical quotes tell us how remarkably funny the play is.  Without saying a word, we know the play is important and entertaining.  Can the Tony be far behind?  The ad will let the play speak for itself. A


OTHER DESERT CITIES





The longest running of the four nominees, Other Desert Cities comes to Broadway after an acclaimed Off-Broadway run, so its critical response is a given.   The draw of the play is really the masterful plot and the star filled cast.  The ad capitalizes on both.  Animating the show logo - the shattering of a perfect scene - bookends the commercial, and provides a visual metaphor for the play.  Then in flashing bits, the plot of the play is revealed by the stars of the show in character: Stockard Channing, Stacy Keach, Rachel Griffiths and  Justin Kirk.  Then in the middle of it all, an intense Judith Light warns, "Don't back down!"  What an attention-grabber!  Bingo! You have conflict, intensity and drama.  Everything a fan of Broadway plays loves.  While the 30 second ad doesn't capitalize on the show's award nominations, it really doesn't need to.  A


For more of my Tony Awards coverage, click the "Tony Awards" tab at the top of the page.


Jeff
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