Entertainment behind the scenes
Has Tony really turned into Oscar? True, last night’s Tony Awards didn’t feel that far from the Oscars. There were the hoards of screaming fans outside, the red carpet filled with stars like Scarlett Johansson and Will Smith. And the backstage media room where winners are wheeled in breathless and smiling for an impromptu press conference.
But for all the talk that the Tony’s are going all Hollywood, perhaps they are not. For starters, some of Hollywood’s A-List don’t take America’s highest theater honors as seriously as the Oscars. Some, like best actor nominated Jude Law who was a long shot to win, was nowhere to be seen. Others, like first-time Tony Award winners Scarlett Johansson and Catherine Zeta-Jones, did not bother going backstage to speak to the press afterwards.
And if any Tony organizers thought the presence of more stars than ever at the awards would guarantee better ratings, it wasn’t to be. The Tony’s broke a streak of award shows improving on their ratings this year by dropping 8 per cent in viewership from last year. The show’s roughly 7 million viewers fell far short of the number of basketball fans watching the Los Angeles Lakers lose to the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association’s championship series.
And, as yet there are no confirmed, big-name Hollywood actors announced for Broadway shows for the rest if this year (Unless you count T.R. Knight, we don’t. ‘Harry Potter’ star Daniel Radcliffe is confirmed to return to the Great White Way — next year.)
”I’m trying to find something because I definitely want to come back here in the next couple of years,” Rush told reporters backstage after winning the best actor in a play Tony Award on Sunday for his Broadway debut in “Exit The King.”
Ferrell opens on Broadway this week playing the role he made famous on during the 2000 U.S. presidential elections on “Saturday Night Live” — President George W. Bush — in “You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush.”
New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley has gone back to Broadway to see “Speed-the-Plow” now that its star Jeremy Piven has left the cast complaining of sushi-induced mercury poisoning, and in a piece on Tuesday pointed out the “blessings that have arrived with his departure.”
Brantley went on to say, “Mr. Piven’s absence has made me fonder of ‘Speed-the-Plow’ than I would ever have thought possible.”
Norbert Leo Butz replaced Piven, a star on the HBO show “Entourage,” from Dec. 23 through Jan. 11 and William H. Macy currently has the part, in the 1988 play from author David Mamet.
Brantley wrote that those two actors are not necessarily better than Piven. But he explains that seeing Butz and Macy in the part has allowed him to get a different view of the character Piven played, a chief of production at a Hollywood studio. And he says they have done a fine job picking up the pieces after Piven left. Brantley also said “Mad Men” star Elisabeth Moss and “Pushing Daisies” actor Raul Esparza have grown in their roles in “Speed-the-Plow” since he first saw them when Piven was part of the cast.
“That Mr. Piven hasn’t been part of that evolution is his loss,” Brantley wrote.
When Piven left the show last month, blaming mercury poisoning from too much sushi, Mamet responded by giving trade paper Daily Variety the biting line: “My understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer.”
Mamet was not the only skeptic. The Center for Consumer Freedom even said Piven would have to eat 108 pieces of tuna sushi role every week for his entire life to feel any new health risks from mercury.
“Entourage” star Jeremy Piven started rehearsals this week on another show about the inside world of show-business, only this time it’s on a Broadway stage.
Piven is starring in a revival of David Mamet’s play “Speed-the-Plow,” billed as a “scathing portrait of the film industry and the people who are willing to sell their souls for sex, fame and fortune.”