A BROADWAY AWARDS SHOW – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Tom was in charge of the audio for the Outer Critics Circle award show at Sardi’s in New York City on May 23, 2019. So Tom and I got to have a unique and fun and very ‘New York’ experience. The show is a mini version of the Tony Awards but done in the afternoon, so no glamorous evening gowns.

Event program
We had to drive into the city the night before to bring in all the audio equipment and set it up on site. My job was to gaffer tape the endless wires to the carpet and walls so no one tripped over them. It was interesting to watch the event coordinators set the tables (it was a lunch/dinner at 3 PM), decide who sat where and set out the place cards.

The 27 awards were announced beforehand so only the winners showed up, which limited the guest list to 120, or twelve tables of ten each. Most of the people were behind the scene stars who I didn’t recognize. People like producers, directors, composers, sets, costumes and lighting people, agents, publicists, etc. The room covered all aspects of what it takes to put together a theatrical production, both musicals, and straight plays.

Page in program listing award winners
The audio table was set up for Tom and me in the back near the back door so I didn’t expect to see any celebrities close up. Surprise! They had set up a black curtain with the Outer Circle Critics logo all over it right next to me, near the back door. I thought it was just for decoration and name placement. I didn’t realize that that door was where everyone entered so they could be photographed in front of the black curtain.

The press corps, photo, and video were directly right in front of me. The celebrities entered, one by one, and posed for the press in front of the curtain/backdrop.

They chatted briefly with the press. All this took place three feet in front of me! I was taking photos too and the press photographers moved out of the way so I could get good shots. I told them it was just for a blog, but I got professional courtesy and was treated like a member of the press corps.

Photographers lined up to take pictures of celebrities
I also got to see some video interviews — a real treat.

Tina Fey was one of the presenters/masters of ceremony and she was charming and funny, as usual. I got some close ups of her as she entered and posed for the cameras and I also took pictures of her talking at the podium.

Tina posing for the photographers.

A film and TV actor, Hamish Linklatter was also very funny as a presenter,  The Big Short, and Fantastic Four movies as well as The Newsroom and The Good Wife on TV. He did a dramatic reading of his presenter speech, which was hilarious.

Hamish Linklatter

Bryan Cranston gave a delightful acceptance speech too — “Breaking Bad,” “Malcolm In The Middle,” and “All The Way” (TV) and the movie “Trumbo.”

Joel Grey
It was a thrill to see classic stars like Joel Grey — “Cabaret,” the play and movie. John Callum — “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever” among numerous stage credits as well as TV’s “Northern Exposure,” and “Madame Secretary.”

John Callum
The legendary costume designer, Bob Mackie was also there. He did all of Cher’s clothes for her TV show as well as the costumes for the Carol Burnett Show. He also dressed many stars, like Judy Garland and Liz Minnelli, to name a few.

Bob Mackle

Another charming actress who got an award was Stephanie J. Block for her role as the older Cher in the musical based on her life. She said she had 29 costume changes during each show, eight times a week!

Stephanie J. Block
I also saw a favorite of mine, Brian D’Arcy James, who was in the TV musical Smash as well as originating lead roles in the musicals “Shrek the Musical,” “Next To Normal” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

Brian D’Arcy James
Our friend, Barbara Rosenblat was in the audience. She is a member of our Audio Theater Group, Voicescapes Audio Theater as well as being a world-renowned, award-winning audiobook narrator.

She has also appeared many times on the Broadway stage. She was in the original cast of “The Secret Garden” and got her caricature drawn and hung in Sardi’s. The restaurant opened in 1921 and is known for these caricature drawings covering all of its walls, representing the Broadway stars from the 1920s to today.

Barbara Rosenblat
I knew Barbara’s drawing was there but I had never seen it. We, along with the rest of the crew, were treated to a dinner at Sardi’s restaurant downstairs after the show. Coincidentally, I was seated directly in front of Barbara’s drawing. So Cool!

Barbara’s caricature on Sardi’s wall
All in all, it was an exhausting but wonderful adventure.

14 thoughts on “A BROADWAY AWARDS SHOW – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

    1. These photos have particular meaning to me because they were taken while I was being treated as a legitimate member of the press – by the legitimate members of the press corps!

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    1. The day of the event was particularly fun becuse we weren’t expecting to see any celebrities up close. That came as a big surprise.

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  1. What a great experience. It’s so interesting to see something like that as an insider. By the way, Bob Mackie also designed a Barbie back in the 90s. The facial sculpt is still in use today, a closed mouth smile and to collectors, it is known as the “Mackie sculpt”.

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    1. Didn’t know about the Mackie Barbie, but it makes total sense. He was such an iconic and ubiquitous dedsigner for so long, why not have him design a Barbie for the next generations of fashionistas?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. These types of one up events take on new meaning for me when I am writing a blog in my head. I took pictures of everything on both days, not knowing exactly what I would want to use in the final blog. As I’m doing things, I’m thinking, ‘Would this be interesting to add to the blog?’ So I experience the event on two levels, the present experience and the documentation of the experience later.

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    1. I’ve always loved the theater and have gone to more plays in my life than I can count. So this theater awards show had special meaning to me. I always watch the Tony Awards for theater and have a special affection for the Broadway community. Being at an awards show in person was truly awesome for me. And it was a relatively small room so I felt like I was a part of everything that went on. I watched an actor I’ve seen in a show eat and talk to his wife – like a real person! And he had to leave early because he had to get ready for his award winning performance that evening.

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      1. Ellin, what a FUN story! Did I, perchance, miss this in conversation during our visit?
        Sounds like some enchanted evening. (Sorry)

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