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June 16, 2008

Broadway, version 2.0


Much attention has been showered this year of the new voices on Broadway that have brought in before-unseen crowds -- African Americans, Latinos, people under 75! -- and breathed financial and creative life into the medium. Some 12 million tickets sold for about $1 billion in revenues. Definitely not chump change.

The Tonys rewarded those risk-takers generously last night, while still reserving the biggest pile of trophies for a revival of a much-lauded classic, "South Pacific" (seven awards).

Lin-Manuel Miranda, speaking after he won best score for contemporary Latin-flavored "In the Heights," showed the duality:

"I'd like to bring popular music and theater music back together. They used to be good friends a long time ago."

As did Stew, creator of "Passing Strange," which won him a best book Tony for its rock-driven score:

"It wasn't my intention to write something new. It was my intention to put music on the stage that people are actually listening to."

The TV coverage of the awards -- heavy on the song-and-dance because, hey, it's network on a Sunday night -- featured a flying Whoopi (pictured), showing that those guys over at the TV Land Awards aren't the only ones who can work without a net.

More winners here and more backstage chatter, fun facts and Great White Way historical perspective than you can shake a stick at from Tom O'Neil here.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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