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The Future of the GOP



The Future of the GOP

There was a period a few years ago, perhaps felt most potently in the days and weeks following the 2004 presidential election, when Karl Rove’s fantasy of a permanent Republican majority seemed less like a pipedream and more like modern political reality—and for many, even a nightmare. That nightmare, of course, began on December 12th, 2000, 19 days before the start of the so-called New American Century, when the Supreme Court effectively handed the presidency to George W. Bush. In an interview during the Democratic primary, Barack Obama declared that Ronald Reagan “changed the trajectory of America,” and, with the guidance of Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfield, Paul Wolfowitz and others, the same could be said of Bush, who is to neoconservatism what Reagan was to the New Right.

Ronald Reagan has been hailed as a hero by almost every subsection of the conservative movement—isolationists, neocons, libertarians, Christians, Arnold Schwarzenegger—but he was filled with contradictions. He saw government as the enemy but raised taxes to save one of its biggest socialized institutions. He took nationalism to the extreme, likening the United States to something out of Disney or the Bible and its biggest adversary to something out of Star Wars, but somehow did it in a way that united the country even as his traditionally conservative preference for liberty over equality inherently divided it. He was an actor. His greatest gift was convincing people that he spoke to them and represented their interests, that he was a populist instead of an elitist, that he was a libertarian rather than a xenophobe. In many ways, this is what made him a unifier; it’s what helped the 1984 electoral map look like the end of days for the left.

Creating a majority isn’t difficult. If Reagan was a transformative figure in the 1980s, as Obama has said, it was because he had big ideas that, even if you disagreed with them, inspired people. Reagan and Bush’s approaches, however, were quite different. When they weren’t flag-waving and fear-mongering in tandem with fundamental Islamic terrorism, Bush and his party’s winning formula was to demonize and divide, with a vast, cynically engineered culture war designed to split the country into red and blue, good and evil, moral and immoral, patriotic and unpatriotic, American and un-American, and the two-pronged formula worked wonderfully. The mantra was divide and conquer, and conquer they did. And neither Bush nor Reagan could do it without the religious right.

One of the basic tenets of neoconservatism is the rejection of the belief that moral or ethical truths are not absolute, and the idea that one group or political party could own a monopoly on morality, that God is on its side, is, I think, the most dangerous kind of politics, the kind that pits one group of people against another in its quest for power. Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority helped get Reagan elected, and through the 1990s these groups continued to oppose equal rights for women and gays as well as first-amendment rights in the media. These people, and the politicians who court them, aren’t moral at all; they are moralistic. What they believe in is beyond examination, and this is the basic ideology of social conservatism, what pushes a traditional conservative who believes in limited government to seek to legislate what Americans can see, read and hear, what they do with their bodies and who they do it with.

Sustaining a majority is, evidently, a more challenging enterprise than creating one. In its attempt to exploit the religious right during the last decade, the Republican Party became enslaved by it. In its attempt to shield the corporate fat cats who lined its pockets and filled its voting booths, the party sold its soul and watched its stock tumble. And in its attempt to create American hegemony abroad, it weakened the country’s standing all over the globe. The Bush administration’s ideological stance on taxes (and especially taxes during wartime), its constant assault on civil liberties and the Constitution, and its complete disregard of the justice system are patently un-American. The hypocrisies of today’s social conservatism as a whole make Reagan’s contradictions look quaint. “Reagan Democrat” is a term we’ve heard in spades this election cycle, but it’s unlikely we’ll ever hear “Bush Liberal.”

The incompetence with which the Bush administration presided over terror, war and weather was astounding, but still party loyalists remained loyal and the left remained impotent. But the tides have turned: Republicans are now being forced to apologize for, or back-peddle on, their unpatriotic accusations of anti-Americanism. And minds are opening. It’s tempting to say it’s too little, too late, that the damage—to our markets, to our civil liberties, to our reputation, to the environment—is done, but true patriotism, true Americanism is both the ability to acknowledge America’s flaws and the willingness to address them.

My father is a Reaganite. He came from very little, worked hard for what he had, wanted to keep what he earned, never got any handouts and didn’t think anyone else should either. He did well enough to eventually buy two homes, send his children to college and live comfortably with my mother through retirement. He believed in limited government, the free market, a strong military and war as a final option. He twice voted for both Reagan and George W. Bush. My parents did everything “right,” but now, as they approach their twilight years, their government has failed them. They’ve watched their retirement savings dwindle and their government attempt to flaunt its power with its military muscle rather than with quiet might. My father is disappointed and embarrassed. And for every voter John McCain gained by pandering to the extreme right, he lost a devoted, lifelong Republican like my dad.

It’s unclear if it’s because there are simply more pressing issues than partisanship, or because, as a wise Republican once said, “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” but the tried and true tactics of neoconservatism are no longer working the way they once did. The 2006 election wasn’t a fluke or simply a one-time repudiation of Bush’s war; the last two elections have been a referendum on the modern conservative movement, the Republican brand as a whole, and the party’s failure to protect, enrich, strengthen and unify the country. It’s a sea change, and while war fatigue and belated semi-consciousness may have turned the people against the president, it took a financial collapse to turn his most ardent supporters against him in the last 45 days like so many rats jumping ship just as the hull sinks beneath the surface. Whether due to an innate compulsion to be on the side of victory or permission to express one’s true feelings granted by the opposition’s said victory, right-wingers joined Team Obama in near droves during the final weeks of the campaign. They smelled defeat.

Republicans lustfully watched what they thought was the Democratic Party devouring itself during the primary season. In retrospect, though, Barack Obama was waging his biggest, most important battle: As the late Tim Russert observed, he went toe-to-toe with the Clinton machine, with a former First Lady, with Bill Clinton himself, and emerged victorious. And he handily proved the theory of survival of the fittest in the general election by manning a campaign that, even when it made mistakes, displayed enormous levels of grace and organization. The Democratic Party unified quickly, thanks in no small part to Hillary Clinton herself but more so because the two candidates’ platforms were never all that dissimilar: Democrats mobilized to finally eradicate Washington of neoconservative ideology.

So what now? Liberals and many conservatives, like my father, may hope that Sarah Palin will fade into obscurity as quickly as she appeared on the political stage, that her future will consist solely of late-night punchlines and Geraldine Ferraro-esque appearances on Hannity & Colmes, but Dan Quayle never mobilized people the way Palin has, and he certainly couldn’t fill an arena. Is it possible that John McCain’s legacy will have been that, in the final throes of desperation and political ambition, he helped resurrect the near-dead neoconservative movement by anointing its new patron saint and thrusting upon us a demigod for the religious right—a group he never really supported and who never really supported him? When asked recently if he thinks Palin is the future of the Republican Party, McCain said, “To a large degree, as vice president or, or—,” and then stopped himself, for it may have been too horrifying an admission for a man who earned his maverick image by bucking his own party and taking independent, principled stances on the major issues of our time, by standing up to the right-wing “agents of intolerance” that Palin represents.

The depth and breadth of the religious right’s chokehold on the Republican Party was evident during the primary, when former frontrunners like the socially moderate Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney were drummed out of the race and, for a brief time, it seemed like Arkansas Governor and former Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee had invigorated the conservative base in ways none of the other candidates, including McCain, had. Huckabee talked openly about Jesus Christ and boasted of his Christian faith in his campaign ads. And when it was clear he had no path to the nomination aside from, say, divine intervention (he credited his first victory, in Iowa, to God’s will), he claimed he would remain in the race to give voice to cultural conservatives across the country, all the while splitting the religious vote with Romney, a Mormon, and effectively handing the election to McCain.

Huckabee, who some in the media speculated could be the future of the Republican Party, moved on to FOX News, but Sarah Palin has picked up the baton. A more moderate voice like Romney might be able to move the party in a more fiscally responsible direction, but his religious background has proven to be an albatross, limiting his reach among Evangelicals and others in the Christian majority. Aside from being suspicious of any politician whose beliefs do not coincide with their faith, this segment of the Republican Party is largely contemptuous of critical thought, nuance, and moral, cultural and intellectual relativism. This rift, between activist conservatives—whose primary objective is not the size of government or national security but legislating morality—and more libertarian, fiscally conservative, small-government Republicans threatens to split the party right down the middle, an improbable but not entirely impossible outcome of the right’s very own culture war.

The Republican Party is fracturing and it needs to find a new identity. Following weeks of Rove-esque attacks, the kind that lost him his party’s nomination in 2000 at the hands of George W. Bush and which, in a particularly maverick-y move, led him to consider switching parties, McCain attempted to focus on taxes during the final days of his 2008 campaign. Granted, he was handed a gift with Obama’s “spread the wealth” comment and he and Palin disseminated their new message with the cynical, boogeyman flair consistent with modern neoconservatism, but cooler heads might view the move as McCain’s attempt at preserving the party’s traditional platform in the wake of what was clearly going to be a devastating and symbolic defeat for Republicans. Or maybe they had just run out of ideas.

In order to win in recent years, Democrats have had to move to the center, something that Republicans rarely do, so sure they are that the country is center-right. But the demographics are changing, and with Barack Obama as President, America has a new face. Simply finding minority candidates who have conservative values will not diversify and expand the Republican Party any more than picking a vice presidential candidate in a skirt will score them women voters. The ascension of Palin as a national figure and potential leader of the party continues to chip away at the fissures begun by Bush. The challenge for the party is to find Republican solutions for American problems, including health care, energy and the economy, and then hope that in the process a leader who can speak to the entire nation, both red and blue, will emerge. The Republican Party’s future requires the expansion and unification of their tent, something that will be nearly impossible for a political group that has built its entire platform on divisiveness rather than inclusiveness.

This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.



Terminator: Dark Fate Official Trailer: Going Back to the Well with Sarah Connor

Linda Hamilton at least makes a killer impression as Sarah visits fiery justice upon Gabriel Luna’s terminator.



Terminator: Dark Fate
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Today, Paramount dropped the trailer for the sixth entry in the Terminator series, Terminator: Dark Fate, which promises to deliver…more of the same? With this film, Deadpool director Tim Miller aims to give the series a reboot: by pretending that none of the films that came after Terminator 2: Judgement Day ever existed (sorry, Rise of the Machines fans), maybe even Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. “Welcome to the day after judgment day,” reads the poster, promising the badass return of Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor. And on that front, the film looks to deliver, as Hamilton certainly makes a killer impression as Sarah visits fiery justice upon Gabriel Luna’s terminator.

But based on everything else that’s on display throughout the trailer, we’re worried that there’s not anything new that a film in this series stands to bring to the table besides running and gunning, with the occasional wink thrown in for good measure. Cast in point: Mackenzie Davis stars as Grace, an “enhanced human” who looks to fill the hanger-on role to Connor that Edward Furlong’s John Connor did to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800, now apparently living in woodsy retirement, and at the ready to give sage advice. In short, we’re not impressed, and that also holds true of that cover of Björk’s “Hunter” by some zombie man singer.

Watch the official trailer below:

Paramount Pictures will release Terminator Dark Fate on November 1.

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The Nightingale Trailer: Aisling Franciosi and Sam Claflin Star in Jennifer Kent’s Follow-Up to The Babadook

Today, IFC has released the first trailer for the film, which is set during the colonization of Australia in 1825.



The Nightingale
Photo: Matt Nettheim

Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, the Aussie filmmaker’s much-anticipated follow-up to The Babadook, premiered way back in September at the Venice Film Festival, and to mostly positive notices. Today, ahead of its U.S. theatrical release in August, IFC has released the first trailer for the film, which is set during the colonization of Australia in 1825 and follows a young Irish convict settler, Clare (played by Aisling Franciosi), who, after finishing her seven-year sentence, struggles to be free of her abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin). According to the studio’s official description of the film:

Clare’s husband Aidan (Michael Sheasby) retaliates and she becomes the victim of a harrowing crime at the hands of the lieutenant and his cronies. When British authorities fail to deliver justice, Clare decides to pursue Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north. Unable to find compatriots for her journey, she is forced to enlist the help of a young Aboriginal tracker Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) who grudgingly takes her through the rugged wilderness to track down Hawkins. The terrain and the prevailing hostilities are frightening, as fighting between the original inhabitants of the land and its colonizers plays out in what is now known as “The Black War.” Clare and Billy are hostile towards each other from the outset, both suffering their own traumas and mutual distrust, but as their journey leads them deeper into the wilderness, they must learn to find empathy for one another, while weighing the true cost of revenge.

Watch the official trailer below:

IFC Films will release The Nightingale in NY and LA on August 2.

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Downton Abbey Trailer Sees the Crawley Clan Prepping for a Royal Arrival

Kippers for breakfast, Aunt Helga? Is it St. Swithin’s Day already? No, it ain’t, dear. ‘Tis Downtown Abbey Day.



Downton Abbey
Photo: Focus Features

Kippers for breakfast, Aunt Helga? Is it St. Swithin’s Day already? No, it ain’t, dear. ‘Tis Downton Abbey Day—that is, the release of the official trailer for the Downton Abbey movie. It’s been some three years since we’ve gotten to sip tea with the Crawley clan and hang out downstairs with the servants making sure that the biscuits are placed just right on the proper fine bone china tea set. And from the looks of the two-and-a-half-minute trailer, it would appear that nothing has changed at Downton Abbey since the series’s finale.

In the tradition of Mad Men’s episode-ending “next week on AMC’s Mad Men” teasers, it’s just a series of snappy snippets that suggest we’re in for more of the same, from Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess of Grantham snarking up a storm to Robert James-Collier’s Thomas Barrow getting his gay on. And we are here for it. The cherry on top? The king and queen are coming to Downton! And as everything must be in tip-top shape for their arrival, the Crawleys must enlist the help of the one and only Charles Carson (Jim Carter), who is treated here with the reverence of a god, or a superhero from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Downton Abbey is directed by Michael Engler and written by Oscar- and Emmy-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes. And in addition to the aforementioned actors, the film stars Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Matthew Goode, Harry Hadden-Paton, David Haig, Geraldine James, Simon Jones, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Tuppence Middleton, Stephen Campbell Moore, Lesley Nicol, Kate Phillips, Imelda Staunton, and Penelope Wilton.

Watch the official trailer below:

Focus Features will release Downton Abbey on September 20.

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Watch the Teaser Trailer for Andy Muschietti’s It Chapter Two, Starring Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader

The teaser seems hell-bent on satisfying those who found the first film to be an over-directed succession of freakouts.



It Chapter Two
Photo: Warner Bros.

Today, Warner Bros. revealed the teaser trailer for It Chapter Two, Andy Muschietti’s highly anticipated follow-up to his worldwide box-office smash It. The teaser is certainly promising, if only because it seems hell-bent on satisfying above all else those who might have found the first film to be an over-directed succession of freakouts. Indeed, while the trendy retroism of that film is certainly evident across this teaser’s three minutes, there’s something rather impressive about how it forces us to spend so much time stewing in the atmosphere of dread that slowly overcomes the adult Beverly (Jessica Chastain) inside an old woman’s house as she comes to realize that she and other grown-up members of the Losers Club may not have fully shaken off the horror that is Pennywise.

In addition to Chastain, It Chapter Two stars James McAvoy as Bill, Bill Hader as Richie, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike, Jay Ryan as Ben, James Ransone as Eddie, and Andy Bean as Stanley. Reprising their roles as the original members of the Losers Club are Jaeden Martell as Bill, Wyatt Oleff as Stanley, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie, Finn Wolfhard as Richie, Sophia Lillis as Beverly, Chosen Jacobs as Mike, and Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben. And, of course, there’s Bill Skarsgård, who reprises his role of Pennywise.

See the teaser trailer below:

Warner Bros. will release It Chapter Two on September 6.

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Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now Final Cut Coming to Theaters in August

The film remains as legendary for its artistry as it is for the difficulty of its making.



Apocalypse Now Final Cut
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now is as legendary for its artistry as it is for the difficulty of its making. Some have argued that Coppola became the victim of the film’s legend with the 2001 release of Apocalypse Now Redux, a significant re-edit of the original film put together by the director and editor Walter Murch. The two most famous additions made to the original had its naysayers for being flow-breaking: the second meeting with the Playboy playmates, and the meeting with a family of holdout French colonists on a remote rubber plantation. I recommend you read the responses to this tweet from critic Glenn Kenny to get a sense of what we have in store from the new, never-before-seen restored version of the film, entitled Apocalypse Now: Final Cut, coming our way in August.

According to Lionsgate, the film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday, has been remastered from the original negative in 4K Ultra HD.

The Beacon Theatre will be outfitted for this exclusive occasion with Meyer VLFC (Very Low Frequency Control), a ground-breaking loudspeaker system engineered to output audio frequencies below the limits of human hearing, giving the audience a truly visceral experience. In addition, the film has been enhanced with Dolby Vision, delivering spectacular colors and highlights that are up to 40 times brighter and blacks that are 10 times darker, and Dolby Atmos, producing moving audio that flows all around you with breathtaking realism.

Audiences will be able to experience a special NAGRA myCinema theatrical release of Apocalypse Now Final Cut on the giant screen in select theaters nationwide on August 15. Then, on August 27, the film will be available to own on a 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, which will include a 4K disc, plus three Blu-ray discs and a digital copy.

Watch the trailer for the film below:

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Sonic the Hedgehog, Starring Jim Carrey, Gets Weird, Teeth-Forward Trailer

Sonic the Hedgehog and Slant’s nine-year relationship has seen its ups and downs.



Sonic the Hedgehog
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Sonic the Hedgehog and Slant’s nine-year relationship has seen its ups and downs. Outside of a rare rave we extended to Sonic Colors way back in 2010, most of our writers have been mixed about the Sega flagship mascot’s output over the last decade, even as they acknowledge the wily speed demon’s nostalgic appeal. Per our own Jaime N. Christley: “A free agent with no history, no employment, Sonic has no agenda, except one: run like hell.” Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog, though, would appear to want to change that—not by slowing him down but by giving him more of a purpose than just saving a bunch of captive animals at the end of every level and acting all smug about it.

Today, the studio released the trailer for the Jeff Fowler-directed film, a live-action comedy adventure that sees Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) navigating, um, “the complexities of life on Earth” alongside his best human friend, Tom Wachowski (played by James Marsden). That unmistakable ring sound that litters the trailer will surely bring a smile to the faces of Sonic fans young and old, but Sonic the Hedgehog feels like it’s going to be a hard sell, given its positioning of Sonic—so full of a sass, not to mention a mouthful of teeth—as a pubescent nuisance. Good luck picking your jaw up from the floor once Sonic takes on Jim Carrey’s villainous Dr. Robotnik to the sounds of “Gangsta’s Paradise.”

For better and worse—okay, just worse—the film looks like it’s straight from 1991, the year that the first Sonic the Hedgehog game was released. See the trailer below and cringe for yourself as the blue speed freak gets his Coolio on:

Paramount Pictures will release Sonic the Hedgehog on November 8.

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2019 Tony Nominations: Hadestown and Ain’t Too Proud Lead Field

Both shows were joined in the Best Musical category by Beetlejuice, The Prom, and Tootsie.



Photo: Matthew Murphy

Nominations for the 73rd Tony Awards were announced this morning, with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King and actors Bebe Neuwirth and Brandon Victor Dixon revealing the nominees in the top eight categories. Leading the pack with 14 nominations Hadestown, followed by Ain’t Too Proud—The Life of the Temptations with 12. Both shows were joined in the Best Musical category by Beetlejuice, The Prom, and Tootsie.

See below for a full list of the nominations.

Best Musical
Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations
The Prom

Best Play
Choir Boy by Tarell
The Ferryman
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
The Boys in the Band
Burn This
Torch Song
The Waverly Gallery

Best Revival of a Musical
Kiss Me, Kate
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
Bryan Cranston, Network
Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
Adam Driver, Burn This
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show
Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
Beth Leavel, The Prom
Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

Best Book of a Musical
Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations, Dominique Morisseau
Beetlejuice, Scott Brown and Anthony King
Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom, Bob Martin & Chad Beguelin
Tootsie, Robert Horn

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Be More Chill, Joe Iconis
Beetlejuice, Eddie Perfect
Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin
To Kill a Mockingbird, Adam Guettel
Tootsie, David Yazbek

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Bertie Carvel, Ink
Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird
Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ruth Wilson, King Lear

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
André De Shields, Hadestown
Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
Bunny Christie, Ink
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Jan Versweyveld, Network

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Peter England, King Kong
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown
Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
David Korins, Beetlejuice

Best Costume Design of a Play
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Clint Ramos, Torch Song
Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Michael Krass, Hadestown
William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
William Ivey Long, Tootsie
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show
Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Ink
Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Bradley King, Hadestown
Peter Mumford, King Kong
Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

Best Sound Design of a Play
Adam Cork, Ink
Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
Fitz Patton, Choir Boy
Nick Powell, The Ferryman
Eric Sleichim, Network

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
Peter Hylenski, King Kong
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown

Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, Ink
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman
Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
Ivo van Hove, Network
George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Direction of a Musical
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations
Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

Best Choreography
Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
Denis Jones, Tootsie
David Neumann, Hadestown
Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Orchestrations
Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown
Simon Hale, Tootsie
Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Terrence McNally
Rosemary Harris
Harold Wheeler

Special Tony Awards
Jason Michael Webb
Sonny Tilders
Marin Mazzie

Regional Theatre Tony Award
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
Judith Light

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Broadway Inspirational Voices
Peter Entin
Joseph Blakely Forbes
FDNY Engine 54

Tony Nominations by Production
Hadestown – 14
Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations – 12
Tootsie – 11
The Ferryman – 9
To Kill a Mockingbird – 9
Beetlejuice – 8
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! – 8
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus – 7
The Prom – 7
Ink – 6
Network – 5
Choir Boy – 4
Kiss Me, Kate – 4
Arthur Miller’s All My Sons – 3
Burn This – 3
The Cher Show – 3
King Kong – 3
Bernhardt/Hamlet – 2
The Boys in the Band – 2
Torch Song – 2
The Waverly Gallery – 2
What the Constitution Means to Me – 2
Be More Chill – 1
Hillary and Clinton – 1
King Lear – 1

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Madonna Unveils Carnivalesque “Medellín” Music Video Featuring Maluma

The video for Madonna’s new single is steeped in Portuguese and Latin-American influences.



Photo: Interscope Records

Today MTV took a break from its around-the-clock programming of mind-numbing reality TV to air the exclusive world premiere of Madonna’s new music video, “Medellín,” like it’s 1995 all over again. In the video, Madonna dons a white wedding dress reminiscent of her iconic look in the clip for “Like a Virgin” and the VMA performance of the song that helped make her a household name nearly 35 years ago. And like “Like a Virgin,” which was shot in Venice, Italy, the new video is also an international production, filmed in Portugal, where the queen of pop has lived on and off for the past two years.

But that’s essentially where the similarities end, both in terms of Madonna’s less-than-virginal mien—the wedding dress is accessorized with a cowboy hat, a red leather glove, and a safety-pin-covered eye patch—as well as the video itself. The nearly seven-minute “Medellín” is the official introduction to Madame X, the persona Madonna has adopted for her 14th album of the same name, out on June 14, and features the singer in various guises, including a cha-cha instructor and a bride to Colombian reggaeton star Maluma.

An extended intro finds Madame X delivering her manfesto via prayer:

“Dear God, how can I trust anyone after years of disappointment and betrayal? How could I not want to run away again and again, escape? I will never be what society expects me to be. I have seen too much. I cannot turn back.”

Reportedly shot at the Quinta Nova de Assunção palace near Lisbon, and co-directed by Diana Kunst, who was raised in Spain and has helmed videos for A$AP Rocky and Rosalía, “Medellín” is steeped in Portuguese and Latin-American influences that culminate in a carnivalesque wedding reception. Watch below:

Madonna and Maluma will perform “Medellín” for the first time at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards on May 1.

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Watch: FKA twigs Drops Trippy “Cellophane” Music Video

The singer-songwriter returns today with “Cellophane,” her first single in over three years.




Singer-songwriter FKA twigs returns today with “Cellophane,” her first single in over three years. Written and produced by FKA twigs, Jeff Kleinman, and Michael Uzowuru, the track is the first taste of her as-yet-untitled sophomore effort, the follow-up to her Mercury Prize-nominated LP1. “Cellophane” is a delicate, piano-driven ballad that finds FKA twigs more vulnerable than ever before: “Didn’t I do it for you?/Why don’t I do it for you?” she begs at the very top of her vocal range.

The trippy music video for “Cellophane” was directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, best known for his work with Björk. The striking clip juxtaposes the song’s emotional lyrics with images of FKA twigs pole dancing in nothing more than platform heels and a bikini. She encounters a CGI winged creature at the top of the pole, sending her plummeting into a pit, where she’s bathed in red mud by several masked women. Watch below:

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Ang Lee’s Gemini Man, Starring Will Smith, Gets Official Trailer

Ang Lee’s three-year marriage to the 120fps format appears to be in strong shape.



Gemini Man
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Ang Lee’s last film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, was praised on these pages for astoundingly animating the mind of its young soldier. The film, shot in 3D at a resolution of 4K, was supposed to be some kind of game-changer. But its 120fps format, which is almost three times the 48fps that Peter Jackson used for The Hobbit, annoyed just about everyone for resembling a soap opera or football game.

Nonetheless, Lee’s has remained committed to the format. His latest film, Gemini Man, tells the story of an aging assassin (played by Will Smith) who’s being chased by a younger clone of himself. Admittedly, the hyper-real textures of the film look more convincing than those of either Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk or The Hobbit. But you can make your own assessment from the two-minute trailer that Paramount Pictures released today:

Paramount Pictures will release Gemini Man on October 11.

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