Commercial: Ethan Allen Features Sondheim In New Spot And Ben Platt Thought He’d Stroked Out

Tony Award winner Ben Platt of Dear Evan Hansen fame had a hysterical reaction when he heard a new commercial for Ethan Allen featuring Stephen Sondheim's "Putting It Together"
Tony Award winner Ben Platt

Furniture store Ethan Allen features a jazzy/pop version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Putting It Together” in its new commercial and apparently it blew Tony Award-winner Ben Platt’s mind.

Sung by Anna Dellaria, the spot highlights Ethan Allen’s attention to detail.

Bit by bit, piece by piece, we put together this game-changer of an ad to let the world know that Ethan Allen’s designers – and the free design service they provide – are the best in the business.

LOL… I love that Ben is so attuned to Sondheim’s presence in a commercial.

Check the classy ad spot below.

Broadway Stars Ben Platt & Patti LuPone Deliver Powerful Performances At 2018 Grammy Awards

Patti LuPone delivers stunning “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”
at 2018 Grammy Awards

Last night’s Grammy Awards included tributes to Broadway legends Andrew Lloyd Webber and Leonard Bernstein performed by Tony Award winners Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) and the one and only Patti Lupone (Evita).

Platt delivered a stirring “Somewhere” from Bernstein’s West Side Story, but it was LuPone’s electrifying “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” from the original Broadway production of Evita in 1979 (a true diva who can still deliver like a boss 39 years later) that stunned the Grammy audience.

LuPone quickly began trending on Twitter.

It was also a big night for Platt as the Dear Evan Hansen cast recording took home the 2018 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album, moving Platt to the halfway mark to EGOT status ― that is, winning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.

Watch both performances below.

Two-time Tony Award winner Donna Murphy chimed in with praise as well:

“Dear Evan Hansen” Stars (Current & Future) Disco Down The Road

Ben Platt’s powerful star-making turn as a young high schooler in Broadway’s runaway hit Dear Evan Hansen is sadly coming to a close on November 19.

He’ll be replaced for six weeks by Noah Galvin (The Real O’Neals) followed by the current “Barnaby” in Hello Dolly!, Taylor Trensch, in January 2018.

The three actors appear in this short, light-hearted video where the trio meet up in the streets of New York City to kick-ball-change to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Getaway.”

There’s a bit of a “passing of the torch” as clip ends with Galvin and Trensch heading towards their future Broadway theater with Platt watches them walk away.

Aww….

Watch the video below.

Ben Platt On Will & Grace: Stonehenge? Stonewall? Who Cares, It’s All Good Now

Last night’s Will & Grace episode found Eric McCormack’s “Will” just about to get jiggy with younger gay “Blake” played by Ben Platt.

But the getting down got laid low when “Will” realizes “Blake” is woefully undereducated about the history of the gays.

“I’m not a history puff,” declares Platt after mixing up Stonehenge with the Stonewall riots.

Watch the cute scene below.

My 2017 Tony Awards Recap

I enjoyed last night’s Tony Awards broadcast muchly.

For one thing, rather than one of those year’s where one show dominates heavily (Hamilton, Chicago, The Producers), for the most part the Tony voters seemed happy to share the wealth among several productions. And I like that. The Tonys are, in great part, a marketing tool to help shows run, and when everyone is acknowledged for excellent work, the entire theater community wins.

All in all, I agreed with just about every winner (I hate using that word) in each category.

Other random thoughts:

• It’s ridiculous that the Choreographer category isn’t presented during the telecast. I won’t qualify artistic contributions among team mates, but the choreographer (the most physically demanding position on a creative team) creates highly complex storytelling without the use of spoken language. The number from Andy Blankenbuehler’s Bandstand was easily a standout among all the numbers featured last night. Also, look at the popularity of dance today across the country (So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars). There’s intense interest in the art form.

For those who didn’t see Andy’s acceptance speech:

Check out Dr. Jill Biden (huge standing ovation) introducing “Nobody” from Bandstand. This is excellent choreography 🙂

• Whether it was Bette Midler demurring or producer Scott Rudin not wanting to “give away the goods,” it was a shame there was no production number from this year’s biggest hit,  Hello, Dolly!

• While I miss seeing excerpts from the nominated plays, I did enjoy seeing the playwrights introduced and being allowed to speak about their shows.

• The In Memoriam was handled with taste and grace. Thank you.

• The two most memorable speeches (vastly different in tone) were:

Ben Platt winning “Best Actor in a Musical” for Dear Evan Hansen – “To all young people watching at home, don’t waste any time trying to be like anybody but yourself. The things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.”

And Bette Midler’s four minute filibuster (“Shut that crap off!”) for “Best Actress in a Musical” for Hello, Dolly!:

• Kevin Spacey did a good job as host. Brilliant? Maybe not, but he was solid and brings aesthetic weight to the stage. I wasn’t a huge fan of the impersonation schtick, but I know there were producers and writers making a lot of those decisions, so… Much is being made about his “in the closet” jokes. On one hand folks seem to be of the opinion he’s basically out to everyone but the masses, so he should be be out; on the other hand, he’s dealt with the rumors for years and if he wants to joke about them, whatever.

Ratings? From BroadwayWorld.com:

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ratings for this year’s telecast were down 31 percent from last year’s show. According to Nielsen overnight returns, the telecast averaged a 4.7 rating among metered market households, almost tying for the Tony broadcast from five years ago. The numbers appear to be strong enough to top NBC’s coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals, although they may fall short of winning in the Adult 18-49 demo.

In comparison, the 2016 TONY AWARDS reached a 15-year viewership high, averaging a 6.8 rating among households in overnight returns, ultimately delivering 8.7 million viewers and a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49.

Click here to see many of the performances and acceptance speeches.

Here’s the full list of the artists who took home awards last night:

Best musical: “Dear Evan Hansen”

Best play: “Oslo”

Best revival of a play: “August Wilson’s Jitney”

Best revival of a musical: “Hello, Dolly!”

Best book of a musical: “Dear Evan Hansen,” Steven Levenson

Best original score (music and/or lyrics) written for the theater: “Dear Evan Hansen,” Music and lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

Tony Awards 2017: Highlights, winners and best moments
Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical: Ben Platt, “Dear Evan Hansen”

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical: Bette Midler, “Hello, Dolly!”

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play: Kevin Kline, “Present Laughter”

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play: Laurie Metcalf, “A Doll’s House, Part 2”

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a play: Michael Aronov, “Oslo”

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play: Cynthia Nixon, “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes”

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical: Gavin Creel, “Hello, Dolly!”

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical: Rachel Bay Jones, “Dear Evan Hansen”

Best scenic design of a play: Nigel Hook, “The Play That Goes Wrong”

Best scenic design of a musical: Mimi Lien, “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812”

Best costume design of a play: Jane Greenwood, “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes”

Best costume design of a musical: Santo Loquasto, “Hello, Dolly!”

Best lighting design of a play: Christopher Akerlind, “Indecent”

Best lighting design of a musical: Bradley King, “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812”

Best direction of a play: Rebecca Taichman, “Indecent”

Best direction of a musical: Christopher Ashley, “Come From Away”

Best choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, “Bandstand”

Best orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire, “Dear Evan Hansen”

Special Tony Award for lifetime achievement in the theatre: James Earl Jones

Special Tony Award: Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, sound designers for “The Encounter”

Regional theatre Tony Award: Dallas Theater Center in Dallas, Texas

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award: Baayork Lee

Tony honors for excellence in theater: Nina Lannan and Alan Wasser

Tony Award Nominee Ben Platt Performs “For Forever” From DEAR EVAN HANSEN

According to everyone I know, Ben Platt’s devastating performance as the title character in the hit Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen, is about to be honored with a Tony Award for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical.”

The musical is about an awkward teen who feels isolated in life. His therapist advises him to write himself a hopeful letter each day, which he does.

But one of those daily letters, wherein Evan appears to have given up on his senior year and wonders if anyone would notice if he were gone, accidentally falls into the hands of another student shortly before that student commits suicide.

The boy’s family, and eventually everyone, assume the letter to have been addressed to Evan, now perceived as the boy’s best friend. This event cracks open Evan’s lonely life.

This week Platt performed the song “For Forever” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for the first time outside the context of the show, to devastating effect.

Here’s how Platt introduced the performance.

“The song is called “For Forever. This is the first time I’ve ever sung the song outside the context of the show.

“Essentially, this lie that we talked about earlier that he fabricated is that he was friends with this kid in his class that committed suicide. And so Evan has been invited over to dinner by this kids grieving family. They’ve been led to believe that he was a friend of their son.

“Evan’s plan when he goes into dinner he tried to either diffuse that or make sure the situation ends right there.

“However, the mother of this kid is so in desperate need of something good to hang on to, some sort of memory, that Evan starts to fabricate this story about a day that they had, a friendship that never existed.

“And in doing so, visibly helps this mother to heal. And also sort of finds he gets to heal a bit himself. A sort of answer to his loneliness he didn’t expect to find.”

Watch the performance below.

The Late Late Show Parodies Current Tenants Of The White House “When I Grow Up”

James Corden and The Late Late Show hit another out of the park with this parody of the current White House tenants ‘back when.’

Composer Tim Minchin, Ben Platt (Dear Even Hansen), Abigail Spencer (“Timeless”) and host James Corden perform a parody of Matilda’s “When I Grow Up” playing the roles of Donald Trump, Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, respectively, wondering what running the world would be like as adults.

Just. Fab.

Watch below:

(h/t Boy Culture)