Award show high jinks? Not tony at all
Regarding “The Tonys: A Shining Example” [June 10] by Charles McNulty: In this era of #MeToo and awareness of sexual exploitation, CBS presents the opening of the Tony Awards with performances of women in skimpy bathing-suit attire dancing with men in white shirts and long pants. How are they not getting this issue?
Would CBS even consider having men perform in tight shirts and jockstraps, along with women dressed in white shirts and black pants or skirts?
In Memoriam: The Tony Awards. Here lies yet another awards show that prized sitcom humor over genuine emotion.
That gave us an inane skit in a toilet stall but cut off articulate and moving speeches that gave a hint of the struggle amid the joy of the spotlight.
That made us endure a tiresome prolonged skit about a cellphone (do we really need to be reminded of its ubiquitous presence?), but limited theater icons like Terrence McNally and Rosemary Harris to a blip on our screens.
We have more than our fill of stupid humor the rest of the week and tuned into the Tonys for these very moments of tears and appreciation.
When the producers see the dismal ratings, they should not go back to the drawing board and wonder what else James Corden could have done. Look elsewhere. Corden did far too much.
Eileen Valentino Flaxman
Elton John fans take the mike
As a longtime Elton John fan whose first concert experience was catching his famous Dodger Stadium show at age 10, I generally enjoyed Mikael Wood’s article [“The Music Was in Him,” June 6]. But I take exception with Wood’s dismissive take on John’s “Blue Moves.” While not on par with such earlier classics as “Tumbleweed Connection” and “Madman Across the Water,” it is an album that at its best (“Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word,” “Someone’s Final Song” and “Idol”) captures the fragile, melancholic state of mind that John was haunted by more directly than any other of his releases. It is the perfect bookend to 1975’s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy,” which documented John’s humble beginnings and climbed to the top of the pop universe. “Blue Moves” is the sometimes harrowing testament to the loneliness and despair he found once he got there.
Wood should have mentioned that John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
I saw “Rocketman” the day it came out and thought it was great. Taron Egerton, the actor who played John, should be nominated for an Oscar.
I was thoroughly entertained by “Rocketman,” and believe I deserve a bit of recognition for John’s success. When his album “Madman Across the Water” was released, I was managing the stereo, TV and record section of a department store in San Francisco. I loved the album so much, especially “Tiny Dancer,” that I started playing it everyday in the store for shoppers to hear. This was breaking all the rules of department stores in those days.
But we started selling so many albums, the store manager looked the other way. The store ended up getting an award from the distributor for selling more copies of the album in a month than any other record retailer in San Francisco.
Explosive fun at Disneyland
The backstage shenanigans described by ex-Disneyland cast member Richard Stayton [“The Magic Kingdom: Alas, I Wish I Knew How to Quit You,” June 2] reminded me of one of my own less successful Magic Kingdom adventures. From 1978 to 1981, I worked as a stock boy in one of the shops Disney operated at the Disneyland Hotel. One summer, I became obsessed with the idea of actually seeing the famed fireworks shoot skyward from their protected launching platform in a backstage industrial area.
On a hot July night, a plan quickly materialized. Armed with a phony stock requisition, a fellow cast member — who was riding shotgun — and I gunned the store’s ancient van across West Street, gave the park security guard a jaunty wave as we shot past, then slewed around the serpentine road leading to the warehouse, where we parked, turned off the engine and waited.
A few minutes later, the backstage industrial area went dark. A series of hollow wuump-wuump-wuump sounds echoed from the firework launching area, several large metal tubes embedded and angled in the ground. In the shadows, they looked like the tilting gravestones of a forlorn, forgotten graveyard.
Then, directly above us, a cannon boomed, followed by an incandescent supernova of color and light. Laughing like children, we craned our necks back to watch the parade of pyrotechnic wonders straight above us. We were still laughing when the last firework fell silent and the first chunks of smoldering debris started peppering the roof of the van. We quickly slipped into the van.
An all-clear siren bellowed. Seconds later, a security vehicle skidded to a stop beside us. A battered helmet and face shield filled the driver’s side window, looking not unlike one of Ray Bradbury’s firemen from “Fahrenheit 451.”
In my mind, I saw a hand heavily stamp a document with the worst thing a Disneyland cast member could imagine: No rehire.
In the end, nothing happened. We weren’t reported and the strange, crazy life that working at Disneyland is, went on. My years there were some of the best of my working life. Even now, almost 40 years later, they still make me laugh.
Rancho Santa Margarita
Already missing Sunday chuckle
I’m not done with grieving the end of “Game of Thrones,” and now Chris Barton is out as well? Who will make me laugh every Sunday morning? I thoroughly enjoyed his swan song about Southern California [Underrated/Overrated, June 2]. And when he finds Oregon overrated as well, I’ll still be here waiting.
A new home for ‘Donald Show’
Regarding “Twitter Is Trump’s Studio Audience” [June 5]: Mary McNamara’s point is sharp and well taken. The media frenzy over what the Donald says and does is precisely entertainment under the guise of politics. He’s using his presidential directives, tariff threats, inflammatory tweets and rhetoric as a reality show and star vehicle for making money.
So, thank you for taking back the front page this morning from the ongoing “The Donald Show.”
May I suggest that The Times consider regularly confining his daily barrage of orchestrated spin to the entertainment section?
I would suggest that McNamara misses the point of Trump’s visit. It is exactly his unpopularity in some quarters of Britain that makes him quietly popular there. When the native Englishman sees London, he often sees London as a colony of Britain’s former colonies. This is probably how Native Americans saw cities such as New York or Philadelphia. Native Americans decided to fight back and now the native Brits are fighting back with Brexit. Native Americans lost America and native Brits will lose Britain. Just to let McNamara know: You somehow forgot to mention Nigel Farage, who is a Trump supporter and the most popular politician in England.
It’s odd that there is only one person quoted in Jessica Gelt’s article about Marcia Seligson and Reprise 2.0 [“Reprise Season Ends in Empty Stage,” June 5]. It is live theater. Stuff happens. Casting issues, financial issues, rights availability all play a part in the production of a season.
If you’re bothered by the postponement of one production at one small theater company, I suggest you don’t subscribe to the Ahmanson or any of the other larger theaters in town. We had to wait nearly 20 years to see the musical version of “The Night They Raided Minsky’s” from the Center Theatre Group, and I seem to recall an anticipated revival of “Funny Girl” that evaporated into thin air. Both were sold as part of a subscription season to the Ahmanson Theatre. I know, as I was a subscriber.
My husband and I are subscribers of Reprise 2.0. Are we disappointed? Yes. Are we angry? No.
I was shocked and disturbed by Gelt’s article, which seemed to serve no purpose other than to support one disgruntled subscriber, since not one other subscriber was interviewed or quoted.
AM radio days
I enjoyed reading the “Humble Harve” obituary [“Harvey Miller, 1935-2019: ‘Humble Harve,’ former KHJ-AM ‘Boss Radio’ DJ,” June 8 by Randy Lewis] and the trip down memory lane. I graduated from high school in 1969 and had been in L.A. since I was 4, so I experienced firsthand the power of top 40 radio. My one quibble with the piece was leaving off KFWB, which in my recollection (and I’m referred to by friends and family alike as Mr. Total Recall) was more dominant than KRLA.
‘Barry’ hits its target
Regarding “Calendar Feedback: ‘Barry’ Loses Its Way” [June 9]: I completely disagree about the second season of HBO’s “Barry” falling short. I think the writing and acting in the show are excellent and achieve a high standard for dark comedy. In particular, I thought the episode with the “vengeful girl” was a brilliant piece of writing. “Barry” is most certainly dark, disturbing at times, and even twisted, but that is what dark humor is about. The “vengeful girl” episode is one that I will probably never forget. I laughed through the whole thing. Bill Hader is a very talented guy, and he appears to be able to do it all: write, act, direct and produce. I am looking forward to a third season.