Monthly Archives: May 2016

Opening Number Rehearsals

Every year, each participating Jerry Herman Award school sends their qualifying leading actor and actress to audition before our panel of judges for a chance to win and go on to the Jimmy Awards in NYC. These same participants spend all day Saturday and several hours on the day of the show rehearsing the opening number. Check out the photos from this year’s rehearsals.

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This Is How We Jerry Herman

Theatre and arts education in high schools is an integral part of young adults coming into their own. Each year, the Hollywood Pantages hosts the Jerry Herman High School Musical Theatre Awards with one goal: to constructively support local high schools with their drama programs. With the awards happening this Sunday, May 22nd, we are officially in full “Jerry Herman Mode” as we call it. There are three main sections to go through when prepping for a ceremony of this size.

Adjudication process

At the beginning of each school year we begin the sign-up process for the Jerry Herman Awards for the following spring. Schools must fill-out an intent to participate form and provide the name of the show being performed and performance dates. Meanwhile, we at the Marketing department meet with the volunteer adjudicators to sign-up and prepare them for the shows ahead.

Each participating school also fills out an informational sheet. This lets us know which categories they can qualify for in terms of nominations. The Categories include: Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design, Orchestra, Ensemble/Chorus, Musical Staging/Choreography, Musical Direction, Technical Crew, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, “No Small Parts”, and Best Production.

Once we have all of the information from a school, our adjudicators visit each theatre to watch the productions. Each adjudicator then fills out an evaluation form – scoring each category individually from 1-10 and the production as a whole. They also have the opportunity to fill out a “notes” section where they may say anything that the survey may not have given them the chance to.

Nomination Process

After a school’s performance has completed, they are required to send a either a DVD or digital copy of their show along with a program. This is when we here at the theatre bump our involvement up to the next level. Our small but mighty team closely watches each production, taking copious notes of our own, along with having the adjudicators’ documents right by our sides.

As we watch, each school is given one over-all production score and also individual scores for each award category. The way we calculate these scores is easy: we add up all the numbers in each category and divide it by the number of adjudicators that saw the performance. Simple, median math. The schools with the highest scores are nominated for their respective categories and, naturally, the highest score is the winner.

Audition Process

This is the part of the process that many people scrunch their eyebrows at. An audition process for an awards show? But haven’t you seen and scored all the productions based on all categories? Yes, we have, but that category does not include leading actor and actress. The process for that particular category is a little bit different.

At the beginning of each season, each school is given a list of qualifying lead roles provided by the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, and then each school must choose one leading lady and one leading man to audition for the best actor/actress category. They attend one of two nights of auditions, bringing their headshot and two pieces of sheet music (one from the part they played in their production, and one of their choosing) and perform in front of our panel of judges. This year includes John Bowab, Kenny Ortega, Nancy Dussault, Kathy Rigby, and Lewis Weintraub.

Once the two nights of auditions are complete, the judges narrow the participants down to six finalists. On the night of the Jerry Herman Awards Ceremony the six finalists are announced. Each finalist will sing the song from the part they played in their production during the Jerry Herman Awards as a final audition. During intermission the judges come together to decide which leading lady and which leading male will win and move onto New York City for the Jimmy Awards.

What are the Jimmy Awards you ask? Well that’s a blog post for another time.

For ticket information about the Jerry Herman Awards Sunday, May 22 CLICK HERE

Broadway vs Cell Phones

By Alyssa Appleton

There is no doubt that technology and social media have allowed us as audience members and theatre-goers easier access to shows, stars, and more. But, as with all things, with the positives come negatives, like we’ve seen with the growing fad of picture-taking, recording, even answering the phone during productions of Broadway shows and tours over the last few years. During one infamous incident, an audience member attempted to plug their phone into an electric outlet…onstage. Cast members of shows have been known to stop scenes or musical numbers when audience members’ phones go off. Lin-Manuel Miranda recently called out several audience members during a production of Hamilton for taking pictures. It’s safe to say that cast and crew of many shows are growing frustrated with this phone-epidemic.


Benedict Cumberbatch once stopped and restarted the famed “To be or not to be” soliloquy from Hamlet because of cell phone use, and still saw people in the audience filming, even after they’d restarted the scene. His heartfelt, classy plea at the stage door that night went viral,

“It’s mortifying, and there’s nothing less supportive or enjoyable as an actor being onstage than experiencing that. And I can’t give you what I want to give you, which is a live performance that you will remember hopefully in your minds and brains — whether it’s good, bad or indifferent — rather than on your phones.”

And while photos and recording are distracting and a form of piracy, the distraction stretches further than that – into the realm of answering phone calls or texting relentlessly during performances. Patti LuPone has stopped performances to acknowledge audience members taking photos or recording, and once she took a phone from an audience member who was continually texting (it was returned after the show). Hugh Jackman has spoken to audience members that were talking during performances, and his shows, too, have sometimes stopped scenes if phones ring…and ring…and ring…and ring.

What you may be asking yourself is…in terms of photos and videos, why are these theatre professionals so frustrated? Why is it, when audience members spend significant amounts of money to obtain theatre tickets, that they can’t take a photo or video to commemorate their experience? I can empathize with that frustration. It’s your favorite new show, you’re thrilled to be there with your mom, dad, brother, sister, best friend, significant other, etc. and you want something to remember the experience by. As someone who’s worked onstage, backstage, in the front of house, and upstairs in a marketing office, I will try and break this down the only way I can: from my perspective.

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Firstly, each production has its own rules in regards to photo and video before the production begins, during intermission, and after the production ends. Sometimes productions are happy to let audience members take photos before a show starts, or during intermission, or after it’s over. Some don’t want photos or video at all once the audience has started to file into the seating area, including before the show begins, during intermission, or after the show. If you want to take a photo but aren’t sure about a show’s specific policy, ask an usher. They have been briefed on that information and will be happy to tell you whether or not you can take a photo or video.

These photo and video policies exist due to copyright laws. Everything onstage is copywritten: the sets, the costumes, the words, the music…all of it. And when audience members take photos or video during a production, they are violating that copyright whether they know it or not. If I were to record a film in a movie theatre, it would be considered piracy, and a violation of that film’s copyright. It’s the same with taking photos and videos of a theatrical experience. This includes the use of the popular app Snapchat, where photos and videos disappear within 24 hours. A photo or video using Snapchat is still in violation of a production’s copyright laws. But again, if you’re unsure about the rules of a production here at the Pantages (or anywhere!), ask an usher. They will have the answer for you. They may even be willing to take the photo or video if photos and videos are allowed!

Alyssa Appleton is a writer/actor living in Los Angeles, devoted to all things nerdculture: TV, film, books, gaming, theatre, comedy, you name it. Like this post? You can check her out on her website:, or follow her on twitter: @alyssaappleton.

Alyssa Appleton is a writer/actor living in Los Angeles, devoted to all things nerdculture: TV, film, books, gaming, theatre, comedy, you name it. Like this post? You can check her out on her website:, or follow her on twitter: @alyssaappleton.

And The Nominees Are….

As we are sure many of you are aware the Tony Nominations were announced this week and to no one’s surprise Hamilton came out on top with a record breaking 16 nominations.  However, Hamilton wasn’t the first show to receive an outstanding number of nominations and hopefully, it won’t be the last! We thought we would share some other Tony Award records and interesting facts with you on this monumental week!

Before Hamilton, The Producers (2001) and Billy Elliot (2009) were tied for the most nominations for a Broadway musical at 15. The Producers hold the record for most Tony Award wins at 12 while Billy Elliot only won 10

The musical revival with the most Tony Award nominations was Kiss Me, Kate (2000) with 12. The musical revival with the most wins was South Pacific (2008) with 7.

Chita Rivera holds the title of actress with the most nominations at 10 but there is a tie for actress with the most wins between Audra McDonald and Julie Harris who both have 6. Audra has won for: Carousel (1994), Master Class (1996), Ragtime (1998), A Raisin in the Sun (2004), Porgy and Bess (2012), and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (2014). Julie has won for: I Am a Camera (1952), The Lark (1956), Forty Carats (1969), The Last of Mrs. Lincoln (1973), The Belle of Amherst (1977), and a Special Lifetime Achievement Award (2002).

tumblr_mbextkAYmX1qh0yodo1_1280 Audra McDonald, vocalist
(Above: Julie Harris and Audra McDonald )

Harold Prince holds the record for individual with the most Tony Awards at 21. Eight of his awards were for directing, eight for producing, two as producer of the year’s Best Musical, and three special Tony Awards. Some of his most known work includes: The Phantom of The Opera (1988), Evita (1980), Sweeney Todd (1979), Fiddler on the Roof (1965), Damn Yankees (1956) and many more.


Harold Prince

Composer with the most Tony Awards goes to Stephen Sondheim with 8. Those wins include: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1963), two awards for Company (1970), Follies (1971), A little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd (1979), Into the Woods (1988), Passion (1994), and a Lifetime Achievement Award (2008).


Stephen Sondheim

Bob Fosse is noted as the choreographer with the most Tony wins at 8. The shows he’s won for include: The Pajama Game (1955), Damn Yankees (1956), Redhead (1959), Little Me (1963), Sweet Charity (1966), 2 for Pippin (1973) one for choreography and one for direction, Dancin’ (1978), and Big Deal (1986).


Bob Fosse

Phantom of the Opera goes in the record books as the longest-running Best Musical (1998- )

The theatre that has housed the most Tony-winning Best Plays and Best Musicals is none other than the Nederlander’s own Richard Rodgers Theatre, which is currently home to Hamilton. The Richard Rodgers Theatre has housed 10 Tony-winning shows including:  In The Heights (2008), Lost in Yonkers (1991), Fences (1987), Nine (1982), Raisin (1974), 1776 (1969), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962), Redhead (1959), Damn Yankees (1956), Guys and Dolls (1951)


The Richard Rodgers Theatre on 46th St. New York

Angela Lansbury has hosted or co-hosted more Tony telecasts than any other individual, with five telecasts (1968, 1971, 1987, 1988, and 1989). In second place, with four telecasts each, are Neil Patrick Harris (2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013) and Hugh Jackman (2003, 2004, 2005, and 2014).


Angela Lansbury

For more interesting facts about the Tony Awards, winners, and nominees visit The Tony Awards website: