Gammage director predicts winners for theater’s biggest night - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Gammage director predicts winners for theater’s biggest night

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Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 3:15 pm

Colleen Jennings-Rogensack travels to New York several times a year to see every play and musical that opens on Broadway.

Jennings-Rogensack, who is the executive director of Arizona State University’s Gammage Auditorium, then casts her ballot for the Tony Awards, theater’s highest honors.

She is the sole Tony voter in Arizona, and Jennings-Rogensack keeps an eye on which productions would make good national tours.

The Tony Awards will be broadcast at 7 p.m. Sunday on KPHO CBS Channel 5. Jennings-Rogensack talked with Surprise Today about the contenders and her predictions.

Q: How was this year’s theater season in New York?

A: It’s one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. There were so many great plays and musicals to see that I’m sure it’s going to be a race to the end in some categories.

Q: Any standouts?

A: Well, this year it’s truly about the plays, where most of the time the musicals get all the attention. I’m looking for “War Horse” to dominate the night. It’s absolutely fabulous. It played well in London, and the puppetry is phenomenal. The show touches upon many things. I don’t think people knew how many horses died in the war. Plus, it touches on hard times and families losing their mortgages. I also thought “The Mother F**ker with the Hat” starring Bobby Cannavale and Chris Rock; “Jerusalem” with Mark Rylance and “Good People” with Frances McDormand were all excellent.

Q: What about the musicals?

A: Honestly, this year it was all about “The Book of Mormon,” even with the drama surrounding “Spider Man,” which still hasn’t opened. I would be shocked if “Book of Mormon” didn’t win the Tony for Best Musical. When you put those South Park guys together, it’s great but it’s not for the faint of heart or the easily offended. There were some other standouts, though. “Sister Act: The Musical” was so much fun, and the lead, Patina Miller, was fantastic, especially since it’s her Broadway debut. I believe a dark horse in the Tony competition is “The Scottsboro Boys,” which has closed already. It’s a wonderful piece of work that tells of a horrific time in our country’s history.

Q: Any shows that would make good touring productions for Arizona?

A: I have my eye on several, so we’ll see how things turn out.

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