Why Millennials Should Watch the Tony Awards

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Entertainment

The Tony Awards. The theatre kid version of the Super Bowl.

Whether you’re a theatre kid or not, let’s chat about the Tony Awards, and why you should watch them.

Of course, theatre kids like me block out our schedules for this auspicious occasion (unless, of course, we have rehearsal) every year. But believe it or not, the best of Broadway can appeal to both theatre-loving millennials as well as those who don’t cry during the opening overture of any show playing on the Great White Way.

So, why should we all watch?

The Performances
The Tony Awards are filled with fantastic performances that are sure to entertain anyone. Plus, they’re pretty catchy too! If you’ve heard even one song off the Hamilton soundtrack, you’d know that Broadway is trying to produce shows and music that appeals to a wide audience.  Yes, I know, Mike Pence may not have enjoyed this particular show, but Hamilton (last year’s Best Musical Winner) is filled with songs that range in variety from typical Broadway three-part harmony to something resembling hip-hop.

The Venue and the Spectacle
As with any awards show, the lead-up to the Tony Awards is filled with glamour and excitement. There’s a red carpet, there’s pre-awards coverage, there’s beautiful outfits, and so much more. Be on the lookout for those who are lucky enough to attend the live show (who are, of course, regular people like you and me and not celebrities). When the performers are dancing in the aisles, the looks of amazement on their faces are worth the price of admission.

The Speeches
The speeches by both presenters and Tony Award recipients on the Tony Awards are known for their depth, and for the manner in which the stars utilize their platform to make their voices heard. There’s a reason why these people do theatre — it’s because they’re expressive.

A few examples from the past: Idina Menzel celebrated our differences in 2008 when she received the award for Best Actress in a Musical for Wicked. Jonathan Larson’s sister, Julie, accepting the award for Best Musical for Rent on his behalf following his passing — indicating that Larson “dreamed of creating a youthful, passionate piece that would be pertinent.”

And who could forget Lin-Manuel Miranda’s speech from the 2016 Tony Awards, following the tragic Pulse Nightclub Shooting? “Love is love is love is love is love.”

 

The Oscars: More Than Just Glitz and Glam – Which is Why Millennials Should Watch

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Entertainment

For nearly 90 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been handing out golden statuettes to actors, cinematographers. writers. directors, designers, animators, producers, and musicians for their contributions to film in that given year.

A tradition of prestige and glamour, The Academy Awards — aka the Oscars — have been televised since 1953 and are among one of the most-watched award shows annually.

However, with run times often nearing four hours, some millennials might look at such an event and consider themselves bored before the first category’s nominees are read off the lightning-fast teleprompter. Before you choose Netflix over the 89th Academy Awards, here are just a few reasons the Oscars remain relevant, especially for millennials.

 

A Reflection of Loss
As is customary for any celebration, the Academy Awards presents its audience — in the Dolby Theater and at home — with a moving montage of all the Academy members that have died that year. Fans and peers may mourn those that have passed, but as shown in the yearly tribute, their legacy lives on and it is at that time that — above all else — their work is admired and we are grateful for the impact it has made in our lives. This year we will send off many Hollywood greats whose absence is still being felt today.

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The People’s Politics
While Oscar winners are allotted a mere 45 seconds for their speeches, many triumphant celebrities use their small window of opportunity to not only thank their supporters but call attention to issues close to their hearts.

Writer John Irving thanked Planned Parenthood, among others, in his speech for Best Adapted Screenplay that he won for The Cider House Rules (1999), a film about an orphanage run by a doctor performing illegal abortions. Both the Vietnam War and the War in Iraq have been heavily criticized in Oscar speeches in their respective decades, as have some elected officials throughout the award show’s 60-plus year broadcast history. Sean Penn called for people to “sit and reflect and anticipate [their] great shame…” regarding Proposition 8 after accepting the award for Best Actor. Penn won the coveted prize for his portrayal of legendary gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

Halle Berry became the first African American woman to win Best Actress, and the monumental moment was not lost on the newly-crowned Oscar winner as she reminded the audience that it had taken 74 years to come to fruition. The award show’s host will also highlight the social problems plaguing America that year — normally in a humorous way — as Chris Rock did when he pointed out the lack of black nominees at last year’s Oscars.

If you are looking to get a feel for the nation’s political climate or simply want to be reminded that celebrities are concerned with the same matters as us everyday folks, look no further than the Oscars. We can be assured that this year’s awards will have an unlimited supply of material for hosts, presenters, and speech-makers to discuss.

 

The Future of Fashion
The Academy Awards is a grand event where your favorite stars strive to look their absolute best. It is a time to look at the color palettes emerging for spring and the new makeup trends that will soon be behind every make-up counter in the country. Oscar fashions run the gamut of styles — as do our own wardrobes. On the red carpet you will find everything from vintage couture, casual suits, and cutting-edge silhouettes. These gowns and tuxedos just might inspire some risk-taking in your own closet! Remember: your best accessory is your confidence!

 

A Pause for Gratitude and Daring to Dream
Is there anything better than feeling accomplished and thankful? Recognizing the help you have gotten on your journey makes you feel good inside. Don’t pretend you’ve never stood in front of your mirror, holding a toothbrush pretending you’re thanking the Academy “for this prestigious honor!” And what is so wrong with that?

Even if we never have to prepare a thorough but concise acceptance speech, we should hold on to the dreams we wish to bring to reality — whatever they may be — and be able to look back on the journey to success with pride. Don’t give up! After all, how many award-winners begin their speeches with the phrases “I never thought this would happen” and end them with “this is a dream come true?” Just don’t forget to thank the little people.

The Academy Awards are an opportunity for movie-goers and filmmakers alike to analyze the past and contemplate the future. Historical dramas help us to consider the decisions that were made and how they went on to shape the lives of many people, while documentaries remind us that life is as beautiful as it is unscripted.

Musicals, comedies, animated movies, and other films allow us to imagine what life could be like in any situation or how to make the best of something that’s gone wrong in our lives. No matter what kind of film you prefer to watch, motion picture always seeks to reflect the ideas and thoughts of a generation–perhaps multiple generations–in an artful and captivating way.

This year’s Oscars will be televised Sunday, February 26 on ABC, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern. If anyone needs me at that time, I’ll be on the couch with my good friends Ben and Jerry.

5 of the Best Grammy Performances Ever

Author: Danny Abriano, Entertainment

Before the 2017 Grammys, we decided it was time to look back at some of the best performances ever…

Simon and Garfunkel: Sound of Silence, 2014
This one is special not only because of the song but because of the rarity of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel performing together at this point. Since breaking up in the ’70s, they had gotten back together for the enormous concert in Central Park in the early-’80s. This one was part of a tour that saw the two men reunited. And hearing this song performed so incredibly 36 years after it came out was truly amazing.

Paul McCartney and Nirvana: Cut Me Some Slack, 2008
Paul McCartney electrified the stage with the surviving members of Nirvana. And in his mid-60s, Paul stood firm in front of Dave Grohl, who went absolutely ballistic on the drum kit as Paul reached vocal heights that were reminiscent of his screeching amazingness on 1968’s ‘Helter Skelter.’

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunite, 2014
Paul and Ringo reunited at the Grammys in 2014 to recognize the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Beatles in America. And of course, one of the songs the played was With A Little Help From My Friends. Seeing one Beatle perform is incredible, but seeing two at the same time? Life-changing.

Prince and the Revolution, 1985
Prince did his thing at the 1985 Grammys, tearing the stage apart as only he could. This was just a precursor to the ridiculous stage presence he kept displaying as his career continued.

Michael Jackson: The Way You Make Me Feel and Man In The Mirror, 1988
MJ. In his prime. Singing two of the most iconic songs ever and dancing as only he could. It doesn’t get better than this.