Brisa Trinchero

Tony and the PAMTAs: a producer’s big week

Corey Brunish races from "Man of La Mancha" to Monday's PAMTA musical-theater awards to Broadway for next Monday's Tonys as a nominee

It’s a busy week even for Corey Brunish, one of the busiest guys in Portland show biz.

  • On Sunday he gives his final performance in Lakewood Theatre’s hit revival of Man of La Mancha, leaving the show a week early to meet some big-time previous commitments. (“Corey Brunish, as the grand tall obelisk of the duke and Dr. Carrasco,” performs the villains “with malevolent dignity,” Christa Morletti McIntyre writes in her ArtsWatch review of La Mancha).
  • On Monday evening he heads to the Winningstad Theatre for this year’s PAMTA musical-theater awards, which were his brainchild and remain in many ways pretty much his baby. This season’s top-show nominees include Falsettos, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Snow White, and Lakewood’s Man of La Mancha (Brunish himself is not a nominee). See the complete list of nominees below.
  • Then he packs his bags and heads to his other home, near Carnegie Hall in Manhattan, to get ready for next Sunday’s Tony Awards, where one of his shows as a producer, Fiddler on the Roof, is up for the Tony for best revival of a musical. He’s won a Tony in the same category twice before, for Porgy and Bess in 2012 and Pippin in 2013.

A few days ago Brunish took time for a juice break at a Southeast Portland coffee shop to talk about the PAMTAs, the Tonys, and how he got from here to there.

"Falsettos" at Live On Stage: a PAMTA best-production nominee.

Norman Bandersnatch Wilson and Claire Rigsby in “Falsettos” at Live On Stage: a PAMTA best-production nominee. Photo: Gary Norman

The Portland Area Musical Theatre Awards are entering their ninth year, and what began as a protest movement against the larger and longer-established Drammy Awards has evolved into a community celebration that’s also a pretty entertaining event. As ArtsWatch reported after last year’s gala, “A funny thing happened on the way to the grand wrap-up of the PAMTAs: a helluva show broke out. … for all the suspense about who the winners would be, the hardware almost played second fiddle to the show itself, which for two hours and forty-five minutes was pretty much dazzle-dazzle spectacular. Who would’ve guessed that an awards ceremony could actually be entertaining?”

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Drammy Awards and Janice Scroggins benefit tonight; Oregon at the Tonys

With two major events in Portland, it's a Monday night to step out

No staying home Monday: It’s a big night out.

Drammy host Isaac Lamb, from his "Defending the Caveman" days. Photo: Jenni Girtman

Drammy host Isaac Lamb, from his “Defending the Caveman” days. Photo: Jenni Girtman

The 36th annual Drammy Awards, celebrating the best in Portland’s theater during the past season, take over the Crystal Ballroom (1332 West Burnside Street) starting at 6 o’clock, with the ceremony at 7 p.m. Actor Isaac Lamb will be master of ceremonies, and he promises surprises. This is traditionally the biggest theater bash of the year in Portland, and it’s open to everyone: free at the door, buy your own drinks. This year, for the first time in several years, the Drammy jurists are choosing a single winner in each category from a pre-announced list of finalists (see the nominees on the Drammy link above), making the awards more in the tradition of the Oscars and Tonys.

For a taste of what’s to come, read Marty Hughley’s profile for ArtsWatch of Grant Turner, who’ll be receiving this year’s Special Achievement Award.

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Janice Scroggins: a joyful noise in her memory.

Janice Scroggins: a joyful noise in her memory.

Another big event tonight is For the Love of Janice: An All-Star Benefit for the Family of Janice Scrogginsstarting at 7 p.m.  (doors open at 6) at the Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 Northeast Alberta Street. The concert’s sold out, demonstrating both the quality of the lineup and the love and respect Portlanders feel for Scroggins, the pianist and keyboardist who’s been a leading figure in the city’s blues, jazz, and other scenes for decades, died in late May of a heart attack. She was 58. You can read ArtsWatch’s remembrance here. Tonight’s benefit will feature a mighty gathering of musical talent, people who were Janice’s friends and colleagues: Curtis Salgado, Norman Sylvester, Julianne Johnson, Mary Flower, Linda Hornbuckle, Thara Memory, Lyndee Mah, Duffy Bishop, Lloyd Jones, Patrick Lamb, Michael Allen Harrison, Peter Damman, Terry Robb, Reggie Houston … the list goes on and on.

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Congratulations, meanwhile, to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for last night’s Tony Award wins for best play for Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way, and best actor for Bryan Cranston, who stars in All the Way as Lyndon Baines Johnson. Festival actor Jack Willis originated the role when Schenkkan’s play premiered in Ashland as an OSF commission in 2012. David Stabler has the scoop on OregonLive.

Congrats, also, to the Portland producing team of Brisa Trinchero and Corey Brunish, whose shows pulled in 22 Tony nominations and went home with six, scoring with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and others. Here’s the complete list of winners and nominees, via The Hollywood Reporter.