Hearne: Broadway Pitches Shutout to KC & Star

Lauren Ward Disses Hickman Mills & Kansas City

Lauren Ward
Disses Hickman Mills & Kansas City

About last night’s gargantuan Tony Awards ceremony in New York…

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the Kansas City Star‘s three front page feature stories Sunday implied that Kansas City was in for a big night on Broadway.

“Spotlight is on Kansas City at Sunday Night’s Tony Awards,” read the headline.

The implication being that Hickman Mills grad Lauren Ward and the KC Rep’s “A Christmas Story, The Musical” were strong candidates to bring home big time Broadway theater awards so we should all watch last night’s Tony Awards.

I mean, this was front page deal, right? Wrong.

“KC comes up empty at Tony Awards,” is this morning’s headline in the newspaper. Which means that the Star held up its normal early printing of the FYI section in order for theater critic Robert Trussell to feed readers the good news first thing Monday – as in today.

That’s unusual.

The FYI section is one of the earliest sections of the newspaper printed, the assumption being it’s not really so much a breaking news section as it is a features digest. One of the few times it prints late – at around midnight – is for the Academy Awards.

That’s when the FYI section holds a pizza party and suits up a full squadron of editors and writers to cover the Oscars from every angle. But that’s very unusual and rare. Meaning that the Star seemed to expect that one of the KC entries would bring home the bacon.

theater-review-a-christmas-story.jpeg2-1280x960But neither had a chance, theater insiders agree.

“There was no chance in hell that the Rep was going to win that award,” says Theater League main man Mark Edelman. “First of all it was a holiday show, so it didn’t stick around and a lot of voters didn’t get to see it. But it was very impressive that it was nominated.”

As for Ward, she was returning to Broadway after more than a decade, so that couldn’t have helped. Nor did it that “the evenings biggest loser was ‘Matilda,” according to New York Post critic Michael Riedel.

“We saw the show and (Ward) was lovely in ‘Matilda’ – she was fine – and while she was not favored, she could have won,” Edelman says.


Bring It On!
Coming to Kauffman Center in February

“The big part for us was that ‘Bring It On,’  that we’re producing in February at the Kauffman Center. It was also nominated for Best Musical and it too had no chance of winning, but our subscribers and patrons got a chance to see a big production number from it and Neil Patrick Harris mentioned it four times.”

As for KC being ultra proud Ward, too bad that didn’t cut both ways.

In an interview in late April in the Huffinton Post Ward dissed the Cowtown, noting that her success came in spite of her days growing up here and attending Hickman Mills High School.

“I think growing up in Kansas City I felt different,” Ward told the Post. “I felt like I didn’t have an outlet to be creative fully in the way I wanted to be. My parents were quite supportive of me, but in the whole school structure in order to survive you had to conform. I always thought I was someone conforming in order to have a happy life. I went to University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. Once I got there, I felt like this huge weight had been lifted off me.”


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4 Responses to Hearne: Broadway Pitches Shutout to KC & Star

  1. Mysterious J says:

    Thank GOD you are top of the Star’s coverage of the Tony Awards! Is there such a thing as a Pulitzer for online reporting?

    • admin says:

      On top?

      I’d say we’re well past that point, Mysterious. Read much?

      • Mysterious J says:

        I meant figuratively rather than literally. I know EVERYONE HERE was dying to know the about the Tonys and the Stars coverage of same. THANK GOD in these troubling times we can count you on to put the reader FIRST.

  2. admin says:

    You’re very welcome…and hey, you read it!

    The point being, in part this was a followup to Sunday’s column about the shortcomings of the Sunday Star. To wit, one of the only three offerings on the front page was a contrived story encouraging readers to tune into the Tony awards because a pair of Kansas Citians were in the running for big wins.

    After neither came close, I weighed in theater experts who said they never stood a chance. The point being that the story was weak filler and yet it played on A1.

    That’s not gonna cut it with readers in the long run if the Star wants to stay profitable on it’s by far most important day of the week. They need to either field some reporters and fold in some real deal, important news stories and/or make certain that the fluff pieces are of a certain quality. Like Karen Dillon’s story today about Mission writing too many traffic tickets.

    That would have made for a powerful Sunday offering and they could have (and should have) buried the part about the Tony awards inside as a news short or in the A&E section.

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