Tag Archives: Crystal Ballroom

Reminder: Drammy Awards tonight

By Bob Hicks

One night after the Tony Awards (hurrah for The Normal Heart) Portland’s own celebration of the year’s best stuff onstage, the Drammy Awards, happens tonight at the Crystal Ballroom just off West Burnside.

Jean-Marc Nattier, "Thalia, Muse of Comedy," oil on canvas, 1739. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/Wikimedia Commons.

In a season of roughly 125 eligible shows, plenty of good work has hit the stage, from Profile’s Great Falls way back in the rainy season to CoHo/Lucky Apple’s still-running Reasons To Be Pretty, which opened just a month ago in the, um, rainy season. Out of those 125 shows in Puddletown, why didn’t someone revive Singin’ in the Rain? Interesting side note: If Mr. Scatter counted correctly, the scripts for 41 of those shows were developed here in PDX.

The Crystal’s doors open at 6 p.m. and the presentations start at 7. Darius Pierce will be master of ceremonies. See you there. One final side note: The last time Mr. Scatter was carded was at the Crystal door for a Drammy ceremony four or five years ago. He wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.

Illustration: Jean-Marc Nattier, “Thalia, Muse of Comedy,” oil on canvas, 1739. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/Wikimedia Commons.

Tony! Toni! Tone! (and Drammy, too)

By Bob Hicks

Well, it’s celebration season again — and not just because the Puddletown rains are threatening to finally go away (although they’ll surely come another day).

workingdrammy_003No, we’re talking about theater awards season. The Tony Awards, Broadway’s commerce-driven annual extravaganza, are Sunday night. And on Monday night at the Crystal Ballroom, Portland’s far more laid-back and generally convivial version, the Drammy Awards, celebrates the past year’s best on stage. As the R&B hitmakers Tony! Tony! Tone! so memorably put it:

It feels good, yeah

It feels good

Ooohh it feels good

It sure feels good to me.

Maybe not so good to un-nominated shows and the non-winners in the Tony races, where a win or a loss can make or break a show and a well-placed victory can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars, both in the continuing Broadway run and the eventual national tours. Patrick Healy has a good handicapping in Friday morning’s New York Times; read it here. One guess: In the best-musical category, there’ll be a Most Happy Fela! Yes, the ceremony will be on TV. As they say, check your local listings.

Unlike the Tonys, the Drammys don’t announce any finalists: You show up for the party and wait for the winners — often a handful in each category — to be announced. Because almost all of the shows under consideration have already closed, the commercial pressure’s off and it’s more of a celebratory group hug. A couple of years ago Mr. Scatter was awarded a Drammy basically because he’d hung around a long time (like Peter Sellers, he was honored for Being There) and it felt like … well, check those triple-Tony lyrics above.

This is a good party, and it’s free, if you don’t count the drinks. Shmoozing starts at 6 and the ceremony at 7; the suave and funny Michael O’Connell will be master of ceremonies. The Crystal Ballroom is at 1332 West Burnside Street, just a jog away from the Best Big Bookstore in the Known Universe. See you there.

Drammy, Drammy, who’s got the Drammy?

Thenkewveddymuch. I couldnadunnit without all the little people.

workingdrammy_003Oops. Wrong award ceremony.

Monday night (a night after the Tonys and a very long distance, psychically, from the glamfest called the Oscars) Portland theater folk will gather for the 30th Drammy Awards, the annual celebration of the best and brightest of the local theater season. It’s a good party, a good show, and generally a lot of fun.

Here’s the official scoop:

WHAT: 30th Anniversary Drammy Awards
WHERE: Crystal Ballroom
1332 W. Burnside St.
Portland, OR
WHEN: Monday, June 8
6:00 PM Social hour and slide presentation
7:00 PM Awards presentation
COST: FREE ADMISSION, no-host bar and pizza
DRESS: Theatrical, elegant, innovative. Costumes are encouraged.

Costumes? I generally show up cleverly disguised as an aging L.L. Bean type who doesn’t own an iron. One year I wore my tuxedo and achieved the improbable: I turned a bunch of Portland actors speechless. It’s almost worth doing again.

These were wild and woolly occasions in their early days, with lots of drinking and shouting and the occasional Marlon Brando refusal to appear (Sacheen Littlefeather, where are you now?). I may not be remembering this exactly right — surely I didn’t imagine it — but one year a director of a certain show, miffed over a slight I can’t remember, refused to go up and receive several awards his show had won until the best-director category came up and his own name was announced. Suddenly he had a change of heart. Another year I got in a post-ceremony tiff with the master of ceremonies, who had engaged in an egregious-because-untrue running rant against my employer of the time. I blush to recall.

Things are more tame these days, if no less fun. The people who hate the idea of awards ceremonies have learned to just stay home. The people who show up seem genuinely excited about the event, which doesn’t mean there isn’t sometimes grumbling about the outcomes of the votes. (And a shout-out to the committee members, who see an unconscionable amount of theater in order to cast their votes.)

Last year’s ceremony is a bit of a haze to me — a happy haze — because I was given a lifetime achievement award, which made me feel somewhere between an unlikely cultural icon and dead. Fortunately life goes on, and I don’t seem to be either. But sometimes I look at my little plaque, which sits atop a bookshelf in my bedroom, and smile.

To all those who wish for a similar rush on Monday night, break a leg.