News Nuggets: Jockeying for Tony Awards, new shows flood Broadway in April

Why April is Broadway’s busiest month: “Three productions opened last week, and seven more are opening this week — accounting for about 25 percent of all new shows in the 2011-12 season. Have legions of tourists suddenly descended on Manhattan? No. Do theater producers and investors have some special tax write-off for flop shows if they open around now? No. The confluence of tens of millions of dollars spent producing shows is coming to a head because the cutoff date for eligibility for the Tony Awards is April 26 — far and away the most important date of the year for Broadway insiders.” NEW YORK TIMES

Film writers debate Oscar’s love of “The Artist“: “The discussion centered on Woody Allen, Elia Kazan and other masters on a quest for cinematic perfection, so it was only a matter of time before a member of the audience stood up and asked: How did you feel about ‘The Artist’ winning the Oscar for best picture? If anything, the Saturday afternoon L.A. Times Festival of Books panel titled ‘The Legendary Filmmakers’ was proof of just how much — and how long — the holy grail of film-making remains an unrelenting topic of L.A. debate. Film critic and historian Richard Schickel was the first of the panelists to chime in: ‘It’s not really an Academy Award winner,’ he said, characterizing ‘The Artist’ as ‘a nice little picture’ that won because of a lack of competition.” LOS ANGELES TIMES

Angela Lansbury honored at the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards: “This beloved London-born actress, currently on Broadway in Gore Vidal‘s ‘The Best Man,’ fled Britain with her family in 1940, just days before the London blitz. A star of film, stage and television for seven decades, Ms. Lansbury has received five Tonys, six Golden Globes, three Oscar nominations, and over 15 Emmy nominations. The ‘Murder She Wrote’ star became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1951. Each honoree received a framed copy of the original ship’s passenger manifest documenting the arrival of their family through Ellis Island or another port of entry.” SACRAMENTO BEE

Debating this year’s Best Actress winner with an Oscar voter: “It’s not often that one gets the chance to deliberate the Oscars with someone who actually votes for them. Recently I had that opportunity with a friend – a professional actor and screenwriter – who does vote for the Academy Awards and Screen Actors Guild honors, and we had a lively discussion regarding the best-actress category … My friend voted for [Viola Davis], arguing that [Meryl Streep] didn’t need a third Oscar (Katharine Hepburn won four) and that Davis has little chance of ever again being nominated in a leading role the caliber of Aibileen Clark.” READING EAGLE

Hollywood’s talent of tomorrow emerges at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth: “‘These are the best young directors in the world; they are going to win Oscars,’ said Jesse Harris, describing participants in the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), a Seattle-based film festival he founded six years ago. It’s a bold statement. But then it’s a bold endeavor — one of the largest youth film festivals in the world, boasting of 700 applicants aged 22 and younger, from more than 20 countries … From April 26-29 at various venues in Seattle, NFFTY will showcase 222 short films in genres such as animation, comedy and documentary, among others.” SEATTLE TIMES

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