So you're going to New York and you're going to see some shows. You decide while you're there that you'll see one of the one-person shows playing in town. You check out the New York Drama Desk nominees for Best Solo performance and you have to decide.
- Do you see Carrie Fisher, daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, Princess Leia, author of Postcards from the Edge, telling the stories of her life, a show that has been praised to the skies by everyone.
- Do you see veteran actor Theodore Bikel -- the Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, countless TV productions, beloved performer.
- Do you see Anna Deavere Smith - The West Wing, The Practice, Nurse Jackie, winner of two Drama Desk awards for outstanding solo performance.
or do you see Jim Brochu, a name you either have never heard before or may only have heard from mentions here in this journal.
Well, if you're going to take the word of the voters for the Drama Desk Award you'll choose Jim Brochu in Zero Hour.
I read the news around 1 a.m., after staying up to watch the Lost finale and Jimmy Kimmel's wrap up afterwards. I checked out Facebook before going to sleep and there it was...
I haven't been able to keep the smile off my face all morning, so I can only imagine the jubilant mood in New York this morning.
Actually, I didn't have to imagine the jubilant mood in New York because Steve, wandering around 9th Street looking for a barber shop, called me and we both just kept talking about how fabulous it was. It was so nice to have that voice connection to share the excitement, since Walt isn't home and there is nobody to yell at here. (In desperation, I sent an e-mail to my fellow critic, Jeff, who is terribly blasé about everything and who, I am sure, could care less about my excitement. Predictably, he never responded.)
I think back to the first time I saw Zero Hour, when it was all very new, but it was replacing the autobiographicalThe Big Voice, which had been running for several years. It was in a little storefront theatre on a back street somewhere in North Hollywood, I think. The show got a great reception. It moved to another theatre in the area and then came to San Francisco, now under the direction of Jim's friend, actress Piper Laurie. I saw it each time, so glad for how well received the play was.
Then I followed the news of it, the almost unanimous rave reviews, as it traveled around the country for a couple of years. I so much wanted to fly to Washington, DC to see it because they were getting such great audiences (and ultimately Jimmy went on to win the prestigious Helen Hayes award for best lead actor).
It was our great pleasure to be in New York on opening night, a night I will never forget. It had a wonderful run at the little church theatre there but had to close to make room for another show that had already been booked. But it then moved to the DR2 theatre in Union Square. Later this year it will be back in Florida and then in Toronto.
Jimmy has been a working actor for 42 years, a man of immense talent, and I just cannot express how thrilled I am for him to receive this much-deserved award!Somewhere, Ethel Merman is smiling.