Just Jim Dale

2015 Award Season


We're thrilled that On the Twentieth Century is the most nominated revival of the season! Congratulations to all our nominees this awards season.

Tony Award Nominations:

Blog-Award-TonyOn the Twentieth Century - extended through July 19
Best Revival of a Musical
Best Actress in a Musical - Kristin Chenoweth
Best featured Actor in a Musical - Andy Karl
Best Scenic Design of a Musical - David Rockwell
Best Costume Design of Musical - William Ivey Long

Drama Desk Award Nominations:

On the Twentieth Century
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Outstanding Actress in a Musical - Kristin Chenoweth - WIN
Outstanding featured Actor in a Musical - Andy Karl
Outstanding Choreography - Warren Carlyle

Into the Woods
Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Just Jim Dale
Outstanding Revue - WIN

Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations

OCC_Logo135On the Twentieth Century
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Outstanding Actress in a Musical - Kristin Chenoweth - WIN
Outstanding Actor in a Musical - Peter Gallagher
Outstanding featured Actor in a Musical - Andy Karl - WIN
Outstanding featured Actress in a Musical - Mary Louise Wilson
Outstanding Director of a Musical - Scott Ellis
Outstanding Choreographer - Warren Carlyle
Outstanding Set Design - David Rockwell
Outstanding Costume Design - William Ivey Long

Into the Woods
Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Just Jim Dale
Outstanding Solo Performance - Jim Dale - WIN

Read the full list of nominees.

Drama League Award Nominations:

DramaLeague_Logo135On the Twentieth Century
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Distinguished Performance Award - Kristin Chenoweth
Distinguished Performance Award - Andy Karl

Into the Woods
Outstanding Revival of a Musical

The Real Thing
Distinguished Performance Award - Ewan McGregor

Just Jim Dale
Distinguished Performance Award - Jim Dale

Read the full list of nominees.

Lucille Lortel Award Nominations:

LortelAwards_Logo135Into the Woods
Outstanding Revival - WIN
Outstanding Choreographer - Lisa Shriver
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical - Ben Steinfeld
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical - Jennifer Mudge
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical - Andy Grotelueschen
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical - Emily Young
Outstanding Scenic Design - Derek McLane

Indian Ink
Outstanding Revival
Outstanding Costume Design - Candice Donnelly

Just Jim Dale
Outstanding Solo Show

Read the full list of nominees. 

Fred and Adele Astaire Award Nominations:

On the Twentieth Century
Best Choreographer - Warren Carlyle
Best Male Dancer - Phillip Attmore, Rick Faugno, Drew King and Richard Riaz Yoder

Read the full list of nominees.


Related Categories:
2014-2015 Season, Indian Ink, Into the Woods, Just Jim Dale, On the Twentieth Century

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History of Physical Comedy


Jim Dale got his big break at an audition after getting a big laugh from a big fall. From that moment on, he would use his physicality for laughs, making him part of a long line of artists unafraid of falling down on the job.

The art of physical comedy as we recognize it now has its roots in Italian Commedia Dell’arte, which translates to “Comedy of Art” and is defined by its improvisatory style, stock characters, and comedic interludes. Popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Commedia tradition laid the foundation for the acrobatics and pantomimes that we still see in comedy today. These are some people who have exemplified the ever-changing role of the body in comedy:

Marcel Marceau - Mime

The mime is perhaps one of the oldest and most recognizable characters of physical comedy, and it has an important defining element: silence. Since gesture is universal, pantomime shows could travel around to the courts of Europe with ease, with performers using only their bodies to express themselves. The mime tradition that we know today first took hold in France. Gaspard Deburau took the Pierrot character of Commedia tradition and brought him back to popularity, costumed in the black- and-white colors and white face paint that we still associate with this style. Thanks to the students of Deburau, mime would continue into the 20th century, with Paris as its hub. It was there that Marcel Marceau would train and eventually develop his own school and style, which some refer to as “corporeal mime.” This practice was characterized by taking mime beyond the same stock expressions and moves and instead making use of the entire body. His influence can be seen in modern day silent clowns like Bill Irwin and David Shiner, who not only perform physically demanding comedic bits without words, but who also bring great humanity into the relationship between their clowns and the audience.

Buster Keaton - Silent Film

Photo source IMDb.

In the early days of filmmaking, movies might be accompanied by a musical score played live by a pianist, but dialogue was restricted to the occasional title card. Thanks to these limitations, the earliest film stars were comedians who specialized in the physical, with Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and Harold Lloyd among them. But perhaps the greatest was Buster Keaton, whose famously odd and expressive face said more to the camera in its deadpan silence than pages of words could ever hope to convey. Keaton performed some of the riskiest and most thrilling stunts of any actor of his day in films like The General and Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Donald O'Connor - Musical Comedy/Dance

Photo source IMDb.

As the American musical became popular, the form took hold on both stage and screen, allowing musical comedy performers to find many roles. Vaudeville peaked in popularity in 1928 but was already on the decline by the mid-1930s. Actors who were trained in the singing, dancing, and physical comedy of that tradition found themselves shifting over to film and musical theatre. Perhaps one number in one film best exemplifies how music and dance can enhance physical comedy: “Make ‘Em Laugh” as performed by Donald O’Connor in the 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain. In this number, O’Connor explains the self- sacrificing attitude of the comedic performer (in song) while sacrificing his own body at the same time. He climbs a wall, does a backflip, fights a dummy, and morphs his pliable face into every expression possible. It’s exhausting to watch and an exhilarating example of the heights to which musical comedy can climb.

Melissa McCarthy - Modern Slapstick

Photo source IMDb.

If we’ve learned anything from the long-running television series “America’s Funniest Home Videos” or from the popularity of YouTube clips of people falling, getting hit, or hurting themselves in other ways, our modern sense of humor is not so different from that of the Italians who came up with Commedia Dell’arte. Apparently, some things never get old, and comedic violence is one of them. Actress Melissa McCarthy has become a prime performer of this modern slapstick comedy, using her physicality to create indelibly funny moments in films like Bridesmaids and Identity Thief. She is one of the most recent women to take on physical comedy after men seemed to have a lock on slapstick in film. As long as we as an audience are primed to know that no one is really getting hurt, we’re happy to laugh at the performers’ pain.



Just Jim Dale plays at the Laura Pels Theatre May 15 through August 10. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.


Related Categories:
2013-2014 Season, Education @ Roundabout, Just Jim Dale, Upstage


Jim Dale at Roundabout


Veteran actor Jim Dale has a long history with Roundabout Theatre Company. Starting with one of Roundabout’s earliest successes, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Jim Dale has performed in five Roundabout productions over the last 30 years. In his brand new solo show, Just Jim Dale under the direction of Tony winner Richard Maltby, Jr. (Fosse, Ain’t Misbehavin’), Dale shares his passion for the stage as he recounts a lifetime of irresistible showbiz tales. We look back at some of his great roles at Roundabout below.

Jim Dale in Just Jim Dale, 2014. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Jim Dale began working with Roundabout in our 1985 production of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, directed by Arvin Brown. The play centers on Bri (Dale) and Sheila (played by Stockard Channing), the parents of a severely disabled child and the subjects of a devastating marital breakup. Employing antithetical jokes and recollections of the past, both parents beg the question “how do we go on?” amid such inexplicable and unalterable truths.  Frank Rich of The New York Times claimed “Mr. Dale’s big moment [was] a harrowing fantasy of infanticide – a ghoulish practical joke that only a master comic actor could prevent from curdling.” For his performance, Dale received nominations for both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Actor.

Stockard Channing and Jim Dale in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. Photo by Martha Swope.

In 1989, Jim Dale played Acting Captain Terri Dennis in Peter Nichols and Denis King’s farcical Privates on Parade, directed by Larry Carpenter. Centered on the fictional S.A.D.U.S.E.A. (Song and Dance Unit South East Asia), the play with songs details the experiences of a mostly gay British military Pierrot troupe. Mel Gussow of The New York Times hailed Dale’s performance, saying “As an actor, he is not satisfied with anything halfhearted.” Complete with drag performances of Marlene Dietrich, Carmen Miranda, and Vera Lynn, this Roundabout production showcased a young Donna Murphy and Simon Jones alongside Dale.

Simon Jones and Jim Dale in Privates on Parade. Photo by Martha Swope.

Jim Dale returned to Roundabout in 2006, working with director Scott Elliott and starring alongside Alan Cumming, Ana Gasteyer, Cyndi Lauper, and Nellie McKay in Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera.  Brecht’s satiric production employs deliberately artificial and undeniably Brechtian methods to thrust audiences into the world of crime and prostitution of Victorian London, all the while portraying the murderous Mac the Knife seducing his various love interests.  Earning himself another Tony nomination for Best Actor, “that marvelous trouper” (Ben Brantley, The New York Times) Jim Dale played Mr. Peachum, father of the mostly-virginal Polly Peachum.

Ana Gasteyer, Nellie McKay and Jim Dale in The Threepenny Opera. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Later that same year, Dale participated in an in-house playreading of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, reading the roles of Bystander and Alfred Doolittle.  The reading was held in the American Airlines Theatre Penthouse Lobby and was directed by Todd Lundquist.

In 2011, Jim Dale returned to the American Airlines Theatre to star in the Broadway premiere of Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca, a story of an elderly woman attempting to transform her home into a dazzling work of art after the death of her husband.  The widowed Miss Helen (Rosemary Harris) faces the conservative values of the village pastor, Pastor Marius Byleveld (Jim Dale), as he attempts to put Helen into an old-age home. Calling upon her lone friend and confidant, the young liberal teacher Elsa (Carla Gugino), Miss Helen faces the mounting pressure to abandon her independent life. The New York Times acclaimed The Road to Mecca as “striking, compassionate and Fugard’s most personal play” in which “Mr. Dale unerringly [located] both the rigidity and the tremors in a resolutely pious man whose certainty comes under siege.” Dale’s performance yielded a Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Actor.

Jim Dale, Carla Gugino and Rosemary Harris in The Road to Mecca. Photo by Joan Marcus.

In May, Jim Dale returned to Roundabout for his charming and hilarious one-man show recounting his start on the famed British Music Hall stage, through his Broadway triumphs, to his uproarious experience narrating all seven “Harry Potter” audiobooks. Just Jim Dale, playing at the Laura Pels Theatre, has been described as “light-footed and lovable” with a performance by “a triple-threat and first-rate showman!” (Adam Feldman, Time Out New York).



Just Jim Dale plays at the Laura Pels Theatre May 15 through August 10. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.


Related Categories:
2013-2014 Season, Education @ Roundabout, Just Jim Dale, Upstage

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