FILE - This June 10, 2012 file photo shows David Alan Grier at the 66th Annual Tony Awards in New York. Grier is nominated for a Grammy Award for best musical theater album for the cast album for "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess." (Photo by Evan Agostini /Invision/AP, file)
Thursday, February 07, 2013 8:29 am
For best musical theater Grammy, a vet vs. newbie
By MARK KENNEDYAP Drama Writer
If he wins in the best musical theater album category, it would be the actor's initial step in his quest for an EGOT - winning the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
"This is the first brick in the EGOT castle. One down, if we win," Grier joked recently by phone from his home in Los Angeles. "I'm not taking it seriously but it'll be a lot of fun."
Grier, who earned a Tony nomination as a featured actor in the musical "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" last year - but lost on Tony night - gets another chance to take home a prestigious award for his role in the show, which has since closed.
The cast album for "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" - also featuring Norm Lewis and Audra McDonald - is up against the Tony-winning "Once," the revival of Stephen Sondheim's "Follies," Disney's "Newsies" and another CD of Gershwin songs from the show "Nice Work If You Can Get It."
Getting a Grammy nod is almost routine for Tony-winning composer Alan Menken, who has won 11 such trophies and is up again this year for the music for "Newsies." But he says it never gets old and his nomination is something of a vindication.
After all, Menken earned a Razzie Award for the song "High Times, Hard Times" from the 1992 film version of "Newsies," a rare disappointment in a career with massive hits such as "Under the Sea" and "A Whole New World," not to mention soundtracks for "The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin" and "Pocahontas." (The Razzie didn't upset him too much; on the same night he learned of it, he won two Oscars for "Beauty and the Beast.")
"I took that as sort of a poke in the ribs," he jokes.
But a few years ago, Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman got a chance to revisit the music and rework it for the stage. The result has been a hit. "It's great to be nominated and I'm really excited about that," says Menken.
Grier knows the feeling and confesses to being a little sad he's not on a Broadway stage this season. Although best known for his scathing wit on the groundbreaking sketch comedy TV show "In Living Color," his time in "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" was the Yale School of Drama graduate's fifth time on Broadway. (While "In Living Color" won an Emmy in 1990, Grier didn't take home an individual prize.)
The 56-year-old actor, who bought as many as 30 copies of "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess" CD to give to friends and family, says the ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday has triggered warm memories of the fun he had in New York.
"It reminds you of all the happiness doing the show and it's like finding a piece of a cookie in your pocket. Or a piece of cake that you lost," he says. "It's like a forgotten joy."
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