We bring you into the world of the Tony Awards as we adulates, critiques and revels in past performances. Check in on Tuesday’s to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Tony Awards are just a little over two weeks away!
I love Tony night. It’s my Super Bowl or Stanley Cup or whatever other kinds of sporting events make straight men slap each other on the back and yell expletives at the top of their lungs.
Ever since I was in my early 20s, I loved any excuse to borrow my parents’ minivan. Equipped with SiriusXM radio, it was my opportunity to roll down the windows and blast showtunes from the “On Broadway” station. (I’m certain you can’t imagine anything cooler than being seen in your parents’ minivan with “Ol’ Man River” blaring).
Looking back 40 years, Broadway music wasn’t always relegated to a very exclusive, expensive spot on the airwaves. In 1975, “Send In The Clowns” hit Number 36 on the US Billboard charts in a cover by Judy Collins. In 1971, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” reached Number 12 on the Billboard charts in a cover by Helen Reddy. The Beatles recorded Meredith Wilson’s “Till There Was You” in 1963 and they sang it on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. Barbara Streisand’s version of “People” from Funny Girl reached number five on the Billboard charts in 1964 (four years before the movie came out). The list goes on and on. The farther back in time you go, the more closely aligned Broadway music was with the popular taste.
Looking at 21st century musical theatre, 90% of the time the genre either:
- Uses existing pop songs that hit big on the radio decades ago
- Creates original scores that don’t resemble anything that could have been on the radio in the last 40 years.
It’s a fascinating divide given the origins of the form. More
With Hamilton opening on Broadway earlier this week, there is plenty of buzz as the 2015/2016 season starts to heat up. It seems to be the year of the movie musical, with almost all the new musicals originating as a Hollywood blockbuster. Here are some of the most anticipated musical productions aiming to opening within the next few Broadway seasons.
With the recent announcement that Spring Awakening will return to Broadway this fall, we decided to dive into the history of this iconic musical.
The revival production, scheduled to open on Broadway on September 27, 2015 is being brought in from the L.A company Deaf West Theatre. The company centers itself around re-imagining theatre productions using a mix of hearing, deaf, and hard-of-hearing actors to perform shows. Under the directing leadership of Michael Arden (yes, that Michael Arden, think Bare, Big River, Hunchback), the company practice of assigning certain roles to two actors, one singing, the other signing opens the art form up to deaf performers and theatregoers. This staging is bringing new depths to character development and insight and has been wowing audiences since its inception.
This week’s Tony performance is Big: The Musical, one of Broadway’s most notorious flops.
Big was based on the hit 1988 Tom Hanks film of the same name and was expected to be a huge hit in the 1995/1996 Broadway season. Featuring direction by Mike Ockrent, music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., and choreography by Susan Stroman, the show’s critical response was greatly divided. The production opened on April 28, 1996 and, although it was nominated for 5 Tony Awards (Best Actress, Supporting Actor, Book, Score, and Choreography), it failed to win any and close on October 13, 1996. The production is regarded as one of Broadway’s largest money-losers.
In a rare twist of fate, Big was drastically revised, re-written and re-scored and sent out on a tour in 1998. The touring production, directed by Eric D. Shaeffer, received high praise and is considered to have been a success.
The Tony performance of the number “Fun” re-creates an iconic scene from the movie: Josh Baskin, a teenager who’s been turned into an adult after making a wish at a carnival arcade game, charms MacMillan, the head of a toy company, and they dance on a giant piano in FAO Schwartz.