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.
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.
Everyone loves a good old fashioned toe-tapping showstopper… right?
Cole Porter’s Anything Goes has an incredible score full of memorable tunes, but nothing raises the roof quite like the titular tune, which also happens to be the Act 1 finale. A thin but entertaining plot filled with vaudevillian humour, zany disguises and romance all intertwine out on the ocean in this audience pleaser set on a cruise ship.
The show has had two critically lauded revivals, one in 1988 starring Patti LuPone and one in 2011 starring Sutton Foster; both beltresses played nightclub singer/evangelist Reno Sweeney. Check them out singing and tapping for their lives in these two terrific Tony performances:
Elegies opens in one week (previews start on Friday)!!! To celebrate, I chose Priscilla Queen of the Desert’s performance. Not only is it fun and vibrant, but, if you look closely, you will see Elegies cast member Thom Allison dancing up a storm (hint: he’s a vision in red).
The musical version of Priscilla, based on the Oscar winning 1994 Australian cult movie, premiered in Autstralia before moving to London’s West End. The production had its North American premiere in Toronto before opening on Broadway.
Full of sass, sequins, drag queens and a score comprised of some great disco tunes, the Broadway production won a 2011 Tony Award for Best Costume Design. Watch the cast strut in the Oscar and Tony winning costumes to “It’s Raining Men” in this vivacious performance.
This week is a tribute to the one and only Mickey Rooney (and the amazing Ann Miller)!
Sugar Babies was an homage to burlesque and traditional vaudevillian routines that ran for 1,208 performance on Broadway between 1979 and 1982. The show was broken down into scenes (with titles including “A Memory of Burlesque”, “Girls and Garters” and “Tropical Madness”) that often ended in song (“Cuban Love Song”, Immigration Rose” and “Let Me Be Your Sugar Baby” to name a few). It was nominated for eight Tony Awards, but failed to win any.
The zany, fast paced nature of the show offered a high entertainment value- and plenty of “hoofin’”- that delighted audiences. The Americana finale number featured the entire chorus in red, white and blue costumes with Ann Miller front and centre dressed as the Statue of Liberty. The heart of the show was the undeniable chemistry between Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller (his impish ways and her statuesque vivacity) that is on great display in The Tony performance, it captures what a high energy romp the production must have been. So much fun!!!