Friday, June 2, 2006

Tony Awards Central: Best Revival of a Musical

Hello again, It's Spencer with some thoughts on one the tightest races in the 60th Annual Tony Awards, BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL.

For the revival category we have three very diffrent competitors. Starting off with Brecht's 1928 masterpiece, THE THREE PENNY OPERA. Roundabout's Studio 54 incarnation boasts a bevy of Broadway stars. Tony nominated Jim Dale, Ana Gasteyer,Cyndi Lauper and Alan Cumming as the dreaded Mack the Knife.

THREE PENNY is a dark satire of ' respectable society ' and features some of the most interesting characters on the current Broadway stage. However, a long B'way run does not seem likely. Disappointing reviews have crippled the box office. Critics claimed the production was miscast and over the top, and several of the 'stars' of the show have missed multiple performances due to the highly demanding score sung eight times a week. This show will need a Tony if it is to make through the summer.

Also considered in the 'dark' category is Stephen Sondheim's SWEENEY TODD. Directed by John Doyle, this new incarnation reinvigorates the monumental opera first seen on Broadway in 1979. Patti LuPone, the grand diva, has captured herself a Tony nomination for her work as Mrs. Lovett. And what makes this SWEENEY so different is what it has not, an orchestra. Instead, the actors comprise the band. In my opinion, this robs some of thunder of the score's grand operatic themes. But audiences don't seem to mind, making this one of the few profit turning Sondheim shows in recent memory. I'm predicting a Tony or two for this tuner.

Then, there's THE PAJAMA GAME. Just try getting a ticket to this one is a task! SGN's own Milton Hamlin snared a ticket and loved it. So does just about everyone else pouring out of this limited run. First opening in 1954, this beloved community theatre staple has been spectacularly revived starring Harry Connick Jr.

Connick is the front runner for Best Actor in a Musical. He can start rehearsing his acceptance speech now. But he is leaving the show to tour. Although they will remount the show this fall, sans Harry. Of course much of the buzz is due the finale when Connick appears topless, much to the ladies ( and boys ) delight. I'm guessing we behold such a sight on the Tony tele-cast.
THE PAJAMA GAME is everything the previous nominees are not. Light, bubbly, simple stock characters and easy listening score. And dance. Lot's of dance. Director Kathleen Marshall has wisley not shied away from Bob Fosse's original choreography. But she has put her own stamp on the production and created a monster hit. Look for this to take the Tony for Best Revival.

So these are a few thoughts for one of the categories this year. If you have any thoughts or comments, feel free to post them. Look for a Tony Awards preview in the SGN's June 9 issue.

Photo of Patti Lupone, courtesy of official production site and taken by Paul Kolnik.

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