Theatre Thursdays: Select 2013 Tony Performances

For the second year in a row I was unable to watch the Tony broadcast (grumblegrumble *work* grumblegrumble *adulthood*), so once again I must turn to YouTube to see the performances. Rather than posting all of them like I did last year, I’m just going to post the ones I was most interested in for this year’s ceremony.

Motown: The Musical

I’ve kept a tentative interest open on this musical since I first heard of it a few months ago. The story of black artists in the music industry is rife with drama and can certainly make for great musical theatre but I wasn’t sure to what extent this show would be a jukebox musical so I figured I’d wait and see some more from it. Would it include well-known songs in addition to an original score, or would it be entirely comprised of existing music?

Judging by the performance it seems to be the latter option, which doesn’t exactly thrill me. Just to be sure I checked out the show’s page and found this in the description: “an explosive new musical featuring almost 60 of the most beloved hits in the Motown music catalogue.”

Good Lord, 60?? Even sung-through musicals barely reach that high of a song count! I don’t feel this is one I’ll personally try too hard to see, but the cast looks and sounds phenomenal and it’s been selling really well every time I check the Broadway grosses so there’s clearly an audience for it. Maybe it really comes together when seen as a whole so if it tours I might give it a shot.


Though nominated in the Best Revival category, this is technically the first Broadway production of Cinderella, despite it being over 40 years old. This doesn’t really have anything to do with the performance, I just found it shocking and thought it was worth sharing so you could be as dumbfounded as I was when I learned this little fact.

The performance here is lovely; this cast is great, but the biggest stars of the number are those costumes! I mean, did you see that??? Those dresses just morphed in front of your eyes! And they do that live and in person eight times a week! I understand the basic concept behind the design but the flawless execution is beyond my comprehension. It is simply magic. Thank God they took home the award for Costume Design.


Beautiful performance. The cast has performed the “Naughty/Revolting Children” combo a few times already to promote the show on various television programs so I’m glad they also included “When I Grow Up” to make it a little more special for the Tonys and just because I love that song (or at least, what I’ve seen of it since I still haven’t seen this show). I love that it calls attention to the fact that “When I grow up” is kind of an ever-moving goal; we continue to grow throughout our lives and probably never really feel like the all-knowing, fearless, confident beings we thought we would become when we became “grown-ups”.

Guh, I just really love everything I’m seeing/hearing of this show and am dying to see it.

Bring it On: The Musical

I pretty much gushed about this show when I reviewed it so of course I was pumped up for their performance! I think this is the first time I’ve ever actually seen a show before it performed on the Tonys, so maybe that’s why I’m feeling like something is lacking from this showcase. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something seems off to me. Maybe it’s that the show closed and the cast hasn’t performed together in almost six months; maybe it’s the cuts made to the song to shorten it; maybe it’s that the lighting cues seem just a teensy bit behind; or maybe it’s just because this number was so phenomenal live and that can’t quite be re-captured when seen on video.

It’s probably that last one, since the experience is so great in my memory it just can’t be matched by anything other than a live, in-person performance. I’m glad this song was performed because it’s one of my favorites from the show and it shows off a decent amount of the cheerleading and most of the cast gets to shine, though it’s a bummer the song doesn’t feature Taylor Louderman’s character since she was more or less the lead and did an excellent job. I’m really glad Ariana DeBose got the spotlight for her section though, because she was one of the standouts for me when I saw the show but hasn’t gotten much mention in reviews I’ve read of the show (including my own, which I rather regret) so it was great seeing her work the stage in her featured part.

Kinky Boots

I think this show looks pretty great. Cyndi Lauper did the music; Jerry Mitchell the choreography; and it’s about the creation of the perfect drag boot so everything about it says it’s gonna be a fun night at the theater. This performance is exciting and though it doesn’t really revolutionize my view of the show, it reinforces my desire to see it.


Still just in awe of this production’s seamless incorporation of the circus performance into the show. It works so well with the music and the Fosse-style choreography and I don’t have much to say about this that I haven’t said before: Patina is still flawless; the production is still gorgeous; and I still want to see it. Thankfully, it’s touring.

Well, despite my intentions I think I ended up talking about almost every performance. Whoops. Well, it was a night of great performances, what could I do? The ceremonies seemed pretty nice this year. I’m glad they were once again held in Radio City Music Hall because I love the grandeur of that huge performance space and i really liked that the casts of other shows introduced the performances. Even if the connection between the two shows was pretty forced at times, it was good to see them there to remind people that so many great shows are still running and gave a good sense of the community of Broadway. Hopefully something similar will be done at next year’s ceremonies.

And hopefully I’ll be able to watch them live, because I’m sick of having to rely on YouTube!

Theatre Thursdays: Tony Time!

Tony Award

Yes, once again it’s that most exciting season for Broadway fans: Tony Time! Nominations have just been announced, kicking off speculation and debate among thespians everywhere pulling for their favorite shows/performers/creators and lamenting the inevitable snub of those who didn’t make it onto the ballot.

You can check the nominees (and pick your favorites) here on the New York Times’ site. I’ve gotta say, I’m a bit surprised by the nominations for Best Musical. For one, there’s not a single original musical to be found in the group: Bring it On, Kinky Boots and A Christmas Story are based on movies and Matilda is based on a book. While I have no problem with musical adaptations of existing works (Wicked, The Secret Garden, and Billy Elliot are firmly in my top ten favorite musicals) I do believe that original musicals need the publicity boost that comes from a Tony nomination more than a musical with built-in name recognition does, and let’s be honest: these awards are a business. I enjoy the event and am glad when my favorites win, but I honestly don’t believe that these awards honor excellence so much as they honor marketability.

That, however, is another reason I’m a bit surprised by the nominations: two of the nominated musicals (Bring it On and A Christmas Story) were limited run events which have already ended and won’t be boosted by this PR, at least not as readily as the currently running shows. Bring it On is supposed to go back out on the road again and A Christmas Story is likely to return as a seasonal event like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but neither of those are happening right now and would probably sell very well with or without the nomination.

Do I sound too jaded? I’m a little jaded. Let’s throw it over to The Onion for their much more lighthearted, if still critical, article on Tony noms. As for me, I’ll do what I always do: watch the broadcast for the musical performances and take the actual awards with a grain of salt. Congratulations to all nominees and to fellow fans, remember: the award (or lack thereof) doesn’t prove or disprove the quality of the show/performer/creator, so try not to take it too hard if your favorite doesn’t win.

Theatre Thursdays: The Tonys!

So did anyone else watch the Tonys on Sunday night?

Just me?


Well, they actually put on a damn good show. There was an opening number from last year’s best musical winner The Book of Mormon, general all-around clever wonderfulness from host Neil Patrick Harris, and plenty of musical theatre jokes sandwiched in with the snippets of this year’s best musical and play nominees. I was particularly pleased to see the latter, as I found myself woefully ignorant of even the titles of most of the top shows.

Here’s the full list of winners if you want to peruse it. Once (one of those I’d never heard of, but apparently about a young songwriter?) won eight awards, making it the stand-out winner of the night. Hugh Jackman won a special Tony for being awesome in general (“the Hugh Jackman Award For Being Hugh Jackman goes to… Hugh Jackman,” as a friend put it) and adorably accepted it from his wife. And I was personally pleased in the core of my geek soul to see that James Corden (Craig in Doctor Who series 5 and 6) won the Best Actor in a Play Tony above huge names like James Earl Jones, Frank Langella, John Lithgow and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The one thing that made me sad, although I totally understood why they did it for the sake of steamlining the show and not turning it into an Oscar-length fiasco, was that they did all the backstage awards (lighting, sets, costumes, etc.) during the commercial breaks, and flashed back to them when the show returned from commercial. As a costumer I’m interested in these, but like I said, I totally understand that most people would rather watch the actor awards and are content with a recap of who won what design things.

In passing, let NPH sum up the awards for you better than I ever could: