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2018 Tony Race for Best Revival of a Musical

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  • Jeffrey Kare
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    #1202210201

    As of now, there are only three musical revivals confirmed for this season. There may be a few more announced within the coming months, but let’s talk about the ones that we know are coming soon, shall we?

    Carousel-The first Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic 1945 musical in over 20 years. This production may have a whole lot to live up to given how acclaimed Nicholas Hytner’s production was back in 1994. It won all five Tony Awards it was up for that year (which did mark the first time there were two separate categories for revivals) and marked a big break for Audra McDonald. Not to mention that this production is being directed by Jack O’Brien, whose track record has been very inconsistent for the past decade. He hasn’t delivered a critical darling since The Coast of Utopia back in 2007.

    My Fair Lady-The first Broadway revival of Lerner & Lowe’s classic 1956 musical since 1994 (which ironically was the same season as Nicholas Hytner’s Carousel). While we’re still waiting for (official) casting news, this already sounds much more exciting to me given that it’s directed by Bartlett Sher, whose had such an amazing track record with revivals.

    Once on This Island-The very first Broadway revival of Ahrens & Flaherty’s 1990 musical ever. It’s got an exciting cast and is directed by Michael Arden, who had already blown audiences away two years ago with his production of Spring Awakening. You can read more about this upcoming production right here…http://www.broadway.com/buzz/189574/the-rise-and-reboot-of-broadways-beloved-once-on-this-island/

    While we won’t know how any of these productions will turn out until they start performances, I guess the best question I can ask right now is which of the following sounds the most exciting to you?

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    Alex Meyer
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    #1202210371

    I wonder if Carousel will spark some controversy with its portrayal of domestic violence.

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    adamunc
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    Unless it’s handled insensitively, there’s no reason for it to cause controversy. People understand Carousel is a product of its time and depicts an era when social mores were different.

    The 1994 production of Carousel was one of the most thrilling, ravishingly designed productions I’ve ever seen. Plus, the moment Audra McDonald walked onstage, you knew she was a Star with a capital ‘S’. The production of My Fair Lady that same season had Richard Chamberlain as a fine Higgins and Melissa Errico singing the songs wonderfully (though her accent was little… much). But the production overall was odd. I still remember the giant glowing head that dominated Higgins’s laboratory and the spectators at the Ascot Gavotte descending from the flies on swings. The directorial vision just didn’t quite mesh with the material there, whereas Hytner’s Carousel enhanced an already-spectacular score and story. It will be very interesting to see what two different directors will do with these properties. One thing is for sure, Sher’s frequent collaborator Catherine Zuber will put on some spectacular costumes in MFL. That’s really a Tony waiting to happen, Frozen or no Frozen.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing the revival of Once on this Island as well, but I expect the Tony race to be between the spring openers, because of timing, pedigree, and material.

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    KyleBailey
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    I really hope Once on This Island wins to give the original production some justice after being shut out of any wins. It’s so amazing and Michael Arden is definitely one of our great directors working right now

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    Alex Meyer
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    In regards to Carousel, I wonder how the whole #MeToo movement will impact its image in the press. At this point, due to the controversial nature of its story on redeeming and forgiving a domestic abuser, there’s no way it won’t be brought up, particularly by the press as the cast makes their rounds on talk shows and/or theater news sites. I hope the show’s PR team can help them come up with somewhat satisfying answers to the hard-hitting questions they’ll inevitably receive. It’ll also be interesting to see how critics take the show for what it is and the time it was written and also analyze it with the #MeToo movement. And it’ll be interesting to see if the movement affects the show’s chances at the Tonys.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Alex Meyer.
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    Jeffrey Kare
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    Again, that would all have to depend on how the production will end up being received. It’s being directed by Jack O’Brien, who hasn’t delivered a critical darling since The Coast of Utopia back in 2007. The most successful he’s been creatively in recent years has pretty much been his collaborations with Nathan Lane.

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    adamunc
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    You could say the same thing for My Fair Lady, where a man basically controls a woman’s every move and every word trying to “fix” her in order to win a bet. And the last line is really incredibly condescending. How will it be viewed in light of #MeToo?

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    The whole conversation on how Carousel and My Fair Lady could play today in light of the #MeToo movement has been discussed on Theater Talk‘s Preview of the Spring Season…
    21:16

    And Michael Riedel touched upon it briefly in his column…
    https://nypost.com/2018/01/16/pretty-woman-hooker-gets-a-feminist-twist-on-broadway/

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Jeffrey Kare.
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    Jeffrey Kare
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    The New York Times recently did an article about how some of the upcoming musical productions (Carousel, My Fair Lady, Pretty Woman, and Kiss Me, Kate) could potentially be affected by the #MeToo movement…
    The Problem With Broadway Revivals: They Revive Gender Stereotypes, Too

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    So Carousel began previews last night, and early reports have been pretty mixed so far. There are some people who thought the production was impressive, yet others who found it to be a disappointment. The latter group thought the staging and set design was pretty lackluster, the choreography was repetitive, and some unnecessary cuts to the material. We shall see how the creative team is able work out all the kinks by opening night.

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    adamunc
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    There’s a whole preview period to get the material and performances fine-tuned, but the design is unlikely to change. From the pictures I’ve seen, I don’t care for the set. Nothing was ever going to top Bob Crowley’s work on the ’94 revival (my favorite scenic design of all the 100+ Broadway productions I’ve seen), but I wasn’t thinking they’d go ’50s Warner Bros. cartoon. I may have to start thinking of this as Carousel in Concert and just enjoy the voices. But, still… lots of preview time to go.

    Curtain call

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    So My Fair Lady began previews last night, and early reports say that Bartlett Sher has done it again. Lauren Ambrose turns out to be doing a much better job as Eliza Doolittle than expected, Harry Hadden-Paton gives an impressive performance as Henry Higgins, and Norbert Leo Butz has a great shot at winning his third Tony as Alfred. Reports have also said that Bart gives a very interesting approach to the ending.

    Here’s a First Look at the Front of the House

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    SHT L
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    Here’s an even better view of the stage before the show:

    https://twitter.com/BrigidNYC/status/974436588037066753

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #1202514354

    I honestly think that the Tony will go to either My Fair Lady or Once On This Island and not to Carousel. I have read previews (and in the case of OOTI actual reviews) and the raves have been for the first two and there have been lots of criticisms of this particular production of Carousel.

    I actually think Harry Hadden-Patton has a strong chance of winning the Tony award for Best Actor in a Musical. I hope they keep Butz in Featured; George Rose won in lead for his Doolitle in 1976, but it truly is a featured role.

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    SHT L
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    I do think this production company is smart enough to put Butz in Featured and Hadden-Paton in Lead. I read elsewhere that George Rose’s lead actor nomination and subsequent win was based on the fact that his name was above the marquee for that production which is in line with Tony rules and individual productions must make appeals to the nominating committee to deviate from that by a certain deadline. I wonder why they didn’t bother. Maybe they assumed Rose would have lost to one of the A Chorus Line submissions while Richardson had as much of a chance to win Lead against Orbach and Mako with or without Rose being there. Or maybe Rose insisted he be put in lead for ego purposes.

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