2018 Tony Race for Best Revival of a Musical

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  • Jeffrey Kare
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    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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    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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