May 10, 2014 at 11:07 am #433230
Oh, this was a show I so wish I could have seen! It looks like such an incredible concept and I love the show so much, it would have been so fascinating to see it done this way. Despite it’s tony wins for Best Direction Of A Musical and Best Orchestrations, the show seemed to be so bruised by its loss for Best Revival Of A Musical to The Pajama Game and even to a certain extent by Patti’s loss to LaChanze for Best Actress In A Musical .
For those who saw the show, how was it? Was it incredible or did it pale in comparison to the Original Sweeney? Do you guys enjoy the cast album or not? Was The Pajama Game a deserving winner? Why do you think it won Over Sweeney?May 10, 2014 at 11:56 am #433232
I saw it, and I have to say it was the seminal production of Sweeney for me. Not even the Hearn/ Lansbury filmed-for-TV production could touch it. Michael Cerveris was the most vibrant, nuanced Sweeney I had ever seen. Patti LuPone was actually a bit of a disappointment due to her notoriously muddled diction (really a shame with the lyrics Sondheim writes for Mrs. Lovett), but her handle on the character was still amazing. I’m still shocked that it lost Best Revival, and for my money Cerveris should have taken home Best Actor in a Musical as well. John Doyle is a brilliant director when paring down Sondheim’s material. I wish I could’ve seen Raul Esparza live in Doyle’s Company revival, but the PBS Great Performances recording of it is exceptional. Ther Pajama Game won the big one over Sweeney because they didn’t want to see their other great revival of that season go away empty-handed. Both were worthy of the award, but Sweeney is the only show that should have won Best Direction and Orchestrations, and it rightfully did. I just wish it had won Best Revival because then the show wouldn’t have closed so early, as Sondheim shows are wont to do (he’s never had mass appeal).May 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm #433233
That Sweeney revival was incredible. It’s hard to pull of horror in a big theatre filled with people (not to mention on a simple set in a very abstract production), but I was actually SCARED during the climax of the show. Everyone in it was terrific. I love LaChanze’s win (and The Color Purple), but Patti would have been an equally worthy winner. Her chemistry with Cerveris was fantastic.May 10, 2014 at 7:05 pm #433234
I am going to be the lone hold out here (and I am fully aware that this is an unpopular opinion), but I was not overly impressed with this revival. As a production, it was a great concept that was executed well on behalf of John Doyle but I HATED the toned down Orchestrations and preferred the lush epic orchestrations originally done by Jonathan Tunick…and then there was Patti LuPone, whom I always really love in a role or am very mixed on…and this was a role I was mixed on. Cerveris was great and I adored Manoel Felciano as Tobias, but I wasn’t as wowed by it as many were.
I actually don’t mind The Pajama Game winning revival, but I think I’d give the edge to Sweeney for at least trying to do something new.May 11, 2014 at 10:37 am #433235
I saw the show three times. Twice in previews, and once just before the Tony Awards that year. The first time, I was a little let down for some odd reason. Liked it more the second time, and LOVED it the third time. I was sitting up close to the stage the final time I saw the revival, so I feel like being able to see the actor’s better and see all the spit, sweat, and tears they all poured into their performances added to my enjoyment. The musical as a stand alone piece is genius. But I was not immediately on board.
Michael Cerveris did not stand a chance in Hell of winning that year. Sad, but true. John Lloyd Young was the toast of the town that Broadway season, and no one was going to stop his winning streak. I worked at Jersey Boys at the time, but oddly enough Young’s pissy demeanor had me silently rooting for Cerveris to pull off an upset.
Patti LuPone was robbed. I rarely say things like that, because more often than not my favorite performances go unnoticed or appropriately lauded. The third time I saw the show, she gave what I consider to be one of the single most perfect performances that I have ever seen live. I loved that she was playing into the ensemble vibe of the production in lieu of the kind of performance many came to expect from her. I saw LaChanze in The Color Purple once or twice, and she really only came alive for me in the last half of the second act. To be fair though, her show was garbage. Sorry to be blunt, but that musical adaptation was a real mess. It was about thirty minutes too long to boot. LuPone was predicted to win that year, so I myself was genuinely shocked when LaChanze’s name was read. But no more shocked than Patti, according to her memoir. Luckily, Patti got her richly deserved second win a few years later for Gypsy. Realistically, she should have twice the Tony Awards that she currently holds.
As for the Best Revival? Everyone in New York claimed that Sweeney was going to win. It was the educated theatre goer’s wet dream. Whereas The Pajama Game was more cotton candy. I actually loved, loved, loved The Pajama Game. And given my first few missed experiences with Sweeney, I may have actually voted for Pajama. Similar to LaChanze besting LuPone, Sweeney losing revival was a total surprise to many, if not most.