The original production opened off-Broadway in July 1982, so it would have been eligible for the 1983 Tonys. Above are the nominees from that year, with Makarova winning. So, in all likelihood, Ellen Greene would have won a Tony.
"How is a Lorax-blowing tree-hugger like you anti-immigration?"--Sterling Archer
FYC Outstanding Leading Actress in a Drama Series: Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Ellen Greene would have been one of the most deserving wins ever. Do any of you guys think Lee Wilkof could have won over Tommy Tune? I think that Franc Luz (Orin and various other characters) could have taken Featured Actor. I would give it Book and Score in a heartbeat, and hope that the Tonys would have too.
I agree about "Johnny" in Zombie Prom....I am not fond of the show, but that is a great role.
Here is another race that puzzles me: Best Musical of 1968-1969.
1776 Hair Promises, Promises Zorba
The most famous musical of these is easily HAIR, and you also can't take anything from Promises, Promises which had a recent revival and had Burt Bacharach and Neil Simon behind it...and it, like Hair, also has a couple of well known standards. ZORBA is a famous story though not exactly a well-known musical....the actual winner was 1776, a musical that may be more well known than ZORBA thanks to its movie adaptation, but otherwise, it seems to be one of the least discussed and most forgotten Best Musical winners (up there with RAISIN, APPLAUSE, and TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA).
1776 is a bizarre show (I actually was in a production) because of its subject matter, its long length (with a 30 minute gap between "The Lees of Old Virginia" and "But Mr. Adams"), small and unique score, and lack of intermission. The one outstanding attribute of the musical is the book by Peter Stone, which is probably one of the best books ever written for the musical theatre. It has been written that it is amazing how the book is at created a sense of major suspense despite how we all know the outcome....but I don't know how I feel about it as BEST MUSICAL.
HAIR is iconic and has some catchy and sometimes powerful music of the time. but I never got into it. In fact, the musical often bored me.
PROMISES, PROMISES is also an interesting case in the fact that I really like the show and think some of the songs are fantastic but I can't bring myself to give it Book....and I would want to give it Socre, but lyrically the show is not that strong.
ZORBA is a show I need to revisit but songs like "Life Is" are written well....it is Kander and Ebb after all.
I think the movie version of 1776 is relatively popular, especially since it's played on tv all day on the 4th of July every year. I wouldn't say it's as unpopular as Raisin or Two Gentlemen or Applause. Or Redhead for that matter (has ANYONE ever seen a production of that produced?)
I think it's a brilliant musical, though. A great score with an absolutely incredible book. It's amazing when a play can make you still wonder whether or not they are going to sign the Declaration of Independence.
I think Promises is cute enough to make an enjoyable show (though the last revival was pretty bad), I've never seen Zorba (though I do enjoy the score), and I think Hair has great music, but seeing the show live makes me wanna blow my brains out a little. That second act is rough.
I always find it interesting when people say 2003/04 was the strongest year of the decade. I personally think the following year was the best of the last decade with three very different shows with very contrasting good qualities:
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the probably the least talked about and most forgotten show of the four, but it is probably one of the stronger movie musicals of the past two decades and it featured Norbert Leo Butz at top form, and had John Lithgow, Sherie Rene Scott, and Joanna Gleason...which is never a bad thing. Plus, David Yazbeck improved upon his work in "The Full Monty" and the show was very classy and sleazy at the same time.
Spamalot is a musical I find very funny and I definitely don't hate it like many others do on the site, but I do think as a show, it surprisingly drags and is not paced very well. Plus, Mike Nichols' did a relatively sloppy job with the direction and his Tony win was a disgrace and it was even more glaring considering how he is typically a strong director. It had great comedic acting (I support Sara Ramirez's win) but I do feel it was the weakest of the four.
For me, it is hard to determine a winner between THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA and THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE because each are so radically different. In PIAZZA's side, it was a glorious production that was put together remarkably well and contains two very strong featured performances (Morrison and O'Hara) and quite possibly the best performance in a musical in decades: Victoria Clark...not to mention that glorious and complex score. It was actually one of the top 5 experiences I ever had in a theatre, at least in terms of musicals.
SPELLING BEE is actually among that high list, too, for its originality and the involvement of one of the best theatrical directors around: James Lapine and my one of my favorite composers: William Finn. I think what made this show was the extra kick the book gave, which I found more hilarious than some of the bits in Spamalot. Plus, Dan Fogler's win for Featured Actor is one of my favorite wins ever....he created such an original and truly memorable comedic character in William Barfee.
I'd give score to PIAZZA and book to SPELLING BEE (same as the Tonys) but direction and Musical are harder to determine. It is an apples and oranges scenario, but for the time being I'd probably give Musical and Score to Piazza and Book and Director to SPELLING BEE.
^^ I definitely think 2004-2005 was the most consistent year of the decade. All four of those shows got good reviews (which is very rare for Broadway nowadays, considering the fact that critics don't seem to like anything.. or maybe because it's hard to find a year in which there are at least 4 decent new musicals that open.. or maybe both..), and they are all considered "great" shows (even though I hated Spamalot). But I just think there was more of a passion for the new musicals in the 2003-2004 season. So many of the shows that year got bad reviews: Taboo.. The Boy From Oz.. Critical response to Caroline, or Change was either a love letter or a pan.. and even Wicked got a lot of mixed to negative reviews. However, each of these shows had a huge support from a specific fanbase. While The Boy from Oz was pretty bad, Hugh's performance made Broadway history, and people were still very moved by the show. Taboo had a big cult following. Caroline, or Change was a show people either loved or hated. But the people who love it, LOVED it. And Wicked is, of course, Wicked. And then there was the little show that could (Ave Q) that came in and saved the day, which was a great, exciting moment for Broadway.
So, yeah. While 04-05 was very strong, 03-04 was much more of a roller coaster ride of drama, excitement, and diversity (there was kind of something for everyone!)
^^I love to hear other people rave about The Light in the Piazza. I would probably have gone overboard since I didn't like Spamalot and I found Spelling Bee just a little too cute, but if it were up to me, Light would have won Musical, Featured Actress, and Director in addition to the ones it did win. I agree about Victoria Clark--the finale scene was one of the most moving experiences of my life. When she reached the climax of "Fable" and cried out, "Love! Love! Love if you can, oh my Clara. Love if you can and be loved!", then joined the wedding party for the slow fadeout... well, I wept and I am most decidedly not a crier. I wasn't alone--the theatre was full of sniffling between the time the lights went down and the curtain call began.
"How is a Lorax-blowing tree-hugger like you anti-immigration?"--Sterling Archer
FYC Outstanding Leading Actress in a Drama Series: Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
As for 2003/04, my personal opinion was that AVENUE Q seems like such a logical choice now. CAROLINE, OR CHANGE was also a great musical that was worthy of the Tony. I think had WICKED won I wouldn't have cried foul, but in all honesty, it is the show I remember the least. THE BOY FROM OZ really only had Hugh Jackman and company going for it, which was enough to give it a nomination.
I am curious to find out what a lot of you think of [title of show], which is one of my all-time favorites for its passion and how it is a love letter to the musical theatre geeks of the world. I thought it was ROBBED at the Tonys and deserved so much more.
Here is an older race I think is very interesting: 1983/84.
The winner was LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, but you also had SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE and BABY in the mix (The Tap Dance Kid doesn't factor into this....wasn't this also the year of Doonsebury? I would have rather that had the last slot).
It is another and oranges scenario where you have a peppy and energetic crowd pleaser, but with the added twist of being ahead of its time and the topic of two male lovers....then you have the Sondheim/Lapine SUNDAY IN THE PARK.....which was innovative in its set design, story structure, and the very literally pointed score and beautiful, though somewhat unpolished, book. Not to mention Bernadette Peters' best work, up there with her Rose.
BABY is a severely underrated show that has a charming book and a score that includes some wonderful gems: I Chose Right, The Story Goes On, and Patterns come to mind. Plus, you had the amazing Liz Callaway having her first big break.
I may be forgetting another race, but I consider this possibly to be the hardest decision in the history of the Tonys because each show has a great book, great score, and some wonderful performances. BABY was so unique and modern day; SUNDAY was unique and modern while stretching a long period of time; and LA CAGE had the old time style meeting a modern day homosexual love story.
I am not going to say what I normally picked in the past because I am honestly second guessing myself. I have to think it over.
I'm glad I'm not the only person who adored [title of show]. It was so fantastic with its book and so original with its score and simplicity. It was my second favorite musical of that season, behind Next to Normal. I probably would have given Heidi Blickenstaff the Best Featured Actress award. While we're talking about this Broadway season, I have to say that Christopher Sieber was robbed of the Featured Actor award (that entire category was a mess). Shrek was a surprisingly good musical with an excellent score that underperformed bigtime at the Tonys.
Honestly, I'm surprised that Billy Elliot was triumphant at the Tonys at all, because that was such a strong year for musicals. My nominees in the major categories that year would have been
Best Musical 1. Next to Normal 2. [title of show] 3. Shrek the Musical 4. 9 to 5 the Musical (5. Rock of Ages)
Best Actor 1. Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek the Musical 2. Gavin Creel, Hair 3. David Alvarez; Trent Kowalik; Kiril Kulish, Billy Elliot 4. Hunter Bell, [title of show] 5. J. Robert Spencer, Next to Normal (6. Constantine Maroulis, Rock of Ages)
Best Actress 1. Alice Ripley, Next to Normal 2. Sutton Foster, Shrek the Musical 3. Stephanie J. Block, 9 to 5 the Musical 4. Allison Janney, 9 to 5 the Musical 5. Stockard Channing, Pal Joey (6. Megan Hilty, 9 to 5 the Musical)
Best Featured Actor 1. Christopher Sieber, Shrek the Musical 2. David Bologna, Billy Elliot 3. Aaron Tveit, Next to Normal 4. Marc Kudisch, 9 to 5 the Musical 5. Will Swenson, Hair (6. Daniel Breaker, Shrek the Musical)
Best Featured Actress 1. Heidi Blickenstaff, [title of show] 2. Jennifer Damiano, Next to Normal 3. Karen Olivio, West Side Story 4. Martha Plimpton, Pal Joey 5. Carole Shelley, Billy Elliot (6. Kathy Fitzgerald, 9 to 5 the Musical)
Best Revival 1. Hair 2. Pal Joey 3. West Side Story 4. Guys and Dolls (5. were there any other revivals that year?)
Best Director 1. Hair 2. Next to Normal 3. Billy Elliot 4. Shrek the Musical (5. 9 to 5 the Musical)
Best Book 1. Next to Normal 2. [title of show] 3. Shrek the Musical 4. Billy Elliot (5. 9 to 5 the Musical)
Best Score 1. [title of show] 2. Shrek the Musical 3. Next to Normal 4. 9 to 5 the Musical (5. Billy Elliot)
Best Choreography 1. Billy Elliot 2. Hair 3. West Side Story 4. 9 to 5 the Musical (5. Next to Normal)
2013 Emmys FYC Amy Poehler, Jane Krakowski, Matthew Perry, Martha Plimpton, Louis CK, Nick Offerman, Adam Scott, Garret Dillahunt
I loved [title of show]! It was a shame that it didn't get a couple more Tony nominations. I remember 2009 being a slightly disappointing year as far as the revivals were concerned. Pal Joey, Guys and Dolls, and West Side Story were all pretty poorly reviewed. The only revival that year to get good reviews was Hair, which was actually the only one I didn't get around to seeing. But I'm not a huge fan of Hair, so I wasn't too bummed on missing out.
As far as the new musicals went that year, I didn't see Rock of Ages. I heard it was fun, but it doesn't seem like something I would wanna spend money on. But the movie looks like an awfully great time..
Shrek was actually an interesting theatergoing experience for me. I really really didn't like most of the first act. All of the "campy," "funny" moments seemed too forced and condescending. However, the end of act one had me bawling. I had the same problem with act 2. I found the comedic moments annoying, but the dramatic moments incredible. I loved Brian D'Arcy James, as well as the design. And there were a few good number in there. But I felt that you could tell which moments Tesori and Abaire WANTED to put in the show and which moments they were probably told they HAD to put in the show.
I was very moved by Next to Normal, mainly because of Ripley's INCREDIBLE performance. And I thought it was an interesting concept. I think there are moments that can be a little self-indulgent and whiny, though. And I think some of the lyrics are pretty awful. But I still liked it a lot. Ripley was just unforgettable.
And I would consider Billy Elliot to be one of the best shows I've ever seen on Broadway. Brilliant.
And Anthony, I do like 1984 too. While I would definitely vote for SUNDAY IN THE PARK over the others, I still think they are really great. LA CAGE definitely gets a bad rap because it's the musical that beat SUNDAY, but I still think it's a great show. And there is definitely a soft spot in my heart for BABY.
Carol Channing: I do think SUNDAY would get my vote in the end (that was the musical I usually picked in the past), but I can't help but deny the value and quality of the other two musicals.
And Trent: AMEN to Christopher Seiber!! He was definitely robbed of Featured Actor for SHREK. He was the only one I considered truly fantastic the category....and I still think SHREK is an underrated musical. Brian D'Arcy James should have won Lead as well.
Both Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell were wonderful in [title of show] and either of them would have been the best choice for Featured Actress.
9 TO 5 was also stronger than reviews suggested and I feel that Megan Hilty and Stephanie J. Block (if for Get Out and Stay Out alone) should have been nominated along with the show, book, and Kathy Fitzgerald in Featured.
1984 has always been a little touchy for me. I also enjoy "Baby" very much, but at the end of the day, it is all about "Sunday" v. "La Cage"... and I always come down squarely on the side of "La Cage."
"Sunday in the Park" has always been an intensely frustrating conundrum for me. I admire the heck out of the concept, and I think it's great that it won the Pulitzer. "Sunday" does do something for me on a certain cerebral level. But EVERY SINGLE TIME I've ever sat down to watch the show (either the original videotape/now DVD) or seen a production of it, I go in praying: please let this be the time it actually MOVES me.
And it never, ever moves me the way I know I'm supposed to be moved by it. Only the song "Sunday" in both acts gets me a bit, but that fleeting feeling of emotional heft is gone as soon as the curtain falls.
And I'll also confess: I'm a big Jerry Herman fan, although frankly I've always considered "La Cage" by far the weakest of his three best known scores (factoring "Hello, Dolly!" and "Mame" into the equation). But "La Cage" is essentially a traditional book musical with a lot of laughs and a lot of heart in addition to the inherent entertainment value, and it always makes for a much more pleasurable viewing experience for me when I see it.
So, I've never been especially foaming at the mouth over the way the Tonys went in '84, although Bernadette Peters would have had my vote for Lead Actress in a Musical, for giving "Sunday" the closest thing it has to a heart (and frankly, Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli deserved better than they got in "The Rink").