Tony Awards: 1959 Redhead

16 Mar



1959 wasn’t a very good year for musicals–at least the sort of musicals that would have a satisfying score.   Other than Redhead, we’ve got La Plume De Ma Tante–a French review which was the smash of the season, but it’s series of vignettes didn’t seem quite right to win best musical, so the Tonys gave them a special award.   We’ve got Flower Drum Song, a so-so Rogers and Hammerstein vehicle, and a whole bunch of flops.   Another reason that this season is a bit weaker is because the two previous seasons had such strong shows that were still showing.  So we’re left with Redhead.

Redhead is not so much about the music, and much more about Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse–humor, staging, and dancing.   By all accounts, it was a first rate show, however, the score (which is what I’ve got left to work with) is extremely weak.   It’s like the music was made to fit the dancing rather than vice versa, which is fine, but not anything that holds up well over time.    The songs are almost entirely forgettable, and while Gwen Verdon has personality to spare, she can be a bit much–with her strange britified voice–she sounds like a reject from My Fair Lady.

Oh well, we’re done with the fifties at any rate, on to the next decade!

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