Tony Award Winners: 1963, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

22 Mar



Ah yes, Sondheim.   Forum was Sondheim’s first show on Broadway by himself, and it was a huge smash.   One interesting way to look at all these shows is as a time capsule for the year they were first produced.   It won’t work for all of them, but for Forum, it certainly does.   Forum bases most of its humor on the mid-sixties sex comedy.   Generally, that’s not my favorite sort of thing.   Imagine Benny Hill, and you’ve got all the basic materials for any sex comedy–scantily clad women, a comically horny man, an authority figure, slapstick, drag, and very broad humor.   I don’t really enjoy these sorts of films/shows, in fact I find them vaguely icky and not funny at all.

So it’s a miracle that I like Forum at all, because it has all those things and more, but the music is really good.   Of course there’s Comedy Tonight–but the other songs like Everybody Ought to Have a Maid, or Lovely both are equally as good.   So this has improved to a degree in my estimation.

However, the musical that should have won that year was Oliver!  I used to hate Oliver! thinking it full of winsome children and basically like throwing 20 Annies in victorian times.  It’s not–the music is first rate, and the show is much more universal than forum.   Many many other Sondheim works won or should have won Tonys, Oliver really should have had a day in the sun.

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