Archive | January, 2015

Tony Awards 1992, Best Musical, Crazy for You

27 Jan

crazy for youSo, Crazy for You was the big winner for best musical of 1992.   It’s a western based on Gershwin’s music, and it’s….kinda everything you’d expect.  It starred Jodi Benson, the voice of the Little Mermaid, and I couldn’t fault the Tonys for giving the award to this one.   Then again, it’s so thoroughly unsurprising that it’s an uninspired choice in a way.

There were three other shows:  Five Guys Named Moe was a so-so jukebox musical based on Louis Jordan, I have little to say about this one other than it had a great amount of energy.  The other two are more interesting–the first Jelly’s Last Jam was a fantastic bio-show about Jelly Roll Morton, the father of Jazz.   This probably should have been the winner of 1992–the music is inventive, the story engaging, and the show manages to make Jazz sound fresh and modern–compared to Five Guys Named Moe and Crazy for You, it sounds like it’s from another millennium.  The Falsettos is notable because it’s a modern story, and it focuses on the AIDS crisis.  As much as I want to praise this show, at the same time the music isn’t quite all the way there, and it doesn’t completely age well.

Crazy for You ended being the peak show of the early nineties nostalgia craze–for the next few years we get some interesting choices before Disney takes over Broadway.  Stay tuned.

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Tony Awards 1991: The Will Rogers Follies

17 Jan

What the heck 1991?  What is wrong with you?    Ok, for that year we had four shows to pick from–the marvelous and huge hit Miss Saigon, the haunting and evocative Secret Garden, and the multicultural extravaganza Once on this Island.  I could have accepted any of those three as the winner.   Of course they picked The Will Rogers Follies, the extremely nostalgic and slightly smarmy show of the year.   I can understand City of Angels the year before, after all, there wasn’t that much to pick from, but in 1991 they had plenty to pick from.

Ok, so for those who don’t know, Will Rogers was the cowboy comic that was a star from the early days of Broadway, through the early thirties, known for his wisecracks and dry sense of humor, he was a true American great.   However, the show itself is exactly the sort that Rogers would have made fun of in his time.  You might recall a one man show about Mark Twain, that tells his life story, but also exaggerates it a little for humor.  A nice show for such a thing, but add a dozen cast members, flat musical numbers, and a lot of mugging, it becomes incredibly twee and smug at the same time, I guess I could call that “twug” as that would be the kind of joke that would go on this show.

Keep in mind, in another year I might have had no objection, but The Secret Garden that year is (in my opinion) the masterpiece of the bunch–it’s a marvelous work, and one of the few shows which features children that I don’t find obnoxious in the least.

Oh well, I can’t always agree with the Tonys.   Next time, the nostalgia craze peaks in 1992 before Disney eats half of broadway.