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.

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