All in Music That Makes Me Dance
This week’s debate takes us back to 1973, a year were anything was likely to happen and where two musicals (out of four nominees) were really the chief contenders for Best Musical, and two others that had much to offer but would ultimately be outshined. This was, after all, the decade where the team of composer Stephen Sondheim and director Harold Prince would revolutionize musical theatre.
I find this particular Tony year the most oft-debated on social media. Of course, it was a year with incredibly diverse offerings, and the four nominated Best Musicals each had a great deal to recommend. Most people are either squarely and adamantly behind Wicked, certain that it was robbed by Avenue Q. Just as many are ardently confident that Avenue Q was the rightful victor. Then we have two other shows, Caroline, or Change and The Boy From Oz, both pieces that arguably have equal claim for the Best Musical Tony. Not since The Music Man bested West Side Story at the 1958 Tony Awards has there been a more hotly contested Best Musical category. So, let’s take a look at the nominees individually and then begin the debate.
1966 was an interesting year in Tony Award history. Three of the four nominated Best Musicals, Man of La Mancha, Mame, and Sweet Charity, ultimately achieved iconic status and could have easily won the category, each for very different reasons. The three aforementioned nominees had some particularly good things going for them, but none of the three were the perfect musical, each falling short in one way or the other. The fourth nominee, Skyscraper, is simply in the running to round out the category, a weak choice in just about every aspect. We know that Man of La Mancha took home the prize, but did it have everything required to deserve a Best Musical win? Was there another title more deserving? Today we take a look at the 1966 Tony Awards and have that discussion.
Going into the 1992-1993 theatre Season, most theatergoers were anticipating the forthcoming musical The Goodbye Girl to be the big hit and Best Musical victor at the Tony Awards. By June of 1993, that supposed kick was to be challenged by two musicals that would instead face-off against each other for the Best Musical Tony: The Who’s Tommy and Kiss of the Spider Woman. Throw in the long-running British import Blood Brothers, and 1993 was suddenly a very uncertain outcome in regards to the Tony. Even on the night of the show, we remained on tenterhooks and even saw the possibility of a tie. Ultimately, Kiss of the Spider Woman would be the victor, rising like a phoenix from the ashes of its highly publicized and mostly maligned New Musicals production at SUNY Purchase a few years earlier.