All tagged Blood Brothers
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.
It is the very rare occasion that a musical has a book, music AND lyrics all by the same person. Meredith Willson did it all three for The Music Man, but even he had help from Franklin Lacey on the book. No, it takes a very special talent to navigate all three of these components. That’s why Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers has always been a fascinating musical for me. It is all of one voice, and the epic tale of the Johnstone twins is a thrilling soap opera steeped in superstition, pop music, tragedy and humor.
Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals represent some of the biggest hits to come to Broadway via Great Britain, where they were created and mounted. Indeed, many London West End transfers with music by Sir ALW have had long runs; The Phantom of the Opera and Cats come to mind. There was a period in the 80’s and early 90’s where Webber was responsible for leading what was termed “The British Invasion”. But the knighted songsmith is not the only Brit to usher in some terrific musicals that found success on Broadway. Today’s column celebrates the best of the non-Webber British musicals to come to Broadway.