All tagged New Girl in Town
With the TV miniseries Fosse/Verdon on is way to the small screen this April, I thought I would take some time to look back on one of Broadway’s most captivating triple-threats and honored leading ladies: Gwen Verdon. Gwen Verdon was a multi-Tony Award winner, playing a wide variety of roles, many of which became iconic thanks to her distinctive personality and voice, not to mention her nonpareil dance skills. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and remember the one, the only, the unforgettable, Gwen Verdon and the Broadway musicals that she touched.
Oh, you knew that sooner or later I was going to have to address this one, easily the most debated Tony Awards Best Musical outcome in history. Many people feel that West Side Story should have bested The Music Man this season, when it was, in fact, the other way around. Today, we look at the merits and detractions of both shows, as well as those of the three other nominees to debate whether Tony got it right.
In the mid 1950s, composer-lyricist Bob Merrill found himself writing musicals for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at a time when the studio was just beginning to phase out the whole genre. The times were changing and the big-budget Hollywood musical was no longer the box office draw it had once been. A new sensibility was creeping into film that demanded tighter, smaller productions that were less expensive to produce. America was also changing. The children of the World War II vets were growing up, contemporary music was evolving, and soon rock & roll would be taking over the radio landscape. This new generation wanted Chuck Berry, Elvis and before long, The Beatles. Families were divided on entertainment. Musical films and the music generated by musicals grew more and more passé, a victim of the generation gap. This certainly took its toll on film musicals. After a few final crowning achievements with Gigi and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, by the middle of the 60s, MGM had halted production on musicals altogether.
With the Tony Award nominations announced and the race setting in to be a pretty uneventful one since Hamilton appears to be poised to win most of the prizes, I started thinking about what these awards would look like if Hamilton were not in the equation. For the Best Musical prize, I think it is fair to say that the race would come down to a dead heat between Waitress and Bright Star, with Bright Star edging out the win on Tony night. This got me thinking about other years where juggernauts like Hamilton were a foregone conclusion, and what might have happened if those titles had never been in play. Read along and debate with me.