Friday, June 9, 2017

Tony Sampler (back in the day...)

 Kiss Me Kate,
winner of the first Best Musical Tony,
awarded in 1949.
The musical was inspired by the real-life marriage woes
of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne,
who had similar "Kate" backstage battles
during their performances in The Taming of the Shrew.
Above, Patricia Morison, Alfred Drake, Lisa Kirk, and Harold Lang.

 The 1951 Tony winner (and Pulitzer Prize winner, as well) 
was Guys And Dolls,
with Stubby Kaye, Douglas Deane, and Johnny Silver placing bets, above.
Leading players Robert Alda and Isabel Bigley
also scooped awards,
along with choreographer Michael Kidd and director George S. Kaufman.
 Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner
in The King And I,
"Shall We Dance"-ing!
and why shouldn't they? 
The production won Best Musical of 1952,
Gertrude won for leading actress in a musical,
and Yul got one for featured performer.
(Winning in the leading actor category was
Phil Silvers in Top Banana!)

 Robert Preston (and Eddie Hodges) helped The Music Man
scoop the 1958 award,
beating out West Side Story.
Americana trumped (if you'll excuse the expression)
Leonard's urban gangs, I guess.
We'll hear the over-played but always-rousing
"Seventy-Six Trombones".

 A photo from the movie Damn Yankees (1956)
(tho we'll hear from the staged musical),
with Gwen Verdon (above with hubby Bob Fosse).
Adler and Ross's 2nd (and last) Tony winner,
done just a year after their 1st winner,
The Pajama Game (1955).
Jerry Ross would die just six months after Yankees opened,
at the age of 29.

 Nine, with music by Maury Yeston,
won in 1982,
based on Fellini's 8.5 (okay, 1/2!).
Raul Julia, Karen Akers, and Anita Morris starred,
and it explored the roles of women in 
movie director Guido Contini's life.
Note the black socks (so Italian!).

 A Chorus Line scarfed 9 Tonys in 1976,
and a Pulitzer, too...
the work of Michael Bennett, Marvin Hamlisch, Edward Kleban,
and some pretty incredible dancers
who lent their stories for the telling (if not the monetary compensation).
Below, Priscilla Lopez, who got to sing "Nothing"
and "What I Did For Love",
nominated for a Tony, but...

 Two Norma Desmonds
from Sunset Boulevard, which won in 1995.
Patti Lupone, below,
started out in the London production,
but by the time it sailed to Broadway,
it was Glenn Close's turn for a close up (above)!
Music, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Glynis Johns in Stephen Sondheim's 
A Little Night Music, winner in 1973...
The signature song, "Send In The Clowns" was written 
specifically for Glynis' vocal abilities.
According to Sondheim, she couldn't sustain a phrase,
so he intentionally wrote the song in short phrases,
to "be acted more than sung".
The song went on to win a Grammy,
and Glynis, a Tony.
 Well, THAT worked! :)

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