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Tony Award Time Machine: 2002

June 4th, 2012

"Thoroughly Modern Millie". Image via Google.

Buckle up, gang, the years are flying by again as we hit the gas on our time machine. With 1972, 1982 and 1992 in our rear view mirror, 2002 is rising before us in all its palindromic glory.

And what does Tony-night look like to us time travelers as we step into the celebrity-packed theater? Sutton Foster is beaming; future Smash cast mates Christian Borle and Brian d’Arcy James are a seat away from each other; Bernadette Peters bubbles and coos. In fact, it’s all eerily similar to where we live today except for the nagging feeling that everything and everyone looks a bit fresher and less lived-in — like we all went to sleep in New York and woke up in Toronto.

Edward Albee’s The Goat or Who is Sylvia? takes the top prize for plays while Thoroughly Modern Millie bests Urinetown in the Best Musical category, though that feisty little show grabs a number of other statuettes. As for the performances, the less said about the awkward “tell the whole story in 3-minutes” mega-mix strategy employed by Mamma Mia and the Into the Woods revival the better. (How often are those two shows ever in the same sentence?) Seriously, a note to today’s producers planning their Tony performances — do one whole number! Musicals don’t cut into nice neat little movie trailers. Songs are meant to be experienced as a build to climax.

So where shall we start watching? How about at the very beginning? It’s a very good place to start, I hear…

Lord sakes, there’s Michele Lee again, freed from her 1982 poodle hair and clearly aiming to remind everyone she’s still here. I haven’t the faintest idea what Mos Def is up to but I KNOW that it isn’t one of my favorite things. Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows are in good voice and Patrick Wilson is reminding us why he should be back in a musical–though wearing less clothing.

Hunter Foster steps up and wows ’em with “Run Freedom Run” from Urinetown…but he isn’t the only Foster in the house.

Sis’ Sutton slays ’em with “Forget About the Boy” from Thoroughly Modern Millie. Kind of makes you wonder what sort of music theater bootcamp Mom & Pop Foster were running in their backyard. “Hunter, drop and give me 10 cramp rolls.” “Sing out, Sutton!”


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