I am currently taking a break from the stage but watching the Tony awards on Sunday gave me the itch to get back out there again and perform! These are some of my favorite roles I have played over the years. And the chances of me ever winning a Tony award are quite slim, but I don't need an award to feel proud of the work I have done! So, lets get to the current Broadway shows!
The 2018 Tony Awards opened magnificently! Didn’t everyone just love Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles as the hosts?! I loved their opening numbers! Not only did they sound amazing, but they also managed to inspire as well! They sang to everyone who would lose at the Tonys that evening - "This is for the people who lose, cuz most of us have been in your shoes!"
How true is that? The lyrics were BRILLIANT and they nailed the song!! Check out the full video here. In my opinion, if you are getting WORK in NYC, I call that a win. What an insanely tough business it is, and just to be nominated is such an honor! There are so many shows and actors that may never win a Tony. That doesn’t make them any less talented or successful.
I will start off by saying - I did NOT see any of the plays that were eligible for Tony Awards this season, so I won't talk about those. But, it’s a reminder to me that I NEED to see them in the future. I know I’m more of a musical theatre girl, but I want to see good acting and that is found on all of the stages in NYC! More importantly, I want to grow, and the more I broaden my horizons, the better. I was fortunate enough to see all the Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical nominees (except for My Fair Lady).
This was a strange season for new musicals on Broadway. The four nominees for Best Musical were all based on movies/TV, and three of those were based on commercial stories with broad tourist appeal. The nominees for Best Revival of a Musical were shows that captivate all audiences because of the timeless storytelling. All of the nominees in both categories offer a vast variety of stories to tell - stories of isolation, loneliness, friendship, love, loss and heartbreak. They were all completely different and unique in their own way. Everyone is allowed to have their opinion on choosing their “cup of tea,” but in my mind, you can find something creative and innovative in each one. I have found that many theatre people get snooty with their opinions, and I don’t necessarily think that should happen! We are not on Broadway, so why are we acting like we KNOW it all? Let’s take a step back and appreciate the art - and celebrate it!!
Highlight of the night: the student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, singing "Seasons of Love" from Rent. If this didn’t bring you to tears, then I don’t know what will! They sounded so good, and just to see them up there after all they have been through was so inspiring and BRAVE.
PERFORMANCES & SHOWS YOU MUST SEE IN NYC!
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL:
My Fair Lady: They did a medley of songs at the Tonys and they sounded amazing! It was your pure American classic musical performance. It is playing at Lincoln Center, and to no surprise, tickets are selling extremely well! I am hoping to see this one before the end of the year. All of the musicals produced by Lincoln Center are outstanding due to the production value, the orchestra, and the gorgeous space. I’m so ready to see this show!
Carousel: They performed “Blow High, Blow Low” at the Tonys, and it was beautiful! I was a little surprised they did that number because it didn’t really showcase their nominees. However, it did showcase the incredible dancing, and it gave me chills! It’s no wonder they won Best Choreography! I had never seen this musical before, and I was deeply moved to tears by it. The story and the raw performances by Jessie Mueller, Joshua Henry, Lindsay Mendez (winner for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical) and Renee Fleming were outstanding. I would highly recommend this show. It left me so inspired!
Once On This Island: WINNER of BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL! I think it was a shock to everyone, but they are SO deserving. I fell in LOVE with this show when I saw it last year! At the Tonys, they sang “We Dance / Mama Will Provide,” and it was a SHOWSTOPPER! Talk about incredible singing and overall FUN! You can’t help but dance and smile while they are performing. I really got invested in this show, and it was nothing like I had seen before! I cannot say enough good things! Please see this show!!
People complained this year about the nominees chosen. The truth is, whether you like it or not, commercial theatre does EXTREMELY WELL and it sells tickets! So, yes it may not have been the most original work this year, but the people involved are still working their butts off and inspiring others.
SpongeBob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical: They performed “Not a Loser” (the best number in the show), and it did not disappoint! Obviously, this is a kids show based on the cartoon, and it’s completely lighthearted and FUN! And what a spectacle! If you have kids or you are a fan of this cartoon, I think you would enjoy it. The performances are really fantastic! Downside - because of the audience demographic for a show like this, you do have to deal with very unruly audience behavior.
Frozen The Broadway Musical: They performed “For the First Time in Forever / Let It Go,” and what a performance it was! They were only nominated for 3 Tony Awards (Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book), but Disney stage productions don't disappoint when it comes to spectacle! This is also a kid-friendly show, so you sadly have to deal with the same poor audience behavior as SpongeBob. The actress who plays Elsa, Caissie Levy, blew me away. Her voice is incredible, and she slayed in the Tony performance and when we saw her on Broadway! And Olaf - well, he’s just the cutest!! I’m not going to get picky about other things, but if you love the movie and Disney musicals, you will NOT be disappointed!
Mean Girls: They performed “Where Do You Belong,” and I have to say, it was an odd choice. I am a SUPERFAN of this show (and the movie, of course). I am "Team Mean Girls" all the way! I believe they did this song to showcase all of the nominees in their show since they are all first timers, and that totally makes sense. However, this song did not reflect the show very well. Mean Girls is better than the Tony performance it gave! I think they should have done a medley of songs. So, I think a lot of people were disappointed because they wanted to hear the "Mean Girls" sing more! Although they didn't win a single Tony, this show doesn't need any to be successful - commercial theatre people! But, having seen the show, I will say that Taylor Louderman (Regina George) and Kate Rockwell (Karen) are the best parts! Taylor nails Regina and her voice is insane. Kate easily steals the show with her comic timing and classic one-liners (*Dream Role*). If you love the movie and can quote every line (like me), you will love the musical. They have also updated references and kept A LOT of the same ones from the movie - it’s hilarious! GO SEE THIS SHOW!
The Bands Visit: WINNER of BEST MUSICAL! They performed “Omar Sharif” (sung by Tony Winner Katrina Lenk), and it was beautiful. Unpopular opinion over here - I didn’t get all the hype. When I saw the show last year, I had a hard time understanding the dialogue due to the accents used in the production, so I spent the show trying hard to follow what was happening. This is a small, less-commercial piece, and I think if you are a tourist in NYC expecting to see a flashy show, this may not be the one for you. It’s beautiful in that it’s unique - the story of combining two cultures is so important - and the music is beautiful. I wish I could see it again, as I know I will have a different kind of appreciation. Most of the nights winners were from this show, and the performances were fantastic.
I will say this - do your research and read ABOUT the show! I’m not a critic by any means, but you have to decide for yourself what shows you think you will enjoy! One thing I do promise: they all have amazing performances and stories to tell. Enjoy a night at the theatre!
Other highly-recommended shows that are currently running on Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen, Hello, Dolly!, Come From Away, Wicked, Waitress, The Phantom of the Opera, and Anastasia!
If you’re coming to NYC this year, you have PLENTY to choose from! Look for discounted tickets! Go to TKTS or TodayTix and see their daily deals and discounted tickets for special shows! But more importantly, go see live theatre! It’s thrilling and there is nothing else like it! So, congratulations to all the nominees - you are all winners and I’m just inspired by it ALL!