This is a tough year to be a Tony voter. And I think this category, Best Revival might be the hardest one. I thought Into the Woods would have it locked (i raved about it last semester) However here come these three gorgeous revivals: Camelot, Sweeney Todd and and how does one choose (I’m sorry to Dancin but with only four slots its a rough world out there). Well i would love to be a tony voter, so I can make the hard choice. If i was voting I would be between Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods. I would ultimately maybe have to say Sweeney. Again might not be my favorite but it had the most complete staging, ensemble, spectacle mix, whilst into the woods staging is much more reserved. I would be conflicted however and would like to give hugs to all the shows. See below for all the individual reviews.
Official Blurb: This CAMELOT is a fresh take on the classic tale. It has a book by Aaron Sorkin, based on the original by Alan Jay Lerner, with the warm support of the Lerner & Loewe estates. Among his many accolades, Aaron is the Academy Award- and Emmy Award-winning writer of The Social Network, The Trial of the Chicago 7, A Few Good Men, “The West Wing,” and Broadway’s recent To Kill A Mockingbird, also directed by Bartlett Sher. But while the book is new, the most beloved elements of the story are intact: the romantic triangle between Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot; the quest to establish democracy and justice over chaos; the bittersweet wish for the world to be as it once was. And, the gorgeous score is still there including “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Lusty Month of May” and the title song “Camelot,” to be played by a 30-piece orchestra using the original orchestrations. Leading the cast of 27 are three extraordinary actors:Andrew Burnap, who won the 2021 Tony Award for Best Actor in The Inheritance, is our spirited, young King Arthur. Phillipa Soo, best known for originating the role of Eliza in Hamilton, and most recently seen as Cinderella in the Encores! revival of Into The Woods, and Sarah Brown in the Kennedy Center’s Guys and Dolls will be our smart and powerful Guenevere. Jordan Donica, who was our wonderful Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady, returns as the conflicted knight, Lancelot
My take: This productions is gorgeous. Gorgeous acting, beautiful sets and luscious costumes. (all of Philippa Soo’s velvet dresses are divine) . The arches and the trees in the set are so stoic and cold prescicely the feeling I would expect for a British Middle ages monarchy show. And the lighting effects were quite wonderful too. But Lets talk about the acting which is the highlight of the show. I cant believe Phillipa Soo in a single season did two ridiculously good revival performances. Her voice can do no wrong, but I also loved her Guinevere, an empowered queen. I saw Andrew Durlap in the Inheritance and I had forgotten it was him until I read the playbill. His performance is quite nuanced, you get his power, but it is a vulnerable power, his hesitation is evident and you can feel so many layers of Arthur. I loved his performance. I didn’t Didn’t get Jordan Danica – Matías De La Flor was great as well I just think the sound needed adjusting because we could not hear him as clearly. Oh how i wish they sang more! a 50 year old note to Mr Lerner and Lowe I want more opportunities for these gorgeous singers to sing to me. But kidding aside, what do I need to do now: I need to see the old movie, shame on me I had not done so before. Although I have listened to the music I’ve never seen the original. So I cant speak on the comparisons between the old book and this one, but I can say that the book here was excellent. The ending wrecked me it was so well crafted (tears were shed not going to lie). My only very Aaron Sorkin appropriate comment: it could use to be 15 minutes shorter!
Official Blurb: For the first time since 1980, Broadway audiences can experience Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award®–winning score as it was performed in the original production—with Jonathan Tunick’s classic 26-player orchestration on an epic scale. Tony Award–winning director Thomas Kail (Hamilton) helms the return of this musical thriller starring Tony and Grammy® nominee Josh Groban (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) as Sweeney Todd and Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford (Sunday in the Park With George, Kinky Boots) as Mrs. Lovett. Tony winner Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen) reunites with Kail as Music Supervisor, and Olivier Award winner Steven Hoggett (Once, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) choreographs this new production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
My take: There is only one way to start my thoughts: give Annaleigh Ashford all the awards! She is absolutely spectacular and is above everything else I’ve this season (And I have seen a lot this season) the best performance I have seen. A true testament to the performance was this comment from one of my fellow theater goes, who does not speak that much english: Even if i was not understanding what she was saying, She communicated everything I needed to know with her body. If that is not an endorsement I do not know what is. Now that we have stated the obvious, lets get on with the show.
Now on to the confession part of the review, (and we already spoke at length about this in my Into the Woods review) I am not the biggest Sweeney Todd fan. In general, I am not huge on Sondheim although the older I get the more he grows on me, but still I was a ALW girl growing up. However this voices and direction made me really appreciate and enjoy the show. Also I greatly appreciate the moderation in the blood. The whole cast is excellent, its not just Annaleigh, even though I did go on and on about her. Josh Groban sing this score beautifully, although acting wise he is not up to her level, but singing, he can sign the song book to me and I would be happy. I really enjoyed Jordan Fisher, as I’ve been a fan for a while, and he doesn’t disappoint here. And not that I doubted him, but Gaten Matazzaro is a revelation, he is adorable on stage.
IN general, I would define this a sexier Sweeney all around And I am here for it.
Official Blurb: The acclaimed, sold-out New York City Center production of PARADE starring Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award® winner Ben Platt is moving to Broadway in the can’t-miss event of the year. The New York Times hails it as a Critic’s Pick and “the best-sung musical in many a New York season. It recalls an era of big casts, big stories and big talent – a time when musicals actually felt like events.” Platt and rising star Micaela Diamond (The Cher Show) reprise their “powerhouse performance for the ages” (The New York Times) in Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry’s Tony-winning musical, under the visionary direction of Michael Arden (Once On This Island – Best Revival Tony winner). Leo and Lucille Frank are a newlywed Jewish couple struggling to make a life in the old red hills of Georgia. When Leo is accused of an unspeakable crime, it propels them into an unimaginable test of faith, humanity, justice and devotion. Riveting and gloriously hopeful, PARADE reminds us that to love, we must truly see one another.
My take: I really appreciate a show that makes me think. We were researching all the way out of the theater as to what happened after, and wanting to learn more about the story. The power of a good story. However it also made me feel so much. Credit the power of great storytelling and beautiful acting. I didn’t doubt Ben Platt would be great, and he totally met my expectations. Micaela Diamond hits it out of the park and she was probably the revelation for me here. The staging is simple (as is the case with transfers like this) but it does not need anything else, the music and the actors do all the talking. Be forewarn, this is not an easy show to watch so be prepared for some strong material and some potential crying. This is not a dance number happy singing off the theater show. But it is a fabulous show.
And yes that is Ben Platt on the intermission stage in the picture below. He sits there all intermission long not breaking once. I was impressed
Because I discovered this too late and we were googling the hell out of this, the shows website has a wonderful link of resources for further reading. Because trust me you are going to want to do some further reading.
Official Blurb: “FUN, LAUGHS, GOOD TIMES!” (NY Mag). Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’ is “an all-out spectacular celebration of Fosse’s passion and those who bring it so vividly alive on stage” (Daily Beast). Utterly reimagined for the 21st century by director Wayne Cilento—who starred in the original Broadway production—this DANCIN’ brims with a level of warmth, emotion, and color rarely seen in modern interpretations of Fosse’s influential style, and features some of his most inventive and seldom performed choreography. “A surefire crowd-pleaser, DANCIN’ stars 22 of Broadway’s best dancers — watching them move is a thrill! This is Broadway, baby!” (Entertainment Weekly).
my take: I know I was warned at the start that there would be no plot in this show. That still does not make it so that I fully enjoyed there not being a plot. I was watching the most beautiful technical dancing on Broadway but I was a bit bored. It really is missing some more developed storylines or for it to be 20 min (or more) shorter. There were 3 spectacular numbers for me : sing sing sing , mr bojangles and the opening number. Everything else just didn’t have the same level of wow factor.
I appreciated the technique I just wanted to feel more (as my dance teacher says – make the audience feel something). However I am now an absolute fan of all the dancers. They were all superb and I love how highlighted they are (Especially with how the bows are) giving them their much deserved moment in the spotlight. I was especially blown away by: Kolton Krouse, Khori Michelle Petinaud, Pedter John Chursin & Karli Dinardo.
Side note, I hate to write down the name of this show, it has too many apostrophes for my taste.