Favorite Tony Award Performances

Inspired by Christopher Isherwood's NY Times article on favorite Tony Awards performances, here are a few of my own favorites:

I wasn't familiar with this clip before Isherwood's article, but Charles Nelson Reilly's medley from the 1974 Tony Awards, about great moments in musical theater history (that happened while he was changing costumes), is hilarious. Hard to believe he was once the male ingénue in Hello, Dolly! (or that Tony performances could be 8 minutes long)...

Following the camp theme, here's Nathan Lane & Gregory Hines in a medley of songs originally sung by women.

Hugh Jackman sings Not The Boy Next Door from The Boy from Oz. Love his audience interaction with Sarah Jessica Parker.

Speaking of Hugh Jackman, he opened the 2004 Tony Awards with One Night Only, which featured the odd juxtaposition of Fiddler on the Roof & Avenue Q (and those high kicks with the Rockettes!)

Turning to dance numbers, here's Michael Jeter & Brent Barrett in We'll Take A Glass Together from Grand Hotel. Jane Krakowski introduces the clip with a remembrance of Jeter's powerful acceptance speech for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, in which he discussed overcoming his alcohol & drug addiction.

I'm not usually a big fan of gimicky dance numbers, but how can you not love Tommy Tune's (seated) choreography for Keith Carradine & company in Our Favorite Son from The Will Rogers Follies? (and the underrated score from Cy Coleman and Comden & Green?)

The song doesn't make any sense, but Donna McKechnie & company dance up a storm in Turkey Lurkey Time from Promise, Promises (watch Seth Rudestky deconstruct McKechnie's ridiculous flexability).

Oh Dorothy Loudon... (Easy Street from Annie)

Oh Lillias White... (My Body from The Life)

A sentimental favorite is Passion from the 1994 Tony Awards. In those pre-YouTube days, I wore out the audiotape I made (holding the radio up to the TV) before the original cast recording came out. I remember being upset when I heard the Finale on the recording because it didn't end with the same way as on the Tonys.

The Secret Garden is one of the shows I most wish I had seen in the theatre (if mostly for the scenery).

My favorite recent performance is You Don't Know & I Am the One from Next To Normal (with Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, and Aaron Tveit). Thrilling.

And any list of favorite Tony Award performances *has* to end with It's All Over / And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going from Dreamgirls. I laugh every time Jennifer Holiday lifts her leg like a sumo wrestler so she doesn't trip over the floor cable, but by the end I'm always in tears.

What are your favorite Tony Award performances?


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