Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Broadway on TV: The Best Musical Tony Award Nominees

For the last time this season, I'm taking a look at how the four nominees for Best Musical are using their nominations to woo us into seeing them.  I find it interesting that one doesn't even mention the Tonys (and it doesn't need to, sales-wise), one mentions it, but focuses on the cast, and the other two, which are the perceived front-runners, really push the Tony thing.  Go figure, right?

After Midnight
Grade A- : Though I would by no means count this one out of the running, I think it is wiser in the long run to let us know about the show's two biggest assets, which will long outlive and Tony hype they might generate.  Those assets are the spectacular dancing/Cotton Club connection, and the cavalcade of upcoming guest stars, divas all.  Smart and very good looking, it perfectly captures this extraordinary revue.

Grade B: This is the show that doesn't need to even really advertise, other than verify that it is worth waiting months to bring the kids (through great pull quotes) and that it is the show people have loved for the 20 years since the movie came out (the "Friend Like Me" music playing in the background).  This really needs some visuals from the show.  But again, they don't need it.  Oh, and no mention of the Tony nods - Disney seems to thrive on Broadway without them, and why set yourself up to look like a loser when you don't get the award?  I wouldn't mind it if Aladdin won, but I doubt that this will be the one to end the Disney drought.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Grade A-:  One of the two top contenders, this ad does it all.  It appeals to women (using "Natural Woman" to underscore it was a good choice).  The cross cuts make it look action-packed and romantic (I hope people aren't too disappointed on either front). And it reminds us of its 7 nods, and its biggest asset, the unbelievably great Jessie Mueller.  I have to cry "foul" though, for its closing image, "BEST MUSICAL" and in really tiny print "nominations."  A 30 second ad that whirls by might leave prospective ticket buyers with the notion that it has already won that title.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
Grade A+: Like Beautiful, this show knows it is a front-runner, and sells itself well.  First of all, kudos for getting David Hyde Pierce to narrate.  Second, you gotta love they way it down plays the critical huzzahs, making them all the more noticeable.  Third, it perfectly captures the fun, smart and very witty way the show is presented visually (it looks like an extravaganza, doesn't it?) and in tone.  And finally, what fun use of two of its Tony nominees - in character and, well, beautiful.  


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