Friday, May 22, 2015

Flashback Friday: 15 Years Ago: A Class Act

This week, I'll continue my look back at the Best Musical Tony nominees from 15 seasons ago.  Just as with  The Full Monty last week, this week's show was full of established Broadway professionals and newbies who would go on to make their mark.  And there are a few connections to 2015 as well.

A Class Act was a charming little show, and a must-see for Broadway fans.  Celebrating the life of composer-lyricist Edward Kleban, the musical used Kleban's trunk songs (and a few snippets from his most famous work, A Chorus Line).  There were some real gems, including my favorites, "Mona," "Paris Through The Window," "The Next Best Thing to Love," and "Under Separate Cover."  Kleban was the star of the show, as it should be.

30 previews, 105 performances at the Ambassador Theatre

Randy Graff and Lonny Price
Stars at the time:

  • Lonny Price (Writer, Director, Ed Kleban) - An actor most notable for Master Harold and the Boys, and a pair of well-known flops, Rags and Merrily We Roll Along, Price was establishing himself as a writer-director. Tony nomination, Best Book of a Musical.
  • Randy Graff (Sophie) - Broadway's original Fantine in Les Miserables, she won a Tony Award for her hilarious (and beautifully sung) turn in City of Angels.  She made her debut in the original production of Grease and went on to star in Laughter on the 23rd Floor, High Society and Moon Over Buffalo. Tony nomination, Best Actress in a Musical.
  • Jeff Blumenkrantz (Charley) - Prior to A Class Act, he most notably starred in Damn Yankees and How to Succeed. Later, he went on to be a Tony-nominated composer for 2003's Urban Cowboy.
  • Patrick Quinn (Lehman) - A Class Act would turn out to be the late actor's final Broadway appearance.  The Actors' Equity President previously appeared in such shows as Damn Yankees, Oh! Coward! and Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

The Company
Lonny Price and Sara Ramirez
Stars were born:

  • Kevin Adams (Lighting Design) - Though not his first Broadway design, Adams would go on to be a 6 time Tony nominee and 4 time winner for Spring Awakening, The 39 Steps, American Idiot and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  He was also nominated for Next to Normal and Hair.
  • Sara Ramirez (Felicia) - Previously seen in a couple of short running shows - The Capeman and The Gershwin's Fascinating Rhythm - Ramirez would go on to win a Tony for Spamalot.  Now she's a TV star (Grey's Anatomy) and hasn't been back since.
  • Danny Burstein (Understudy) - Though he had been in several Roundabout revivals prior to A Class Act, it was after this that he became one of Broadway's biggest and most loved stars, earning 5 Tony nominations in the process, for The Drowsy Chaperone, South Pacific, Follies, Golden Boy and Cabaret.

The Company
The 2015 Connection:

  • David Hibbard (Bobby) - Currently in Something Rotten!
  • Larry Hochman (Orchestrations) - Orchestrated this season's On the Twentieth Century, The Visit and Something Rotten!, for which he is Tony nominated.
  • Adam Heller (Replacement) - Currently in It Shoulda Been You.
  • David Loud (Musician) - Musical Director of The Visit.
  • Stafford Arima (Associate Director) - Directing the upcoming Allegiance.

Next week: Jane Eyre


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