We are at the point in the awards season where all of the nominations have been announced and the predictions and Monday morning quarterbacking are in full swing. But some of the nicest awards have been announced already: the Lifetime Achievement Awards. Several awards committees have made their selections for these esteemed honors, and I feel very lucky to have had the pleasure of seeing the work of all three of them.
JOEL GREY - 2015 Fred and Adele Astaire Award for Lifetime Achievement
I'm guessing that many of you "youngins" probably had your first exposure to this charismatic little man as The Wizard in Wicked, wondering why the grown-ups clapped when he first appeared. And then maybe you clapped yourself when he showed up in Anything Goes, because you knew him from Wicked! Of course, I wasn't even alive myself when he started his Broadway career. But I grew up listening to him on the OBCRs of George M! and his biggest success, Cabaret. It was in the 1987 revival of that show that I had my first opportunity to witness his brilliance in person, as the creepy, clown faced Emcee. 30 seconds into "Wilkommen," and I knew instantly what all the fuss was about. A few years later, at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, I was witness to the final performance he ever played in that role. News cameras were there to capture the event. I bet there'll be cameras there when he deservedly accepts this latest accolade.
CHITA RIVERA - 2015 John Willis Lifetime Achievement Award (Theatre World Awards)
It's her world, and we just live in it, they say these days. The truth is, the theater world has been hers for decades. I've had the pleasure of seeing her many times over the years - the first time when she headlined a national tour of Can-Can. I loved her in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, where she even made an opium den seem classy, and I get tingly just thinking about her current star-turn in The Visit (she also kicked ass as she's bound to do in the Signature Theatre version!). But my favorite Chita experience has to be her Tony-winning performance as Aurora in Kiss of the Spider Woman. I saw her more than half a dozen times between Broadway and the national tour, reveling in her dazzling dance moves in "Where You Are," and sitting mouth agape every time she launched into the title tune. It's been a great ride - so far. I bet this won't be her last visit.
TOMMY TUNE - 2015 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement
I was just a little boy when Tommy Tune was at his peak as a Broadway performer, though I did eventually get to see him sing and dance in the very excellent national tour of Bye Bye Birdie with Ann Reinking. I also had the rare opportunity to see him in Busker Alley, a show that could have been a very interesting Neew York return for him as a performer. What a dancer! And sooo tall! But I was at my theater-loving peak when Tune was at his directing/choreographing peak, with the back-to-back triumphs of Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies. The former was an astounding combination of style and concept, and a non-stop whirl of elegance, mystery and superb dancing. The latter a tribute to the opulence of a Broadway era long gone.To this day, my mind wanders to the memory of the haunting bolero between love and death, and the show-stopping "We'll Take a Glass" in Grand Hotel, and the gigantic opening number (and still the gold standard for such numbers IMHO) "Will-a-mania" from The Will Rogers Follies. He hasn't really been back much since the mega flop The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public. I managed to even see it, and it had its charms - leggy dancers singing phone sex in giant clear plastic cubes - and its funny moments - Dee Hoty taking her curtain call on a white horse, who, in inspired synchronized choreography, took a huge dump at the exact second Hoty tipped her hat to the audience. (See? Gigi isn't her most embarrassing moment by far...) But, if anyone is prime for a comeback, it is the great Tommy Tune. Even his staging of flops is better than a lot of things we sit through these days.
Congratulations, all! Thank you for a lifetime of memories.
HERE'S WHAT'S NEW ON THE SITE:
CLICK/TAP THE TABS ABOVE TO ACCESS OUR ARCHIVE OF SHOW AND MEDIA REVIEWS, AS WELL AS FEATURES LIKE BROADWAY WHO'S WHO AND ONE THAT GOT AWAY. COLLECTORS WILL BE INTERESTED IN OUR LIGHTS OF BROADWAY CARDS AND PLAYBILLS FOR SALE!
BROADWAY RETURNS: Moulin Rouge! - Resumes 9.24.21 THE 74TH TONY AWARDS - 9.26.21 Aladdin - Resumes 9.28.21 To Kill a Mockingbird - Resumes 10.5.21 Tina - Resumes 10.8.21 Girl From the North Country - Resumes 10.13.21 Ain't Too Proud - Resumes 10.16.21 Jagged Little Pill - Resumes 10.21.21 The Phantom of the Opera - Resumes 10.22.21 The Book of Mormon - Resumes 11.5.21 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Resumes 11.12.21 Dear Evan Hansen - Resumes 12.11.21 Beetlejuice - Resumes 4.8.22
NEW ON BROADWAY: Lackawanna Blues - Opens 9.28.21 SIX - Opens 10.7.21 Freestyle Love Supreme - Opens 10.7.21 Chicken & Biscuits - Opens 10.10.21 Is This a Room - Previews 9.24.21 Opens 10.11.21 The Lehman Trilogy - Previews 9.25.21 Opens 10.12.21 Dana H. - Previews 10.1.21 Opens 10.17.21 Thoughts of a Colored Man - Previews 10.1.21 Caroline, or Change -Previews 10.8.21 Opens 10.27.21 Trouble in Mind - Previews 10.8.21 Opens 10.27.21 Diana - Previews 11.1.21 Opens 11.17.21 Trouble in Mind - Previews 10.29.21 Opens 11.18.21 Clyde's - Previews 11.3.21 Opens 11.22.21 Mrs. Doubtfire - Previews 10.21.21 Opens 12.5.21 Flying Over Sunset - Previews 11.11.21 Opens 12.13.21 Company - Previews 11.15.21 Opens 12.9.21 Skeleton Crew - Previews 12.21.21 Opens 1.12.22 MJ: The Musical - Previews 12.6.21 Opens 2.1.22 The Music Man - Previews 12.20.21 Opens 2.10.22 Paradise Square - Previews 2.22.22 Opens 3.20.22 Take Me Out - Previews 3.9.22 Opens 4.4.22 Birthday Candles - Previews 3.18.22 Opens 4.10.22 The Minutes - TBA Plaza Suite - Previews 2.25.22 Opens 3.28.22 American Buffalo - TBA 1776 - TBA Sing Street - TBA Our Town - TBA
COMING UP THIS WEEK: Broadway Musical Revival Logos Tournament: THE CHAMPIONSHIP! - Performers We Can't Wait to See More Of - Broadway in a Box: Fiddler on the Roof - One That Got Away: Neil Simon's Rumors - Broadway Games!
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org (Email); @jkstheatrescene (Twitter); jkstheatrescene (Instagram)