Friday, December 28, 2007

SOB's 7 Singular Sensations Of '07 - #5: Raúl Esparza

SOB's 7 Singular Sensations Of '07 - #5: Raúl Esparza

Introduction: While others use the end of the year to provide their lists of the top shows of the past year, here at Steve On Broadway (SOB), I wait until the conclusion of the entire Theatrical Season to provide my official tally.

Instead, I'm once again devoting the waning days of the calendar year to celebrate SOB's Singular Sensations -- those magical live performances that have stayed with me throughout the year. During 2007, I have enjoyed, been wowed and ultimately inspired by a dazzling display of excellent performances from some of the theatre world's best actors, singers and dancers of our time.

With all due and considerable respect to the talented David Hyde Pierce (recognized with an "Honorable Mention" among my SOB Singular Sensations of 2006), Raúl Esparza’s breathtaking performance of “Being Alive” alone should have been enough for him to win the Tony for making Company's audiences hyperventilate.

In my SOB Review last March, I noted:

I was struck by the inventive and symbolic ways (director John Doyle) isolates Bobby, played by a breathtakingly real Raúl Esparza, who sings angelically.

In my "Best of 2007" round-up of the Best Musical Revivals, in which his talents helped the show capture the fourth spot, I said:

In Company, Esparza soars to spine-tingling new musical heights. In the climax when finally taking a seat at the piano, his Bobby is ready to join the human race in a way he's never before experienced. Ultimately, Esparza's finely calibrated performance melted his way into my heart. I can't think of any actor I've seen on the Broadway stage this past year who is more deserving of a Tony Award than he -- this is one performance no serious musical theatre lover can afford to miss.
The first time I ever caught Esparza was in 1999. He was absolutely magnificent portraying Che in a wonderful touring revival of Evita. And while I have not yet had the opportunity to see the revival of The Homecoming that feaures Esparza's dramatic debut, I take heart from Ben Brantley's review that his truly is a "benchmark performance."

Perhaps Raúl Esparza will be a repeat in next year's round-up. In the meantime, here's toasting this superb singing singular sensation.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
SOB's 7 Singular Sensations Of '07 - #6: John Gallagher, Jr. (December 28, 2007)
SOB's 7 Singular Sensations Of '07 - #7: Jennifer Holliday (December 27, 2007)
SOB's Best Of 2006-07: Best Revivals Of Musicals (May 18, 2007)
Company (The SOB Review) (March 2, 2007)
SOB's 6 Singular Sensations Of '06 - #1: Patti LuPone (December 30, 2006)
Honorable Mentions: SOB's Singular Sensations Of '06 (December 30, 2006)
SOB's 6 Singular Sensations Of '06 - #2: Cate Blanchett (December 30, 2006)
SOB's 6 Singular Sensations Of '06 - #3: Chita Rivera (December 29, 2006)
SOB's 6 Singular Sensations Of '06 - #4: Barry Humphries (December 28, 2006)
SOB's 6 Singular Sensations Of '06 - #5: Kitty Carlisle Hart (December 28, 2006)
SOB's 6 Singular Sensations Of '06 - #6: Meryl Streep (December 26, 2006)

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