Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Early Tony Handicapping

Early Tony Handi-capping

Two of Steve On Broadway's favorite "Must Read" blogs -- Full Force Theatre Musings and ModernFabulousity -- have already begun handicapping the 2008 Tony Awards.

FFTM's CaraJoy, of course, first posted her mid-season musings in 2007 and last mentioned her early betting in January.

Last week, ModFab's Gabriel began his discussion on plays and revivals of plays and continues it today with the betting on musicals, new and otherwise.

ModFab picked up on a comment I made last week in posting the news (now confirmed) that Glory Days would be heading to Broadway from the DC Area's Signature Theatre (not to be confused with the Off-Broadway Signature on West 42nd Street). I said that given the Main Stem's "disappointing big musicals" (read: critical drubbing of both Young Frankenstein and The Little Mermaid), "this is quickly becoming the year of the little musical with oversized hearts." ModFab was quick -- and right -- to point out that two "big" tuners, Cry-Baby and A Catered Affair, have yet to open.

While I would never want to count either one out, let's just say that how ever fair or unfair, the initial buzz I've been hearing on Cry-Baby is not terribly favorable, and A Catered Affair is further challenged both by the stinging tryout review by The Los Angeles Times 's Charles McNulty and the subsequent kerfuffle, as well as the initial capitalization necessary for the Broadway incarnation.

Personally, I have high hopes for both.

As a big fan of John Waters, I'm champing at the bit to see if Cry-Baby can replicate some modicum of Hairspray's universal success. I'm also rooting for Harvey Fierstein and know that he's pouring every last ounce of energy into making A Catered Affair a complete delight. I hope both succeed.

While I agree wholeheartedly with ModFab that inevitably, the Tony focus turns to what shows can sell tickets on tour, if either of these shows is torpedoed by bad reviews, the Tony race just may become one big Cinderella story for this year's little shows. But I'm prepared to withhold my glass slipper fitting until Cry-Baby and A Catered Affair have had the opportunity to open.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
Glory Days Yet To Come This Broadway Season? (March 19, 2008)
Heights Opens: Did Critics Offer High Marks? (March 10, 2008)
Did Critics Provide Passing Grades To Passing Strange? (February 29, 2008)
Did Little Mermaid Find Its Legs Among Critics? (January 11, 2008)
Did Critics Think Young Frankenstein Was Putzin' On The Shtick? (November 8, 2007)
Did Critics Offer Xana-Dos Or Don'ts? (July 11, 2007)

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At 25 March, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

You know, everyone's tastes are different. I mean, look at the accolades heaped on "Rock 'n' Roll," all the great critical buzz it had coming from London. Boy, was that a disappointment. Well, to me anyway!

Going to Broadway is still a big treat for me. So I'm excited about everything!

I'm still psyched about "Cry-Baby" and "A Catered Affair." I'm excited about seeing Rob Ashford's choreography in "Cry-Baby," and getting some funny, topical 1950s-type songs. I've never seen Harriet Harris on stage, and I know she's an SOB favorite.

And I've never seen Harvey Fierstein on stage before. Reason enough to be excited about "A Catered Affair."

At 25 March, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Amen to each of your points, Esther!

At 25 March, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Catered Affair in San Diego and thought it had some serious problems- namely the book and the score. It does sound, however, that many change are being made to the show including new orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick which should be a big help. The performances and direction were amazing. I definitely see Tony nominations for Faith Prince and Leslie Kritser.

I loved, loved, loved CRY-BABY in San Diego...if you love John Waters' films, you will love this show.

-BroadwayBaby (having problems again with the logon id)

At 26 March, 2008, Anonymous BroadwayBaby said...

Even though it's way too early, I think the best musical Tony will go to In The Heights. While I thought that this year might signal a return to a more traditional musical theatre offering, it looks like In the Heights is the one show that seems to excite almost everybody.

At 26 March, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

BroadwayBaby, That's a pretty bold prediction on your part. Would be curious to know more of your rationale given the mixed reviews it has received.

At 26 March, 2008, Blogger SarahB said...

I'm in complete agreement with BroadwayBaby!

At 26 March, 2008, Anonymous BroadwayBaby said...


To answer your question about my rationale. I think Glory Days is too small of a show to really make an impact, Catered Affair and Cry-Baby are earning very mixed reviews from people online (some hate them, some love them). Passing Strange is not a show that would do well on tour. I have yet to hear of one person who "HATES" In the Heights. Yes, some people have complained that the book is is cliched and slight or that the ryhming doesn't work, but people tend to like or love the show, and it hasn't generated any "hatred" online like some of the other shows.I think "In the Heights" is show that would do well on tour and draw younger audiences. Touring show producers and theatres are looking for the next "RENT"- a show that would draw younger audiences, and i think "In the Heights" will shape up to be this year's equivalent of "Avenue Q" or "Spring Awakening".

Since I obviously will not be seeing ITH till Friday (same time as you), I may change my mind after watching the show.

At 26 March, 2008, Blogger SarahB said...

My opinion is that ITH is completely fresh and new, it's high energy and exciting - people are dancing in their seats and out of the theatre - it's not like anything else out there or like anything before. Crybaby and A Catered Affair aren't even original ideas. They may be entertaining, but I don't believe that makes them Tony-worthy. But then again, I don't think Ave Q is/was Tony-worthy.


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