Tonight was the 63rd Annual Tony Awards. For those not familiar, the Tony Awards are Broadway's Oscars. As avid a theater lover as I am, I actually have never tuned into the Tony Awards in its entirety before until tonight. As far as award shows go, a show for Broadway shows just seems too easy. It was completely entertaining and had me web surfing and paper scanning through the A&E section of the Post-Dispatch the whole time for local performances. The itch is back.
I'm not sure what it is about the embellished marquee lights and signs, souvenir flimsy Playbills, and dusty large red velour curtains, but something about theater is truly whimsical. While I have absolutely no singing or dancing abilities whatsoever, if I could do anything just for a day I would go backstage of one of the enchanting Broadway venues, like the Gershwin Theater, where I could be surrounded by gorgeous sequined costumes (the only thing I find sequins acceptable on), antiquated dressing rooms and props, and get ready to belt out "New York, New York." With a voice like Kristin Chenoweth's, of course.
I have been more than fortunate to see a great number of truly great live theatrical performances both in my hometown of St. Louis, and even a couple in New York. Unfortunately though, with the incredible amount of media at our fingertips and dozens of cheesy movie reprises of such Brodway hits, many young folks have a lack of interest in the fine art. After a long battle, St. Louis just scored another cultural win by getting approval to rehab the old Kiel Opera House in the Downtown district. Critics actually emerged from the local theater industry for such approval because they think it would steal away business from St. Louis' biggest theater, The Fox. While I can understand economic concerns, I think the bottom line is that an increase exposure to the arts and theater can only help all involved in the industry.
While not everyone may start a small collection of original scores and soundtracks after they see a show, such as myself, I do challenge anyone who has not been to a live stage performance to not enjoy it. Unless you see something head scratchingly odd such as Xanadu, I think you would be hard pressed not find yourself head bobbing to at least one tune. And if you enjoy it anywhere near as much as I do, you may even feel your eyes well up at the curtain call. It just gets me every time.
A Beginner's Broadway Playlist:
1. Cabaret - from Cabaret
2. New York, New York - from New York, New York
3. Popular - from Wicked
4. The Trolley Song - from Meet Me In St. Louis
5. 76 Trombones - from The Music Man
6. Tomorrow - from Annie
7. All That Jazz - from Chicago
8. Music of the Night - from Phantom of the Opera
9. Seasons of Love - from Rent
10. Day By Day -from Godspell
...but so so many more