2012 Tony Awards Clip Countdown - Day 15: Tommy Tune At The Tonys
Today we continue our extensive consideration of the best Tony Awards clips of all time - culled from over sixty years worth of shows, as we look ahead to the 2012 ceremony on June 10 - by saluting a true triple-threat times two whose Tony-winning Best Musical, THE Will Rogers FOLLIES, provided fodder for yesterday's selection - actor/director/choreographer extraordinaire, Tommy Tune.
Tommy Tune’s peerless career as a director/choreographer throughout the 1980s and early 1990s cemented his place in Broadway history as one of the greatest showmen of all time, which came as a direct result of his heady series of smash hit musicals - most Tony-winning; with more than a few Best Musicals, as well - with themes and topics and sounds and styles as wide-ranging as the country-tinged THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, the operatic and Italianate NINE, the glitzy Gershwin revue MY ONE AND ONLY, original concept musicals like GRAND HOTEL and THE Will Rogers FOLLIES and many more. Yet, it was Tune’s tutelage under the master of A CHORUS LINE, DREAMGIRLS and others, Michael Bennett, that first gave Tune his shot at the top with his star-making featured roles in Bennett’s A JOYFUL NOISE, and, then, his eventual Tony win for the troubled SEESAW, a musical which Bennett eventually took over as super-director/choreographer/conceiver himself (while only in his 20s). Tune would go on to super-direct in much the same way as Bennett did - even acting as star of his own creations from time to time, as in the case of MY ONE AND ONLY and BUSKER ALLEY. While Tune has stepped away from the Broadway stage in the last decade and a half, his protégé, Jeff Calhoun, has gone on to much success with his productions of GREASE, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, GREY GARDENS and this season’s double-header of new musicals, the short-running BONNIE & CLYDE and the super-hit NEWSIES. Tune recently directed a new play with music titled FIFTY-FOUR FOREVER which premiered, rapturously received, in a tryout production in Florida, so we may see Tune make his way back to Broadway some season soon after all with that new theatre piece. First, though, let’s go back to where it all began in 1974 and see some Tune-ful highlights taken from that year's Tony Awards ceremony and the thirty-eight years since.
Witness Best Actress In A Musical nominee Michele Lee performing the sensational closing song from SEESAW at the 1974 Tony Awards as directed by Michael Bennett below.
See Tune recreate his SEESAW showstopper, “It’s Not Where You Start It’s Where You Finish” at a gala concert in Australia many years later. He still can surely wow ‘em!
Now, let’s jump ahead almost ten years to 1983 and see Tommy Tune’s Tony-winning turn in MY ONE AND ONLY, opposite Twiggy.
Following that, take part in the overwhelming joy of victory as Tommy Tune and Thommie Walsh win Tony Awards for their work on MY ONE AND ONLY at the 1983 Tony Awards.
As a special bonus, go back to the moment when Tom Selleck introduced Tune and Twiggy recreating the elaborate “S’Wonderful” sequence from MY ONE AND ONLY on a television special, just a week after the show was nominated for several Tony Awards.
Lastly, Tommy Tune and the rest of the cast of the Jeff Calhoun collaboration BUSKER ALLEY perform a number from The Sherman Brothers score on the 1995 Tony Awards in this brief clip. Alas, due to an injury on the part of the show’s star, this would be the last time the show appeared on a Tony telecast since it never made it Broadway.
While there are certainly many more Tommy Tune-related Tony Awards clips to enjoy, you will have to stay tuned to the countdown for the appearances of Tony-winners NINE and GRAND HOTEL! What is your favorite of the many fabulous Tony-nominated and Tony-winning musicals that Tommy Tune has given us over the years - THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, MY ONE AND ONLY, NINE, GRAND HOTEL or THE Will Rogers FOLLIES? A truly tough decision given those choices! Furthermore, what has been your favorite of his onstage performances - case in point: how can anyone ever forget that SEESAW spectacular? Or, better yet, Tommy Tune TONITE!? So many fabulous performances to choose from, so little time! Let’s just hope Tommy Tune returns to the Great White Way doing what he does best some season very soon - especially so we can see him up onstage accepting an Antoinette Perry statuette once (or twice) more!
From This Author Pat Cerasaro