And the Tony Almost Went to...

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Jeffrey Karasarides
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#1
Posted: 4/19/20 at 12:07pm

Inspired by a podcast titled ‘And the Runner-Up Is’, where it takes a deep dive into a film that was the (likely) runner-up in the Best Picture race of any previous Oscar year, I’ve created my own series which you can find on my blog page.

In ‘And the Tony Almost Went to…’ I take a deep dive into a show that was the (likely) runner-up in the Best Musical race of any previous Tony Awards year. I've launched this series in 2018, where I've written about quite a number of different musicals such as West Side Story, Pippin, Into the Woods, Miss Saigon, Ragtime, Wicked, Next to Normal, Matilda, Come From Away, and more. For those who are interested in reading them, I've provided a link below.

And the Tony Almost Went to...

Updated On: 5/6/20 at 12:07 PM
hearthemsing22
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#2
Posted: 4/19/20 at 2:51pm
For some reason things like this fascinate me. Thank you for posting this! I’m definitely going to check it out.
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Scarlet Leigh
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#3
Posted: 4/19/20 at 11:49pm

Very interesting reading through some of this. However, I feel like in some seasons you are discrediting some of the other strong nominees of that year by barely even giving them a mention. Some of these seasons were just not 2 show face offs but legit a 3 way race. You kind of mention SOME of these in passing but more or less just as a throw out a mention that they existed. Not that they were a legitimate option as well or the race between 2nd and 3rd was in some cases really just too close to call out what the voters were thinking. 

How can you REALLY put into perspective that years race unless you know ALL the shows that were in that race? Not to mention that shows that have since gone on to become either commercial hits, pop culture darlings, or even just plain classics NOW... while not even being in the conversation at the time. 

Big examples I see right off the bat here here being the likes of, but not limited too... Hamilton vs Shuffle AND Waitress. Dear Evan Hansen vs. Come From Away AND Great Comet. Will Roger's vs Miss Saigon AND The Secret Garden ANNNNNND Once On This Island (dear god how did Will Roger's win that season?!)

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Jeffrey Karasarides
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#4
Posted: 4/20/20 at 9:50am

While there are some years where the runner-up seems more obvious than others, something I am planning to do at some point is a bonus series where I talk about a musical that might've been in third place, but people argued could've been in second. There, I'd be taking a deep dive into shows like The Great Comet, Something Rotten!, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and The Secret Garden.

As for 2016, that was no contest at all. Hamilton had the Tony engraved from the minute it was announced that it would be transferring to Broadway. Though in my piece about Shuffle Along, I mentioned that it probably could've won Best Musical had Hamilton been completely out of the running that year. As for Waitress, keep in mind how that show was the only Best Musical nominee that year to have missed a spot in Best Book. So from a statistics standpoint, I think that show was in fifth place. 

Updated On: 4/20/20 at 09:50 AM
A0326T
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#5
Posted: 4/20/20 at 10:05am
I very much enjoy reading about your views anf opinions. Thank you.
theatreguy12
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#6
Posted: 4/20/20 at 12:06pm

Very interesting reads.  I always enjoy hearing about the Hamilton season and all that entailed because of that juggernaut of a musical.

Having seen Shuffle Along, it was a such a disappointment that it didn't last longer than it did, especially considering the circumstances and stories behind it.  It truly was a great show, with simply fantastic choreography.  One number after the next.

In fact, I remember the Tonys that season and thinking that if Hamilton wasn't going to take one of the awards it would very well be choreography.  

When it did take choreography, I wasn't surprised, but disappointed.  I though Shuffle Along was far and away more impressive.    

When I saw Hamilton for the second time out here in LA after having seen the OBC in NY, I paid close attention to the choreography because I wanted to see it again for comparison purposes.  And my thought coming out of the Pantages (and I know this is all personal opinion) was yep, Savion was robbed. 

Shuffle Along was just up against something bigger than all of us that year.  Hamilton was such a force that season. And with Hamilton taking everything else, I guess it didn't surprise that they wouldn't withhold choreography.  Even though, again IMHO, Savion was the man that year!

hearthemsing22
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#7
Posted: 4/21/20 at 8:28pm

You mention Great Comet and I keep seeing people say, Great Comet should have won this, GC was snubbed, GC deserved better, etc. I saw the show twice. I really tried to like it. But I think it appealed to a very specific audience, and didn't have a huge following that spanned across a wide variety of theatergoers. I think it deserved what it got. There was also casting disputes, I don't think it was selling very well...was it unlike anything I had ever seen? Yes. But that doesn't make  a show good. I have seen a wide variety of shows and plays, consider myself open minded when it comes to theater, and I just could not get into this show. I do not think Rachel Chavkin was snubbed. I do not think the show was robbed for any award except maybe Set Design because I have to admit transforming the theater the way they did for that show was very cool. But if that was the same year as She Loves Me, then the awards went the way they were supposed to. 

That's all I have to say about that. 

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Jeffrey Karasarides
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#8
Posted: 4/24/20 at 9:21am

Similar to how 'And the Runner-Up Is' has a bonus series titled 'How Did They Win?', I’ve decided to try something similar with the Tony Awards. I’m very excited to launch a brand new series on Kare Reviews titled 'Tonys Flashback', where I take a deep dive into all of the nominees from any previous acting race at the Tony Awards. For the inaugural feature, we’ll be taking a look back at what ended up being a very competitive race from 2007.

Tonys Flashback: Best Lead Actor in a Musical (2007)

Updated On: 5/6/20 at 09:21 AM
MollyJeanneMusic
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#9
Posted: 4/24/20 at 10:08am

hearthemsing22 said: "You mention Great Comet and I keep seeing people say, Great Comet should have won this, GC was snubbed, GC deserved better, etc. I saw the show twice. I really tried to like it. But I think it appealed to a very specific audience, and didn't have a huge following that spanned across a wide variety of theatergoers. I think it deserved what it got. There was also casting disputes, I don't think it was selling very well...was it unlike anything I had ever seen? Yes. But that doesn't make a show good. I have seen a wide variety of shows and plays, consider myself open minded when it comes to theater, and I just could not get into this show. I do not think Rachel Chavkin was snubbed. I do not think the show was robbed for any award except maybe Set Design because I have to admit transforming the theater the way they did for that show was very cool. But if that was the same year as She Loves Me, then the awards went the way they were supposed to.

That's all I have to say about that.
"

Great Comet actually did win Set Design, as well as Lighting Design.  She Loves Me was the year before, and actually has the distinct accomplishment of being one of two shows that year to beat Hamilton for an award.  (The other was The Color Purple, for Cynthia Erivo's performance.)

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
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VotePeron
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#10
Posted: 4/24/20 at 11:03am
Comet led the race with 12 nominations and was seen (at the time) as the only realistic choice to beat DEH. This was while Groban was in it, and it was still making $1 million + each week.

In hindsight, everyone only talks about the possibility of CFA beating DEH, but I believe it the votes were counted the order would be DEH, Comet, Groundhog Day, CFA.

Also, Matilda...robbed. As was Tim Minchin for score especially with Matilda, but also Groundhog Day.
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Jeffrey Karasarides
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#11
Posted: 4/24/20 at 11:11am

VotePeron said: "Comet led the race with 12 nominations and was seen (at the time) as the only realistic choice to beat DEH. This was while Groban was in it, and it was still making $1 million + each week.

In hindsight, everyone only talks about the possibility of CFA beating DEH, but I believe it the votes were counted the order would be DEH, Comet, Groundhog Day, CFA.
"

If you look back at the New York Times' Tony voter survey that year, the voters that were interviewed were evenly divided between Come From Away and Dear Evan Hansen while The Great Comet did not seem to be a significant factor in the race for Best Musical, and neither did Groundhog Day.

Tony Voters Point to Tight Races and Sure Bets

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And the Tony Almost Went to...#12
Posted: 4/24/20 at 11:20am

Thanks for this, Jeffrey!

I read the N2N one first, as it's one of my two or three favorite shows of all time.  I totally respect that so many people (yourself included) preferred Billy Elliot, and I've wondered in recent years how much my N2N bias colored my feelings about Billy. I agree with your recap of the conventional wisdom about it being too dark, wanting to give it to the feel-good show, etc., though I personally disagreed.

I didn't see Billy until the first national tour.  So by that time, I was going in with an "OK, *prove* you're better than N2N!" chip on my shoulder -- never a good state of mind for really staying present during a performance.  I'd really like to see it again.  Because it was so dance-heavy and I didn't find the music memorable, I don't know that the result would be all that different.  But I'd like to try!

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And the Tony Almost Went to...#13
Posted: 4/24/20 at 12:01pm

dwwst12 said: "Thanks for this, Jeffrey!

I didn't see Billy until the first national tour. So by that time, I was going in with an "OK, *prove* you're better than N2N!" chip on my shoulder -- never a good state of mind for really staying present during a performance. I'd really like to see it again. Because it was so dance-heavy and I didn't find the music memorable, I don't know that the result would be all that different. But I'd like to try!
"

The 10th anniversary performance of the West End production is available to stream on BroadwayHD.

 

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Jeffrey Karasarides
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#14
Posted: 4/27/20 at 7:48am

I've got a new post in the series, and it is about the Tony race of 2002.

And the Tony Almost Went to...URINETOWN

Updated On: 5/6/20 at 07:48 AM
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TheSassySam
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#15
Posted: 4/27/20 at 9:40am

theatreguy12 said: "Very interesting reads. I always enjoy hearing about the Hamilton season and all that entailed because of thatjuggernaut of a musical.

Having seen Shuffle Along, it was a such a disappointment that it didn't last longer than it did, especially considering the circumstances and stories behind it. It truly was a great show, with simply fantastic choreography. One number after the next.

In fact, I remember the Tonys that season and thinking that if Hamilton wasn't going to take one of the awards it would very well be choreography.

When it did take choreography, I wasn't surprised, but disappointed. I though Shuffle Along was far and away more impressive.

When I saw Hamilton for the second time out here in LA after having seen the OBC in NY, I paid close attention to the choreography because I wanted to see it again for comparisonpurposes. And my thought coming out of the Pantages(and I know this is all personal opinion) was yep, Savion was robbed.

Shuffle Along was just up against something bigger than all of us that year. Hamiltonwas such a force that season. And with Hamilton taking everything else, I guess it didn't surprise that they wouldn't withholdchoreography. Even though, again IMHO, Savion was the man that year!
"

I completely agree about Best Choreography. 

 

I am in the minority here too, but I felt like American Psycho deserved to win Best Lighting over Hamilton.  

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Jeffrey Karasarides
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#16
Posted: 5/11/20 at 8:48am

I’ve got a new post in the series, and it is about the Tony race of 2003.

And the Tony Almost Went to...MOVIN' OUT

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Jeffrey Karasarides
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#17
Posted: 5/25/20 at 9:07am

I have now covered every single previous Best Musical race from the 21st century (so far). Though if you extend it out into the 1990s, I've covered the last 22 Tony races. I settled on Tootsie as the likely runner-up from last year.

And the Tony Almost Went to...TOOTSIE

Updated On: 5/25/20 at 09:07 AM
Broadway61004
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#18
Posted: 5/26/20 at 1:19pm

Jeffrey Karasarides said: "I have now covered every single previous Best Musical race from the 21st century (so far). Though if you extend it out into the 1990s, I've covered the last 22 Tony races. I settled on Tootsie as the likely runner-up from last year.

And the Tony Almost Went to...TOOTSIE
"

Great article! Thanks for covering these!

I think it could be a really interesting discussion about what the runner up last year was (or, more specifically, what would have won had Hadestown not been around).  Tootsie obviously won those two major awards and was also loved by some of the major critics.  The Prom was the sort of feel-good show that had a lot of big supporters behind it and likely finished second in a lot of categories (obviously pure speculation, but I'm guessing Brooks was second to Santino, Beth Leavel was either second or third, it was likely the runner-up for book and score, etc.).  And even Ain't Too Proud had a lot of supporters and would have likely picked up a lot of the road vote.  Really anything but Beetlejuice would have had a realistic chance, in my opinion.

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And the Tony Almost Went to...#19
Posted: 5/26/20 at 1:32pm

I will say that had it not been for Hadestown, the race for Best Musical last year probably would've at least been more of a race between The Prom and Tootsie.

MollyJeanneMusic
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Posted: 5/26/20 at 1:43pm

Broadway61004 said: "Jeffrey Karasarides said: "I have now covered every single previous Best Musical race from the 21st century (so far). Though if you extend it out into the 1990s, I've covered the last 22 Tony races. I settled on Tootsie as the likely runner-up from last year.

And the Tony Almost Went to...TOOTSIE
"

Great article! Thanks for covering these!

I think it could be a really interesting discussion about what the runner up last year was (or, more specifically, what would have won had Hadestown not been around). Tootsie obviously won those two major awards and was also loved by some of the major critics. The Prom was the sort of feel-good show that had a lot of big supportersbehind it and likely finished second in a lot of categories (obviously pure speculation, but I'm guessing Brooks was second to Santino, Beth Leavel was either second or third, it was likely the runner-up for book and score, etc.). And even Ain't Too Proud had a lot of supporters and would have likely picked up a lot of the road vote. Really anything but Beetlejuice would have had a realistic chance, in my opinion.
"

I remember hearing Paul Wontorek say on the Broadway.com Tony prediction special that it was the first year since Hamilton that there wasn't a clear frontrunner for Best Musical.  Was that really the case?  It seems like everyone expected Hadestown to win, even if some (like Ben Brantley) didn't want it to.  It also seemed to pick up the trend of a lot of other Best Musical winners - more intimate shows with a sad yet hopeful story and a music style that wasn't "classic Broadway."  Tootsie had always seemed a little uneven with the quality of the songs and even some of the jokes, at least from reports I've read on here - and whatever you think about the argument of its potential transphobia, it was probably enough to dissuade a few voters.  I don't know as much about The Prom, but I don't think it was ever trying to be a "Best Musical" type of musical - it was more about having fun, not taking yourself too seriously, and being yourself.  It almost seemed like if it had won Best Musical, it would've almost gone against the "scrappy underdog" image that the show had branded itself as.  Hadestown, from everything I could tell, was a clear frontrunner - with the most nominations, a 12-year narrative to getting it to Broadway, and on the night itself, winning the one award that EVERYONE thought would go to Beetlejuice.  But was there ever a real chance for the others to win?

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
Broadway61004
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#21
Posted: 5/26/20 at 2:01pm

MollyJeanneMusic said: "Broadway61004 said: "Jeffrey Karasarides said: "I have now covered every single previous Best Musical race from the 21st century (so far). Though if you extend it out into the 1990s, I've covered the last 22 Tony races. I settled on Tootsie as the likely runner-up from last year.

And the Tony Almost Went to...TOOTSIE
"

Great article! Thanks for covering these!

I think it could be a really interesting discussion about what the runner up last year was (or, more specifically, what would have won had Hadestown not been around). Tootsie obviously won those two major awards and was also loved by some of the major critics. The Prom was the sort of feel-good show that had a lot of big supportersbehind it and likely finished second in a lot of categories (obviously pure speculation, but I'm guessing Brooks was second to Santino, Beth Leavel was either second or third, it was likely the runner-up for book and score, etc.). And even Ain't Too Proud had a lot of supporters and would have likely picked up a lot of the road vote. Really anything but Beetlejuice would have had a realistic chance, in my opinion.
"

I remember hearing Paul Wontorek say on the Broadway.com Tony prediction special that it was the first year since Hamilton that there wasn't a clear frontrunner for Best Musical. Was that really the case? It seems like everyone expected Hadestown to win, even if some (like Ben Brantley) didn't want it to. It also seemed to pick up the trend of a lot of other Best Musical winners - more intimate shows with a sad yet hopeful story and a music style that wasn't "classic Broadway." Tootsie had always seemed a little uneven with the quality of the songs and even some of the jokes, at least from reports I've read on here - and whatever you think about the argument of its potential transphobia, it was probably enough to dissuade a few voters. I don't know as much about The Prom, but I don't think it was ever trying to be a "Best Musical" type of musical - it was more about having fun, not taking yourself too seriously, and being yourself. It almost seemed like if it had won Best Musical, it would've almost gone against the "scrappy underdog" image that the show had branded itself as. Hadestown, from everything I could tell, was a clear frontrunner - with the most nominations, a 12-year narrative to getting it to Broadway, and on the night itself, winning the one award that EVERYONE thought would go to Beetlejuice. But was there ever a real chance for the others to win?
"

Hadestown was definitely the far and away frontrunner, but there also seemed to be a bit of a common belief by some that the sum of Hadestown wasn't as great as some of its individual parts.  So I actually wouldn't have been that stunned had Hadestown won the design awards, score, orchestrations, etc. and then The Prom or Tootsie had surprised for Best Musical, as they both had a lot of supporters.  But that would have absolutely been considered a big upset--Hadestown was certainly a major frontrunner.

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And the Tony Almost Went to...#22
Posted: 5/27/20 at 9:53pm

I love this thread but unfortunately there were a few shows that I received error when I tried to read them, they were shows like "Next To Normal", "Newsies" and "Wicked".

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And the Tony Almost Went to...#23
Posted: 5/27/20 at 10:45pm

JGPR2 said: "I love this thread but unfortunately there were a few shows that I received error when I tried to read them, they were shows like "Next To Normal", "Newsies" and "Wicked"."

I just did some tweaking. Everything should be working now.

JGPR2
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And the Tony Almost Went to...#24
Posted: 5/27/20 at 10:50pm

Thank you so much, it is working now !!

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And the Tony Almost Went to...#25
Posted: 5/27/20 at 11:37pm

Did you cover 1998 yet?  This site's malfunctioning on my laptop so I can't read most of the posts, but for 1998 I would offer 'Ragtime', winner of both best score and best book.  A far superior show to 'Lion King'.