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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube

Jarethan
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#1
Posted: 5/25/20 at 11:23pm

Just passing along that I just watched what has to be one of the most incredible Tony Awards shows ever. I did not realize any Tony Awards shows were on You Tube, and I was not even looking for it.  But, a living for the 1987 Tony's just showed up.

First of all, it was the season of Les Mis, Me and My Girl, Starlight Express and Rags, so the numbers from nominated shows were terrific.  Since Rags was closed, Judy Kuhn sang the title song, terrifically.  Starlight Express looked good and the set really was outstanding, despite being snubbed.

In addition to those numbers, this was the show where Lansbury and Arthur sand Bosom Buddies, a highlight memory for me.  Then there was a lengthy tribute to Robert Preston, who had died that year.  BP singing Time Heals Everything, Barbara Cook singing Til There Was You, a huge production of 76 Trombones.  Then, when you assumed it was finished, Mary Martin came out and sang the closing number from I Do! I Do!,  and she was in great voice.  

On top of this, they did reasonably lengthy scenes from the plays, including two very famous scenes: 'Why do I have to like you' from Fences and the Dining Room table scene from Broadway Bound.  The scene from Les Liaisons was also excellent.

Looking at it from the benefit of time passing, the number of theatre legends on the show was mind-boggling (also Helen Hayes, Chita Rivera, Gwen Verdon, Bob Fosse, Tommy Tune, Jerry Herman, a glamorous Jane Alexander, and some I am forgetting).

Then, after the musical award was given, you assumed it was over.  That was when you learned that George Abbott had turned 100, resulting in a 10 minute tribute to him, with many from the cast singing numbers from his shows.  

I expected to fast forward through a lot of it and I really hardly did.  It was that amazing.  I imagine that the year in which they celebrated Broadway history (with a lot of huge stars reprising bits from their famous roles) may have been as good.  But, in this case, the combination of a very strong year on Broadway (excluding best actress in a musical, which was very weak) plus the surprise scenes was amazing.

Particularly for those who want to see something 'Broadway' right now, this really was a shot in the arm and, while I admit this is my age showing, it made me think that a degree of glamour and legends has been missing in a number of recent years' shows).  (I suspect it is because I grew up with many of the people who will be accepted without hesitation as legends in shows seen 33 years from now).  Got me to thinking about the good old days, some of which were great, others which were not so great.

i noticed that the full show for the next year was also available, although I did not watch it.  Yet????

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CT2NYC
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#2
Posted: 5/25/20 at 11:55pm

There are 44 years of Tonys here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/MissPoochSmooch/videos

 

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Tag
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#3
Posted: 5/25/20 at 11:58pm

Judy Kuhn sang the title song, terrifically. 

In a recent Stars in the House, Judy & Seth actually discuss how she screwed up the performance (she was off from the prerecorded music).

Jarethan
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#4
Posted: 5/26/20 at 1:16am

Tag said: "Judy Kuhn sang the title song, terrifically.

In a recent Stars in the House, Judy & Seth actually discuss how she screwed up the performance (she was off from the prerecorded music).
"

I guess I didn’t look that closely, but the singing was great and there was a solid attempt to dramatize it vs. just sing it.

 

Jarethan
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#5
Posted: 5/26/20 at 1:17am

CT2NYC said: "There are 44 years of Tonys here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/MissPoochSmooch/videos


Thanks...I did not know.  That is great, although I doubt more than 1 will come close to 87.

 

Jarethan
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#6
Posted: 5/26/20 at 1:17am

CT2NYC said: "There are 44 years of Tonys here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/MissPoochSmooch/videos


Thanks...I did not know.  That is great, although I doubt more than 1 will come close to 87.

 

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Rumpelstiltskin
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#7
Posted: 5/26/20 at 7:31am

I second Tag’s recommendation to watch Judy Kuhn on Stars in the House talking about that performance.  It’s an fun look at what was happening outside the perspective of the television audience.  That the end result turned out so well says mucho about her professionalism and skill.

It also happens to be one of my favorite episodes of SITH.  So many interesting stories from the original Broadway cast of Les Miserables.

Les Mis cast on Stars in the House

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greensgreens
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#8
Posted: 5/26/20 at 12:27pm

1987 is my favorite. STARLIGHT EXPRESS and John Napier's award speech! Need I say more???

#neverforget

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wiggum2
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#9
Posted: 5/26/20 at 4:08pm

greensgreens said: "1987 is my favorite. STARLIGHT EXPRESS and John Napier's award speech! Need I say more???

#neverforget
"

what did he say? Was his award for Les Mis televised? He references his previous win in his award for Starlight express around 23:40

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Someone in a Tree2
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#10
Posted: 5/26/20 at 4:30pm

To answer Jarathen's question about any other exceptional TONY years-- I'd mention the 1971 edition, the 25th anniversary TONY year, that included tributes to all 25 Best Musical winners up to that point, often featuring their original stars' greatest performances. I'll never forget seeing Betty Bacall launching into "Welcome to the Theater", only to cut herself off mid-song to announce the best musical winner that year-- which of course was COMPANY.

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greensgreens
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#11
Posted: 5/26/20 at 5:42pm

wiggum2 said: "greensgreens said: "1987 is my favorite. STARLIGHT EXPRESS and John Napier's award speech! Need I say more???

#neverforget
"

what did he say? Was his award for Les Mis televised? He references his previous win in his award for Starlight express around 23:40
"

Napier wins production for Les Miz but was nominated for Starlight as well. He says they rightly awarded him but for the wrong show. It’s pretty ballsy and the reaction is interesting. I can’t think of too many acceptance speeches with that level of shade. (I’ve always believed Herman’s for La Cage was genuine.)

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Someone in a Tree2
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#12
Posted: 5/26/20 at 5:54pm

Watching it now-- on the stage of the beloved and much-missed Hellinger Theater! Spectacular house!

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CATSNYrevival
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#13
Posted: 5/26/20 at 6:37pm

greensgreens said: "Napier wins production for Les Miz but was nominated for Starlight as well. He says they rightly awarded him but for the wrong show. It’s pretty ballsy and the reaction is interesting. I can’t think of too many acceptance speeches with that level of shade. (I’ve always believed Herman’s for La Cage was genuine.)"

I'm pretty sure I remember Bob Crowley doing the same thing when he won best scenic design for The History Boys but felt he should have won for Tarzan which was also eligible the same year but not nominated.

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markypoo
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#14
Posted: 5/26/20 at 7:41pm

Someone in a Tree2 said: "To answer Jarathen's question about any other exceptional TONY years-- I'd mention the 1971 edition, the 25th anniversary TONY year, that included tributes to all 25 Best Musical winners up to that point, often featuring their original stars' greatest performances. I'll never forget seeing Betty Bacall launching into "Welcome to the Theater", only to cut herself off mid-song to announce the best musical winner that year-- which of course wasCOMPANY."

This is truly a marvelous show - in terms of being a retrospective.

No musical numbers and/or dramatic scenes from the then-current season were included as part of the telecast.

I'm wondering if that's the only time this sort of thing occurred.

But I certainly remember being a Sophomore in high school, and thoroughly loving what there was.

 

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chewy5000
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#15
Posted: 5/26/20 at 10:21pm

It surprises me that even designers themselves can't differentiate "best" and "most"

IMHO I see Queenie as being more of a brunette...
Jarethan
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#16
Posted: 5/26/20 at 11:47pm

greensgreens said: "wiggum2 said: "greensgreens said: "1987 is my favorite. STARLIGHT EXPRESS and John Napier's award speech! Need I say more???

#neverforget
"

what did he say? Was his award for Les Mis televised? He references his previous win in his award for Starlight express around 23:40
"

Napier wins production for Les Miz but was nominated for Starlight as well. He says they rightly awarded him but for the wrong show. It’s pretty ballsy and the reaction is interesting. I can’t think of too many acceptance speeches with that level of shade. (I’ve always believed Herman’s for La Cage was genuine.)
"

He was sulking because he did not get nominated for Starlight Express sets, which did seem unfair to me at the time; however, I also thought he was real jerk...he wins two Tony's in one night, gets nominated for three, and is bitching because he did not get nominated for four.

Jarethan
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#17
Posted: 5/26/20 at 11:47pm

Someone in a Tree2 said: "To answer Jarathen's question about any other exceptional TONY years-- I'd mention the 1971 edition, the 25th anniversary TONY year, that included tributes to all 25 Best Musical winners up to that point, often featuring their original stars' greatest performances. I'll never forget seeing Betty Bacall launching into "Welcome to the Theater", only to cut herself off mid-song to announce the best musical winner that year-- which of course wasCOMPANY."

Thanks.  That is the one I was referring to...will watch.  

Prisoner of 7th Ave
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#18
Posted: 5/27/20 at 6:48am

As wonderful as the video is, why on earth is the entrance of Bob and Gwen truncated? Fosse gives a glowing, loving tribute to Verdon.  Is it lost forever?

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greensgreens
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#19
Posted: 5/27/20 at 11:12am

Did anyone actually SEE Starlight Express on Broadway to judge the set in the context of the show? It's easy to hate it and talk smack (the show is flimsy at best), but the design was pretty damn incredible and effective for what the set purpose was supposed to be - a huge spectacle intended to tour stadiums. Les Miz was great for what it needed to do as well and was certainly the better show, but the technical precision, craft, and creativity that went into the Starlight set was remarkably more intense. With the moving bridges, automation, lighting built into the show deck, the big bridge, the bowl and all the track being created around the Gershwin, it was undeniably a more impressive feat. It should also be noted that Napier won the Drama Desk for set & costumes that year for Starlight. So, to not even snag a nomination for a remarkably complex design that probably took at least twice as long to develop compared with Les Miz, I can understand the frustration. There have been many a year that design awards have been caught up in sweeps with the "Best Musical," although their designs really aren't as stunning, complex, and interesting as some of the non-juggernauts. However, Les Miz did serve the show well, so it wasn't entirely undeserved either.

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Tag
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#20
Posted: 5/27/20 at 11:22am

^More technical and impressive, doesn't mean better.

The original Les Mis design made the show.  Just look at the abomination of the revival's design to tell you that.

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Someone in a Tree2
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#21
Posted: 5/27/20 at 6:41pm

As someone who actually DRAFTED on the STARLIGHT EXPRESS set that went into the Gershwin, I feel uniquely equipped to put in my two cents on the merits of John Napier's set. It may well have been the most elephantine set to ever go into a modern Broadway theater, but heaven help me, I also found it butt-ugly. Far too many ideas crammed into one set, and far too little editing when it was in model form before it got approved and sent to the sceneshops. It's a real shame since the ORIGINAL set that Napier designed for the West End production of STARLIGHT was indeed a thing of sublime beauty-- all steel and Plexiglas and curved skate ramps and NONE of the horrid dioramas of Tourist America that killed the Bway version. London had the same spinning bridge and multiple levels with twice as many molded skating ramps looping out over the audience-- it was just a pure marvel of engineering and concept from top to bottom. Had that set gone to Bway, Napier would have no Tony for LES MIZ today because he would have gone home with 2 Starlight Tonys instead.

Three years later I worked extensively on one other gargantuan show to come out of Napier's studio, the SIEGFRIED AND ROY show at the Mirage. In his studio and out of the public, John was actually charming and funny and thrilling as a creator of some of the most brilliant stage sets of the 80's and '90's. (His turntable set for ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE years later at the Ahmanson was just gorgeous.) Unfortunately he'll always be remembered for this one egregious ugliness the night of the '87 Tonys.

And I would have given the Tony that year to Bob Crowley for his divine LIASONS DANGEREUSES set anyway.

Jarethan
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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#22
Posted: 5/27/20 at 7:02pm

Someone in a Tree2 said: "As someone who actually DRAFTED on the STARLIGHT EXPRESS set that went into the Gershwin, I feel uniquely equipped to put in my two cents on the merits of John Napier's set. It may well have been the most elephantine set to ever go into a modern Broadway theater, but heaven help me, I also found it butt-ugly. Far too many ideas crammed into one set,and far too little editing when it was in model form before it got approved and sent to the sceneshops. It's a real shame since the ORIGINAL set that Napier designed for the West End productionof STARLIGHT was indeed a thing of sublime beauty-- all steel and Plexiglas and curved skate ramps and NONE of the horrid dioramas of Tourist America that killed the Bway version. London had the same spinning bridge and multiple levels withtwice as many molded skating ramps loopingout over the audience-- it was just a pure marvel of engineering and concept from top to bottom. Had that set gone to Bway, Napier would have no Tony for LES MIZ today because he would have gone home with 2Starlight Tonys instead.

Three years later I worked extensively on one other gargantuan show to come out of Napier's studio, the SIEGFRIED AND ROY show at the Mirage. In his studio and out of the public,John was actually charming and funny and thrilling as a creator of some of the most brilliant stage sets of the 80's and '90's. (His turntable set for ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE years later at the Ahmanson was just gorgeous.)Unfortunately he'll always be remembered for this one egregious ugliness the night of the '87 Tonys.

And I would have given the Tony that year to Bob Crowds wley for his divine LIASONS DANGEREUSES set anyway.
"

I guess this was a case of size mattering.  I loved the look of LLD, both sets and costumes.  The sets were pretty minimalistic, however.  

IMO the Les Mis scenery was rightly rewarded; however, sitting in the audience in London (I did not see it in NY), the SE set design was incredible, encompassing the entire theatre in a way.  Looking at the Tony show, it was clear to me that he also did an incredible job in NYC, where he was much more constrained.  

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1987 Tony Awards on You Tube#23
Posted: 5/28/20 at 8:19pm

Someone in a Tree2 said: "As someone who actually DRAFTED on the STARLIGHT EXPRESS set that went into the Gershwin, I feel uniquely equipped to put in my two cents on the merits of John Napier's set."

THANK YOU so much for responding! I loved reading your thoughts. And I do admit that the set in London was superior (and I had forgotten about all those tourist signs in NYC)! I’ll admit my youthful affinity for the show does keep me defensive of Starlight. LOL