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Why Have Some Performers LipSynched on the Tonys?

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TEACHEROFTHEATER
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It just seems so odd. Watching the Broadway's Lost Treasures PBS broadcast, it was disappointing and not very gratifying seeing the performances of Angela Lansbury and Robert Preston, lip synching.

Clearly, these are performers who have performed live, and brilliantly so, for thousands of performances.

Why the lipsynched Tony performances? If there was ever a time to strut your stuff and get down with the thrill of your live performance, it is at the Tony awards, no?

Does anyone know WHY, those two in particular lipsynched (Angela and Mr. Preston)?

I am hoping the great experience of folks on this message board will reap someone who knows the actual reason or who can find out why they did not perform live. Thank you.
"MAY YOUR LIFE BE AS BRIGHT AS BROADWAY AT NIGHT"
Updated On: 8/11/03 at 04:27 PM
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SueleenGay
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I, too, was surprised to hear this. My guess would be that since the show is live these performers may have been ill that night and instead of canceling the performance, they relied on previously recorded vocals. I guess thatís better than using understudies.
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Yeah, I agree that it's better than using understudies, especially on the Tonys. It sucks, but what can you do? How many people would want to see Catherine Brunell do "Forget About The Boy" on the Tonys, or Maureen Moore do "Rose's Turn"? I wouldn't. I'd rather see both of them lip synch.
WOSQ
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Stage fright is very real. Not everyone has nerves like Ethel Merman. "Nervous? Why should I be nervous? I know my lines."

It is live television.

Also some of them may have played matinees that day or needed to give their voice a day off.

Or all of the above.
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SueleenGay
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I don't think stage fright would be much of a factor for Angela and Robert. Now Madonna could have used a lip sync when she sang Sooner or Later on the Oscars. Talk about stage fright!
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Starlight
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I wonder if sound-tech stuff has anything to do with it? In their home theaters they are able to adjust the sound perfectly for their show. However, the Tony's have a lot more to take into consideration with all of speakers and the many musical numbers. I was just thinking about this year's Tonys - the differences in the Hairspray number, to Gypsy, to Frog and Toad. They don't take a lot of time to do soundchecks...usually the performers come in Sunday morning, check, then do a matinee, and return for the broadcast that evening. And even though 1500 seat theaters are large, they're nothing compared to Radio City. Maybe its not as common now with advances in technology, but in past years it may have been necessary.
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A lot of awards shows used to use lip synching and it was mostly sound stuff and the hassle of bringing in different equipment for different performances and what not. It might be nothing more than that.
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TEACHEROFTHEATER
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Part of the excitement of live theater is seeing the performer "take charge."

I would rather have heard a poor voiced Angela and Robert Preston, performing live. I imagine most of us have heard, many times, performers not in the best voice.

It is exciting to us how a Robert Preston or an Angela Lansbury could have overcome a problem voice challenge to give a great performance on the Tony awards.

"MAY YOUR LIFE BE AS BRIGHT AS BROADWAY AT NIGHT"
Slash
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Seriously, you TEACH theatre? I would have thought a 'teacher of theatre' would know the answers to most of the questions you post.
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"Also some of them may have played matinees that day or needed to give their voice a day off."

If I was a performer on the Tony's (which usually means you are up for a Tony), I would definently take the matinee off (if I even perform at them) to show off on the Tony's. I agree with the tech problems. For instance, on the Today Show with Hairspray. They had tech problems and It seemed to piss off the performers.

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It may be a technical nightmare, but the Tonyís celebrate LIVE theatre.
It is not too much to ask a performer to sing ONE MORE SONG after a matinee. Especially for a telecast that will be a document to a production that will never be seen again in the same way once it closes.

What of the technical problems this year with DEF POETRY? That was awful! (The sound, not the performances)

And, Slash, that jab at TOT was uncalled for. Why should a teacher of theatre know everything about a television broadcast?
PEACE.
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I don't think they should be allowed to lip-synch. It seems to take something away from the performance.
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I just feel cheated when people lipsync. I mean...What if Broadway was completely lipsynced? It's so....Britney Spears. LOL! UGH!
Blah...
broadwayguy2
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How DARE you say Britney Spears lipsyncs!!!!!! She does not lipsync! She does not mouth the words in time to a prerecorded track! I have NEVER seen Britney's lips anywhere NEAR the word coming over the soundsystem!
MsNina
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lol, bg2. it seems it would be against broadway religion to lipsynch on stage ESPECIALLY on the holiest of holy nights on broadway when all 17 people tune in to watch the awards. i know if the orchestra strike had been worse and theatres started to use vertual orch.s we all would've ****ted bricks. lipsyinching is no different. i guess its a necessary evil.
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WELL.... there are some cases when it is needed. For example, in POTO, they have doubles for the Phantom and Christine and the have to lipsync.. otherwise the audience would know the difference. There is also mamma Mia. They have pre-recorded background vocal tracks for all the songs. the cast sings along with the track, and it is used because the pre-recorded vocals are a bit easier to warp into teh 'ABBA' sound and that why you can't hear the cast gasping for breath during high energy numbers like Voules-Vouz, but I don't really consider ythat lip-syncing since they are singing along live.
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Sweeney Todd#16
Posted: 8/12/03 at 5:32am
I read on another thread that it was SWEENEY TODD where Angela Lansbury lipsynched. I haven't seen the PBS show yet, but I have vivid memories of her Tony performance that year. It was recorded, if I remember correctly, on the show's set (rather than on a diminished version of the set at the Tony performance). I was very familiar with the original cast recording of Sweeney before seeing the show on B'way. The tempo of Worst Pies in London, while still fast, was much more leisurely in performance than on the original cast recording. They wanted the Broadway audiences to understand the lyrics. Since Ms. Lansbury has sung many times "live" on TV, I suspect they elected to have her lipsync "Worst Pies" from the cast recording for the Tony broadcast because of pacing issues.
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re: Sweeney Todd#17
Posted: 8/12/03 at 9:30am
There have been many strong rumors down through the years that That Streisand Woman lip synched "People" at every performance of FUNNY GIRL. Supposedly she had a switch concealed in the knob of the railing she used as a prop in that scene and she clicked on the recording while the orchestra played live.
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LipSynching at the Tonys#18
Posted: 8/12/03 at 11:10am
Interesting how people would rather hear people sing live even if they are in poor voice because the Tonys celebrate LIVE theatre. And yet nobody here is about to let Marissa Jaret Winkur forget exactly how flat she was during You Can't Stop The Beat this year.
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re: LipSynching at the Tonys#19
Posted: 8/12/03 at 2:17pm
i dont think they were lipsynching. it was probaly just a tech problam with the people at pbs when they were putting it together. i have seen movies and tv shows where the sound is off from the actors speaking. so it was mostlikly just a tech problam.
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re: re: LipSynching at the Tonys#20
Posted: 8/12/03 at 2:49pm
Both songs that seem to be being discussed are fast patter songs with changing tempos.

Trouble has more words than Webster, and The Worst Pies in London has a lot of words plus inner rhymes. There's another reason Preston and Lansbury may not have sung live.

Preston had not sung Trouble regularly since the film was made nine years previously. He was a fanatic for going over lines and lyrics before each performance. He had a sign in his dressing room to the effect that "Security is knowing your lyrics."

Bacall's number from Woman of the Year (One of the Girls) was another that was not sung live on the Tonys and I am sure there are plenty of others that we're overlooking.

And Liza May Minnnelli Allen Haley Gero Gest lip-synched a few bars of City Lights at every performance of The Act. The choreography was very intricate and busy, and rather than have her lose her breath, they dubbed her. No one could tell and it only came out well after opening. Afterwards you still couldn't tell exactly which measures were not done live.

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re: re: LipSynching at the Tonys#21
Posted: 8/12/03 at 3:15pm
sorry musicaltheaterman,,,

but those of us that are old enough to remember, remember it very well. I remember vividly the 25th anniversary broadcast of the Tonys when Robert Preston did TROUBLE.

It was a disappointed and point of discussion at the time why he did not perform LIVE

the same is true of those of us who saw the 1979 tonys awards when first broadcast.

There is no question that Preston and Lansbury were lipsynching. The people in the Tony audinces those nights were wondering why they were lipsynching.

I am trying to find out in these two cases if anyone involved in the production knows the definitive WHY they decided not to go live.
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re: re: re: LipSynching at the Tonys#22
Posted: 8/12/03 at 5:19pm
Re: Liza and The Act. As her show got further into its run, Liza was lip synching entire songs. I think at one point, someone counted that she was lip synching at least 6 of them.
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