Great Moments in Tony History: Dreamgirls

Can you believe the iconic image of Jennifer Holiday physically lifting and throwing down her leg was a safety precaution? It's true. At the Tony Awards in 1982, there was an extension cord run straight down the middle of the stage. It was covered by a track. To be safe, Ms. Holiday was told to lift her leg over the track to make sure she didn't trip. The rest is history. This is how you slay it at the Tony Awards, my friends. Put your best nominated performer out there to sing the highlight of the show and let the raw force sell the tickets. Do you think I'm not going to buy a ticket to a performance this strong because it spoils that Holiday's character gets fired from the group? No. That's stupid. You go to live theater for the experience and Dreamgirls sold that in the full context of a scene. It's brilliant.

It's no wonder this production won six Tony Awards. If you are wondering what beat it for musical, the answer is Nine, which is a far bolder musical with a score that could make you cry. I think the voters got it wrong giving book to Dreamgirls and score to Nine (reverse it and I'd be happier), but I can't fault them on rewarding the big prize to Nine in the end.