Every week until the Tony Awards, I'll be digging around for video of some of my favorite Tony Awards moments. Join me for a trip down memory lane. And by memory lane, I'm pretty sure I mean strange occurrences and maybe that Sideshow performance. You know you're in for something special when a funny performer like Patti LuPone wins an award. You know you're in for something memorable when Patti LuPone opens her mouth to say "It is, uh, such a wonderful gift to be an actor who makes her living working on the Broadway stage and then every thirty years or so pick up one of these." On the one hand, she has consistently done great work in her career and has earned Tony nominations for some challenging roles, like Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd. On the other hand, her joy at winning almost reads as a sense of entitlement, especially when she goes all Cuba Gooding, Jr. on the producers and refuses to wrap up her speech when the orchestra kicks in.
And what did she win for? That show where she lectured the audience on manners because someone wouldn't stop taking flash photographs...I mean, a wonderful performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy. It was a big night for the revival, winning awards for Patti, Laura Benanti, and Boyd Gaines. Here they are performing one of their big numbers at the Tony Awards that year.
Now what happens if Patti LuPone wins this year for her featured role in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown? Judging by the interviews she's been giving recently, she will lecture the audience on why we need to support our original theatrical composers and writers and give them a chance to actually develop new work on Broadway. And, chances are, she'll have the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. She commands it with her talent and presence. If only they made more performers like Patti LuPone, we might actually get new projects developed to show off talent like that.