The Tony-Awards is upon us, with the promise of "more performances than ever" at this Sunday's ceremony on CBS (hosted by the pride of Broadway: Neil Patrick Harris). We hear The Book of Mormon boys will be opening the telecast, which should hopefully go more smoothly than this. There's been a debate in the last few years as to whether or not the Tony Awards should remain on a major national network because ratings are never very high for the celebration of all things Broadway, but to a girl who grew up in Ohio with little access to great stage performances, the Tony Awards were a window into a world I desperately wanted to be a part of. Now with the magic of YouTube, I can procrastinate by watching amazing Tony Award recordings of yore. Here are some of my favorite performances that keep me tuning in every year to see the best and the brightest of the Broadway stage. Enjoy!
Bernadette Peters' performance as Mama Rose in Stephen Sondheim's Gypsy gives me goosebumps each time I watch it. She was robbed of a nomination this year for her role as Sally Durant in the hauntingly beautiful revival of another Sondheim classic, Follies.
For some reason this song from 2001's Urinetown really turns a day around for us. How cute is Hunter Foster? Can someone write another role for him on Broadway please? And the role of Little Sally happens to be this year's Tony-nominee for Best Featured Actress in a Play, Spencer Kayden!
Rent is one of the first Tony Awards performances that I really changed my high school life. Here's Nathan Lane's hammy introduction at the awards in 1996.
This is my favorite song, "Be Italian," from the original 1982 production of Nine. We love these amazing '80s gowns and the boys are so pre-prep school. Those knee pads are adorable!
I love this vintage 1968 Tony Awards performance which combines three musicals in one slapdash number. Fiddler on the Roof (starring Bette Midler!), Cabaret and Man of La Mancha. The special effects are hilarious. The stage actually rises up in a triangle and then comes back down. So cute.
Speaking of Fiddler on the Roof, I can watch a performance of "Tradition," anytime, anywhere. Here's Alfred Molina in the 2004 revival. They even throw in the bottle dance! I need to go lay down. I'm way too excited.
This 1971 Andrew Lloyd Webber rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar was given, in my humble opinion, an embarrassing revival this year. The only nomination it received was for actor Josh Young who plays Judas. Watching this clip from the original makes us sad we missed the freaky treat that it could be.
This is Neil Patrick Harris's Tony rap-up he did at the closing of the 2009 show. It was a masterpiece that he and Lin-Manuel Miranda mastered during the actual ceremony. That's showbiz kids! He did another one last year but his first holds a special place in our hearts.
We love Cats. Sorry, but we do. Plus, we're deep into the John Belushi biography Wired by Bob Woodward right now in which Betty Buckley plays a big role! She actually pushed Belushi against a wall and threatened him once after seeing him giving a lackluster performance in the off-Broadway production of Lemmings. That is cray-cray and I love it!
This one is a Mr. Mickey request. He played us this magical duet between the daughters of Judy Garland, Lorna Luft and Liza Minnelli, that they performed at the 1993 Tony's and it was instantly a favorite of mine too. This is Broadway at its craziest and best!
And last, but certainly not least, we have Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon performing Chicago tunes at the 1976 Tony Awards. Unfortunately, Chicago lost the Best Musical award that year to Chorus Line. I definitely prefer Chicago.