When I came across this video, I didn't at all recall having seen it, which surprised me because it was the opening of the 1994 Tony Awards. And it's lively and very entertaining, with extensive production numbers for four musical revivals then-playing on Broadway -- Grease, She Loves Me, Damn Yankees and Carousell. (Damn Yankees has one of the most fun scores ever in Broadway, and unfortunately they chose what is to me the least interest, one that's basically a dance number. And I don't care for those on TV, I just don't think they translate well. Fortunately, the cast here is so exuberant that the number at least is more fun than usual.)
The beginning of the sequence requires a slight explanation, because at first I missed the point of the jokes, which were getting good laughs. But then I realized what it was. The actor is Victor Garber, and in 1994 he was playing the role of the Devil in that revival of Damn Yankees. So, that's who he's playing here, which puts the jokes in proper perspective. Also, happily, to tie the scenes together, he sings original lyrics to one of the fun songs in the show, "Those Were the Good Old Days."
But then, as I watched this whole production number, surprised I didn't remember it, something happens around the 12-minute mark that kicked it. And I did remember that. If you're a theater buff, it's a tremendous treat. I was going to going into a background explanation so it would be clear what was going on, but that would give the surprise away. Fortunately one of those who arrives gives a little speech, so it all will be absolutely clear. I will only add one thing -- most espcially if you know theater history, this is a great moment, and involves in a certain way one of the probably half-dozen most legendary figures ever in Broadway that brings the audience to its feet, roaring. It's a simple moment, but even if you don't know theater history, I think most anyone will be able to appreciate it when the cast member says something that...well, let's just say that involves birthdays that brings down the house.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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