As you may recall, I've been writing about actress-singer Jessie Mueller quite a few times over the last several years. I first saw the Chicago-area performer (from Evanston) first in a local production of She Loves Me at the the Writers Theatre in Glencoe. And currently, she's starring on Broadway as Carole King in Beautiful. I posted some songs and other folderol, and mentioned that she was likely a leading contender to win the Tony Award as best actress in a musical.
The Tony Awards broadcast is tomorrow, Sunday, June 8. And Jessie Mueller is nominated as best actress in a musical. Here's this from an article in the Los Angeles Times the other day --
"More than the Oscars or the Emmys, the Tony Awards--which will be broadcast Sunday at 8 p.m. from Radio City Music Hall--feature a tight-knit group of veterans who know and in many cases have worked with one another. This year, there are few categories? more seasoned — or daunting — than lead actress in a musical, whose Idina Menzel ("If/Then"), Kelli O' Hara ("The Bridges of Madison County" ) and Sutton Foster ("Violet") count 14 Tony nominations, three wins and an abundance of shows among them.
"Yet the pre-ceremony oddsmaking favors Mueller, a 31-year-old first-time nominee in the category who arrived on Broadway less than three years ago and would prefer to skirt the edges of the hot-house Tony campaign season."
That's a seriously strong list of contenders (which includes Marry Bridget Davies in a tour de force performance in A Night with Janis Joplin.) As a side note, to show how far Jessie Mueller has come, and in a short time, prior to starring in Beautiful, she was the replacement last year for fellow nominee Kelli O'Hara, when O'Hara left the cast of the Gerswhin-based musical, Nice Work If You Can Get It.
It's worth noting that six days ago Ms. Mueller won the Drama Desk Award.
By the way, the whole article quote above is a lovely feature about Jessie Mueller, so if you're interested, you can real the fulll piece here.
Just as a warm-up, here's an absolutely wonderful performance by her on the Today Show, singing "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" And doing something very impressive -- sounding enough like Carole King, but bringing her own interpretation. (By the way, what I've learned is that she is not playing the piano, much as it looks like she is. For the role, she re-learned how to play, using a silent keyboard, and there's a pianist the pit. In this video, you'll see him over her left shoulder. No matter, her enthusiasm makes it all impeccable.)
This below is one of the reasons she's the Tony favorite. And why I've been yammering about her for years.
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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