5/21/12

20-Day Countdown! The Top 20 Tony Performances of My Lifetime: #20: RAGS, 1987

Twenty days until the Tony Awards!  Everyone knows the PERFORMANCES are what the Tonys are all about, so let's get the countdown started with some of my all-time favorite Tony performances of my lifetime.

Three things: I'm only posting videos that happened in my lifetime.  Why?  Because the Tony Awards changed my life, but they didn't change my life in 1967, no matter how awesome Joel Grey was in the original cast of Cabaret, because I wasn't born yet, see?  So this is personal.  The second thing is that this is NOT the greatest random musical performances of my lifetime, it is the greatest TONY performances of my lifetime; ergo, limited to what performed.  Considering the original casts of four of my Top 10 Musicals of All Time never performed at the Tonys--and another one of them is ABOUT TO on June 10th, but hasn't yet--, well, you have to keep the two things separate.  Third, I just want to say: Please watch them.  These people are the cream of the crop, and you just never know; you might actually enjoy it.  It's pretty moving stuff.  So, without further ado, let's roll out the #20 slot.

Number 20 comes from a little-known musical from 1987 called Rags.  It is a Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Working, The Prince of Egypt, Pocahontas, Godspell) musical of immigrants coming to America at the turn of the century and trying to thrive in a harsh environment.  The show and the music are fantastic, and just listen to Judy Kuhn's flawless notes (and oh! that ending!) as she sings the title song with Dick Latessa.  I know, it's so good, right!?  So why have you never heard of this musical before?  Well, this little gem had the misfortune of running up against one of the greatest shows in musical theater history: this underdog show called Les Mis√©rables, you might have heard of it?  Needless to say, Les Mis swept most all of EVERYTHING that year, and Rags closed after only four performances.  Not that Judy Kuhn minded, really: She went on to play the original Cosette in Les Mis, a role that launched her career into the stars.  Broadway is so fickle!  (Also, I apologize for the bad sound quality.  It's a very quiet recording, but it does sound great in headphones!)


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