This year’s Tony nominees for Best Musical reflect the diversity of the Broadway season, running the gamut from plotless revue to Disney cartoon-to-stage transfer to jukebox show to fiendishly clever Edwardian thriller.
Duke Ellington’s tenure as bandleader at the legendary Harlem nightspot, the Cotton Club, is celebrated in this sleek revue. Ninety intermissionless minutes pass like a dream as one spectacular number follows another. Dulé Hill serves as the master of ceremonies, reciting Langston Hughes’ evocative poetry, Julius “iGlide” Chisolm and Virgil “Lil’ O” Gadson elegantly contort their bodies, Karine Plantadit moves like a flirtatious gazelle, and Adriane Lenox channels the sassy Bessie Smith. Special guest stars such as Fantastia Barrino, K.D. Lang, and currently Vanessa Williams croon such classics as “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.”
Audiences “ooh” and “aah” over the latest of Disney’s screen-to-stage transfer. Not only is there that famous magic carpet ride for Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, featuring the Oscar-winning “A Whole New World,” but the genie’s big number “Friend Like Me” literally stops the show, drawing standing ovations. Tony nominee James Monroe Inglehart makes for a festive, exuberant magical spirit as he demonstrates his powers to his new master in director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw’s all-stops-out number.
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
Tony nominee Jessie Mueller skillfully chronicles Carole King’s journey from Top 40 songwriter to iconic solo artist. The hit-filled score includes her collaborations with husband Gerry Goffin (“Locomotion,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”) and her generation-defining solo efforts (“You’ve Got a Friend,” “I Feel the Earth Move”), as well as chart-toppers by her best friends Cynthia Weill and Barry Mann (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “He’s Sure the Boy I Love”).
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
This year’s unexpected Tony champ with 10 nominations, A Gentleman’s Guide is an intimate and sharply cynical show. Best Actor nominee Jefferson Mays dazzles as all eight members of the aristocratic D’Ysquith clan targeted by distant relative Monty Navarro (fellow Best Actor nominee Bryce Pinkham) in order to gain the family earldom. The clever score evokes Gilbert and Sullivan in its witty lyrics and intricate music.