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re: Tony winners with mixed word of mouth (with spoilers!)
Posted by: Chazwaza 11:30 pm EDT 08/10/22
In reply to: re: Tony winners with mixed word of mouth (with spoilers!) - ShowGoer 10:45 pm EDT 08/10/22

I don't disagree that it was a notably weak year for musicals... or that all the other nominated shows were jukebox. I will, however, say that as far as jukebox musicals go you could do WAY WAY worse in terms of variety, critical reception and audience reception than American Idiot, Fela!, and Million Dollar Quartet. It's not like its competition was Lennon, Good Vibrations, and On Your Feet.

But while I do think Memphis is one of the worst Best Musical winners in modern musicals (Moulin Rouge is worse)... as Wayman says, it is at least an original show with an original score.

But I really came here to make the point that while it's always worth considering the context of a win or even a nomination... Sweeney Todd won (and swept) in a weak year for musicals. Its competition were all original musicals, but they were: Ballroom, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and They're Playing Our Song. Now... these aren't necessarily bad musicals, all 3 had their pros and cons, but they sure don't stand out as stiff competition for any of the favorite musicals of Broadway history or the winners of Best Musical. Now, this doesn't make Sweeney's win any less deserving, or Sweeney any less a staggering piece of genius musical theater than it is.
Annie, winner the year before, beat out the pretty weak competition of Side by Side by Sondheim, I Love My Wife, and Happy End.
Evita, winner the next year, won in a weak year too, with Barnum being the biggest threat, and Sugar Babies and Hollywood/Ukraine.
42nd Street, the next year, won against the revue Sophisticated Ladies, the revue Tintypes, and the mediocre K&E Woman of the Year.
I wonder what show would have won if it had been Sweeney Todd, Annie, Evita and 42nd Street. 4 completely different shows, and types of Best Musical winners, which all 4 won in relative weak seasons if not for the respective aforementioned winners.

So context is important, but so is the context of the context.
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