We have now entered the final ten of our list! BroadwayWorld's extensive countdown of the greatest Tony Awards moments of all time - culminating in this year's ceremony, June 10 on CBS - continues today with a surefire must-see clip featuring one of the most glamorous, and, well, grand musicals of the 1980s or 1990s, Tommy Tune's tremendous 1989 high concept theatrical innovation GRAND HOTEL, which won five 1990 Tony Awards.
Master director Tommy Tune made much more out of this source material than anyone thought possible - in addition to Vicki Baum's 1929 hit novel and the subsequent iconic black and white film featuring Greta Garbo, this new stage piece started out as an adaptation a flop musical from the 1950s by Robert Wright and George Forrest, after all. Tune proceeded to vastly rewrite and outfit the show with new songs by NINE composer Maury Yeston, virtually rebuilding the show from the ground up in the process while out of town after he realized the show was not working in its first version - and the resultant product when the show moved from Boston to Broadway's Martin Beck Theatre was nothing short of stage magic. It was really like nothing else before or since. The spectacular original cast of the ingeniously designed and directed premiere Broadway production included tremendously ravishing turns by David Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Chip Zien, Karen Akers, Liliane Montevecchi and Michael Jeter as the inhabitants of the Berlin hotel at the show's center. Jeter's performance of "We'll Take A Glass Together" is still talked about to this day by Broadway babies who were lucky enough to catch the original production during its 1000+ performance run - the longest of any American musical to open in the 1980s - and, thanks to the vaunted vault of the Tony Awards archives, it is available to experience in all its glory now, more than twenty years after it was first seen. One of the most cherished character performances of the last fifty years, see why all of Broadway couldn't stop talking about this singular - and quite strange - show and its inimitable featured player doing what only he could do.
Yes, now, enjoy one of the utmost highlights of Tony Awards telecast history, with Kathleen Turner - the 1990 Tony Awards show host - introducing and narrating a thrilling and sensitively rendered medley from the five-time Tony Award-winning GRAND HOTEL, featuring most of the original cast. Also, stay tuned after the performance to see Michael Jeter's heartfelt and touching acceptance speech when he takes his prize for Best Featured Actor In A Musical.
So, what aspect of GRAND HOTEL in particular made it such a unique and impressive accomplishment do you think? Was it Tune's seamless and fluid direction? Was it the mesmerizing and evocative set and costume design? Was it the incomparable original performances by Michael Jeter, David Carroll, Jane Krakowski and Liliane Montevecchi? Was it the witty and atmospheric gems of the enjoyable score? Or, better yet, was it the entire package when considered collectively? Whatever draws you most into the allure of GRAND HOTEL, you must surely agree that the time is certainly right to revisit one of the greatest musicals of the 1980s and 1990s in revival form some season soon! Until then, see you at the Grand!
Stay tuned to BroadwayWorld for my InDepth InterView with original GRAND HOTEL cast-member Jane Krakowski later this weekend!