The Craptacular’s general fixation on the Tony Awards continues with a look back at awesomeness from years’ past…
Norbert Leo Butz in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
I can’t even feign partiality here: It’s my single favorite performance by a stage actor ever. Norbert Leo Butz was such a shoe-in for the Tony Award in 2005, and this is just a fragment of a performance that was both completely over-the-top, and completely controlled. If he wins this year for Catch Me If You Can, however, Norbs will be in an entirely different stratosphere of theater actor. The Audra McDonald Stratosphere of Musical Theater Actors Who Win Multiple Tonys. He’d be in glittery company. But in our hearts, he already was.
Kristin Chenoweth in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Remember the moment when Kristin Chenoweth’s megawatt career was born? It’s right here — when she brought the house down singing “My New Philosophy” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at the 1999 Tony Awards and then won the Best Featured Actress in a Musical prize four minutes later. The story behind this is just as sweet. Chenoweth had appeared on Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show just a few weeks before and explained how, if she won the Tony, she’d probably have to accept the award in costume. Upon hearing this, Rosie pulled some strings and voila, the Tonys most memorable quick change was born.
Brian Stokes Mitchell in Man of La Mancha
Stokes won a Tony Award in 2000 for Kiss Me Kate, but it was this performance, from 2003, that proved even more memorable. Following this, “The Impossible Dream” became a kind of signature piece for Stokes. He sang it everywhere from concerts with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, to student workshops, to Senator Ted Kenned’s Funeral.
Alice Ripley in Side Show
The first actresses to be jointly nominated for a Tony Award, Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner didn’t win in 1998. Alice Ripley would eventually take home a Tony more than a decade later for Next to Normal, but if there were a category for Best Belting Your Face Off, they would have surely had it sewn up for Side Show.
Brent Carver in Parade
Seriously, does anyone have a more beautiful singing voice than Brent Carver? A Tony winner in 1993 for Kiss of the Spider Woman, he also starred in Jason Robert Brown’s audacious musical Parade in 1999. That show won Tonys in two of the nine categories in which it was nominated, but it was this performance that knocked us off our feet, thanks to Carver and all those pretty notes he managers to hit.