(Robert Simonson’s article appeared in Playbill, 5/6; via Pam Green.)
Don’t go near any theatre fan without reading this first: stand-out moments from the historic 2015-2016 season on the Great White Way.
On May 3, Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s trail-blazing rap musical about the “founding father without a father,” received 16 Tony Award nominations, topping the 15 set by The Producers and Billy Elliot, a record that no one ever thought would be broken.
It was that kind of season. Hamilton set the tone, opening way back in August 2015, and thereafter dominating national discourse in a way no stage show has in a generation. But there were other headlines to be grabbed through the 12-month dash to the Tonys.
Jessie Mueller, the Tony-winning star of the Carole King musical Beautiful, proved she was that rare thing: a genuine Broadway-bred musical comedy star, when she proved to be as big a draw in the new musical Waitress. Andrew Lloyd Webber, the king of commercial theatre in the 1980s and ‘90s, scored a comeback when his School of Rock, inspired by the film comedy of the same name, struck a chord with critics and audiences. Composer Duncan Sheikreturned to Broadway with American Psycho, drawing on material (Brett Easton Ellis’ notorious novel about a Wall Street serial killer) as unlikely as that which had inspired his previous Broadway show, Spring Awakening—which returned to town in a praised new production by Deaf West Theatre.