Forgotten Broadway: Five Tony-Winning Showstoppers You’ve Probably Never Seen

Tomorrow night is the Tony Awards—the one night a year we theater queens get our nationally broadcast moment in the spotlight. It’s like Christmas, Easter, New Year’s Eve and our birthdays all rolled into one.

Heck, it’s even worth skipping the Mad Men finale!

It’s also around this time of year that theaterfolk submit their lists of favorite Tony Awards numbers: New York Times critic Charles Isherwood released his list this week and it was full of pedestrian “Great Moments.” (Angela and Bea singing “Bosom Buddies” is grand, but we’ve seen it a million times.)

Last year, Time Out New York‘s Adam Feldman compiled a whopping 25 musical numbers, comprehensively covering all the bases for anyone who has spent an evening in a showtune video bar.

And then there is the next level—for the diehards who will squint at the grainiest bootleg just for a chance to experience a glimpse of long-forgotten Broadway magic.

That’s where I come in.

In the spirit of the season, I’ve assembled some amazing, lesser-known showstoppers from the Great White Way. Most won the top Tony awards for their season, although not all of these clips appeared on the telecast. You’ve seen the marvelous clips from Wicked and Dreamgirls and Rent a hundred times already. So, sit back and smile at the just-as-rich, deeper treasures for no-holds-barred Broadway freaks like me.


Click through for the toe-tappingest unsung moments in Broadway history

The Tony Awards air Sunday, June 10, at 8pm EST.


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  • Lefty

    There’s two stories next to this one, both with hot young topless dudes in them… and I click on this one first.
    I think I’m getting old… :(

  • Jono

    Applause is soooooooooo painful. God bless Lauren Bacall.

  • w.e.

    My God these clips are older than dirt.

  • Hello

    Thanks! Very entertaining.

  • Continuum

    If showstopper means schmalzy, corny, and over the top, then I guess these are are showstoppers. Standard boring broadway harmonies. Meaningless lyrics. My God, even the dancing is stilted and lifeless compared to the modern broadway musical.

    In no way do they compare with “Dreamgirls”, “Wicked”, “Les Miz”, or even “The Book of Mormon”. Or, for that matter “42nd Street”.

    Give me “West Side Story” or “Sound of Music”.

    There’s a good reason that these 5 so-called showstoppers are forgotten.

  • Lefty

    @Continuum: You, sir, cannot tell shit from shinola.
    Good day…

  • LadyL

    @Lefty: I have no idea who you are, but I love you :-)

  • LadyL

    Oh, that was fun! Thanks so much for posting these! No idea they’d tried to turn “The World of Henry Orient,” one of my favorite films, into a stage musical. Little Alice Playten was a powerhouse–wish I could have seen “Henry, Sweet Henry” just once, even if it did flop (Well, of course it did. What made anyone think Don Ameche could replace the inspired Peter Sellers?) Watching an exuberant Bacall and company, I was 12 again. And am I mistaken? or did I spy a young Tommy Tune tap-dancing his heart out somewhere behind the amazing Ruby Keeler..?

  • SpudStudScott

    I think they were fun, but noticeably absent was the marvelous number from GRAND HOTEL, “Take a Glass, Together” with Michael Jeter and Brent Barrett. What a fun romp.

  • DouggSeven

    Someone call my mom and tell her I’m not gay. None of those did anything for me. The old lady in the last one is clearly lip syncing.

  • Owen

    Anyone notice a very young Kevin Kline in the “Twentieth Century” number..?

  • JB

    @DouggSeven: Firstly, the “old lady” you so kindly refer to is the legendary Lauren Bacall. Secondly, as was noted in the description, this video is taken from the television-movie version of the show, not the actual show itself, so of course she was lip syncing. Unless you think actors in movie-musicals are recorded live as they film (and then re-film, and re-film, and re-film…) it’s not really shocking.

  • stagequeen

    Wait a minute — I don’t get it, the article says “unscramble” the neon letters in the back for a gay message but there’s nothing to unscramble — doesn’t it just say “gay power”?

Comments are closed.