It was a less than stellar season for musicals, so the folks who won the Tony for Memphis last night should probably not pat themselves on the back too hard.
After all, let me remind you that the tastemaking The New York Times thought that show was lukewarm pablum.
According to their review last year, “This slick but formulaic entertainment barely generates enough heat to warp a vinyl record.
“…The crucial ingredient — authentic soul — is missing in action.
“Memphis feels like a cover version of a song you’ve heard done better before.
“Memphis is not a comedy, but it’s still a cartoon.”
A Tony-winning one, thank you!
And Best Actress went to Catherine Zeta-Jones for A Little Night Music, but again, it may not be a full-fledged victory.
Last year, the Times praised her lithe moves and self-possession, but added:
“Her Desirée, to be honest, is much like her Velma: earthy, eager, and a tad vulgar, though without the homicidal rage and jealousy…
“Such traits lend a not always appropriate edge of desperation to the droll Desirée, who has tired of touring and longs to be reunited with her former (now married) lover.
“Ms. Zeta-Jones delivers her big ballad, ‘Send In the Clowns,’ with an all-out emotionalism that I suppose makes sense but doesn’t jibe with the character’s amused urbanity.
“And swapping arch banter, sung or spoken, doesn’t come naturally to Ms. Zeta-Jones.”
But winning a Tony does!