Geoffrey Block, Distinguished Professor of Music History at the University of Puget Sound, is the author of Enchanted Evenings: The Broadway Musical From Show Boat to Sondheim and Lloyd Webber. The book offers theater lovers an illuminating behind-the-scenes tour of some of America’s best loved, most admired, and most enduring musicals, as well as a riveting history. In the post below we provide the answers to last week’s Tony quiz. How many did you get correct?
1. Question: Who is Tony?
Answer: Tony is the nickname for Antoinette Perry, a producer, director, and actor who served as Chairperson and Secretary of the American Theater Wing in the 1940s. One year after her death in 1946, the Tony Awards were launched in tribute to her.
2. Q: What was the first musical to win the Tony for Best Score
A: Street Scene in 1947.
3. Q: What was the first musical to win the Tony for Best Musical
A: Kiss Me, Kate in 1949.
4. Q: What was the second musical to win the Tony for Best Musical?
Hint: This show made its debut only a little more than three months after the first winner.
A: South Pacific (4/7/1949), which debuted only a few months after Kiss Me, Kate (12/30/1948), won its Tony in 1950.
5. Q: In what year were the Tony Awards first nationally televised?
6. Q: Who has the most Tony Award wins in the Best Score category?
A: Stephen Sondheim with six between 1971 and 1995: Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, and Passion.
7. Q: What other lyricists and composers (or lyricist-composers) have won two or more Tony’s in the Best Score category?
A: Betty Comden and Adolph Green, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cy Coleman, and Andrew Lloyd Webber (3 wins each); Richard Rodgers, Jerry Herman, Maury Yeston, and Tim Rice (2 wins each).
8. Q: Who has received more Tony’s than anyone else since the awards were established?
A: Producer-director Hal Prince is the all-time leader with 21 awards.
9. Q: One winning musical in the Best Score category was the only musical nominated that year.
A: Sunset Boulevard in 1995.
10. Q: What year produced arguably the most impressive line-up of Tony nominated musicals?
A: In 1957, the nominees included Bells Are Ringing, Candide, and The Most Happy Fella. The winner that year: My Fair Lady.
11. Q: So far there has been only one tie in the Best Musical category? Name the two shows.
A: Fiorello! and The Sound of Music tied for Best Musical in 1960.
12. Q: Fourteen times in the last fifty years the Best Musical and Best Score winners were not the same. No less than half of these disparities have occurred in the past twelve years. What are the names of these last seven shows that won the Tony for Best Musical but not Best Score? What shows did win for Best Score in those years?
A: The Lion King (1998), Fosse (1999), Contact (2000), Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002), Spamalot (2005), Jersey Boys (2006), and Billy Elliot (2009) won in the Best Musical but not in the Best Score category. The musicals that won in the latter category during these corresponding years are Ragtime, Parade, Aida, Urinetown, The Light in the Piazza, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Next to Normal.
13.Q: Name the two Best Musicals that went on to win Best Picture Oscars.
A: My Fair Lady in 1964 and The Sound of Music in 1965.
14. Q: Name the three Best Musicals losers that went on to win Best Picture Oscars
A: West Side Story in 1961, Oliver! in 1963, and Chicago in 2002.
15. Q: Starting in 1994, the Tony Awards decided to make the Best Musical Revival its own category instead of forcing musicals to share the award with revivals of plays. In the years since, the Best Musical Revival category has often proven to be fiercely competitive. Name the three winning revivals that first appeared before the launching of the Tony Awards and the four winning revivals that did not win a Tony Award for Best Musical the season of their Broadway debut.
A: The original runs of Show Boat, Carousel, and Annie Get Your Gun predate the Tony Award. The four winning revivals that did not win a Tony Award for Best Musical when they first appeared are Chicago, Into the Woods, Assassins, and Hair. By the way, the Best Musical Tony Award winners that would later win in the Best Musical Revival category are the following (in original chronological oder): Kiss Me, Kate, South Pacific, The King and I, The Pajama Game, Cabaret, Company, 42nd Street, Nine, and La cage aux folles.
16.Q: The Four Questions: What show won the Tony for Best Musical in 1984? What Pulitzer Prize winning show lost that year? Who wrote the winning score? What controversial remarks did the winner utter on national television?
A: La cage aux folles beat Sunday in the Park with George in 1984 in the Best Musical and Best Score categories. The remarks of Jerry Herman, who wrote the winning score for La cage, were widely interpreted as a criticism of his rival lyricist-composer Stephen Sondheim. This is what Herman said: “There’s been a rumor that the simple hummable show tune is dead on Broadway. Well, it’s alive and well at the Palace!”
17. Q: One composer had been dead for nearly 70 years when he won for Best Score. Who was this composer and what musical did he write?
A: The composer was Alexander Borodin (1833-1887); the music was Kismet.