R&H x 2: Not since the fall of '59 when The Sound of Music mixed with Flower Drum Song has Broadway been blessed with two Rodgers & Hammerstein shows at once. "The Boys" gave themselves years of space to create, so they never had two Broadway entries playing simultaneously as they do now: State Fair (their one original filmusical that, 50 years after the fact, finally blossomed into a stage musical) and The King and I (which waltzed off with the Best Revival Tony and three others). Lou Diamond Phillips came off Tony-nominated‹following Yul-Know-Who, a major feat‹and Donna Murphy pulled off another one by segueing from one Tony-winning role (Fosca in Passion) directly into another (Miss Anna in The King and I, which was also a Tony-winning role for Gertrude Lawrence‹and her last). State Fair's score, consisting of the movie's songs plus overlooked evergreens from other R&H efforts, constitutes the sweetest sounds of the season‹indeed, the sweetest since that "new Gershwin musical," Crazy for You‹and it even rated for the Tony once-over, losing to Rent.
A lesser-known set of lyrics for R&H's 1945 Oscar-winning "It Might As Well Be Spring" (taken extant from the flick and unretouched) runs through a laundry list of that era's celebrity names, ending with a Bing; ironically,
Crosby's widow, Kathryn, is doing her first Broadway role in the show‹the matriarch who makes pretty mean mincemeat pie. Her silver-haired spouse is John Davidson, in his first B'way outing since he was ingenue interest in Bert Lahr's Foxy. Randy Skinner's dance steps‹dispatched by seasoned Tony winners Donna McKechnie (of A Chorus Line) and Scott Wise (of Jerome Robbins' Broadway)‹got Wise back in the Tony running and won McKechnie one of this year's Astaire Awards; the other went to Savion Glover, whose choreography of Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk took the Tony, too.