Broadway Backwards Highlights: From "The Man I Love" to "Barcelona," Stars Gender-Bend Show Tunes

By Harry Haun
19 Mar 2013

Anthony Warlow

Sometimes, subtly, it was the aggressively retained pronoun that made the song gender-inappropriate — hence, "My Funny Valentine" from Len Cariou and "Time Heals Everything" robustly rendered by Big Daddy Warbucks himself, Anthony Warlow (reminding award-voters anew, lest they've forgotten, how terrific he is).

The Hooverville squatters were run off for the evening so some lively production numbers could be staged on their turf under the massive bridge: "Six Months Out of Every Year," Meg's sports-widow lament from Damn Yankees, was entrusted to an ensemble of male couples and female couples; Broadway's most recent Judas, Josh Young, was tapped to "Bring on the Men," and Avenue Q's very funny and agile Howie Michael Smith professed to pals he was "Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm" from How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

There were two wild cards of the evening — "Vespers," a raunchy, rolling-around pas de deux by Patrick Corbin and David Grenke while Tom Waits croaked out as best he could "Waltzing Matilda," and a factually based monologue by Noah St. John, "The Last Mile," about a young man who realizes the marriage of his two mothers is about to end — but not before the family car hits 100,000 miles on the speedometer.

He later said they did divorce and that was The Last Big Family Moment. It was nice he had that moment and lovely he shared it with a Palace full of sympathetic souls.

The one standing ovation of the evening opened the second act: the Dreamgirls' dynamic Act One curtain-closer, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," plus the entire scene leading up to it. Two Texas Jennifers won awards for Effie's anguished meltdown — Holliday the Tony and Hudson the Oscar. Tituss Burgess pulled out all stops and vocal restraints to get the number into that same ballpark. Bravo!