Broadway's Tony awards were handed out this past Sunday, so this week's Friday's Five is:
Five Favorite Broadway Performances- Comedic Category
1. Bill lrwin in Bye Bye Birdie This revival, starring John Stamos, was a bit uneven in my opinion, but two things stood out: the energy of the young performers and Bill Irwin in his role as Harry McAfee, the put-upon father of the teen girl chosen to get a kiss from pop star Conrad Birdie. Every time Irwin opened his mouth, comic gold came out, and his physical schtick was priceless. No one moves like Irwin.
2. Valerie Harper in Looped Harper portrayed the original Hollywood bad girl, Tallulah Bankhead, in this three person comedy. She nailed Bankhead's unique voice and style, yet seemed to make the role her own. Harper deservedly earned a Tony nomination for her role, though unfortunately, the show did not last long on Broadway and people don't have the chance to see how brilliant she was.
3. Jan Maxwell in Lend Me a Tenor Maxwell has but a few scenes in this revival of a farce, but boy does she make the most of them, earning a Tony nomination. She plays the tenor's Italian wife, and her screaming scenes with Anthony LaPaglia, her husband, the tenor, are screamingly hilarious. Her physical comedy excels as well, particularly when she uses a pillow, or rather, it overcomes her. The author should have written her into more scenes.
4. Justin Bartha in Lend Me a Tenor Bartha makes his Broadway debut in this show as Max, the jittery assistant who assumes the identity of Tito, the Italian tenor. Bartha more than holds his own among the talented cast (Maxwell, Tony Shaloub, and Anthony LaPaglia among others), and actually shines. His best scene is the one where LaPaglia teaches him warmup exercises. Bartha just goes for it, and it pays off huge.
5. Katie Finneran in Promises, Promises Finneran won the Tony for best featured actress in a musical for her role. She only has two scenes, but from the moment she opens her mouth in the opening of Act II as blowsy, brazen Margie, she owns the audience. She and Sean Hayes act and dance the hell out of that scene, and I wish they had shown that one on the Tonys. It may have been the funniest scene on Broadway this year.
Feel free to share your favorite comedic performances on Broadway in the comments section.