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Welcome to The 2703

Welcome to The 2703, the brand new Hollywood Pantages Blog. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is, “How many seats are in the theatre?” The answer to that question and the name of our blog is 2,703. It’s that kind of insider knowledge we want to share with you! Have you ever wondered what happens at the Hollywood Pantages while you’re not here? We want to peak your curiosity, take you behind the scenes, into rehearsal rooms, and out into Hollywood. We want to give back to our audiences that fill The 2703 every performance.

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Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I

The partnership between composer Richard Rodgers and librettist/lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II is well known in the musical theatre world. Together, they have produced such works as Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific and The King and I. Check out these interesting facts about the creation of this timeless piece.

Laura Michelle Kelly as Anna and the royal children photo by Matthew Murphy

  • The King and I is loosely based on the fictional novel The English Governess at the Siamese Court.  
  • The novel, written by Margaret Landon, is an embellished re-imagining of the memoirs of Anna Leonowens’ account of teaching English in the court of the Siamese King Mongkut.
  • The idea for the musical was proposed by Fanny Holtzmann, an attorney for Gertrude Lawrence in an attempt to revive her dwindling career.
  • Neither Rodgers or Hammerstein were intitially interested in the idea but proceeded with the project as urged by their wives who were fans of the novel.
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Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II are pictured auditioning hopefuls at the St James Theatre.

  • Both Rodgers and Hammerstein struggled with how to convey the cultural context of the story.
  • Rodgers wanted to reference Asian music without alienating a Western audience. He stopped short of incorporating traditional Thai music and instead settled on some unusual chords to convey a foreign mood.
  • Hammerstein wrote the King’s dialogue without using articles – a manner of speech common to many Asian languages.

Manna Nichols and Kavin Panmeechao photo by Matthew Murphy

  • The romance between Lun Tha and Tuptim was scripted primarily so that Rodgers could write some of the romantic tunes he was famous for – as it would be inappropriate to stage a cross-cultural romance between the King and Anna. An attraction between the Thai King and British governess is merely suggested in the musical.
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Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner in the Broadway production of The King and I (1951)

  • The musical opened on Broadway in 1951 starring British actress Gertrude Lawrence as Anna and Russian actor and director Yul Brynner as  the King of Siam.
  • Brynner was then relatively unknown, but shot to stardom for his performance in the hit.
  • The show played for three years, but lost its leading lady when Lawrence died of liver cancer halfway through the run.
  • Gertrude Lawrence became the first person to ever have the lights on Broadway dim after her death. Check out our blog Dimming the Lights to learn more.
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Laura Michelle Kelly, Baylen Thomas and Graham Montgomery photo by Matthew Murphy

  • The show had an initial budget of US$250,000 – which was at that time the most expensive Rodgers & Hammerstein musical ever made
  • Lawrence had to wear costume gowns that weighed up to 34 kg, and her character danced a total of 6.4km in every performance, eight shows a week. Lawrence was buried in one of her costumes from the show.

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  • Through the initial run and several revivals, Yul Brynner performed the role of the King more than 4,600 times.
  • Yul Brynner reprised his role as the king on tour at the Hollywood Pantages in 1979
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Show poster of The King and I starring Yul Brynner (1979)

  • a 1956 film took the musical from Broadway success to international smash hit. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won five.
  • The film was (and still is) banned in Thailand as it was deemed disrespectful to the monarchy – an offence which breaks several of the country’s laws.

For tickets and more information about The King and I CLICK HERE.

Costume Displays

We love a costume display. There is nothing better than opening up a box filled with costumes. Pulling out our mannequins and playing dress up really makes our day. This is why few years back we decided that investing in costume mannequins was going to be in our best interest. We believe that the costumes are another character in the show and we want you to get up close and personal with these beauties. Check out some of our favorite costume displays throughout the years.

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Masks from Disney’s The Lion King.

While we know the Lion King masks are not costumes exactly, they are a very crucial piece of the show. These masks with their stunning detail and surprisingly light weight fascinated theatre goers in 2014 and 2015

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Phantom of The Opera costumes displayed in the Hollywood Pantages Lobby

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The Phantom of The Opera costumes helped to jazz up our booth at the 2015 Festival of Books

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The Phantom of the Opera costumes at Dodgers Stadium in 2015

Our Phantom costumes got a bit of a workout! Not only did they preside over the lobby during the 2015 run of The Phantom of the Opera but they also traveled to the Festival of Books and Dodgers Stadium to help us promote the show.

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Inside SoCal’s Erica Olsen pictured next to costumes from Bullets Over Broadway

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Costumes for Bullets Over Broadway

Inside Socal’s Erica Olsen got all gussied up to help us promote our pre Bullets Over Broadway speakeasy. The costumes pictured were designed by Tony Award Winner William Ivy Long.

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The Kinky Boots

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Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein showed off the Kinky Boots while receiving their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

While these Kinky Boots never made it to the lobby, they served a pivotal role in the star ceremony for Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper.

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Ensemble gown from 42nd Street

This ensemble gown from the number Dames in 42nd Street really surprised us with just how heavy it was. The entire gown is hand beaded. It’s also possible that everyone in the office put the hat on at one point or another!

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Ensemble costumes from the finale of White Christmas

The White Christmas ensemble costumes are our newest display in the lobby. What could be better than red and white fleece and a tap shoe?

What costumes would you like to see displayed in our lobby?

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Holidays in Hollywood

While some people dream of a white Christmas, most Angelenos are quite content drinking their peppermint mocha’s in 80 degree weather. The constant sunshine and enticing temperatures means that many folks in Los Angeles end up with a house full of family around the holidays. In an effort to help you get the in laws out of the house for a few hours we have compiled a list of things to do in Hollywood this holiday season.

The Escape Hotel

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The Escape Hotel opened in Hollywood in early 2016.  Escape rooms are best be described as a live puzzle game, utilizing a team (from two-12 people, depending on the size of the room and your ability to get along with others) to figure out clues and puzzles, and that all add up to the ability to unlock a door after a set amount of time (usually 30 minutes to an hour, again depending on your ability to get along with others; if you’re super-stuck, there’s always someone watching who’ll give you a hint… if you want it).

Escape Hotel would like to offer season ticket holders a 10% discount on individual tickets and a 15% discount on group tickets. To receive the discount holders will need to contact Escape Hotel Hollywood at 323-848-4954 and use the special password, Lloyd.

Website: http://escapehotelhollywood.com/

 

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Opening its doors in 1979, the World Famous Laugh Factory has been recognized as “the #1 comedy club in the country” by such high-profile media as USA Today. With southern California locations in Hollywood (its original Sunset Boulevard locale) and Long Beach (opened in 2008), comedy’s top stars, as well as today’s brightest emerging talent, shine on its legendary stage.

Complimentary General Admission tickets for up to four guests to our Hollywood location. Guests may choose from our Monday – Thursday, 8PM or 10PM shows.
2 drink minimum. 18+

To make your reservation please call our box office in advance, (323) 656-1336 ext 1.

Make sure to mention the Hollywood Pantages to redeem your complimentary tickets.

Exceptions apply. No special events. Monday-Thursday only.

Website: www.laughfactory.com  

 

Starline Tours

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As L.A.’s leading sightseeing company, Starline Tours is pleased to offer a wide range of exciting Los Angeles tours from our Hollywood terminal. Discover the unique celebrity culture and history of this fascinating city, or let us conveniently transport you to and from many of Southern California’s most popular attractions!

Starline Tours is offering buy one, get one half off! Season Ticket Holders call 1 (800) 959-3131 for special rate.Blackout Dates: November 25 – 26, 2016 and December 26 – January 8, 2017

Website: www.StarlineTours.com  

 

Museum of Broken Relationships

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The Museum of Broken Relationships explores broken love and other human relationships – what they mean to us, what they tell us about what we share and how we can learn and grow from them.  It is composed of objects donated anonymously by members of the public from all over the world.  Each exhibit is an object (some of them ordinary, some of them extraordinary) and a story, which together recount a watershed event in someone’s life.

15% off tickets for season ticket holders.

Website: http://brokenships.la

 

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The Pink Carpet

The 2016-17 Season has officially begun. There is nothing more fun than kicking off a new season than with a red carpet opening night. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a special show that deserved a special PINK carpet. In this blog, see how we do everything from pink carpet set up to the celebs that joined us for the opening.

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Zelda Williams (photo by Chelsea Lauren)

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Judy Greer (photo by Chelsea Lauren)

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From Left: Scout Willis, Tallulah Belle Willis, Arianne Phillips, and Demi Moore (photo by Chelsea Lauren)

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Margaret Cho (photo by Chelsea Lauren)

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Courtney Love (photo by Chelsea Lauren)

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Elizabeth Banks (photo by Chelsea Lauren)

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John Stamos (photo by Chelsea Lauren)

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Vincent Rodriguez III (photo by Chelsea Lauren)

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Rider Strong (photo by Chelsea Lauren)

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Ross Matthews (photo by Chelsea Lauren)

 

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2016-17 Season Ticket Holder Open House

Welcome to the 2016-17 Hollywood Pantages Season! We invited our new Season Ticket Holders to make their Pantages Theatre debut at our annual open house. Guests explored the theatre learning about the history and architecture as well as sampling small bites from local area restaurants.  We would like to thank  all of our neighborhood and restaurant partners for helping us out. A special thank you to Chelsea Lauren for the beautiful photos.

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7 Reasons Why the Mezzanine is the Best!

In two weeks we will begin one of the biggest seasons the Hollywood Pantages has ever seen! We know that tickets for the 2016-17 are selling quickly but don’t despair.  We want to let you in on the secret that is the mezzanine. We have compiled 7 excellent reasons you should give the mezzanine a try!

1.The ushers will tell you that it is their favorite place in the theatre to sit. Who better to take advice from than someone who has seen the same show from every angle of the theatre multiple times?

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2. The stadium seating is more pronounced, much like a movie theater. If you happen to be on the shorter side or are attending the theatre with small children this allows for better visibility should someone tall sit in front of you.

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3. Speaking of kids, sitting in the mezzanine is great if you have small children and need to step out frequently for bathroom breaks or need to stretch your legs.

4. The restroom lines move faster upstairs. There are only 950 seats in the mezzanine and 1,750 downstairs. That means there are fewer people using the restrooms upstairs and it helps that the ladies restroom in the mezzanine is the largest ladies room in the theatre.

5. Sitting in the mezzanine feels more intimate. Like we mentioned before, there are only 950 seats in the mezz. Depending on where you are sitting you may not be able to see the folks sitting in the orchestra making it feel like your own private theatre.

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6. Secret Tip: Row J in the mezzanine has the most foot room of any row in the theatre. The people in the front row of the theatre may have some extra foot room as well but they are looking straight up the actor’s noses. In row J you get to stretch out and enjoy the view in front of you.

7. The view of the beautiful blue ceiling and chandelier are much better in the mezzanine. Take some time before the show and really explore the ceiling. We find new details in it all the time.

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The Ultimate TBT

Enjoy an ultimate Throw Back Thursday photo collection of our historic theatre. Most of the photos below were taken in the 1950’s. Imagine the people you would have seen walking through the doors at that time.

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Ladies mirrored lounge on house right near the lower bar.

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Lounge now used as offices for our Front of House Manager.

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Looking over the mezzanine.

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The Grand Chandelier inside of the theatre.

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A view of the center colonnade from the lobby. Currently the location of the concessions stand.

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Original box office located in the center of the outer lobby..

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Poster windows still utilized today.

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Front door entrance hallway.

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Original lobby chandelier.

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Original center mural pictured above the stage.

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A view of the theatre seats from behind the side stage curtain.

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Another look at the poster windows.

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Front doors to the theatre from the outer lobby.

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Plush couches and benches line the colonnade.

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Mezzanine staircase landing. Currently home to one of the theatre’s bars.

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Mezzanine staircase landing.

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Chairs located outside the center mezzanine doors.

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The theatre lobby.

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Decorated drinking fountain located near door 5 in the colonnade.

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Exterior of theatre taken in 1930 shortly after the theatre’s opening.

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The Fire Curtain

A safety curtain is a fire safety precaution used in large proscenium theaters. It is usually a heavy fiberglass or iron curtain located immediately behind the proscenium arch. Its purpose is to contain any fire to the stage to allow time for the audience to evacuate safely. These curtains were used in Europe for many years but it wasn’t until after December 30, 1903 that regulations regarding these curtains became much tighter in the United States.

On December 30, 1903 people were filing into the Iroquois Theater in Chicago. Women and children gathered to watch a matinee production of Mr. Bluebeard staring Eddie Foy. At the time the theater was only 5 weeks old and had been labeled fireproof beyond a doubt by designer Benjamin Marshal as well as city fire inspector Ed Laughlin. Once the audience members had taken their seats ushers were instructed to lock 27 of the theater’s 30 exits to prevent people from sneaking in.

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The entrance of the Iroquois Theater in Chicago 1903.

During the second act of the show an arc light sparked catching the painted canvas backdrops on fire. Foy ran back on stage to try to calm people letting them know the fire curtain would be lowered. As the curtain was lowered it became caught and unable to reach the floor causing major panic. It was later discovered the curtain was made of paper and would not have helped even if it had come down completely. Ushers fled the theater first forgetting to unlock the 27 exit doors resulting in the death of 600 people.

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Aftermath of the Iroquois Theater fire 1903

Since that major tragedy fire curtains are now a staple in any large theater venue. The original fire curtain for the Hollywood Pantages Theatre was lost when it did its job after a spark from a music stand in the orchestra pit set it ablaze. It depicted the evolution of man, art and architecture.

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Hollywood Pantages original fire curtain

The current Hollywood Pantages Theatre fire curtain is rarely lowered with the exception of the occasional photo shoot. It depicts a painting of billowing clouds and a flock of flying birds.

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Current Hollywood Pantages Theatre fire curtain

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Take Your Kids to the Theatre

When I was 7 years old my parents took me to the local high school production of Fiddler on the Roof. I don’t really remember how good or bad that particular production was but I will never forget the way the music made me feel. My parents enjoy reminding me that as a child I never stopped talking but Fiddler on the Roof had me entranced. The show is still my favorite to this day.

Taking a child to a live theatrical performance for the first time can be tricky. Each child is very different in the way that they behave or interpret the world. To help make that first trip a little easier we have compiled some tips and tricks from our ushers and from our Associate General Manager and father of four, Jeff Loeb, to help your child enjoy the theatre as much as you do!

Pick the right show.

Do your research to ensure that the material is appropriate for the age of your child. Also be aware that many theaters, including the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, do not allow children under the age of 5. When asked what age he introduced his children to theatre, Loeb replied, “I started taking my kids at age 3 to different events.  There is a ton of smaller theaters in LA that offer great family programming.  Start small and learn what your kid can enjoy. ” You never know how a child might react to a darkened theatre. “During The Lion King, there were a lot of families that would hang out in the lobby and watch the show on the monitors because their children were afraid to be in the dark theatre.” one Pantages usher explains.

 

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Mellany’s first show! My First Visit pins available at Audience Services in the lobby.

Pick the right seats

Aisle seats are always good when attending with a smaller child. Even if the seats are a little further away from the stage you will be less likely to have someone tall sitting directly in front of your child. The Pantages does have booster seats located at each entrance to the theatre. Be sure to grab one as soon as you get there because they will go fast for family friendly shows. Sitting on the aisle also allows easy access to the restrooms at intermission as well as the ability to get up during the performance if your child is not reacting well to the show. Loeb says his trick is to get seats near the back of the theatre or in the mezzanine where he knows he can make a quick escape if needed and then move closer over time.

Watch the Show Before You Go

Let your kids know what to expect. Is there a movie version of the show, or a book or YouTube clip? Get them excited about the characters they are going to see live. Listen to the cast album whenever they are in the car with you. When the song comes on during the show, it’s already a familiar favorite.

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Some children enjoy dressing as the characters from the show.

Theatre Etiquette and Kids

Getting your child to understand theatre etiquette can be tricky. Some adults still struggle with the concept. Loeb says, “We talk about what a good audience member is in terms of when to applaud (when you think the performance warrants), when you can talk and when it’s okay to take photos (never during the show).” Reminding children that it is something grown ups do is always a good way to get them to participate by making them feel included. “Something parents tend to forget is that those light up shoes, bracelets and other glow in the dark things can be very distracting.” says one Pantages usher. “Every time the child moves the shoes will flash and all of the ushers think it is a camera.”

Stage Door

Taking your children to the stage door to meet the characters they just saw performing live in front of them is always a good experience. Even shy children are delighted to be up close to someone they’ve just seen performing. It is a good time to remind them how different the theatre experience is from movies or television and makes the outing special. You might also walk away with an autograph.

 

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Mario Lopez, wife Courtney and daughter Gia walk the red carpet for 42nd Street

When asked for any final thoughts Loeb said,”Kids may not love the show the way you do but they will love going to a special event with their parents or grandparents.  My kids remember going to shows with their grandparents or cousins, not just with me.  It’s a special event and if you let them know you think it is special, they will want to go with you again and again.  I personally love when going to the theatre is a family tradition passed down to the next generation.  It’s a wonderfully communal event to have 2,700 people all watch the same thing at the same time live.”

 

 

 

 

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Revivals

One of the most exciting things about Broadway theatre is the anticipation of that next big smash hit. We have seen it come from the plains of Africa with the Lion King. One time it came in the form of a green girl from Oz and most recently in the form of the ten-dollar Founding Father. But what about the musicals that came before?

We live in a world of movie reboots, re-do’s and sequels. Most get upset upon hearing the news that their favorite childhood film is being rebooted for today’s kids but what about Broadway revivals? If the recent box office record setting sales of the Broadway revival of Hello Dolly staring Bette Midler tells us anything, it’s that the Broadway community welcomes revivals with open arms.

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This Broadway season was full of big revivals. What is it that keeps us coming back to these classic pieces again and again? Is it nostalgia or is it seeing a new version of an old favorite? There are too many spectacular revivals to mention so we took a look at the four that were nominated for the Best Revival category for the 2016 Tony Awards.

The Color Purple walked away with two Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical. Not only is this show still running on Broadway but it has pulled in some of the best reviews from the country’s top papers. Below the cast of The Color Purple performs at the 2016 Tony Awards

“My spirit was profoundly moved” Los Angeles Times

“This is a show that pierces and shakes the soul!” Arts Desk

“A mircale on Broadway. A glory to behold!” New York Times

 

The most recent revival of Fiddler on the Roof did quite well for itself earning three Tony Award Nominations for Best Revival, Best Performance by a Lead Actor, and Best Choreography. The show also walked away with two Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Actor and Outstanding Director. Below is the cast of Fiddler on the Roof at the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

 

In 1964 She Loves Me made it’s New York debut. In 2016 the revival ended up with 8 Tony Nominations and walked away with Best Scenic Design. Television stars Jane Krakowski and Zachary Levi lent their talent along side Lara Benanti to pump new life into this classic. Below the cast of She Loves me performs on the Today Show.

 

If any one revival was unique in its own way it was Deaf West’s Spring Awakening that combined the beauty and music of the 2006 production and added the element of American Sign Language to the coming of age tale. The show ended up with three Tony Nominations for Best Revival, Best Direction, and Best Lighting Design. Below see a collection of clips from the show.

 

What classic Broadway shows would you like to see revived and who would you cast in the lead roles?