Broadway audiences were treated to a bevy of spectacular musicals and plays in 2012. While each show had its special moments, Broadway.com singled out 10 showstopping scenes that left audiences rolling in the aisles, jumping to their feet or just plain shocked. Scroll below to relive these electrifying moments, presented alphabetically by show.
“Where Are All the People?” (Chaplin)
Chaplin is a giddy delight, especially when title star Rob McClure transforms into the Little Tramp. McClure however presents a powerful portrait of the man behind the mustache and cane as well. Late in Act Two, after Chaplin’s name has been dragged through mud by the press, the now-exiled filmmaker attends a London screening of one of his films…only to arrive to an empty theater. In the 11 o’clock number “Where Are All the People?” Chaplin heartbreakingly reflects on happier times and how his once adoring public has now abandoned him.
“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” (A Christmas Story)
Any fan of the perennial holiday classic has heard the dream-crushing warning “You’ll shoot your eye out!” The film's musical adaptation brings a fresh take to that moment when Ralphie disappointingly earns a C+ on his passionate essay for a BB gun. His teacher, Miss Shields (Caroline O’Connor), delivers some impressive footwork in a dream sequence as she chastises his Christmas theme, but the song belongs to tiny tapper Luke Spring. What the pint-sized performer lacks in height, he more than makes up for in talent!
Adults Dish Out Potty Humor (Clybourne Park)
For all the insightful social commentary in Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright sure knows his way around a dirty joke. As two couples discuss their neighborhood’s gentrification, Lena (Crystal A. Dickinson) maintains her cool despite the increasingly racist remarks of Steve (Jeremy Shamos). Finally, she snaps and lashes out with a jaw-dropping joke we won’t repeat here. Let’s just say it begs the question of similarities between white women and a certain feminine product. Zing!
Spencer Kayden Gets a Foxy Makeover (Don’t Dress For Dinner)
Spencer Kayden's inspired comic performance—complete with sneering French accent—was the highlight of the Don’t Dress for Dinner revival. As a haughty hired chef, the Tony nominee reluctantly pretends to be the girlfriend of one of the two-timing characters. Just before intermission, the dinner party host tears away her hat and apron and, with one forceful tug, her black maid skirt instantly becomes a sexy cocktail outfit. Costume designer William Ivey Long deservingly snagged a Tony nod for the clever stage wizardry.
“Come Rain or Come Shine” (End of the Rainbow)
Having sucked down enough booze and pills to knock out an army of elephants, Judy Garland (Tracie Bennett) is forced to take the stage at her London concert series, where she delivers a manic rendition of “Come Rain or Come Shine.” Bennett, in all her yoga-sculpted glory, struts around stage in such a crazed state, it's amazing she pulled off the scene eight times a week without collapsing on the spot! Witnessing her descent makes crowd-pleasing ballads like “The Man That Got Away” and “Over the Rainbow" even more gut-wrenching.
“Seize the Day” (Newsies)
The mind-blowing athleticism of those Newsies boys is on full display in the roaring rally-the-troops anthem “Seize the Day.” Led by a permanently fist-clenched Jeremy Jordan (and later Corey Cott) the jubilant crew launches into a dizzying array of twirl after twirl mixed with high kicks, back flips and foot stomps. They even glide around on their newspapers like ice skates and keep those cute news caps in place the entire time! Kudos to choreographer Christopher Gattelli for his Tony-winning moves.
“Looking for a Boy” (Nice Work If You Can Get It)
As sourpuss Temperance advocate Duchess Estonia Dulworth, Judy Kaye attempts to silence the jazz-age fun at Jimmy Winter’s (Matthew Broderick) mansion. When bootlegger Cookie McGee (Michael McGrath) decides to slip hooch into her drink, Kaye climbs on top of the dinner table and takes hold of the chandelier, swinging like Tarzan to the tune of “Looking for a Boy.” During her Tony acceptance speech, the Phantom of the Opera vet joked, “Chandeliers have been very good to me.”
Audiences come to Once humming "Falling Slowly,” the show’s Oscar-winning tune, but Act One closer “Gold” demonstrates how magnificently the stage adaptation enhanced its source material. In the film, the song is performed during a forgettable dinner scene, but on stage it becomes a full-blown romantic call from leading man Steve Kazee to his newfound muse played by Cristin Milioti. Add in foot-pounding choreography and lush accompaniment from the supporting cast (doubling as the band) and the number lives up to its name.
James Corden Pranks His Audience (One Man, Two Guvnors)
By the time the pub scene in One Man, Two Guvnors comes around, the audience is well aware of James Corden’s troublemaking antics. So when he pulls a woman on stage to prepare a meal (involving a giant bowl of orange soup, no less) the crowd is ready for anything. Corden's victim, painfully shy Christine, is forced to perform silly tasks that lead to her hiding under a table with a portable stove overhead. The gag goes wrong as a spark shoots up, resulting in Christine getting showered by a fire extinguisher. [SPOILER ALERT!] Turns out the whole thing is a setup, and Christine is actually poker-faced cast member Natalie Smith. Raise a pint to that!
Black Stache Waves Goodbye to His Hand (Peter and the Starcatcher)
Peter Pan prequel Peter and the Starcatcher provides many answers to how the Boy Who Never Grew Up and his co-horts became the characters familiar to generations of children. No moment delivers more laughs than when Black Stache gets his hand caught in a treasure chest. Tony winner Christian Borle hooted and hollered with so much cartoon silliness that animated steam could have shot out of his ears. His take on three little words: Oh. My. God. was a masterclass in comedic endurance. The hilarity continued as he hurled out the amputation puns. Give this man a hand, literally!