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Bridges of Madison County thoughts from Chip Deffaa’s July 17, 2014 column

Bridges of Madison County had, in my judgment, the best original score of any show this season. When I attended the Tony Awards, it made me very happy to see composer Jason Robert Brown presented with his Tony for best score; he deserved it.

Bridges of Madison County had, in my judgment, the best original score of any show this season. When I attended the Tony Awards, it made me very happy to see composer Jason Robert Brown presented with his Tony for best score; he deserved it. I’m sorry the show did not survive for more than a hundred performances. I thought the score was first-rate. And Kelli O’Hara gave the finest performance yet in her career, in that show. The cast album is selling well, and I’m glad for that. The show had book problems, which I had vainly hoped they might fix, and it was not marketed well.

Bridges of Madison County Playbill

I’m sorry that no number from Bridges was performed on the Tony Awards telecast. In an ideal world, an awards ceremony celebrating the best of Broadway would find a way to include a song from the year’s best score. (The Drama Desk Awards ceremony managed to include the performance of one song from the show.) I understand that the show had closed. I understand that the producers of Bridges of Madison had run out of money. (And producers have to pay to have numbers from their musicals performed during the Tony Awards broadcast.) But in an ideal world, an awards ceremony promoting the best of Broadway would find a way to let us hear some of the best music to be heard all season on Broadway. Hearing a bit of that score, sung well on TV, might have helped sell a few more copies of the cast albums, might have prompted a few more regional theaters, community theaters, and college theaters to consider doing Bridges of Madison County someday. It just seemed awfully strange to me, to hear no music from the year’s best score on the Tony’s–while we heard some not-very-impressive music from some shows that have not even reached Broadway yet. I wish we could have heard Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale singing something from Bridges of Madison County. You’d think the producers of the Tony Awards would realize that if the best of Broadway is represented on the broadcast, we all win.

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