As Broadway continues to introduce its new spring offerings, it was good to see musical theater be a major part of the 85th Academy Awards show last Sunday. The box office success and critical acclaim of the "Les Miserables" made a mark on the ceremonies as a segment of the evening was devoted to a salute to Oscar musicals. What did not come across very clearly was that it was saluting musicals of the past decade rather than the genre itself which could have worked as well or better than what was done.
No doubt, Catherine Zeta-Jones' performance of "All the Jazz" from the Oscar winning movie "Chicago" was a powerful way to open the segment. Zeta-Jones was in fine form and the music was hot to boot. It is well to note that Zeta-Jones has performed on Broadway since her winning performance in "Chicago." In fact, she won the 2010 Tony Award as Best Actress in Musical for her work in "A Little Night Music."
Jennifer Hudson, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in "Dreamgirls" sang "And I am Telling You I'm Not Going." The song which is regarded as one of the most identifiable from the show and also one of the most difficult to do well truly showcased Hudson's remarkable voice. "Dreamgirls" fans whether from the movie or the stage show had to be smiling as she sang.
Finally, for the first time ever, the entire cast from the movie "Les Miserables" came out to sing "One More Day." Hugh Jackman's very strong stage presence and fine voice, which has earned him Tony Awards, was very much in evidence as he led the cast into the performance. Of particular note was the fine work by Broadway's Aaron Tveit who was one of the standouts in the performance. The camera caught him at a critical juncture in the song and the results were wonderful to hear and see. The crowd gave a standing ovation at the conclusion of the performance of the three songs.