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New York Awards 2003

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Donna Murphy
Broadway cherishes its divas; indeed, in our impatience for new hits, we demand old vehicles for our most lavishly talented leading ladies. True, Donna Murphy first came on our radar in The Mystery of Edwin Drood; then in the charmingly silly Song of Singapore. And as the love-obsessed Fosca in Stephen Sondheim’s exquisite, dark Passion (for which she won her first Tony), she hid her beauty—though not her glorious mezzo-soprano—behind a tight wig and a nasty mole. But then, while waiting for another premiere to call her own, she was a radiant Anna in The King and I (Tony No. 2), making this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic seem minted for her. Now she’s channeling Roz Russell, singing Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s sophisticated lyrics and Leonard Bernstein’s infectious melodies in Wonderful Town. And again she knocks us out, as Ruth, smart elder sister of the comely Eileen—ambitious Ohio girls who move to Greenwich Village and make it their own. Of course, that’s exactly what this Queens native has done with Broadway. —JEREMY GERARD


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