Was 1964 Broadway's Greatest Year for Musicals? Dolly, Fiddler, Funny Girl and Other Groundbreakers

By Robert Viagas
15 May 2014

February 16: The following week brought the final Broadway appearance of master clown Bert Lahr, whose career (begun in the 1920s) had gotten some fresh juice since the movie classic "The Wizard of Oz" in which he played the Cowardly Lion, became a holiday staple on TV. For his Broadway return he chose Foxy, a musical adaptation of Ben Johnson’s Volpone with the action relocated to a Yukon gold-mining camp, where he sets out to gull the gullible. Larry Blyden played his right-hand man, and John Davidson played the male ingénue. In a season awash in great female stars, Lahr took home the 1964 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his work in this 72-performance show, which included a memorable bit of business in which Lahr climbed the proscenium to escape a pursuer.