I love Broadway. I love musical theater. And I love that the one time I can appropriately talk about Broadway on a TV blog is today since the Tony Awards were on CBS last night!!!
I’m a very lucky person. Living in the Philadelphia area, I can shoot up to NYC very easily to see a Broadway show. Most people can’t. So the Tony’s are the one time, Broadway can promote itself to a national audience. and I thought the telecast was fantastic.
The really wasn’t much I didn’t like. So let’s start with what was great because there was a good amount:
1. Neil Patrick Harris shines again. He is just a fantastic host. He handles the show very well. He can push the envelope but knows when enough is enough. He’s talented, engaging, and respectful. I could watch him host the Tony’s every year.
2. NPH vs. Hugh Jackman. You know how I just said I could watch NPH host the Tony’s every year? I could watch NPH and Jackman host EVERY award show together. They were perfection on stage. They played off each other very well and were incredibly entertaining.
3. Acceptance Speeches. I always love seeing someone win a Tony who never has before and certainly wasn’t expecting it. Ellen Barkin and John Larroquette, both veteran actors in the industry, made their Broadway debuts this year and both took home Tony’s for it. You could see how much this meant to them and both got emotional on stage as a result. The funniest yet poignant acceptance speech was Mark Rylance’s for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a play. When he started talking about walking through walls and the type of walls that are challenging to walk through and what happens to you walking through the different materials, I was cracking up. But what a great analogy for someone working in the theater community! And finally, the best acceptance speech of the night went to The Book of Mormon’s Nikki M. James for Best Featured Actress in a musical. You could tell, she really didn’t think she was going to win. I love the way she thanked her family and her mom. I loved her bumble bee story. I loved her telling the TelePrompTer she isn’t going anywhere. I couldn’t help but shed a tear during her speech. She was so grateful and appreciative of this moment and I want to go see The Book of Mormon just to see her.
4. The musical numbers were fantastic. There was one number I scratched my head at which I will get to later but I thought the shows picked excellent numbers to showcase their shows and why people should go see them. How to Succeed, Anything Goes, The Book of Mormon, Sister Act, Catch Me If You Can, The Scottsboro Boys were all outstanding. I’m a sucker for a great tap dancing number so Anything Goes was probably my favorite. “Raise Your Voice” from Sister Act is a great number but Patina Miller’s voice sounded a little tired last night. I don’t know if she was sick or needed a few days off to rest her voice but she didn’t sound as powerful as she usually does. The sound editing didn’t help either. Miller is perfectly cast as Dolores van Cartier so I recommend everyone go see her.
5. Bono and The Edge. “We used to be famous for being in U2!”. Ha! Awesome. Spiderman, Turn off the Dark has gotten brutalized in them press over the last year. The book and music were horrible, the staging was dangerous, actors were getting hurt (one almost got killed), the set was not great, it was too long, it was too expensive, the director was fired. I could go on and on. But Bono and the Edge handled everything very well last night. NPH very smartly said he could make fun of Spiderman all night but he will only given himself :30 to get as many jokes in as he can. Flash to Bono and the Edge in the audience who were laughing along with the crowd. They were really good sports. Then when introducing their musical number (more on that debacle later) they even poked fun at themselves and talked about how much they have a whole new respect for the people in the Broadway community. It was a great moment for them and hopefully the new revamp of the show turns out to be relatively successful for them. The show will never recoup but maybe they can save it to some degree.
Of course with all the good there was, there were some moments that didn’t work or were a little eye brow raising:
1. Frances McDormand and her Tony attire. This is going to be the most brutal that I get. Was she serious with that outfit? She looked liked she just rolled out of bed from an all night Hooters concert and came to the Tony’s to get her award. Does she have so little respect for the ceremony that she couldn’t even put a comb through her hair? The woman is an outstanding actress but I couldn’t believe her appearance. And I don’t want to hear that she’s unique or different and she is who she is. That’s bullshit. There are many unique people who are who they are but they still take a shower and dress appropriately for the occasion. it was a disgrace.
2. The sound was off again this year. Last year there were many comments about how awful the sound was for the broadcast. It happened again this year. It wasn’t as bad as last year but I don’t understand how people’s mics don’t work or some portions of musical numbers are muted. Can CBS please fix this for next year?
3. Brooke Shields. Poor Brooke Shields had a simple little ditty to recite at the start of the broadcast and she couldn’t do it. She had to start over 2xs and then still needed a cue card. But I give her a lot of credit for getting up and making fun of herself by saying she could do 8 shows a week but she can’t read a TelePrompTer and then botching another intro by misreading the TelePrompTer again. I guess Princeton didn’t have classes on reading electronic material.
4. Spiderman didn’t help themselves. So after all the drama, the jokes, the problems, Spiderman, Turn off the Dark had a chance to showcase why people should see the show. All that number made me do was not want to see Spiderman. That number was so boring I almost fell asleep watching it. Wasn’t there another number they could have done that would have been slightly more lively? Both actors looked bored during the number. Well I was just as bored as they were.
5. Broadway moments. This did nothing for me. I would rather have seen the Tony’s do what they did last year and promote some shows on tour. Not everyone can get to NYC but Broadway is bringing their shows to your cities. Show 3-4 shows with the tour cast to promote seeing those shows when they come to cities across the USA. Honestly, this felt like filler and if you can’t fill 3 hours, then make it a 2 and 1/2 hour show with a 1/2 hour of pre show interviews with nominees.
So that completes the 2011 Tony Awards. There are some amazing shows with outstanding performances playing on Broadway right now. If you have the chance, you should try to check out some of these shows. If that just isn’t possible, visit a local theater to see a show. Even if it isn’t a broadway tour show and just a local production, it’s still worth it and it supports these actors who work so hard in one of the most challenge branches of the acting world. For a complete list of all the Tony Winners, please see list below.
Complete List of Winners:
• Best Musical: Book of Mormon
• Best Play: War Horse
• Best Musical Revival: Anything Goes
• Best Play Revival: The Normal Heart
• Best Featured Actress in a Play: Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart
• Best Featured Actor in a Play: John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart
• Best Actress in a Play: Frances McDormand, Good People
• Best Actor in a Play: Mark Rylance, Jerusalem
• Best Actress in a Musical: Sutton Foster, Anything Goes
• Best Actor in a Musical: Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can
• Best Featured Actress in a Musical: Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon
• Best Featured Actor in a Musical: John Larroquette, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
• Best Choreography: Anything Goes
• Best Direction of a Play: Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, War Horse
• Best Direction of a Musical: Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon
• Best Book of a Musical: The Book of Mormon
• Best Orchestrations: The Book of Mormon
• Best Original Score: The Book of Mormon
• Best Scenic Design of a Play: War Horse
• Best Lighting Design of a Play: War Horse
• Best Sound Design of a Play: War Horse
• Best Sound Design of a Musical: The Book of Mormon
• Best Lighting Design of a Musical: The Book of Mormon
• Best Costume Design of a Musical: Priscilla Queen of the Desert
• Best Costume Design of a Play: The Importance of Being Earnest