Well the Tony Awards seem like a good excuse to finally break le blog’s unplanned hiatus (May was a busy month professionally and personally, including one child graduating from high school and another turning 16).
The Tonys are an interesting award show for those of us in Flyover country, because few of us outside the New York metropolitan area have seen many or even any of the contenders. Frequently, we here in Kentucky have rooting interests, like last year when Lexingtonian Stephen Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch was a big winner (with fellow Lexingtonians Justin Craig and Matt Duncan on stage with Neil Patrick Harris for the show-stopping Sugar Daddy), or years when Bluegrass State natives such as Steve Kazee and Laura Bell Bundy were nominees.
This year, there aren’t any Kentuckians among the contenders I am aware of (correct me if I am wrong), but the Tonys are still great for us for two big reasons:
1. It gives us a preview of what we can see if we travel to NYC and will see on local and regional stages in a few years.
2. It is usually one of the best if not the best major award show of the year. These people know how to do it live, and I have full faith in Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming for a great show.
Once they sign on, I’ll be checking in with thoughts and comments; maybe some photos if I can grab them (check out Alan’s formal wear, above).
The show blog is below. If you want to read it in chronological order, start from the bottom and scroll up.
Neil Patrick Harris made a little joke about his consensus disappointing gig hosting the Oscars this year, a gig earned from several successful turns hosting the Tonys. What worked for him at the Tonys also worked for Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming: their own winning personalities combined with fellow live performers, all having a good time. They can come back, shorts formal wear and all.
The performances seemed to affirm a number of the verdicts: Fun Home clearly came across as the most inventive and affecting show. While Something Rotten looked like a scream, Fun Home felt like the strongest offering. In contrast, The King and I is classic 20th century Broadway, but its Tony presentation had a fresh spark.
Plays are always harder to tell, because we never get to see much of them on the Tonys. The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time looked intriguing, but those of us who had not seen the nominees had little to go on. Yes, this putting on a show, but it seems the TV and stage producers could find a more respectful way to present the play nominees.*
Al-in-all, on Broadway’s big night of prime time, it acquitted itself well.
* This is an annual complaint.
Playing the best musical speech off seemed to indicate CBS was not going to let the Tonys shoot 45 minutes over like, oh, the interminable Grammys, earlier this year.
This may paint me as old school but, with all due respect to the Jersey Boys (who were just at the Belmont on Saturday), whatever happened to just giving out the big award at the end of the show and saying good night? Trying to come up with a grand finale rarely seems to work. The show did what it was supposed to do. Say goodnight, Gracie — or Kristin and Alan.
Best musical nominees had to wait ’til the of the Larry and Jason show to find out Fun Home won.
“I don’t need this, but now that I have it, I have some things to say,” six-time nominee, first-time winner Kelli O’Hara accepting best actress in a musical for The King and I. Lovely moment with her and Ken Watanabe, and nice shout out to fellow Oklahoman Kristin Chenoweth, who was acting sore back stage. Acting.
Did she just say, “I’m going to do the worm”?
“The home I have found with some grace … is to talk into the darkness.” — Michael Cerveris from his lovely speech accepting the award for best actor in a musical for Fun Home. Off track, but on target.
I am on the record as not being a Josh Groban fan, but that You’ll Never Walk Alone for the In Memoriam segment was lovely, especially the chorus of performers from nominated musicals in costume.
Alex Sharp is 25, and he just went out and beat Bradley Cooper, Bill Nighy and others for the Tony for best actor in a play for his performance in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Pretty sweet, and cool reaffirmation that stage is its own playing field.
What we learned tonight from Alan: Harry Connick Jr. is America’s Sweetheart.
The bumpers are a scream. I gained respect for Josh Groban for how he played along in that last one. Kristin: “Alan, are you dead?”
There was a time when you had to be a Tony nominated musical to get a number on the awards. Guess it helps to have Kelsey Grammer and Matthew Morrison in your cast. Downside: If that’s the big number, we understand why Finding Neverland wasn’t nominated. Upside: That few minutes was better than the entire NBC Peter Pan … thing.
Jennifer Nettles? For a second, I thought I fell asleep and woke up in the CMA Awards.
There are definitely more informed opinions out there, but every Roundabout Theatre revival I have seen has been outstanding, and On the 20th Century certainly appeared to be cut from that cloth.
Ruthie Ann Miles came close to being demoted to the chorus line with that speech (see 8:20 pm).
Another pic from earlier: Airborne with On the Town.
Photo from earlier (above). Alan Cumming appears to be doing a Mother Ginger thing.
Wow, arresting performance from Fun Home. It felt very fresh next to the revival performances we have seen so far.
Fun Home appears to be on a roll.
Ashley Tisdale introducing Vanessa Hudgens in the Gigi performance … now we know where the High School Musical cast ended up.
Kristin and Alan are funny. But that Tommy Tune tribute was a great reminder that they are best when they are singing and dancing.
Some Lexington notes on Christian Borle’s win for Something Rotten: Christian was Laura Bell Bundy’s leading man in Legally Blonde — The Musical, for which they were both nominated for Tonys. Also, his last win was for Peter and the Star Catcher, which Lexington Opera House general manager Luanne Franklin LOVED and brought to Lexington on this just past Broadway Live season. She just came back from NYC RAVING about Something Rotten. So, as soon as she can get it in Lexington …
My impression of Ken Watanabe was rearranged in about a minute there. OK, Kristin and Alan are definitely having a good time.
If the Brits keep winning at this rate, it will start to feel like the Oscars in the 1990s — Helen Mirren and Richard McCabe for The Audience, are the nights first two winners.
Go too long and you’re demoted to the chorus line?
Helen Mirren adds a Tony to her trophy case for The Audience. So cast Dame Helen as the Queen, she wins an award.
My son already wants Alan Cumming’s outfit for prom. You wanted Alan to sing Willkommen. (But he can’t seem to get her to sing Popular.)