So I know I’m beyond behind on my reviews, but I figure we should take a moment to discuss Sunday night’s Tony Awards. Did you watch? DVR it for later? I got comfortable in my pajamas and sat back to enjoy an evening of theatre. Here’s a brief look at my take on some of the highs and lows of the evening.
Jessie Mueller! Carole King! A wonderful performance and a much-deserved win for Miss Mueller as Best Leading Actress in a Musical. I haven’t even seen the show, and I love her! I do admit that I was also deeply rooting for Kelli O’Hara as it was her fifth nomination and she certainly deserves it after all these years. Perhaps next year for The King and I? Nonetheless, Jessie has been taking the theatre community by storm ever since On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. I’m stoked for her and can’t wait to see Beautiful.
Three words: Idina. Effin. Menzel. Well, let me back up. First there was Jonathan Groff’s brilliant introduction, and then the house was subsequently brought down with her If/Then 11 o’clock number. And yet, people haven’t been talking about it! I did not see my Facebook or Twitter feed freaking out afterward. Weren’t you watching, theatre fans? Honestly, in my eyes, this may have been the performance of the evening.
Also, let’s rejoice for Best Musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder – a fantastic performance and an even more hilarious introduction by Jefferson Mays. Let’s hear it for the underdog of the season actually getting its due with its multiple wins.
Cabaret and Alan Cumming? Solid of course.
James Monroe Iglehart’s praise shout.
Lena Hall’s heartfelt speech.
I also want to give a shout-out to Sutton for always being glorious.
And that Hedwig performance?? Yes! I’m so excited to see it in a few weeks!
And perhaps the ultimate highlight of the evening: Audra. Tears. Will Swenson. Tears. Standing ovation. More tears. Making history in two ways. For those of you who don’t know the momentousness of Audra’s win on Sunday for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, she is now the winner of the most Tony awards. She had five, tying with Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris, and now she has a whopping six, on top of the fact that she is now the only person who has won in all four performance categories! Audra McDonald = Queen of Broadway. Can she host next year?
Clint Eastwood and whatever that presenting was supposed to be.
The opening? I’m sorry, I just wasn’t into it. I do like how so many shows had cameos, and the awkward elevator ride with NPH was delightful, and I understand that they likely didn’t bother with a “traditional” opening number because it could never compete with last year’s. But seriously – Hugh Jackman just bouncing the whole time? Yes, I know it refers to something specific, but we’re really going to take an obscure reference and make it the centerpiece of a four-minute opening number? C’mon Tony writers, you can do better than that. You want more people to tune in? Don’t lose them in the first few minutes!
Sting, I’m bored.
Aladdin’s Friend Like Me was like watching a seizure on stage. And listen, if the funniest part of the song is when the Genie stops to sing from different Disney movies, then I think there’s an inherent problem with the show. People out there who want to spend money on Aladdin? I’m just saying – that’s the best you’re gonna get. They played their best hand on Sunday, so if you didn’t enjoy that number, you might want to reconsider your options.
Zach Braff’s hair.
I thought ROCKY was a musical. Also? Shortest fight ever.
This has been a common rant on Facebook and everywhere else so I won’t digress too long, but I will say I too am tired of the out-of-place Hollywood actors presenting. I love you Tina Fey, but why are you up there and not a Broadway vet? It’s all to improve ratings and get viewers, right? Well, ratings were lower this year. Maybe they should focus more on the theatre community and what we do best and feature more performances from the current season instead of a Music Man rap with LL Cool J and T.I.? Sure, The Bridges of Madison County closed, but couldn’t we get a song with Steven and Kelli? Anyway, more on that and the recent Tony Award Administration Committee ruling in a later post.
All in all, it was a relatively smooth evening without too many hitches, and we got to see some great numbers (go here to watch the rest of the performances). Here’s to another season of theatre!
So with the Tony Awards now very much in sight, I have received a handful of requests for a “Tony Prediction” post. I’ve been hesitant to share my predictions (in print anyway), but here are a few thoughts on what to expect and why you should tune in this year.
What I’m most excited for this season is that there is not a clear winner in the works. Unlike a couple of years ago when everyone knew The Book of Mormon would sweep, or even last year with ONCE, this time around we have a true race between two new shows for Best Musical, Matilda and Kinky Boots. I have not yet seen Matilda at the Shubert, but I did get a chance to see it in London last spring, and I absolutely loved it. I saw Kinky Boots several weeks ago, and it’s like musical theatre candy; the audience eats it up. Personally I’m rooting for Matilda for the big win, but here’s how I think some of the awards will break down.
Word on the street is Best Score will go to Kinky and Best Book will go to Matilda. Best Direction I think will be swiped by Diane Paulus for Pippin. Remember Pippin? Yeah, that’s the big sweep of the year for revivals. It should grab Best Revival, Best Direction, Best Choreography (Chet Walker), Best Actress (Patina Miller as Leading Player), and Best Featured Actress (Andrea Martin as Berthe). It may even take Best Featured Actor (Terrence Mann as Charlemagne), but that’s a tight race between Terrence and Gabriel Ebert as the father in Matilda. For Best Actor in a Musical, it’s a race between two men in drag: Bertie Carvel as the evil Principal in Matilda and Billy Porter as the fabulous Lola in Kinky. My money’s on Billy.
As for plays, I’m thinking Best Play will go to Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang, which I saw last night (go see it immediately. You’ll laugh your face off). Best Revival will likely go to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but The Trip to Bountiful may make some surprise appearances. Tom Hanks will probably walk away with Best Actor for Lucky Guy, although I would like to see Nathan Lane win for The Nance. For Best Actress I don’t know what’s going to happen! I personally want to see Kristine Nielsen win for Vanya, but I only saw two of the nominated performances so I’m honestly not informed enough. I wouldn’t be surprised if Judith Light wins for Best Featured Actress in The Assembled Parties, and Best Featured Actor expectations are mixed. I really didn’t see enough of the nominated plays this season. Instead I was at The Heiress. Ugh.
This is starting to rattle on so I’m going to stop here, and I haven’t even covered all the lighting, scenic, and costume design, not to mention sound design and orchestrations. But no matter who ends up taking home the awards on Sunday night, it’s really about seeing the great performances of new and old shows, enjoying a hopefully fantastic opening number with host Neil Patrick Harris, and celebrating a night of theatre. So tune in to CBS on Sunday at 8pm ET.