Sunday, June 12, 2011

2011 Tonys: Thoughts and Reflections

(Do ask, Do tell. It's Tony Time!)

So The Tonys Happened! Some Highlights!

Oh, Kermie. Do you remember the opening number? "It's Not Just For Gays Anymore!" was another musical home run for host NPH, who is really quite a good host for any awards show (and he's hosted quite a few at this point!) but he always seems comfiest at the Tony's. His closing number from two years ago has become a classic and this was another great edition to his hosting career highlight reel. The lyrics were fun and he sang and danced it well. Also Brooke Shields' complete inability to deliver her joke until her third attempt somehow turned out to be a total win for NPH. He can do no wrong!

The Normal Heart wins hearts and minds and Tonys! I really loved The Normal Heart and was very happy to see it receive multiple awards including Best supporting actress, best supporting actor and best revival of a play. Everyone should go see this show. Fine work. Congrats to all!


A War Horse is A Horse, Of Course, Of Course. I loved the Puppet Horsie that was all over the Tonys. Whether drinking water from the reflecting pool in Lincoln Center or carrying NPH out on stage, that horse looked amazing. The puppeteers were incredible. All of the fun of a horse without the smell of a horse! And War Horse cleaned up really well with the awards too. Definitely a show I want to see soon!

I'm a bumblebee and I need to get back to the hive. Somewhat surprisingly, the only Book of Mormon acting win came from Nikki M. James for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. As a result of shock and delight and perhaps feeling like she needed to continue to talk to fill the moment, she inevitably, charmingly and tearfully went off the rails a bit with a metaphor about the bumblebee. She comes from a long line of bumblebees. Somewhere, the Broadway Buzz lady stood up and cheered.

Sutton Foster and her Dresser: The Love That Slipped Away
. Sutton Foster gave a lovely emotional speech as well, but it went to another level when she declared her love for her Dresser of nine years and six shows, who was leaving her - but it's OKAY! BECAUSE HE'S PURSING HIS DREAM!!! It was a lovely moment, I thought. As I said on the FB, Please someone write a musical about Sutton Foster and her dresser saying goodbye after nine years. It can star Sutton Foster. In related news I don't think Frances McDormand has been friends with her dresser for nine years. The jean jacket was not really the proper festive attire for the night. Did she show up still in character?

Norbert Leo Butz in on the Book of Mormom juggernaut(bitch!).
With two equally worthy male leads, BOM split it's own vote, leaving room for one of the other really strong lead actor nominees to take the prize. That beneficiary turned out to be Norbert Leo Butz. I thought Aaron Tveit was the lead of Catch Me If You Can, but the tony voters and the number the production chose to feature at the ceremony would want me to think otherwise. Still, regardless of whether it's really lead or supporting, he won, and Norbert's cool. He paid tribute to his slain sister which was very touching, as the circumstances of her death were truly horrible. Ugh, it's upsetting just to think about it. He also thanked he dresser. Seriously, if you are lucky enough to have a dresser, you should thank them when you are on stage looking good.

(Accio, Tony Award!)

Daniel Radcliffe wins for Mr. Congeniality and John Larroquette wins a Tony! Despite his Tony snub, non-nominee Daniel Radcliffe was a terrific sport with his high energy stage performance (and American accent!) for How To Succeed and his crisp and energetic presentation of the Best Actress categories. Also John Larroquette won his first Tony and while his acceptance speech was a little... inward, I will always have a fond place in my heart for The John Larroquette show and can never begrudge him success.

Phone Rings, Door Chimes in comes Company! I liked the star studded Company reunion again featuring NPH. Stephen Colbert and Martha Plimpton as a couple? I didn't need more than that, but still I got more.

Jackman -vs- NPH, A Tony host Deathmatch!!
They each have impressive credentials, but I prefer NPH, who always powers through an awards show with slightly devilish glee. They sing and dance and throw shade on each other, but in the end I think they just decide to call the whole thing off.

Memphis shows up to remind us how much stronger a season we had this year as compared to last year. Honestly, I think any of the shows nominated for Best New Musical this year could've beaten Memphis last year. There's just nothing to that song they always sing! I think even Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (which sadly just missed the cut for Best New Musical this year) could've toppled Memphis had it been eligible last year. But my point is, it was a very strong year for Broadway shows this Spring. It means there are a bunch of worthwhile shows this summer.

Bono and The Edge remind us they are good sports who didn't write a good show. The Spider-Man jokes were plentiful but not too overwhelming. Ecah one was followed by a reaction shot of Bono and The Edge and they were always receptive to the gentle ribbing. Their banter before the Spider-Man performance was fun and humble and appreciative... and then the song started and as dedicated performers as Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano are, I switched to the Mavs game almost immediately. I just don't get it. I think if it was up against last year's field, Memphis could even still win against it.

Book of Mormon provides little suspense but lots of laughs. It was a forgone conclusion that BOM would win, but that didn't make the show boring and the number they showed wasn't very flashy and didn't give too much away, but I definitely laughed throughout. Not like it wasn't already doing just fine in the ticket sales department, but it's nice to have a highly successful original Broadway musical win the big prize!

NPH raps the whole thing up quite nicely. With some writing assistance by LMM and TK, NPH delivered a very fun rap that summarized the entire evening in under 2 minutes. He basically channeled LMM on stage which was highly amusing for those of us who know him and how he writes and performs stuff. But look, see for yourself!

All in all, I thought this was a very fun and playful Tony ceremony. It moved quickly and I enjoyed the presenters and the production numbers. It had rhythm. It had music. It had NPH and giant horsies and Harry Potter and tappa tappa tappa! Who could ask for anything more?? See you back here in 2012, Broadway babies!

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