Tonys 2012 - The Big, Fat, Sexy Wrap-Up

So, last night came and went and after all the blood I shed and all the tears I cried trying to take in as many shows from this season as possible, let’s relax and reflect on Broadway’s best evening of the year and make witty comments. Because talking about the Tony’s for the next 48 hours will be the highlight of your June.

"Ugh, guys...guys...I'm NPH"
Wait, Broadway’s greatest night of the year? You sure?Basically, I thought the night was a charmless affair, only obscured by some high points and the fact that most (not all, mind you) of the winners were well-chosen. Neil Patrick Harris’ talents seemed marginalized at first, but as the night progressed, he seemed pretty off his game. The Spiderman bit was pretty funny (his ‘junk’ comment made me laugh-out-loud), but his opening musical performance was lackluster and he didn’t really get going until his final number, which was decent and witty for being the most on-the-fly performance of the evening.

But in reality, most of the performances sucked last night – And that is a darn shame considering that is why half of the Tony telecast watchers tune-in. Newsies was barely good, but not as impressive as they are capable of and if asked, I would have recommended a different song(s). Jesus Chris Superstar needed more blue-suited Josh Young on camera and less cray cray back-up dancers trying to be pertinent. Once and Porgy and Bess was great, no surprise there…

But everything else…Ghost and its *gasp* “clothed” performers wailing on about…something? Godspell blatantly ripping off Hair and horrifying the audience (Hugh Jackman withstanding)? Nice Work If You Can Get It and Matthew Broderick giving a lazy performance? Danny Burstein’s nonsensical and weird performance from Follies? Evita…ugh, no.

And if that was not enough…

Oh, just sink already...
They don’t even go here – Look, I love The Book of Mormon and the opener was cute…for 5 seconds. I was surprised they went all the way with it, but did they have to even perform? I mean, I look forward to their box office sales increasing er hem staying the same because they are and have been at max capacity every day since last summer solstice. C’mon now…

But while that number can be justified to some extent, Leap of Faith bogged down my happy place with its horrific song that no amount of Raul Esparza can salvage. That awkward Hairspray performance on a cruise ship somewhere with that thin and ancient-looking Tracy Turnblad was really something too. Never in my life have I wished that a cruise ship hit an iceberg and plummet to the bottom of the ocean…as cruel as that sounds, you have to admit, that performance would have been a hell of a lot more exciting and relevant if their was a Titanic-esque drama.

But at least we have some newly-inserted scenes from plays, right? Yeah, not quite…while I love the concept of adding in mini-vignettes (or actual footage) from plays, the whole idea was half-assed. All the pieces felt horribly short and/or bizarrely out-of-context (seriously, what the hell was James Corden doing?). Also, am I the only one that thought that Tracie Bennett sounded nothing like Judy Garland? But above all, the Tonys sort of did themselves their own disservice by inadvertently revealing the lack of quality musicals this year by having this segment to begin with. Nice concept, but poorly executed…

Christian disapproves of
losing Best Play.
Clybourne Park…oh please – In an evening full of right choice after right choice, this was the one that stood out to me as problematic. Yes, I liked this show, but I thought it was the weakest of the four nominees. No, I was not expecting Venus in Fur to be a contender considering its nomination alone surprised me (even though I love that show and it was one of my favorites all year), and like I mentioned the other day, Other Desert Cities will have to settle for being a serial-nominee. How does Clybourne Park, with less nominations then Other Desert Cities and Peter and the Starcatcher, even come close to competing? How does it lose out on all other awards, but then take home Best Play? How does Peter and the Starcatcher and its utter perfection get overlooked after winning damn near everything else? Too many questions…but speaking of Starcatcher

Got your starstuff handy?! – The most imaginative and joyous play of the year (and my personal favorite other then Venus in Fur) represented well and took home some much-deserved gold. My favorite win? Christian Borle a.k.a Sir Sassy Stache walking away with a victory in my Sophie’s Choice between him and Andrew Garfield. Both performers were incredible in completely different roles, but in the light of the aftermath, the right choice was made. I sort of resolved my own dilemma – had this ceremony been the Oscars, Andrew Garfield (and Philip Seymour Hoffman too) would have won, as the Oscars tend to favor dramatic performances. All well and good, but this ain’t no Oscars…it is the Tonys, and the likes of Borle and James Corden pranced away with the top honors.

4 for you, Andrew's Face
Andrew Garfield’s face deserves its own award – While the insipid telecast was going on and on, it was Garfield’s face that ultimately became a star of the evening (if it was not already). I mean, it was always nice to look at…but between laughing at the Spiderman joke, looking alarmingly overjoyed at the freaky Godspell performance and its general existence alone during every audience pan shot, his facial reactions pulled focus off of everyone and everything at times. So memorable, it should have its own Twitter account. Bonus points for Garfield’s body giving a bromantic hug to Borle after the latter won the award. Finn Wittrock is off somewhere hugless and disapproving.

Watch out Ms. Jackman…PETA is calling – while Hugh Jackman was accepting some award for being magnificent or flawless or whatever, she had a cacophony of cray cray going on with her outfit. She had a fur, fringe-like neckline that did nothing, but weirdly add to cleavagepalooza. Seriously; it was very Miss Piggy from the Muppets and I fear that PETA was standing right at the Theater exit waiting to shoot her down.

You are bowing right? RIGHT?
You must BOW to Miss Nina
 Nina Arianda is a performing dynamo…and pretty awesome playing ‘Nina Arianda’ – Maybe because I was tired and it was one of the last categories called in the evening, but I actually cried when Nina’s name was announced. Easily my favorite performance this year – and possibly of all time – the girl deserved it even with some stiff competition (not an understatement), with the four other ladies in her category. But it was Goddess Arianda who was one notch better. If her winning was not enough, she looked stunning in her dress and gave one of the night’s most memorable speeches, going as far as admitting her childhood crush on Christopher Plummer. I will be sad when Venus in Fur closes next weekend, but I am really excited for Arianda’s next project and my fingers are crossed that it is another Broadway show…I love her and want to marry her.

Once wins because it is better then you…way better – Simply put, Once is the most beautifully crafted musical of the year and even though it won’t draw audiences like The Book of Mormon, Memphis or In The Heights did, it was nice that the Tony committee sidestepped Box Office Draw Newsies in favor of this sweet, understated gem. Eight Tony awards, including Best Picture, is wonderful. Above all, Steve Kazee’s victory coming weeks after he lost his mother. That speech? I fell out and cried away at least a pound of tears. I will factor watching his heart-breaking speech on YouTube into my exercise plan…at this rate, maybe I will cry my way to a six-pack.

Just adding it to my...pile.
There are humans…then there is Audra McDonald – First things first, I am happy Porgy and Bess won Best Revival of a Musical because I would have thrown my computer out the window if Follies won. In my head, Porgy and Bess was always going to win by default, but I was not trusting anyone. Audra, always the goddess, belted and acted her gorgeous body off to a well-deserved Tony victory, making this her fifth. What else can I add to that? Other then her awesomely sweet and funny speech? She is heavenly and an obvious descendent from heaven meant to bring joy to everyone. Clearly.

In a blandoriffic evening, the real star was the Tony Committee – I can’t overemphasize enough that, with the exception of Clybourne Park, they were really on their game last night. It would be far to easy to play into the Hollywood and Tony Business pratfalls, but there was more sincerity this year in the choices made. In addition to some of the aforementioned ones, Judith Light correctly won for Featured Actress in a Play and Death of a Salesman won for Best Revival (even though that was a little obvious). Considering I found the entire telecast a bust and I was only plodding along just so I could live tweet and make ridiculous comments, it is no small feat that they nailed the most important aspect of the evening. Yes, I am upset that Neil Patrick Harris’ was not as amazing as he could have been and no single performance came close to Andrew Rannells rendition of “I Believe” or Norbert Leo Butz’s “Don’t Break the Rules” last year. But I would have been more upset if some of my favorites – Borle, Arianda, Once, Death of a Salesman, Peter and the Starcatcher, Light even – went home Tony-less. Hey, at the end of the day, that is why I tuned in for. Having seen more shows this year then ever, there really is a payoff when your personal favorites are in the audience, let alone up at the podium.

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