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6/10/13

The Good and The Bad of the 2013 Tony Awards


Yesterday's Tony telecast came and went with a bang of ratings glory. And after I recovered from my theater hangover to sort through all the rubble, can I just say...the hell? Veering back-and-forth from the crazy good and the crazy bad happened enough times to make my head spin. Thankfully, we had more moments of the former. Pass me an advil (or something stronger) as we talk this out, like an AA meeting...

The Good

Neil Patrick Harris Flipped Me Off - I mean, not literally, but he clearly saw a tweet or Facebook rant I made about his fourth time hosting and was all, "I am going to show that fabulous, gorgeous and thin blogger that I know how to bring the house down **Hair Flip and Sashay**." Well, I am going to have to eat my own foot because NPH delivered like Grubhub. Bitch was ON FIRE from start-to-finish and his improvising and comedic timing was off-the-charts. Hands down, one of the most well-executied hosting jobs in recent memory. I went from "apprehensive, bitter blogging bitch" to "HE SHOULD HOST EVERY TONY AWARDS CEREMONY UNTIL THE END OF TIME" in a matter of .03 seconds. Bow down…I sure am.

Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda: The Un-Sung Heroes of the Evening - If you happen to walk past Tom Kitt or Lin-Manuel Miranda today, stop everything you are doing and do the world a favor: BLOW THEM AND DO NOT STOP UNTIL YOU CHOKE. Oh em God, you guys…as much as Neil Patrick Harris' twerking contributed to that awesome sauce of an opening number, Kitt and Miranda wrote and composed it. And the digs at Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hooper's Les Miserables directing were two of the nights biggest laughs. Broadway's unlikeliest writing combination constantly nail it and they will never get enough recognition for it in my book. Where the hell is their Tony for best Tony composing/writing? I'll get the campaign going.

Newsies are Everywhere and Nothing Else Matters - The Tonys, for all their issues with selecting winners, certainly know a good dose of fan-service when they see them. Newsies. Lots of them. Their accents. I want to buy and collect them all (wait, why hasn't Hasbro or Mattel started selling Newsies action figures yet?). I'm sorry, but wouldn't daily life be so much better if one of those real-life studs greeted you as you walked out your front door every morning? Granted, in this perfect world, I go down on Corey Cott because obviously, but if I am not that lucky bitch climaxing on him every night, he is more then welcome to greet me in the morning. I'll just leave that open invitation here for a while…

Our Children Have Come Home From the Far Away Land of Television - Once Andrew Rannells and his gravity-defying hair took the stage, I knew we were in for a treat. And then he began singing; I was right. And then Megan Hilty popped up, looking beautiful as alway. Loving this already, Laura Benanti put the icing on the cake by coming out in a stunning blue dress and a bottle of alcohol. They do a riff on "What I Did For Love" from A Chorus Line…and life was complete. We all could have just turned off the television set right then and there.

Letts Triumphs Despite Every Strike Against Him - There were a whole bunch of shows and names that just had to win last night no matter what. Andrea Martin, Diane Paulus, Pam Mackinnon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Pippin, amongst others. My hands-down favorite and "faith-in-humanity" is restored selection? Tracy Letts, who gave the performance of the year as George in Who's Afraid… that it bears repeating every time his name is mentioned, took down the top honors for Lead Actor in a Play. It wasn't a choice that anyone disagreed with, naturally, but that didn't lessen the shock when it happened. Who's Afraid… had some publicized drama about its submission practices. Not to mention, it closed months ago and the Tonys are notorious for dishing out the big prizes to currently-running shows and reel in the money. Tom Hanks and Nathan Lane, the two alleged frontrunners, had that mark in their favors, so much so Letts didn't even look like a contender. But he won…and he became the first Pulitzer Prize-winning writer to win a Tony award for acting. Oh, he also got engaged this past weekend. You know, just another day in the life.

Patina Power Y'All - Despite all of my hesitations to hand Patina Miller the Tony, the right choice was made and by the time her lovely acceptance speech was over, I was in diva love with her on par with the rest of the world. She is obscenely gorgeous with the perfect build in a way that makes the rest of us question everything we eat and exercise we don't do. Don't even get me started on that beautiful dress of hers. And she singlehandedly revived that Pippin performance with her charisma and Fosse fingers after Matthew James Thomas' "Corner of the Sky" assaulted my ears.

And the Tony for Favorite Replacement Goes to - God knows I was a little over the whole kids thing on Broadway and A Christmas Story hadn't even performed yet. So the first part of Annie's performance? Enh, wutevs. But then, my spirit animal Jane Lynch, whom replaced Katie Finneran's Ms. Hannigan, came and devoured the scene with more gusto and panache then all of her Glee performances combined. Who knew the girl had it in her? And why didn't she originate the role in the first place? Oh, right. She could have been the only actual threat to Andrea Martin's sure-win of the night.

Stark Sands Being Awesome and the Wink of a Lifetime - Dude just knew he wasn't winning a Tony, but that didn't stop him from owning every second of camera time. That wink. THAT WINK. I had to pee on a stick this morning just to make sure I am not in my first trimester. And I don't even have a vagina (last I checked). It has been a while since I saw Kinky Boots, but he was flashing those sequin'd thigh-high boots during their performance like they were his newborn baby. You werq that "anti-aging nominated-costar who looks like perfection" Stark…maybe one of these days, you'll win a Tony yourself. And you still won't look a day over 21. Text me with the address of your fountain of youth. And your wink coach because he or she deserves a pay-raise and my business.

Audra Shows Up and We Bow Our Heads in Prayer - It just wouldn't be a Tony Awards celebration if Audra "Fabulous" McDonald didn't show up and send us on home with our dreary lives. She steps out, belts the, admittedly, overplayed "New York State of Mind," we were all transported to heaven if only for a few seconds (such is the power of Audra's voice)…and then she drops the mic. LIKE A BOSS. And it was even more hilarious after NPH gently placed his on the stage. I'm sorry you guys, but she all but hair-whipped and yelled "I'M FABULOUS" last night…she didn't have to; she's Audra. We know that already. But she's divine and I swore I saw her wings and halo accessories under the Radio City lighting.

The BAD

Tony voters? I need a word - I don't mean to disparage your new voting strategies of…what, throwing darts at a dartboard? Pulling names out of a hat? Whatever it was, never attempt that again. To say that some results were blasphemous in some regards is an understatement. Gabriel Ebert wins (yay!), but Bertie Carvel doesn't? Courtney B. Vance surprises everyone? None of the four performances in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike win (and the show itself only won one Tony)? The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Golden Boy get completely shut out? Judith Light wins for essentially playing the same character for the second year-in-a-row? The Nance is all of a sudden a creative achievement with three wins when (1) all anyone talked about was Nathan Lane's performance and (2) it wasn't even nominated for Best Play? I'm confounded, as per usual. After a year chock-full of decisions I agreed with - except Clybourne Park's victory for Best Play - this was the exact opposite of that. A shame really…better choices for some of the categories when combined with the superb telecast would have made for a Tony Awards evening for the ages.

Bring It On's Last Stand - I liked Bring It On way more than other people, going as far as say it is awesome, flaws and all (and there were many). But that performance was so slapdash and "well, we're nominated? Let's just get this over with," we could have glossed over that entire segment. "It's All Happening" has a great first verse, but the rest of it is a tired affair that lacked the youthful energy, polish and charm the show had during its heyday. In a night where Kitt and Miranda could do no wrong, let's just forget that ever happened…

Let's Have Every Show Represented…Including the Bad Long-Running Ones - Look, I love the Tony Awards telecast for honoring theater and they only do have the best of intentions. If intentions were dollar signs, of course. But honoring every Broadway show with…what, a cameo here or there? That shitastic Phantom of the Opera performance? The presenters WEREN'T EVEN REFERRED TO BY NAME, for Christ's sake. And all at the expense of cutting short Arthur Darvill's brilliant Once performance or so-and-so's acceptance speech. I disapprove. Hard. I want Broadway to have a larger cash-flow more then anyone, but sacrificing the air time of this year's crop of shows (or even last year's, which I didn't mind at all) at the expense of the long-running shows, with their high-six figures of box office receipts and the fact that most people know they are still around anyways, was pitiful. But hey, it could be worse…the Royal Caribbean Cruise-line could have done another performance via live stream. Like we can ever forget that fiasco.

Paging Ramin Karimloo, Stat - Look, I don't need a reason to justify why I want Ramin Karimloo to be on a stage somewhere in New York. But seriously, that lackluster of a lip-synced (allegedly) Phantom of the Opera performance made me want him on the TV screen now more then ever. And what the hell was that performance about anyways? Mamma MiaNewsiesSpidermanRock of Ages, etc. came out and made some clumsily inserted plug of their own show and/or some lame introduction to some performance or whatever…but the most long-running show in Broadway history gets an entire number? Because that makes perfect sense. Yeah, there aren't some other low-selling plays or shows on the verge of closing that could have benefited from that airtime. Or two people who can actually sing and do it right. Heck, go for the awesomely terrible and parade a now-melting Sarah Brightman in all of her deer-eyed glory on stage; I would have laughed my ass off. Even better, a Love Never Dies number of supremacy would have been the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. So many ideas…but we got that performance. Watch Phantom of the Opera close down now in a blaze of fury because that performance made angels cry.

Kinky Boots Happened - I feel like I have already beaten this show to death with my "I just, simply like it" schtick. But then, exactly as I feared in the pit of my stomach seconds before the announcement, it took down Best Musical. In a day and age when Priscilla Queen of the Desert didn't even score a best musical nomination two years ago, Kinky Boots, which was only slightly better with *some* fantastic performances and songs, won six Tony awards. That relatively low amount speaks about the quality of the show…remember, Memphis only won four Tonys in total the year it won best musical. And we all know how great that show is. For the record, Once won eight Tonys and The Book of Mormon won nine Tonys…and in both years, it is debatable that the competition was way stiffer. So yes, this fun, but brain-less and dated musical won and set new musicals back a good decade or so in time. But why didn't Matilda win for basically being everything Once and The Book of Mormon represented (i.e challenging, off-the-beaten-path, edgier)? Why weren't there any stronger new musicals to oppose both of them? Just like I say every year, keep our fingers crossed for the future of new musicals. They certainly need our help now, more than ever.


Photo Credit: CBS/Tony Awards 2013

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