Sunday, June 8, 2014

LIVE!! Tony Award Ceremony Musings

Interesting opening, but could have done without all the hopping.

Straight to the musical numbers.  How many are they going to try to cram in tonight?  Besides Fantasia falling out of her gown, nothing to crow about for Gladys, Patti, and Fantasia singing.  Now the dance number is my type of show stopper.  Look for Warren Carlyle to win for Best Choreography for the show, "After Midnight."

Ah, the perfunctory quips/monologue about shows and actors by Hugh Jackman but, wait, the first award for Featured Actor in a Play.  And winner...Mark Rylance for "Twelfth Night."  Now, he could make Tony history by winning the Best Actor in a play award on the same night.  Stay tuned.

The next musical number--"Les Miserables" lives onstage once more!   Good use of camera angles to heightened the drama of "One Day More."  Score one for the staging to draw in the summer tourists.


Best Featured Actress in a Musical.  My choice is Linda Emond from "Cabaret," but Lena Hall starts the "Hedwig" bandwagon.  Congratulations!  Good career choice to move over from "Kinky Boots" to "Hedwig."

FANTASTIC  choice to show the "Friends Like Me" number from "Aladdin."  Now let's see if it can generate the energy it does on stage every night.  So far a bit lame.Thank goodness the big number got better.  This will surely draw in the families for years to come.  The genie, James Monroe Iglehart, is my choice for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

I find it interesting that the bulk of the presenters so far are "Hollywood" types, the very people that Broadway loves to pooh pooh during the season.  Clint Eastwood?  Oh, yeah.  Must be the "Bridges of Madison Country" connection.


Upcoming, the "Rocky" segment.  Just like movie coming attractions it is scheduled to show the two best parts of the musical--the training sequence and the fight finale.  If they do it right it could mean an extended life for the show.

Smart choice for the "If/Then" segment to focus solely on Indina Menzel.  A solid power ballad.  Think of all those girls out there telling their parents they want to see the show, appropriate or not, so they can see their idol LIVE.

Clint Eastwood, sticking to the script, with Best Musical Director.  I picked Darko Tresnjak and he WON!  Good job Tony voters.  Heartfelt acceptance speech.  For Best Director of a Play, c'mon Clint, you can do it.  And the winner is...Kenny Leon for "A Raisin in the Sun."  Quite an upset, IMHO, over "Twelfth Night" and "Glass Menagerie."

Okay, now "Rocky." Obviously, both parts presented had much longer time on stage so while the training sequence and fight scene give you an idea of what appears on stage it did fall a bit flat.  Sorry "Rocky," but you may be down for the count.


Best Featured Actor in a Musical.  All nominees were outstanding and my pick wins again--James Monroe Iglehart.  Believe me, he is much more animated in the extended "Friends Like Me" version on stage.  He must have lost 20-30 pounds since I originally saw the musical.  So much energy emanates from him.  

Moving on to "Cabaret."  It just seems to be getting more tired this time around.  Isn't it interesting that the show, not really nominated for anything, gets a prime spot.  Oh, I forgot.  As Alan Cummings sings, "Money, money, money makes the world go round."  Gotta draw in the touristos.


So far I will give Hugh Jackman a B+ as host.  The job, thankless as it is, is meant to keep the show going with the occasional song and dance.

Best Featured Actress in a Play.  No thoughts.  Didn't see any of the shows.  But how come the Brits always have such great acceptance speeches.

Fun way to introduce "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," having Jefferson Mays do the intro while changing into three of his eight characters.  However, the choice of musical number to highlight itself was poor.  Where was fiendishness?  You want to show the Love and Murder, not a love triangle song.  That's not going to bring in the public.  There should have been something utilizing the talents of Mays.  Bad decision.


Kudos to Hugh Jackman for a very witty and entertaining way to introduce Best Actress in a Play.  And the winner, making Broadway history for winning the acting award in all four acting categories, six in all, is Audra McDonald.  And only at 43!  I have been privileged to see Ms. McDonald in a number of shows.  She is the real thing.

Bradley Cooper, coming in "The Elephant Man" next season, as one of the presenters.  Can you say one of the hottest tickets in town?  Best Actor in a Play...Bryan Cranston in "All the Way."  My choice, but he was so good.  Some people said he was too hammy, but I think he nailed it.  If you love politics this is your type of show.

Great choice to introduce the "Hedwig" segment--RuPaul.  Let the coronation of "Hedwig" commence! I actually saw the original at the Jane Street Theater.  Way Off-Broadway in a rundown theater.  That's the way I remember "Hedwig."


Best Play.  I like "All the Way."  Rather pedestrian way to introduce the nominees even though having the playwright introduce their show was a nice touch, giving those individuals which are always behind the spotlight a chance to shine.  Winner--"All the Way."  Hey, so far I'm doing well.  I forgot that for the Best Play and Musical anyone that has invested gets to come down stage.  They have NOTHING to do with the creative process, but they give money.  Read the producer list at the back of the Playbill.  They own write-ups are self-gratifying and ego-stroking.

 The "Violet" musical segment didn't give viewers a real sense of the show.  The focus, as with "If/Then" should have been on Sutton Foster.  Why didn't they keep with "All to Pieces" that they started with?  The gospel ending to the number makes it seem that's the main thrust of the musical.  It ain't.  This should have had Sutton out front and center.

After the commercial it was announced that "A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder" won for Best Book.  A no-brainer.  Jason Robert Brown's music and lyrics for "The Bridges of Madison County" won for Best Score of a Musical.  Shame.  "A Gentlemen's Guide was witty, literate, and well-integrated into the whole show.  I did love"Bridges," but the wrong choice was made.

Great way to plug your own upcoming musical.  Introduce a new musical for next season.  Gloria Estafan introducing Sting.  His show, "The Last Ship," seems a somber affair from the song he performed.

Thank God Rosie O'Donnell's special award was taped so we didn't have to listen to her drone on.

Revival of a Play--didn't see them, but "A Raisin in the Sun" is becoming the unsung winner of the 2014 Tony Awards.

Let's throw in a song from "Wicked" because it needs to much help at the box office.  "For Good" is such a great song from the show.  My daughter and her friend sang it at my mother-in-law's funeral with much more emotion then what was presented tonight.

You have to give it to Hugh Jackman.  He is in his element.  Cute story on how he did "The Music Man" in high school and then morphing into a rap song of the title number.  A little innocuous rap never hurt anyone.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical.  Is this going to be a surprise?  Nope.  C'mon down Neil Patrick Harris.  Everyone loves Neil even though Jefferson Mays' performance was better.  Doesn't it seem like Harris rehearsed his acceptance speech many times over?  It was so fluid and flawless.

Carole King live on stage!  What a great way to introduce the "Beautiful" segment.  Okay, I'm getting chills watching this.  Jessie Mueller is just so good, but it would have been so much better to keep the focus on her.  Too bad.  At least they ended with her and then Ms. King comes out.  Great moment.

Best Musical Revival.  Hmmm.  Wait.  Don't tell me.  Could it be "Hedwig?"  C'mon down all you non-producers so you can stand on stage.  Poke your faces over everyone.

How come I'm bored by the "Bullets Over Broadway" segment?  I love tap, but this isn't doing it for me.  Maybe I'm getting worn down by the whole ceremony.  Only 15 minutes left, if they stay on time.

Hugh Jackman introducing the Best Actress in a Musical nominees in song and dance.  Again, nice touch.  Adding a bit of class and elegance.  I don't think the ladies minded.  And the winner, in the most competitive category, is Jessie Mueller.  I thought Kelli O'Hara would win, but I am not unhappy with the choice.  She is THAT good. 

So now the Tony Awards is going to be spotlighting shows that are on course to arrive the following season.  Maybe there can be an award for Best Upcoming Broadway Musical Award?


Best Musical for the 2014 Tony Award goes DESERVEDLY to "A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder."  Well done.  You voters got this one right.  Hartford Stage keep producing new musicals.  Job well done.

Closing thoughts--

I'll give Hugh Jackman an A- as host.  He was entertaining when he had to be and moved the show along so it was just a few minutes over.  Not bad.  The telecast itself?  Since I'm grading on a curve, a solid B.

With musicals, "Hedwig" and "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," are the big winners.

Remember only a few years ago that only the nominated musicals got a shot at appearing on the telecast.  Now, if you are still playing, whamoo, you can appear on the Tony Awards.  And, if all you have done is JUST announced a Fall or Spring opening, zingo, you also can appear on TV.

Musical Numbers--BEST:
After Midnigh--After a slow start with Gladys Knight, Fantasia, and Patti LaBelle, the segment wisely went to the dance numbers.  Having Hugh Jackman join at the end was a good touch.
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical--Almost didn't make the list when The Shirelles showed up.  The emphasis should have stayed on Jessie Mueller, which it did at the beginnng and end.
IF/Then--Smart, smart, smart to just put the spotlight on Idina Menzel.  That's what people want to see and she delivered.
Les Miserables--In their short timespan they sold the show.  Great camera angles, highlight all the important characters and the cast.  A little too much emoting, but that's the show.

Musical Numbers--WORST:
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder--I thought the number they chose was not indicative of the show itself.  If you are trying to sell yourself to the populace a love triangle song wasn't the best choice.  At least they had Jefferson Mays introducing the segment as he changed characters three times.
Bullets Over Broadway & Cabaret--just plain boring.
The Last Ship--I hope the rest of the show is not so somber.  The song didn't make me jump out of my chair.

Congrats to all the winners and good night.

1 comment:

Rocky said...

Great! Thank you for your list. As if i saw Rocky i have to say that this is not clearly a musical like i know musicals. But names are.. Rocky is a very good piece of theatre, a great show for all living, fighting and loving people out there. And the stagedesign really deserves the award - come and see. :-)