Sunday, June 9, 2013

LIVE! The Tony Blog

OPENING NUMBER -- Fun, lively, and nicely introducing all the nominated musicals, plus more.  Neil Patrick Harris is having a fun time and must be in great shape with all his singing, dancing, and running from one end of Radio City Music Hall to the other.  Great cameo by the latest Broadway star--Mike Tyson!

BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY - No Surprise with Courtney Vance from "Lucky Guy."  Question is how many awards will "Lucky Guy" win?

MATILDA - good idea to do a medley of songs from the production to give everyone a flavor of the show.  Even though Bertie Carvel, as Miss Trunchbull, just had a short spot it was good they were able to include him.  This must have been very hard to choreograph just for the Tonys.  Great job.

NEIL'S MASH-UPS - mildly amusing.  Let's get on with the show.

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY - Congrats to Judith Light.  Didn't see any of the plays.  I am mostly a musical man. Okay, red light is blinking.  Off.

BRING IT ON - THE MUSICAL - must be difficult for a show that closed months ago to reassemble for their Tony moment on stage.  Could have been a more dynamic production number with more flips and acrobatics, which was the real fun of the show.

COSTUMES - Good idea to use current musicals to introduce nominees/winners such as "The Lion King" for costumes.

BEST FEATURE ACTOR IN A MUSICAL - Surprise!  Gabriel Ebert, with a very humbling speech, over Terence Mann of Pippin.  The one musical category I couldn't get worked up over.

CINDERELLA - Enchanting even with the wardrobe malfunctions.  A bit of magic in the transformations from rags to riches.  I could see girls across the country, eyes wide open, begging mommy and daddy to take them to NYC.  Another good medley of all the favorite songs many of us grew up with.  Laura Osnes is radiant.

OLIVER PLATT & LIAM NEESON - They could have practiced instead of just reading, but they were mildly entertaining.  Someone had to do the American Theater Wing spiel.

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL -  Diane Paulus.  While I admired what she did with "Pippin" I think Matthew Warchus had much more to do and tinker with on "Matilda."  As I wrote last week, don't be surprised if "Pippin" walks away with more Tonys then any other musical.

 MOTOWN - THE MUSICAL - Not a good showing.  The thrill of watching the show live is when all the artists pop onstage and you recognize them before they are introduced.  There is an energy and electricity in the theater that was lacking here.  This seems just like an oldies show.  They missed the mark.  Too bad.

BEST SCORE OF A MUSICAL - Congratulations to Cyndi Lauper for "Kinky Boots."  No real surprise.  She had gained momentum over the weeks.  You could really, really, really tell she was so honored.

ANNIE - Jane Lynch can belt it!  This seems like a role she was born to play.  Overall, why do I feel the whole "Annie" sequence was flat?

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY -  I thought "Pippin" would get the nod, but Jerry Mitchell did do a yeoman's job on "Kinky Boots."  Hmmm.  "Kinky Boots" looks like it's in the driver's seat for award total.

PRODUCTION NUMBER - Great number with Broadway stars in cancelled TV shows--Megan Hilty, Laura Benati, and Andrew Rannells.  They seemed to be having a lot of fun with it.  They probably wish they were still pulling down the big bucks of TV.

BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL - So great that she won.  Her big number, "No Time at All," is a classic.

GOOD LOVIN' - Good excuse to have a live performance by the 60's band, The Rascals, which were on Broadway for a short stint.  One of the most influential groups in rock?  I think Little Steven was just caught up in the moment.

BEST PLAY - Jessie, slow down!  Are you under a time constraint?  Tough to show scenes from plays.  Out of context and just snippets.  "Vanya and Sonya..." takes the honor, which was expected by almost all of Broadway.  Some of these people should learn how to edit their speeches.  A great honor, but rather too much.

A CHRISTMAS STORY - I do love tap, but is this the best they could do to showcase the musical.  Geez, can that little kid tap up a storm.   I guess this will sell tickets for the national tour.

PIPPIN -  Probably the most visually pleasing of all the musical numbers from Best Revivals & Best Musicals.  That should keep pulling them in to the theater.

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY - "Virginia Woolf."  I would have loved to see it.  Too bad their acceptance speech had to be cut short.  Blame all those early winners that wouldn't stop thanking everyone on the planet.

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL - I picked Dennis Kelly for his faithful adaption of the Roald Dahl book.  Score another one for "Matilda."

THE PHANTOM CHRONICLES - Staggering statistics recited by Hal Prince who is looking great.  I didn't know they had the largest pit orchestra on Broadway.  Good for them.  Let's see.  I saw "Phantom" when it first opened 25 years ago.  It would be interesting to go back and see how it has held up all these years.  Oh, yes.  The scene on stage was a good taste.  But is Christine lip-synching?

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL - Billy Porter from "Kinky Boots."  Good for him.  Probably the closest race of the evening between him and Bertie Carvel of "Matilda."  Will this tip the scale for "Kinky Boots" to win Best Musical?  

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY - Tracy Letts?  Wow!  Big upset over Nathan Lane and Tom Hanks.  It just goes to show you that if you star in "Virginia Woolf" you have a good chance to win a Tony.  Also, maybe this will now quiet the whiners that state only Hollywood actors win Tonys.

IN MEMORIAM - Simple, and loving with Cyndi Lauper's subdued rendition of her hit "True Colors."

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS - How's he doing tonight?  The host is a thankless role to begin with, but he is doing an admirable job.  Moving the ceremony along, which is the central function.  Good ad-libbing.

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY - No surprise for Cicely Tyson in "A Trip to Bountiful."  Tasteful speech and very professional of the producers not to cut her off mid-sentence.

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL -  Patina Miller for "Pippin."  This was a toss-up between her and Laura Osnes of "Cinderella."  Great dress.  Notch another for "Pippin."  Poor Stephen Schwartz--he never wins a Tony, but others associated with his shows do.

KINKY BOOTS - "Everybody Say Yeah," one of the best production numbers from the show, which showcases more the choreography.  Great choice.

BEST MUSICAL - OMG, "Pippin" won!  What a surprise!!  That makes four of the top musical awards for the revival.  Question--Why do so many people march upstage?  Who are they?  Who cares?  Note to Tony Committee--no more then 5-7 individuals are allowed to represent a show--play or musical.

BEST MUSICAL - Gotta get in those commercials.  That's what pays the rent.  Who cares if they come in at the middle of a performance from "Once."  That's show biz.  Now, on to the final award for the evening.  Bernadette, the winner is..."Kinky Boots!"  I am surprised.  While I wrote enthusiastically about "Kinky Boots" I thought "Matilda" was the better overall show.  Again, what do I know.

OVERALL THOUGHTS - "Kinky Boots" and "Pippin" are the big musical winners for the season.  Neil Patrick Harris was a solid host.  Excellent closing.  Rather amazing they can put together such a number backstage during the telecast.  "Matilda"  didn't receive what was predicted earlier in the season, but they will be crying all the way to the SRO crowds in NYC and around the country.

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