June 8, 2009

Tonight, Tonight.....an Awesome TONY Night!

Well, last night was the Superbowl for theatre geeks like me......the Tony Awards! And it was a great and efficient show! We also had a great Tony party but that's another story.

I started watching the show online which had the Creative Arts Tony Awards. It started with a surprise!. For the first time in Tony history, Next To Normal and Billy Elliot tied for the Best Orchestration award. What a great way to start the night! It was great to see and hear loud cheers for Hunter Bell (Title Of Show) when the nominees for Best Book were announced. And he had co-creator Jeff Bowen right beside him! I was actually hoping he would win but alas Lee Hall of Billy Elliot did. Tony Award winner last year, Laura Benanti was the co-host for the Creative Arts awards and she was really funny. Even referencing bad audience behavior and what might happen to you (clearly referencing the Patti Lupone incident last year when she stopped the show because someone in the audience was taking flash photography). Too bad TV viewers didn't get to see that.

The broadcast then moved to CBS. They had a glittering opening number (see above)! It stretched for 11 minutes with every nominated show featured as well as well known performers like Elton John, Dolly Parton and Poison. It makes you want to see a show doesn't it?

For the presentation of the awards, I love Frank Langella's candid musings about not being nominated complete with print ad of Man for All Seasons! And I had heard that he did that off prompter! Amazing! It was really touching to see Broadway royalty Angela Lansbury win her 5th Tony for Blithe Spirit. She was so classy and visibly overwhelmed with the win. I digress but wasn't it amusing to see Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey sitting behind her? Karen Olivo's emotional speech was also poignant. And I must say I like her dress! It was also so charming to see the very talented boys from Billy Elliot speechless after they won. It was so adorable! I was so glad for Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's win for Best Score in Next To Normal as well as a Best Actress award for Alice Ripley. Her speech, although with a great message...... kinda scared me a bit ha ha! I still think she was great though.

I loved the production numbers but the best was from Next To Normal who sang You Don't Know. I didn't think that would translate well on TV but it did! It was so intense and emotional but what great music! Aaron Tveit has such a beautiful voice. I was dissappointed with the choice from Billy Elliot which was Angry Dance. If I hadn't seen the show yet I would have just thought the boy had tantrums. It didn't showcase the show well, although, Trent Kowalik, as the Billy was wonderful. I wished they did Solidarity instead. I also loved West Side Story's Dance at the Gym. It featured the intricate choreography of the show. Very energetic! Though I haven't seen it yet, Hair's number made me excited that I'll be seeing it soon!

I did like it that the plays, and there were a lot of critically acclaimed ones this season, were featured too! Scenes from each play were shown with the cast introducing them. Nice way to honor them.

The In Memoriam segment introduced by Bebe Neuwirth with the Broadway Inspirational Voices singing What I Did For Love was lovely. It reminded me how much great talent theatre has lost this year.......Natasha Richardson, Bea Arthur, Paul Newman, Estelle Getty and Ertha Kitt just to name a few. It was beautifully done.

As much as I enjoyed the show's production, I was so frustrated with the CBS TV broadcast. There were horrendous audio problems specially during the opening number and some performances. I mean not hearing lyrics but instead hearing people talking backstage??!!! Plus you couldn't hear the Jets and the Sharks facing off nor Trent's taps during Angry Dance. For a network that has produced the show before, I mean, common CBS this it the Tonys! How can you have horrible sound during the musical numbers! The camera angles and shots too were dizzying! It also didn't help that they had touring shows like Mamma Mia, Legally Blonde and Jersey Boys perform individual numbers. Those were just stale for me. I could have done without that. Plus it took time off from the last few award presentations which were major awards! The presentors had to hurry off reading the nominees list!

And last but not the least, the gem of the evening, Neil Patrick Harris! He was a great host! He was witty, acerbic and just plain charming. I love his sushi-gate dig at Jeremy Piven! As he said in an earlier interview, he didn't want to take anything away from the featured shows but his main role would just be a facilitator. I hope they get him as a host again. His show stopping closer was one of the highlights of the night (see video below)! Kudos to Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman of Hairspray fame for last minute lyric switches! It was.......wait for it........LEGENDARY! Read about how they did it here.

What a great season! For a full list of winners, click here. Now I'm off again to watch my DVD of the broadcast. So get out there and go see a Broadway Show!


Mike said...

Thanks for the post Pinky. Sudden;y, I want to see Guys and Dolls!

Lani said...

Like Marc Shaiman, NPH is also my new adorable muse.

cg said...

I clicked on each and everyone of the U-tube sites you posted. Made my day. Loved Karen Olivo in "America". She is delightful and amazing!

Pinky said...

Did you guys see the Brett Michaels set-piece fiascon? Ouch! Oh and I thought that it was classy of Sir Elton John acknowledging the guys from Next To Normal.

Pinky said...

oops i meant FIASCO

Jon said...

i like the closing number.

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