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Monday, June 10, 2013

The Tonys: Neil Patrick Harris, Cyndi Lauper and Kinky Boots just want to have fun

Here are my highlights and lowlights of last night's 67th Annual Tony Awards (the pink categories are the ones I correctly chose to win):

Best Host: The fabulous Neil Patrick Harris (NPH), who was the master of ceremonies for the 4th time. It's the perfect gig for him, and hopefully he will continue to host for many years to come.

Best Opening Number: WOW! That pretty much sums up my reaction to NPH's thoroughly entertaining opening number, which was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights, Bring It On) and Tom Kitt (Next to Normal, Bring It On). It definitely deserved an extended standing ovation. My favorite line: “Kathie Lee's a Broadway lyricist so anything can happen!”

Least Amusing Comedy Bit of the Night: Any joke involving Mike Tyson - and there were far too many of them.

Best Featured Actor in a Play: Courtney B. Vance for Lucky Guy (I didn't know he was married to actress Angela Bassett).

Best Musical Number Honorable Mention: I liked the second Matilda song, "When I Grow Up" - but the performance of "Revolting Children" reminded me of Spring Awakening with much younger actors. Grade: B+

New "Playsicals" I'm Most Interested in Seeing: None of NPH's amusing mashups - in which he combined a classic play with a classic musical - will ever see the light of day, but here are a few of my favorites - The Elephant Man of La Mancha, Children of a Lesser Godspell, Cabaret-sin in the Sun and A Midsummer Night's Dreamgirls.

Best Featured Actress in a Play: Judith Light for The Assembled Parties.

Worst Musical Number: The BORING Bring It On: The Musical almost put me to sleep. Grade: D

Hottest Hunk of the Night: The blond actor from the musical, Chicago, was mighty fine.

Most Bizarre Backstage Performance: Presenters Scarlett Johansson and Alan Cumming playing patty-cake.

Best Musical Number Runner-Up: Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella featured an amazing costume transformation by Laura Osnes. Grade: A

Categories Unworthy for Television:

Best Book of a Musical (Matilda)
Best Choreography (Kinky Boots)
Best Orchestrations (Kinky Boots)
Best Costume Design of a Musical (Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella)
Best Costume Design of a Play (The Nance)
Best Scenic Design of a Musical: (Matilda)
Best Scenic Design of a Play (The Nance)
Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Matilda)
Best Lighting Design of a Play (Lucky Guy)
Best Sound Design of a Musical (Kinky Boots)
Best Sound Design of a Play (The Nance)

Worst Musical Number Runner-Up: Although Motown: The Musical wasn't nominated for Best Musical, Best Score or Best Book, it still got to perform because it's the biggest box office hit of the season. Its uninspired musical number didn't make me want to go see it - and the young actor playing Michael Jackson is talented, but he's no Michael Jackson. Grade: C-

Best Featured Actor in a Musical: Gabriel Ebert for Matilda the Musical.

Best Director of a Musical: Diane Paulus for Pippin.

Best Director of a Play: Pam MacKinnon for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Speech: Cyndi Lauper gave a hilarious and heartfelt speech upon deservedly winning Best Original Score for Kinky Boots.

Best Presenter: Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who called out to winner Cyndi Lauper: "Girl, you're going to have fun tonight!"

Best Featured Actress in a Musical: Andrea Martin for Pippin.

Best Musical Number Honorable Mention: Glee's Jane Lynch did a great job performing "Little Girls" from Annie. Grade: A

Musical Number That Didn't Belong on the Tonys: I love the Rascals' music, but I don't need to see them perform on the Tonys to promote their concert show, which had a limited engagement on Broadway this season.

Best Play: Christopher Durang won his first Tony Award for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

Best Comedy Bit: I loved NPH's "failed TV career" medley (written by Michael John LaChiusa) featuring Andrew Rannells (NBC's The New Normal), Megan Hilty (NBC's Smash) and Laura Benanti (NBC's Go On and The Playboy Club). And NPH's final line - "Coming to a dinner theater near you" - was priceless.

Most Disgusting (but Funny) Comedy Bit: The intimate licking scene between NPH and Sandy the dog from Annie.

Oddest Choice for a Musical Number: I adore Caroline O'Connor, but I thought Miss Shields' number from A Christmas Story: The Musical was an odd choice for the Tonys. Grade: C

Best Musical Number: Pippin's medley of songs. Grade: A

Best Revival of a Play: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Standing Ovation Runner-Up: 85-year-old Hal Prince, who won a Tony in 1988 for his direction of The Phantom of the Opera, the longest-running show in Broadway history. But I really didn't need to see a song performed from Phantom.

In Memoriam: I usually don't care to have someone singing during this segment, but Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" fit nicely - and it was a good way to feature her.

Best Leading Actor in a Musical: Billy Porter for Kinky Boots.

Most Surprising Win of the Night: I wasn't expecting Tracy Letts to win (over the beloved Tom Hanks) Best Leading Actor in a Play for his terrific performance in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Yummiest Presenter: Jake Gyllenhaal

Best Speech Runner-Up and Best Standing Ovation: 79-year-old Cicely Tyson, who won her first Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play for her performance in The Trip to Bountiful.

Best Leading Actress in a Musical: Patina Miller won her first Tony Award for her performance in Pippin.

Best Dress: A tie between Patina Miller and Audra McDonald's closing number dress.

Best Musical Number Honorable Mention: Kinky Boots' "Everybody Say Yeah" is a fun number. Grade: B+

Best Revival of a Musical: Pippin

Best Musical: Kinky Boots

Best Speech Honorable Mention: It seemed only fitting that the last acceptance speech of the night would be a gay man - Kinky Boots co-producer Hal Luftig - thanking his husband.

Best Closing Number: NPH and Audra McDonald sang special lyrics to "Empire State of Mind" - which you can watch below - and I look forward to watching him host the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 22.


Anonymous said...

The performance from Matilda was the only one that made me want to buy a ticket and was it only me or were the older guys kinda hot in those school uniforms? (I feel kinda dirty for that)

So pissed that the show ran late and I forgot to set the dvr to end late for a live show.

I want more Andrew!!

Marc said...

Thanks for the comment, Sean! I want more Andrew, too!!

Topher said...

Fabulous show! I agree with all of your highs and lows. What was Miss Tyson wearing? Looks like it got out of the ruffle factory and was eating her! OMG!

Topher said...

Fabulous show and I agree with your Highs and Lows.....where was Bette????? I know she wasn't nominated but thought she'd at least present.

Marc said...

Topher, I agree with you about Miss Tyson's dress - but if the Tonys wanted Bette to present an award, they should've nominated her. I'm sure she would've loved to have been part of the show - and she and Cyndi could've sang a song together. :)

Doug said...

Marc, I'm late to comment because I was out of town, but I did not like watching Cyndi Lauper during the "In Memoriam" segment. Hearing her would have been fine, but the cameras constantly showing her caused the TV viewers to be unable to see the people who were being remembered. It reminded me of the Oscars a few years back when Queen Latifah sang during that In Memoriam segment, and the same thing happened. Not a good choice on the directors' parts.

Marc said...

Hey, Doug, the directors/producers did make sure that we didn't miss any of the people being remembered. But I would prefer as well to just hear - and not see - someone sing during the "In Memoriam" segment. Or better yet just have the orchestra play like they used to years ago.