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Monday, June 9, 2014

A Gentleman’s Guide to the Tony Awards

Here are my highlights and lowlights of last night's 68th Annual Tony Awards (the pink categories are the ones I correctly chose to win):

Oddest Opening Number: Host Hugh Jackman's hopping entrance was just plain weird (and exhausting to watch). Apparently it was inspired by Bobby Van's performance of "Street Dance" in the obscure 1953 musical, Small Town Girl (the video below is incorrectly labeled as "Take Me to Broadway", which is another number in the film). Some viewers thought that Jackman was just being a kangaroo from his native country of Australia - but either way, it was still an underwhelming opening number. However, we all must agree that the guy is in great shape.

Hottest Cameraman: Tory, who followed Jackman during his opening number and received a nice shout-out from him during the show.

Best Trio: Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight and Fantasia, who performed with the cast of After Midnight.

Best Presenter: The adorable Jonathan Groff who did a great John Travolta impression with his "wickedly talented" introduction for Idina Menzel's If/Then performance.

Best Happy Dance: James Monroe Iglehart - who won Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Aladdin - did a joyous "praise shout" during his acceptance speech.

Best Featured Actor in a Play: Mark Rylance in Twelfth Night.

Best Featured Actress in a Musical: Lena Hall in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Best Featured Actress in a Play: Sophie Okonedo in A Raisin in the Sun.

Best Director of a Musical: Darko Tresnjak for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.

Best Director of a Play: Kenny Leon for A Raisin in the Sun.

Worst Musical Number: Rocky was just a lame fight sequence that only featured the hit song, "Eye of the Tiger", from the 1976 film. It didn't make me want to go see it.

Best Musical Number Honorable Mention: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder's amusing number did make me want to go see it.

Next Season's Hot Ticket: Bradley Cooper as The Elephant Man - with the wonderful Patricia Clarkson as his co-star.

Best Acceptance Speech and Best Standing Ovation: Audra McDonald gave a heartfelt and emotional speech as she made history with her record-breaking sixth Tony Award win for Best Leading Actress in a Play for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. She is also the only person to have won in all four acting categories.

Best Leading Actor in a Play: Bryan Cranston in All the Way.

Best Musical Number Runner-Up: Neil Patrick Harris wowed the audience with his Hedwig and the Angry Inch performance.

Best Suit: Cabaret's Alan Cumming stood out from the crowd with his funky suit.

Best Play: All the Way by Robert Schenkkan.

Best Future Musical: Based on the Tony performances of the upcoming new musicals, Finding Neverland and Sting's The Last Ship, I'd much rather go see the former (which will be produced this summer at American Repertory Theater with Jeremy Jordan and NOT Jennifer Hudson). The Last Ship, which begins "sailing" in Chicago tomorrow night, looks kind of dull - but hopefully this first impression will be proven wrong.

Best Revival of a Play: A Raisin in the Sun

Hottest Hunk of the Night: I gotta go with presenter Matt Bomer - the man is gorgeous.

Categories Unworthy for Television:

Best Book of a Musical (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder)
Best Score (Jason Robert Brown for The Bridges of Madison County)
Best Choreography (After Midnight)
Best Orchestrations (The Bridges of Madison County)
Best Costume Design of a Musical (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder)
Best Costume Design of a Play (Twelfth Night)
Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Rocky)
Best Scenic Design of a Play (Act One)
Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
Best Lighting Design of a Play (The Glass Menagerie)
Best Sound Design of a Musical (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical)
Best Sound Design of a Play (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill)
The Isabelle Stevenson Award (you can watch Rosie O’Donnell's speech below)
The Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement (Jane Greenwood)
The Regional Theatre Award (Signature Theatre Company, New York City)

Musical Number We Really Didn't Need To See: I don't care if it is the 10th anniversary of Wicked - I would have much rather heard Jason Robert Brown's acceptance speech for Best Score or seen the "In Memoriam" tribute to those theatre artists we lost during the last year (it was cut due to time, but you can watch it below along with Brown's speech).

Happy Birthday, Robert Preston: I don't know if Hugh Jackman, LL Cool J and TI's rap version of "Rock Island" from The Music Man was in honor of the late, great Robert Preston (who was born on June 8 in 1918), but I would like to think that it was.

Best Musical Number: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical featuring Jessie Mueller and the legendary Carole King singing together.

Best Leading Actor in a Musical: Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Best Revival of a Musical: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Best Dress: Violet's Sutton Foster was pretty in pink.

Hugh Jackman's Best Performance: When he sang to all the nominees for Best Leading Actress in a Musical (I did feel sorry for Kelli O'Hara, whose seat was the farthest back in the audience).

Best Acceptance Speech Runner-Up: Jessie Mueller, who won her first Tony Award as Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (she's come a long way in a short time since her 2010 role in She Loves Me at Writers' Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois).

Best Musical: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

And that's all, folks. It wasn't the best Tony Awards ever - and Hugh Jackman has been better as a host - but it was still an enjoyable evening to watch. I would give the telecast a grade of B.


joel65913 said...

Playing the In Memoriam segment during a commercial break was tacky and disrespectful, and to what purpose? To make room for the rap version of the opening number from The Music Man or worse yet Sting? To honor those that have passed and acknowledge their lifelong contribution is a matter of respect and they deserve that last bow on the international stage.

While all the people in the tribute were worthy, Julie Harris die this year! The woman was a legend of Broadway, winner of six Tonys. Yet her name was never mentioned during the entire broadcast. Very weak but aside from that huge gaffe I thought the show was okay.

Marc Harshbarger said...

I agree with you 100%, Joel. The "In Memoriam" tribute should have been shown - and Julie Harris was a Broadway legend.