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Monday, June 8, 2015

Kelli O'Hara whistles a happy tune at the Tonys

Here are my highlights and lowlights of last night's 69th Annual Tony Awards (the pink categories are the ones I correctly chose to win):

Grooviest Duo with the Best Chemistry: I thought Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming were fabulous hosts! They made me laugh from beginning to end, and their hilarious King and I costumes were definitely a highlight.

Most Familiar Musical Number: Something Rotten's "A Musical" number was okay, but I felt like I was watching Spamalot again. It just didn't seem like a brand new musical.

Classiest Dame: Helen Mirren, of course, who won Best Leading Actress in a Play for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience.

Most Amusing Fashion Moment: Presenters Debra Messing and Anna Chlumsky seemed genuinely surprised to be wearing almost identical dresses.

Best Dress: Kristin's red dress

Best Featured Actor in a Play: Richard McCabe in The Audience

Best Featured Actor in a Musical: Christian Borle in Something Rotten!

Best Acceptance Speech Runner-Up: Annaleigh Ashford, who won Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in You Can't Take It With You, was delightful.

Lowlight of the Night: It was nice that Alan and Kristin got to perform a much-too-brief musical tribute to Tommy Tune, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award. However, it would have been so much nicer if we had been allowed to hear his acceptance speech (which you can watch below).

Best Director of a Musical: Sam Gold for Fun Home

Best Director of a Play: Marianne Elliott for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Musical Number: The lovely Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe's performance of "Shall We Dance?" from The King and I is the epitome of musical theatre perfection.

Best Musical Number Runner-Up: Sydney Lucas' wonderful performance of "Ring of Keys" from Fun Home made me want to see the show.

Best Musical Number Honorable Mention: A four-way tie between the always entertaining Kristin Chenoweth in On the Twentieth Century, the handsome hunkiness of Robert Fairchild in An American in Paris, the charismatic Tony Yazbeck of On the Town dancing with Chita Rivera in the audience, and Lisa Howard's raise-the-roof star turn in It Shoulda Been You.

Least Favorite Musical Numbers: Gigi's frenetic "The Night They Invented Champagne" seemed to be trying too hard, and as much as I adore Chita Rivera, I predict that The Visit's weird number - with its creepy guys in yellow gloves and shoes - won't sell many tickets. And although Finding Neverland's "Stronger" didn't do much for me, I thought Matthew Morrison was fine - especially when he ripped open the top of his shirt.

Most Interesting Acceptance Speech: I've never seen anyone read an acceptance speech from a cellphone - until last night when Ruthie Ann Miles won Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in The King and I. It wasn't a great or "Best" speech, but there were some funny moments - especially when Kristin and Alan's earlier comedy bit of tap-dancing chorus boys threatened to come out and haul her away.

Best Play: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Revival of a Play: Skylight

Best Revival of a Musical: The King and I

Hottest Hunk of the Night: Joe Manganiello (from HBO's True Blood)

Hottest Hunk Runner-Up: I had to Google Thomas Sadoski, who currently stars with Amanda Seyfried in the Second Stage production of Neil LaBute's The Way We Get By.

Categories Unworthy for Television:

Best Book of a Musical (Fun Home)
Best Score (Fun Home)
Best Choreography ( An American in Paris )
Best Orchestrations ( An American in Paris )
Best Costume Design of a Musical (The King and I)
Best Costume Design of a Play (Wolf Hall Parts One & Two)
Best Scenic Design of a Musical (An American in Paris)
Best Scenic Design of a Play (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
Best Lighting Design of a Musical (An American in Paris)
Best Lighting Design of a Play (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
The Isabelle Stevenson Award (Stephen Schwartz)
The Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement (you can watch John Cameron Mitchell's speech below)
The Regional Theatre Award (The Cleveland Play House)

In Memoriam: At least this tribute wasn't cut from the broadcast due to time as it was last year - and I'm sure this is due to the star power of Josh Groban, who sang during it. Unfortunately, the focus did seem to be on him rather than the late theatre artists whose names and faces flew by. Does every award show need to make their "In Memoriam" into a musical number? Can't the orchestra just play some nice background music during it?

Best Leading Actor in a Play: Alex Sharp in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Leading Actor in a Musical: Michael Cerveris in Fun Home

Best Acceptance Speech: Six-time nominee Kelli O'Hara, who finally - and deservedly - won her first Tony Award as Best Leading Actress in a Musical for The King and I. And I loved when she danced her way offstage (Credit for Ms. O'Hara's photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images).

Best Musical: Fun Home

Musical Number We Really Didn't Need To See for the Upteenth Time: I don't care if it is the 10th anniversary of Jersey Boys - I would have much rather heard Tommy Tune and John Cameron Mitchell's speeches.

And that's all, folks. I enjoyed this year's Tony Awards - and I am giving the telecast and its groovy hosts a grade of A.


joel65913 said...

The Tonys are my favorite of the awards shows. Perhaps I don't know all the performers but the musical numbers are by and large great since they come from actual shows and aren't something thrown together as they are on the Oscars. The show isn't perfect but it's better than most. Kristen Chenoweth and Alan Cumming were so much fun together.

As far as the In Memoriam goes, I groaned when Groban started singing partly because I'm not much of a fan and partly because of it seemed it was going to be about him but once the choir made up of the different shows joined in and they started showing the departed, I liked that they were in alphabetical order-much better than the randomness they usually do, it made it seem more a celebration of those who had passed.

Christoph said...

I was thrilled that Kelli O'Hara finally won an overdue Tony and Christian Borle rocked Something Rotten, so his award was a nice surprise as well. But that was about it for high points for me in their selections.

I thought An American in Paris was an absolutely magical play that was completely underserved by the Tonys. I missed The King and I on my last trip and I am sure it is a wonderful production, but do Tony winners just pick it by rote when it is nominated? Every single time it gets revived it wins the Best Revival award. In another year, I might go with it, but both On the Twentieth Century and On the Town were both amazing productions and received equally lauded reviews across the board - and On the Town could have really benefited from any boost at the box office an award might have given.

Ironically, the only award I was ultra-passionate about was Best Actor in a Musical and my choice was anyone but Michael Cerveris - so naturally he won. I was rooting for either Robert Fairchild (amazing in AIP) or Tony Yazbeck (whose Lonely Town by itself was more impressive than anything Cerveris did in Fun Home). I am not hating on the guy, but seriously I have seen him far too often on Broadway (and occasionally on TV) and his performances have all ranged from stiff/lifeless to stiff/dull to just plain stiff. The only role I thought he suited in was In the Next Room and that was because his natural stiffness seemed to suit the part for a change.

Marc Harshbarger said...

Joel and Christoph, thanks for your comments! The Tonys are my favorite awards show as well (followed by the Golden Globes, which are usually a lot of fun because everyone is drinking).