‘Live’ blogging the Tonys


Parents are visiting and just got back from dinner at Girl and the Goat (I give it a B+). I had the presence of mind to DVR the 2011 Tony Award broadcast before we left, so we’re on a 1hr delay (and dad’s ducked downstairs to watch some basketball game). But we’ll get caught up by ffwarding through commercials. So, let’s fill up the wine glass, file our nails and get snarky.

Fantastic opening number, aside from Brooke Shields’ sweaty nervousness. Yowza. Did Neil Patrick Harris (NPH) wear THREE layers to execute a sight gag? Now THAT’s committment.

Ellen Barkin (and her lips) wins for best supporting actress. She’s rambling.

First performance by cast of How to Succeed. Daniel Radcliffe is even more pasty and bat-like in HD. Ellen Harvey, while no Lillias White, is hitting some fabulous high notes fabulously. Random sidenote: I saw Harvey as the evil nanny in the Mary Poppins national tour 2 years ago, and also loved her in a horrible filmed-for-tv version of Stop the World, I Want to Get Off starring Peter Scolari and Stephanie Zimbalist.

John Leguizamo just isn’t my thing. Next.

Viola Davis looks great, but needs to learn how to stand in that dress. Put your legs together, lady!

Catch Me If You Can now. Aaron Tviet is a cutie. But so bland. Norbert Leo Butz: from Fiyero to middle-aged character dude in 2.5 seconds. I like him better in his middle-aged character dude career phase. And dear Rachelle Rak: we all see you and your focus-pulling smile. Now stop with the SAS. It’s aging.

NPH giving a Tosh 2.0 inspired Spider-Man:Turn Off The Dark joke redux. Bravo. Meanwhile, uncomfortable shot of Bono looking pissed.

If War Horse is as interesting as their acceptance speech, I’d better bring a pillow. However, those horse-bot puppet things look way cool.

Scottsboro Boys. Haven’t heard any part of this score yet, and it doesn’t make much impression in this performance. Still: I really want to see this. And I hope some Chicago-based theatre company is working on getting rights to produce it.

Wow. Nikki M. James wins for Mormon, when Laura Benanti, I think, won all the preliminary Best Supporting Actress in a Musical awards (Drama Desk, Outer Critics, etc.). Meanwhile, LuPONE SIGHTING. And she looks FAN. TASTIC. But I’m so unbiased …

Book of Mormon is performing. Typical musical theatre in-joking number which seems the trend for modern musicals. Blurgh. I guess I need to see the show to understand why my $250 ticket was worth it?

Sidenote: these Tonys need a big, ol DIVA performance. Where ARE the ladies?

Oh, nevermind. Here’s Hugh Jackman.

This is a grand duet between Jackman and NPH, but remember the ’95 Tonys when Nathan Lane and Gregory Hines were co-hosts and did a DIVA duet? Remember? The only nominated best musical was Sunset Boulevard and they needed production numbers? That was classic. This was still fun, though.

Brooke Shields: you’re a mess and making me nervous!

Bitter Bono hates Broadway.

Who’s decision was it to highlight Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark and not show flying? That’s a FAIL. SNORE.

The Tonys have always had a difficult time showcasing nominated plays. This year is no different. But it’s one of the better solutions.

Robin Williams could hide the entire cast of Sister Act in that beard.

Yup: Petina Miller can sang. Meanwhile, this happened:

    My mom (during Sister Act number): “I saw Sister Act at our community theatre.”
    Me: “Really? You couldn’t have.”
    Mom: “I did.”
    Me: “That’s impossible, mom.”
    Mom: “Yes! I did! I saw it!”
    Me: “Um. Do you mean Nunsense?”
    Mom: “Oh, yeah.”

I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never seen a production of revival-winning The Normal Heart. I need to rectify this.

Reasons why I love the Tonys: Angela Lansbury clapping during Memphis performance. Meanwhile, these are some brilliant lyrics (“Na na na na-na na na na…”)

Sutton Foster is a real pro. I really like her. And that’s a lot of tap dancing while smiling (Sutton’s teeth are HUGE). But LuPone’s performance of Anything Goes from the ’88 Tonys surpasses this Kathleen Marshall-helmed Crest commercial. Anything may go, but less is always more.

James Earl Jones and Venessa Redgrave seem to forget that they’re on a high-energy live awards show. Pick it up! This ain’t Chekhov.

The cast of the NYPhil Company gives it their all, even if their all is a little under-rehearsed. At any rate, can’t wait to see this filmed concert next weekend at Muvico in Rosemont.

I don’t care what kind of performance she’s giving eight times a week — Best Actress in a Play winner Frances McDormand not only looks like a dirty mess in an ill-fitting dress, but is wearing a JEAN JACKET at the TONYS. It’s almost insulting. Someone take her Tony away.

And Sutton Foster wins. If she can look like that after performing moments ago, McDormand has no excuse. Brava? And she tears up about her dresser. I LOVE IT! She’s a Broadway baby through-and-through.

Ok, so here’s our DIVA performance: Martha Wash! It’s raining men! In heels and wigs and spangles! Those Priscilla queens must have awesome neck muscles to support those ginormous wigs.

Catherine Zoloft Jones looks much better here than she did last year during her lip-sweaty Tony performance.

Mark Rylance and Butz win the actor awards for play and musical, respectively. And, in my incredibly ill-informed opinion, I’m fine with that.

And Chris Rock has the best lines of the evening. “I remember my first musical like it was yesterday — because it was yesterday.” … “Now, this is the Best Musical. And come on, we know what the best musical is. This is such a waste of time. It’s like taking a hooker to dinner.”

And Book of Mormon wins 2011 Best Musical. Duh.

And that’s a wrap! Overall, following the above-average footsteps of Girl and the Goat, I give this year’s Tonys broadcast a B+. Entertaining, but not exceptional. But certainly better than recent years, mostly thanks to NPH’s commendable hosting duties. What did you think?

EDIT: My evil DVR cut off NPH’s brilliant end rap. So, here it is:

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6 Comments

  1. The opening number was by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger, not Shaiman/Whitman. And I think I liked the overall broadcast better than you did, despite agreeing with most of your criticisms. I think this was one of, if not THE best Tony Awards Broadcast in quite a while.

    • Thanks for the correction, David! And I agree: this year’s Tonys were better than past years. But that’s not saying much.

  2. Wow. Yeah. Until I saw your text, I totally forgot the Tonys were happening tonight. Guess that shows how excited I was, huh? :) That said, love me some Norbert.

    • Well, you have some things going on, my dear. You’re excused … for this year. But we’re totally watching with peanut Prahl in 2012. :)

  3. Agh..I like Sutton a lot but I’m really sad Patina lost. I feel that a young fresh actress who poured heart and soul into a project-starting off as an understudy, then workshopping the show, then opening it in London rave reviews, then workshopping it again and opening it on Broadway is by far more inspiring than a revial role that has already been nominated in our lifetime and will probably be played by 700 other women till after we die and still get nominations. And I agree, though I am not a Patti maniac as you are, I like Patti’s version better.

    • I hear you, Ali.


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