My Top 5 Favorite Things about the 2012 Tony Awards.

The curtain has come down on yet another Broadway season.  That sound you hear in the distance is the opening of many a Fire Island and Hampton home as the industry gets ready to hibernate for the summer now that the handicapping is all done and the Tony Awards are all handed out.

Ok, well, we’re not done just yet.  There’s still the Monday morning dish about who got dissed and who went home pissed (and I mean that in both the “angry” connotation and the “so-drunk-I-want-to-make-out-with-Michael-Riedel” sense).

This isn’t a dishy blog, so I’ll leave all that chat to, well, the folks on All That Chat.

I will, however, post my Top 5 Favorite Things from last night’s awards, as usual.  And here they are:

1.  The Cold Mormon Open

There was a lot of scuttlebutt in Shubert Alley about having Mormon open the show.  “They don’t need the help!” and “Give more time to the speeches!” and  “Give more time to the nominated and non-nominated shows!” were just a few of the complaints I heard when the opening was announced.  But you know what?  Open strong, I say.  Mormon is a juggernaut of a hit, and reminding the world about Broadway’s biggest contribution in the last five years is a great way to show them what we have to offer.  Oh, and remember, Mormon isn’t the most traditional show around.  It’s not like it was a safe choice.  But it was a great choice.

2.  Someone Give That Guy A Hanky

Mike Nichols is one of the most celebrated Directors of our time.  He has achieved more in one decade than most of us can dream about achieving in our lifetime.  Yet still, when Mike Nichols accepted his award for Salesman, he got choked up and had to fight back tears.  The theater means a lot to that guy, and it meant a lot to me to see how honored he was.  Old hat, this was not . . . just like his production of Salesman, actually. The Honorable Mention in this category goes to Miss Audra “5-Timer” McDonald, who stepped up there to accept her award and immediately started to sob.  In that moment, she showed us all why she is such a great actress . . . she’s not afraid to open up her chest and show her heart.

3.  Ok, We Know This Part is Boring

The annual American Theatre Wing speech about the great work the organization does every year is important . . . but let’s face it, everyone just wants to get back to Neil Patrick Harris doing his schtick.  So this year they let Neil continue to do his schtick, hanging upside down à la Spiderman, as Angela Lansbury and Ted Chapin told us about the Wing’s website.  Being self-aware of our assets and liabilities is a great way to keep people watching.

4.  I Haven’t Seen So Many Numbers Since Proof!

It seemed like every thirty seconds, another show was performing another number.  And it was awesome.  Let’s face it, the performances are what people want to see (it’s why I tuned in as a sixteen year old from Massachusetts, and I can still remember that Will Rogers Follies number wowing me).  Overall, all of the numbers were terrific (word is still out on the cruise ship bit) and they made it look like Broadway is bursting at the seams with lots of diverse choices for great live entertainment . . . and, oh yeah, it is.

5.  Surprise!  You won!

This was not a year to be a Tony handicapper.  Who would have thought James Corden would take down The Hoff?  And Judith Light?  And Steve Kazee?  And what about Porgy & Bess showing Sondheim who’s boss?  The too-close-to-callness of so many races made for quite an exciting evening. . . there were several audible gasps at my Tony Party.  Obviously there’s no way to create close races every year (although maybe with more voters?  More nominees?) but, boy oh boy, it is a heck of a lot of fun when you don’t know whose name is going to be on that piece of paper.   It’s so . . . well . . . dramatic.

What were your favorite moments of this year’s Tony Awards?  Least favorite moments?  Let me hear what you thought of the awards in the comments below.

And then . . . take our TONY SATISFACTION SURVEY!  Click here and submit your official ratings of the 2012 Tony Awards!

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

——

FUN STUFF:

– Read the latest ‘full disclosure’ update on Godspell here.

– Win tickets to Murder in the First at 59E59!  Click here!

 

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Comments
  • Hands down, my favorite moment was when Steve Kazee accepted his Tony. There were a lot of emotional acceptances last night but his really got to me, just like his performance. Bravo!

  • Kile Ozier says:

    D’accord….though the jury ain’t out on the Geriatrically-cast, dinner theatre-style, whoring the show out to a sponsor, cruise ship embarrassment… Just sayin’…
    😉

  • Kathleen Hochberg says:

    for me, it’s just as you would expect Ken. The amazing performance by the even more amazing cast of GODSPELL!

  • AlexandraC says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the show! It was great to see all the performances especially since I’ve only seen a handful of the shows live this year. I was glad to see a great showing from Peter & The Starcatcher (loved the show! I thought it was hilarious and so heartfelt!). And I’m glad Porgy & Bess won Best Revival – great to see that even though there was some negative press before the performance began, the show was still recognized for its excellent quality. And after seeing Once win so many awards, I’m looking forward to seeing the show! I loved the film and was a bit wary about an adaptation, but the theater community seems to have embraced it and I look forward to see it.

  • KENI FINE says:

    Godspell singing, and Porgy & Bess winning the big one!
    After having dutifully sat through Follies (nuff said), and soared through Porgy & Bess (not enough said!), and with Godspell not in the running 🙁 …it was great to see Porgy win! And Audra! (I loved Norm as Porgy, too.)

    Takeaway? SEE GODSPELL Now! See it twice!!

    Then see Porgy, and say hi to Bess for me! 😉

  • SweetP says:

    After meeting Hannah Elless at Godspell on Friday, seeing her dancing with Hugh Jackman less than 48 hours later. Love it when good things happen to good people. Unfortunately, Ken, I think you will be losing her to Houdini on Broadway. So, everyone who has not seen Hugh Jackman’s dance partner Hannah Elless in Godspell, get your tickets now!

  • George Ouellette says:

    My highlight was knowing that everyone in the first eight rows will be pulling Godspell confetti out of who knows where for the next week.

    I’m really happy for all of the winners and it was nice to see some “underdogs” get the awards. This season was packed with great shows and so much talent that making those choices couldn’t have been easy.

    We really loved seeing the Godspell cast, they really deserved to be there. They also deserved a nomination but we won’t go there. I really hope their appearance gets the ticket sales up so we can continue making our now weekly trips to see the show.

  • Patty says:

    Love Neil Patrick Harris as host–just genius at this. GODSPELL cast terrific–liked the move down the ailes and dancing with Hugh. Disappointed in song selections for both Evita and FOLLIES–not representative of either show. But so many other outstanding musical performances–and the dancing in Newsies–OMG!!

  • Amy Leigh says:

    3. Proof positive that NPH can do ANYTHING!

    I loved that so many musical numbers were included (as well as the beautiful play montage). I felt it made for great pacing and, for the first time in a long while, actually made the telecast exciting! Bits used to drag before and now it seems like the powers that be are learning how to snag an audience.

  • Amy Leigh says:

    P.S. Please blow up an image of Hugh Jackman dancing with Hannah!

  • Chris says:

    Generally, I thought it was a strong show. I loved having so many performances, although some of them acquitted themselves better than others. James Corden proved why he deserved that Tony. Nina Arianda was delightful. Tracie Bennet was working it but, stuck with having to lip sync to the video track, looked more like a (very expensively dressed) drag queen. Overall, there were more plays this year that I really want to see than usual. Ghost wasted their time. Leap of Faith made me really wish I had seen the show. Once was small but heartfelt. (We all wondered about its future – seems too small to play road houses, and too specific in terms of casting for much of a regional or stock/amateur life.) Newsies reminded me of high-level community theatre: spectacularly polished dancing and singing, in service of very little plot. Danny Burstein was terrific (one viewer commented “I feel like I got more entertainment out of him than I got from the entire cast of Newsies.”) I’d love to have seen Michael McGrath and Judy Kaye get to show off a bit, from a TV producer’s perspective, I “get” that Matthew Broderick is a bigger draw (even though I found him utterly charmless in the number.) I wish Norm and Audra had given us four minutes of “Bess You Is My Woman Now” rather than the mega-mix commercial. I love the new Godspell arrangements (fresh but faithful to their origin) but Corbin Bleu must have had monitor problems. (One presumes he *can* sing in general, just not last night.) I particularly missed the annual necrology. (And why was Death of a Salesman the only show that didn’t even show up on the Year In Plays montage?NPH is my favourite host since Angela Lansbury. The opening number was great (if a little bizarre – Patti LuPone, mowing the lawn? But JTF as the understudy!!!) and the closing number was clever (if predictable. The seven of us watching cued the ending en masse.) This year’s edition was one I’ll certainly enjoy re-watching in years to come.

  • Marty Neider says:

    LOVED watching the Tony’s this year. I’m in California and have never seen a Broadway show live in New York (looking forward one day). LOVED all of the musical numbers, and the play montage was lovely. Particularly liked all the sly visuals that popped up every time NPH was talking with the audience in the background. Of particular note was the passing the girl like a mannequin down the row and then putting her in her seat! “Kapow!” Did I just see that? Very much enjoyed NPH doing his Spidey bit behind Angela Lansbury. Overall, great show, kept it moving and I wanted MORE!

  • My favorite moment was Jan Maxwell and Tyne Daly on the red carpet. In case you missed it, you’ll never look at a racehorse the same way again. Funny AND true: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPPeHJo6MTg&feature=g-upl

  • LARRY ABRAMSKY says:

    MY FAVORITE MOMENTS ON THIS YEAR’S TONY SHOW WERE TOPPED WITH JAMES CORDEN “I LOVE HER SO MUCH. SHE MAKES ME SAY ‘US’ INSTEAD OF I, AND ‘WE’ INSTEAD OF ‘ME’.”

    IS THERE ANYONE MORE TALENTED OR CLASSIER ON BROADWAY NOW THAN AUDRA McDONALD? ESPECIALLY AFTER HER ON-AIR LOVE GIFT TO HER DAUGHTER, I THINK NOT.

    AS MUCH AS I TRULY APPRECIATE THE MAJOR ‘TALENTS’ OF RICKY MARTIN (FOR REAL), AFTER HIS BLASE TONY SHOW PERFORMANCE AS A FEATURED CHORUS BOY, IT IS MOST CLEAR NOW WHY HE WAS NOT ONLY NOT NOMINATED FOR HIS PERFORMANCE IN ‘EVITA’, HE WAS HARDLY EVEN MENTIONED IN THE REVIEWS. EVEN MY MERE MEMORY OF MANDY PATINKIN AS THE ORIGINAL CHE FAR OUTWEIGHS WHAT I SAW RICKY MARTIN DO ON TV LAST NIGHT. OVER CAPITALIZED AND OVER PRODUCED, I HOPE THE SHOW RECOUPS & PAYS BACK ITS INVESTORS BEFORE RICKY’S CONTRACT ENDS JUST UNDER A YEAR AFTER OPENING…

    CONGRATS TO MY PRODUCING BUDDYS, BRUCE ROBERT HARRIS & JACK BATMAN ON WINNING THEIR FIRST TONY AWARD FOR “CLYBORNE PARK”

    AND FINALLY, JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT THAT HUGH JACKMAN COULD NOT POSSIBLY GET ANY MORE ATTRACTIVE. . . . AFTER SO GRACIOUSLY RECEIVING HIS SPECIAL TONY LAST NIGHT, CAN HE SEEM ANY MORE AUTHENTICALLY LIKABLE OR LOVING. . . NOPE. . . XOXO . . .

    KUDOS & BRAVO TO NEIL PATRICK HARRIS.

  • As much as I loved a lot of it, notably Audra’s and Nichols’s acceptance speeches, it is hard to beat Cynthia Nixon’s reaction to the Mormon knock as well as James Earl Jones coming through the door with a sharpie and a glossy of Darth Vader.

    But…the closing number just may have.

  • I’d like to add that I agree with Larry…

    “We instead of me” was a beautiful moment.

  • Bruce says:

    My favorite moment on the Tony Awards was seeing the scene from Once. It was so boring that it confirmed why I haven’t seen the show. Hated the film. But that’s just my opinion. Obviously a minority.

  • virginia vanderbilt says:

    I thought the showed moved along at a quick pace. Neil’s timing is perfect. Much more entertainment than usual (which is GOOD). Just got-a-love Broadway

  • Ron Emerick says:

    Loved the show this year. Neil Patrick Harris is the perfect host. Loved the acceptance speeches of Judy Kaye, James Corden, Steve Kazee, and Audra McDonald. My favorite moments were the min-reunion of Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone as award presenters and the surprise appearance of Hugh Jackman’s wife Deborah to present his special award.

  • Marilyn says:

    I disagree with you about Book of Mormon – why have last year’s take up so much of this year’s time; ditto the ship performance – why? It said to me that the producers thought no show this year was worth a big opening. And the Evita spot was so long – Ricky Martin, a boring Che – thank goodness NPH is so charming. Guess I could go on about the things did not enjoy – but mostly why so many sea commercials – we did not get to see some of the most important wins – did not get to see Manny nor Bernadette nor the special Equity awards! Was disappointed with Once winning and some of the others. But thank goodness for the class of many of the winners and presenters. Bravo Audra, Judy, Mandy and Patti, Nina! Hope next year’s is better!

  • Randi says:

    I think every year should open with something from last year’s winner. It’s a nice way to show continuity and to honor what’s past before honoring what’s new.

  • Robert Nicotra says:

    Best Speech at the Tony Awards- there are those rare people who can look at the world and see things the rest of us don’t see until they show us- these are the WRITERS-there are the special few who can take that vision and turn it back into a world- these are the DIRECTORS, the DESIGNERS-There are fearless beings who can live in that world and show us who we are -these are our ACTORS- there are dedicated people who know why that world matters so very much- CREW,THEATRE STAFF,PRODUCERS, INVESTORS,MANAGERS,MARKETERS- and then there are the people who step forward and say show us this world -open me,change me- these are our AUDIENCES-and when all of these people come together and say YES there is THEATRE!!! by Producer Jordan Roth

    • Raymond Cothern says:

      I agree totally. A speech that embraced all the folks who bring us the smoke and mirrors we love so much.

  • Neil says:

    I look forward to Tony night every year – let others have their Oscar parties, it’s all about the Tony’s for me. HOWEVER, I was appalled that we were deprived of hearing the acceptance speeches of two of the legends of Broadway, Emanuel Azenberg and Bernadette Peters, so that we could watch a second-rate cruise ship performance of a ten year old musical. Talk about selling out!

  • Carol says:

    I want to thank you, Ken, for your creative blog post of TONY predictions with your votes, the readers’ votes, and a psychic’s votes. I printed it out and took it to my friend’s house where I watched the awards. Checking the final votes on TV against my print out of predictions really added to the fun. I hope you will do it again next year. – CD

  • Rhonda says:

    I have to say the XX company (won’t give this company more press time) cruise ship bit was appalling! Why not just call it what it was a 3-4 minute commercial. I hope they paid dearly for it because it was totally inappropriate and intrusive. What a joke giving a bunch of third rate musical theater people a full song on national TV. Tony committee and League of Theaters — you should be ashamed!

  • I liked the cruise ship bit– loved the idea that they got a commercial out of it. With even lower Tony ratings, it helps to have somebody paying.

    My favorite speech was the one by the producer of Clybourne Park about everyone saying yes.

    Dreadfully missed Mandy Patinkin during Follies and Evita. I don’t think anyone will ever touch his Buddy’s Blues.

    Loved the Godspell number and confetti. Absolutely adored the Hello opening– it totally worked– and talk about separating the men from the boys– that number is so well written and so original, with the pitched doorbells–it put a lot of the current show numbers to shame. I liked the Porgy highlights– really enjoyed getting to see all the male stars of that show– who I hadn’t ever seen sing before.

    It was a ton of fun, even in a year where I didn’t care that much about the nominated shows.

  • Brian says:

    I appear to be in a minority but Godspell and Nice Work…segments were the weakest moments of the evening IMHO

  • cheryl palmour says:

    I thought the show was great. I really enjoyed all the numbers. The opening number was really funny. I can’t wait to go to New York and see some of these shows. The Spider Man bit was hysterical

  • Chris B says:

    Really glad to see Leap of Faith’s Raul Esparza get to shine. That number was an audience favorite. Gone too soon!

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