My Top 5 Favorite Moments of the 2015 Tony Awards.
I’m writing this blog in the wee hours after the Tony telecast, and the buzz at the couple o’ parties I went to after mine was that the show was a big ol’ hit. It was fast paced, funny and it even had a few surprises that made it as exciting as Saturday’s Triple Crown winning horse race.
I wanna hear everything you thought about the show, but first, as is my tradition the morning after the Tonys, here are my top five moments, in no particular order.
1. TWO REALLY IS BETTER THAN ONE
There was a lot of chatter the day Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth were chosen to co-host the awards. “They couldn’t get a Hugh Jackman-like star, so they got two stars to add up to Hugh,” said the naysayers. And now, it looks like those Tony Producers knew exactly what they were doing. They got two fantastic comedians and Broadway personalities who knew how to work in tandem, were happy to make fun of themselves, and knew that the key to a successful hosting gig was just to have a blast (that ET bit was priceless). We were lucky to have them. And I hope we get them back.
2. IN MEMORIAM
Last year’s audience was up in arms when the telecast neglected to air an “in memoriam” segment, opting instead for more musical numbers (including that then out-of-place Jennifer Hudson Finding Neverland moment). This year, the Producers brought it back, I’m sure in part because they did what all great Producers do . . . listened to their audience. But they didn’t just bring it back and do what they usually do. Oh no. They said, “If we’re bringing this back, then let’s make a moment out of it.” In walks Josh Groban, and up comes the choruses of all those Broadway shows singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It was a beautiful and respectful moment that made me proud to be part of the community.
3. SO YOU THINK BROADWAY CAN DANCE
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many shows with big fat dance numbers on the telecast! An American in Paris, On the Town, On the Twentieth Century . . . even “Shall We Dance” from The King and I. It was a dancey year on Broadway, and it was wonderful to be reminded of how much story can be told with no words, only movement. Dance is a key ingredient of musicals. It’s like chocolate in a chocolate cake. Hard to make one without it. It was wonderful to be reminded of it on the industry’s biggest night of the year. And I bet all those pirouettes sold a lot of tickets to shows (and a lot of memberships at dance schools all over the country).
4. THE SIXTH TIME’S THE CHARM
It wasn’t even Kelli O’Hara winning her Tony that made the moment memorable for me. It was the audience standing on its feet as she took the stage. They seemed to breathe a sigh of relief right along with her! And that speech, right? From classy, to emotional, to a goofy shuffle-off-to-Buffalo. It was worth the wait, and so well deserved. You know, I was lucky enough to see Kelli O’Hara play Christine in the Yeston/Kopit Phantom at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport, Connecticut before she was Kelli O’Hara, and I remember thinking, “This girl is gonna win a Tony someday.” I’m happy she finally did. (And I bet she’s got at least a couple more in her.)
5. WHAT ROAD VOTE?
Ok, so by far the biggest moment of the night was Fun Home snatching the Tony from the jaws of An American in Paris. Even though there was definitely a great deal of chatter over the last few days that Fun Home was making a move, I thought it was too little, too late for the ambitious art musical that was up against a Gershwin-laden dance spectacle that has been grossing over $1mm a week, and had a great set of reviews of its own. But David bested Goliath in a shocking upset. And as I’ve said a bunch of times on this blog, let this forever prove that there is no block of touring presenters that vote for the shows that they think will play in their theaters around the country to greater success. Got it? There is no road vote. Avenue Q beat Wicked. Gentleman’s Guide beat Aladdin. And Fun Home beat Paris, just to name a few. Never before have I been more proud of our industry than last night, when it rewarded this achingly beautiful new musical that challenges today’s audiences. More people will see Fun Home because of that Tony. And the world will be just a little bit of a better place because of it. And that’s the power of theater.
Ok, so now it’s your turn to tell me what you thought of the show!
But we’re going to do it all scientific style. Click the link below to fill out a survey, and we’ll collect the results and post them here for everyone to see. And maybe we’ll even send them on to the Tony Awards Producers.
Even if you didn’t watch, fill out the survey . . . we want to know that too!
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