My Top 5 Moments from Last Night’s Tony Telecast

Just like last year, here are five of my favorite things from last night’s Tony telecast.

1.  Sometimes the best speech is none at all.

Marian Seldes shocked (and scared) the crowd in the most classy way possible, by not saying one word after walking on stage to accept her Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.  It was a little odd, and a little awesome, all rolled into one legend.

2.  Neil Patrick who?

Sean Hayes tore up the stage as Annie, Spiderman, and as a straight guy making Kristin Chenoweth weak in the knees with that tongue-down of an opener. He was as good of a host as we could have asked for.  You’ve been raked through the ridiculous mud over the past couple of months, Sean.  But your gracious talents have made you even sexier to all sexes because of it.

3.  The straight play mashup.

You gotta give the Tonys some credit.  Every year they try a new way to include the straight plays in the telecast.  This year, it was a pair of starry performers from each play describing the plot to the audience (and if those descriptions were getting awards, then Next Fall would have won hands down), as well as remix mashup of straight play b-roll from all of the plays on Broadway this season.  If you didn’t see it, imagine a 17-year-old club kid who also loves straight plays making a three minute tribute to post to his YouTube account.  Was it successful?  I don’t know, but the effort deserves some applause.

4.  Watching a Tony Award audience try to clap in rhythm to Green Day.

Having Green Day on the show was like striking Radio City with a lightning bolt. Has there ever been that much pyro on a Tony Awards telecast?  It was awesome, and hopefully it got the younger crowds at home to tune in.  The older crowd that was in the audience at RCMH however, seemed to have a little trouble finding their punk-groove (did you see Michael Douglas trying to get into it with that head bob?).  The issue of this audience not naturally being in tune with this type of music was made much more obvious later, when American Idiot failed to win the Tony.  But thank you Green Day for bringing your passion and your popularity to our stage.

5.  The Tony for good sports goes to . . 

Bebe and Nathan.  No last names required.  They didn’t need to co-present. They didn’t need to poke fun at themselves.  They didn’t even need to be anywhere near the building.  But they did it all, and once again proved why they are the stars that they are.  This business is going to take us all on a ride.  You’ll be up one second, and down the next.  You’ll have your face on a billboard, and then you’ll be fighting for a bio in a program.  But maintaining a level head about it all is what makes people fall even more in love with what we do.

Other fave moments from the show included the LED wall (less sets, less expenses), Catherine Zeta’s acceptance speech, the Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele Glee-fest, and Daniel Radcliffe presenting with the 2-foot-taller Katie Holmes.

Overall, I’m giving the telecast a B+.  An A- would have been easy, if it weren’t for the many sound f-ups.  I mean, you found a way to bleep out “MIND F***” from American Idiot‘s performance, but you can’t get the mic to work for others?

What were your favorite moments from this year’s Tony Awards?

And stay tuned for the announcement of our Producer’s Perspective Tony Pool winner tomorrow!  Someone is getting an iPad!

10 Things this Producer is thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I love holidays.  Family, food, and big box office numbers.  Mmm, mmm, good.

In addition to being thankful for the flock of tourists coming to town from now through New Year’s, here is a list of my ten other theatrical thankfuls this year.

1.  The Producers of Avenue Q had the courage to try an unprecedented downsize with their move Off-Broadway.  By doing so they kept over 50 people employed and just may have opened up a whole new ‘avenue’ of distribution for Broadway shows of a certain size.

2.  I got the rights to a book called Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage.  It’ll be the female version of Defending The Caveman.  Give me 12 months max, and it’ll be up.

3. I moved into a new office, and already it feels like we’re ready for something bigger.  Offices are like aquariums . . . always get the bigger one, because when you get it home, you’re going to want it.

4. The Independent Theater Bloggers Association (The ITBA) was formed and now has 40+ members!  The bod chose a group of award winners for the 2008-2009 season, and at the same time just may have unofficially declared the start of the new media revolution in the theatrical industry.

5.  My Dad had a subdural hematoma, had emergency brain surgery, and is now better than ever (ok, that’s not theatrical, but if anything deserved a standing ovation on this list, it would be this one).

6.  Thanks in part to new management and in part to NPH, the Tony Awards ratings were up 20% in key demos!

7.  My investors, as well as a whole slew of theatrical investors, stayed in the theatrical waters this past year, despite the choppy economy.  They understand that investing in the theater is like investing in the market.   Diversify, stay in the game, and the one that we’re all waiting for will come.

8.  Michael Riedel at the NY Post mentioned the BroadwaySpace.com “50 Most Powerful People on Broadway” article in his column not once, but twice.  I’m thankful that I only commissioned the article and didn’t write it, because I heard there were some really happy people and some really peeved people.

9.  Leslie Arden signed on to write music and lyrics for Somewhere In Time.  After several years of searching for the right person, I found her.  I felt like Richard Collier himself.  The first reading will take place in the summer of 2010, if not sooner.

10.  Finally, I’m thankful for my readers.  Not only have you multipled over the last 12 months, but the comments and discussions that are emerging on the blog are exactly why I started writing in the first place.  We’re increasing the volume of the conversation about making Broadway, Off-Broadway and theater in general work, both artistically and financially.  And when we do that, we all benefit.

And now I’ll sign off this entry with the same Kenism I used last year:

Enjoy your T-day. Just remember . . .

Eat a turkey.  Don’t produce one.

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