The Tonys are my Christmas and my New Year’s and my 4th of July Fireworks. They’re my Super Bowl, my World Cup, my World Series. They’re the hot fudge on my sundae, the sizzle on my steak, the apple of my eye, the skip in my step, the bee’s knees and the cat’s meow, whiskers and pajamas. I’ve loved the Tonys since somewhere around age 8 and have looked forward to that faithful Sunday each June when I could tune into a national broadcast focused entirely on theatre. And now here I am, living in the middle of it all, seeing these shows in real life, formulating informed predictions and opinions.
I love the Tonys.
Until this year. Producers, you let me down, both in execution and insistence upon roping Hollywood into our night. But enough about that. Let’s focus on the good, shall we?
Production cracks aside, the opening number showed off the talent to come, and I appreciated the concept. (The screeching 14 year old inside me probably loved Green Day’s appearance. Probably.) Sean Hayes gave an adorable opening monologue, helped along by the even more adorable Kristin Chenoweth and it was onto the first award of the broadcast.
The bad: Scarlett Johansson somehow managed to win the award and oust Broadway darling Jan Maxwell from Lend Me a Tenor. Cue panic and shrieking.
The good: ScarJo’s camera moments also provided ample face time for Ryan Reynolds AND co-star Liev Shreiber. Cue much more, but seemingly calmer, shrieking.
Before I could wallow into a pool of too much ScarJo success scorn, the men of Million Dollar Quartet took the stage began to wail (in a good way) and I was happy again. And then Eddie Redmayne won a Tony for his performance in Red, so I was happier still. And then Katie Finneran of Promises, Promises and Levi Kreis of Million Dollar Quartet joined the winner’s circle and I sat on the couch positively beaming. Performances from the casts of Fela, Ragtime, La Cage aux Folles and Memphis brought on more beaming, clapping, and shrieking. (My poor roommates.)
And then Football star Mark Sanchez took the stage and again, I groaned in the producer’s general direction for being so transparent in their attempt for ratings but then actual theatrical people like Angela Lansbury and David Hyde Pierce and Kelsey Grammar, and much later in the show Bernadette Peters and Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane all made me happy once more. And then, more groaning, as Catherine Zeta Jones not only butchered a Sondheim classic but somehow wrestled the Tony away from Memphis’ deserving Montego Glover. Then hit TV show Glee's Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele reminded American they were Broadway Babies before being TV's newest darlings.
And though I’d picked Alfred Molina for Best Actor in a play, I knew it would be a close race between him and Denzel Washington, so I cannot claim surprise or disappointment. At least I pegged Viola Davis for Fences and Douglas Hodge for La Cage aux Folles correctly.
And in honor of our big winner, Memphis: HOCKADOO!