Sunday, June 12, 2011

2011 Tony Awards: Show Blog w/ Updates

I will update the blog every 10 minutes or so, with additions AT THE BOTTOM, so please scroll down to see new information.

Hello, everyone!  I bet if you are here, you are as excited as I am about the 65th Annual Tony Awards!

Tonight, I will be blogging to you throughout the telecast, starting at 7PM with the Creative Arts Awards.  I'll recap the winners and offer commentary on everything from the opening number to host Neil Patrick Harris to the presenters to the big production numbers, and anything else that happens on live TV! 

And in between things, look for a few words about Team Going, Going Gone! the Opening Number Dancers Team for Broadway Bares XXI: Masterpiece.  I hope you'll join me for some or all of your evening.

Have a comment as the show goes on?  I'll be monitoring my email, too:  Thanks again for joining me and supporting JK's TheatreScene.

Congratulations to all of this year's nominees and winners!

6PM: The Red Carpet

OK, at the risk of starting off like a negative Nellie, a few comments:
  • Can anyone at NY1 hold a microphone?
  • Who that is THEATRE REPORTER can't pronounce "choreographer" in front of a celebrated choreographer?  The dork from NY1!
  • The cast recording of BOM was kept a secret until it was released this week?  Um, NPR had it for free and it has been on YouTube for weeks.
  • Do your research... Helen Reddy did do Broadway... Blood Brothers!
OK, now the positive:
  • Reeve and Jennifer looked stunning, even has they had to answer such banal questions...
  • James Earl Jones looks amazing...certainly NOT 80-something.
  • Judith Light, you are stunning.  Please come back soon!
  • Andrew Rannells, Josh Gad and Rory O'Malley sure clean up nicely!
  • Douglas Cater Beane... could anyone be more gracious?  And Patina... you go, girl!
  • Are Sutton Foster and Bobby Canavale adorable together or what?  Are they going to be the next Lunt-Fontanne?
  • How can you NOT love Harry Connick, Jr.?  Can't wait for CLEAR DAY!!!
  • Hannah Yelland is fabulous!
Tonight, I am pleased to advertise for Team Going Going Gone! the Opening Number Dancers for Broadway Bares XXI: Masterpiece.  They are holding a pre-show special event at Splash! tomorrow night to benefit BCEFA!  Here's a peak at one person you will see... my buddy Andrew Glaszek!

7:30PM: The Creative Arts Tony Awards

Let me join the chorus of disapproval for how the "Creative Arts Tonys" are being handled this year... 3 before the telecast, and the rest during commercials?  BAD FORM!  Ok, you don't want to take time from the bigger money-making moments, but at least webcast them all like last year!  Show some respect, huh?
Laura Benanti and Katie Finneran, Presenters:
  • Athol Fugard was given a standing ovation when presented his Lifetime Achievement Award.  He said, simply, "Thank you, South Africa.  Thank you, America."
  • WINNER: Best Orchestrations, Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus, The Book of Mormon
  • WINNER: Best Score, Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon
8PM: The Tony Awards Telecast

Opening Number/Welcome:

Love his opening number…”Not Just For Gays Anymore” Glee and gay jokes are funny as hell… plus the ensembles of the shows… You go, Brooke Shields! Best opening in years!

  • WINNER: Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play:Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart  A genuine speech. Honest, true and passionate.

“The Brotherhood of Man” from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

One of the best numbers in the show, a great showcase for non-nominee Daniel Radcliffe. Too bad they keep cutting to every camera in the building. You can’t really see the spectrum and breadth of this spectacular number.

  • WINNER: Best Sound Design of a Musical, The Book of Mormon, Brian Ronan

John Leguizamo's Ghetto Klown  is hilarious!  And poignant.

  • WINNER:Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart: A gracious speech, and thank you’s too much. They cut him off?

“Live in Living Color/Don’t Break the Rules” from Catch Me If You Can

A great way to showcase cutie pie Aaron Tveit, while really showing off the show’s greatest assets: the swinging music, big dancing and star Norbert Leo Butz. He did not scream the number when I saw the show, though.
  • WINNER: Best Choreography: Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
  • WINNER: Best Direction of a Musical: Casey Nicholaw and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon. Fast, exuberent and a very well-deserved thank you to South Park fans. 
  • WINNER: Best Direction of a Play: Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, War Horse.  Those Brits sure can talk... but it would have been nice to hear how the show grew, since we won't see any of it.
"Hey!  Hey!  Hey!/Commencing in Chattanooga" from The Scottsboro Boys

If there was any doubt why this show earned 12 Tony Awards nominations, let it be put to rest with this exciting, energetic number superbly performed by the great cast.

Angela Lansbury is always a treat.  What else can I say?

  • WINNER: Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon  Great to see genuine surprise and emotion from a winner.
"I Believe" from The Book of Mormon

This is EXACTLY why Andrew Rannells deserves to win the Best Actor over Josh Gad.  A triumph of campy humor and heart-warming sincerity.  It is also one of the least offensive numbers they could do out of context.  Still it doesn't show the best of the show.


See what you can entertain yourself with tomorrow night?  Support BCEFA at SPLASH!

A Hugh Jackman/Neil Patrick Harris Mash-up/Show Down:  It can't lose!!  Love the tribute to all the great shows, and so well-performed!  So far, the best numbers aren't from shows!

I officially love Brooke Shields!

  • WINNER: Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, John Larroquette, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying A sweet speech that belied some genuine emotion.
Bono and The Edge: Nice digs at each other and their critics.  A nice speech, sincere and funny.

"If the World Should End" from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

One of the best, if not the best, songs in the show.  The dramatic weight at least remains in 2.0.  Thank God.

  • WINNER: Best Sound Design of Play, Thomas Shutt, War Horse
  • WINNER: Best Costume Design of Play, Desmond Heely, The Importance of Being Earnest
Well, they still haven't solved how to represent plays... Would you want to see either Good People or Jerusalem based on that?  And Mark Rylance was unintelligible.

Robin Williams is funny.  But didn't we cover Spider-Man already?
  • WINNER: Best Book of a Musical, Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon It is nice to see that they can be sincere and not "on" all the time.  A slice of humble pie will go well with all those Tonys, boys.

Whoopi Goldberg is the queen of self-deprecating humor.  And let's hope they skip making Jumping Jack Flash into a musical.

"Raise Your Voice" from Sister Act

One of the best numbers in the show... but that moment is iconic to film fans, who might not understand why they aren't singing the song from the film.  And Patina didn't have a cold when I saw it, after all.  Turns out she really is that nasally.

Bobby Canavale and Seth Numrich both made me want to see their plays, The Mother with the Hat and War Horse.

  • WINNER: Best Revival of a Play, The Normal Heart An eloquent speech by Daryl Roth, and a nicely understated, brillianmt speech by Larry Kramer.
"Steal Your Rock n' Roll" from Memphis

So nice to include the kids!  And so nice that they got to re-do the number that went unheard due to sound issues last year. 
  • WINNER: Best Costume Design of a Musical: Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
  • WINNER: Best Scenic Design of Play, Rae Smith, War Horse
  • WINNER: Best Senic Design of a Musical, Scott Pask, The Book of Mormon
  • WINNER: Best Play, War Horse Sussinct, if not not particularly passionate.
Joel Grey is so damned cute just as he is... why does he over do the cute on stage?

"Anything Goes" from Anything Goes

A truly great tap number.  Won't audiences be shocked when THAT'S IT?

James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave get a well-deserved standing ovation.  And offer strange dramatic readings in return.

And we go back to showing stars, not plays...

"Side By Side" from Company

Not bad. Not revelatory.

Kelsey Grammer has a great speaking voice.
  • WINNER: Best Revival of a Musical, Anything Goes A by-the-book speech if ever there was one.

 A lot of greats have left us, indeed. 
  • WINNER: Best Actress in a Play, Frances McDormand, Good People WOW.  Started out great, got a touch wacky... and that exit... oh well, when you are that good...
  • WINNER: Best Actress in a Musical, Sutton Foster, Anything Goes  A terrific speech, made memorable for its laughter-through-tears moment.
"It's Raining Men" from Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Despite sound issues, it still looks and sounds like what it is.  The most unapologetic fun on Broadway, period. 


  • WINNER: Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Brian MacDevitt, The Book of  Mormon
  • WINNER: Best Lighting Design of a Play, War Horse
  • WINNER: Best Actor in a Play, Mark Rylance, Jerusalem  How to make an entire nation renew its hatred for theatre geeks.  This is why people think we are weird.  If he had skipped the fence bit, Norbert might have gotten to give proper tribute to his late sister, instead of having to scream it.
  • WINNER: Best Actor in a Musical, Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can  Great speech, great performance, great guy.
  • WINNER: Best Musical, The Book of Mormon 
Chris Rock.  Whatever, Motherf***er.

Neil Patrick Harris is no rapper, but left us as we started.  Laughing.

The Book of Mormon - 9
The Normal Heart - 3
War Horse - 5
Anything Goes -
How to Succeed - 1
The Importance of Being Ernest - 1
Priscilla Queen of the Desert - 1
Good People - 1
Jerusalem - 1
Catch Me If You Can - 1


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