Sunday, June 12, 2011

When Did the Tonys Turn into the Oscars?

All dressed up and no play to go to.  Only the Tony Awards!

      Twenty to thirty years ago, the Tonys took two hours to broadcast and that included the numbers from the new musicals, some of the revivals, scenes from the plays, and the technical awards.  Nowadays, it takes three hours, the numbers from the revivals usually outpace the new musicals in terms of musicality and wit, and the technical awards (lighting, choreography, costumes, sets, etc) get relegated to side blurbs next to the commercials.

      This year, ‘My Tony Moment’ was introduced, the first being John Leguizamo’s.  He’s hilarious, incredibly talented, and more appreciated in New York than anywhere else.  Okay, great, but what about Kathleen Marshall (Choreography) or Brian Ronan’s (Sound Design) Tony moments?  Instead, theirs were abbreviated sound bites.  The stars – performers that most people would recognize, but wouldn’t spend $10 to see in a movie – were not edited in this ‘live’ broadcast even though most of them thank the same list of people – the names change, but not the relationships.  

Neil Patrick Harris in the opening number
from the 2011 Toy Awards
The numbers by Neil Patrick Harris and others were cute, but are an example of the side dish overtaking the entrée.  Please, show some of the actual performers from this season and can’t we see smidgens of the nominated plays?  Instead, we’ll have to hope that Lynn Meyers or Ed Stern can get the rights for a couple of these plays to show in Cincinnati in a couple of years.  

      Some of the coolest elements of the Tonys have been that they really are about cultural and ethnic diversity and theatre people can move and think on their feet so they’re generally witty, though quite potty-mouthed this year.  Go Sutton Foster for remembering what’s really important, i.e. the dresser who’s got your back and wants to follow his dream, and Mark Rylance for yet another wildly eccentric speech after winning for the second time.

Check out the complete list of winners here:

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