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Summertime...Took a little vacation! Three reviews coming soon! Amazing Grace, Hand to God and Mamma Mia!

I hope you'll come back for frequent visits, to see new reviews, to share opinions, to take a survey (or two), and to celebrate the shows and show people that have made the TheatreScene!

Jeff

Monday, June 10, 2013

Keep It, Dump It, or Fix It Up: The 2013 Tony Awards


By now, everyone and their brother has weighed in on last night's Tony Awards, so I'll keep it as brief as I can.

I thought the show was one of the best in several seasons.  There are lessons to be learned from this.  There are things that need to be kept, dumped or fixed for next year's show.

KEEP IT



  • The host.  Neil Patrick Harris is perfect or the job.  He's got the "key demographic" in his TV star pocket.  He can sing, dance and has a clever, but not really mean sense of humor.  His enery keeps things going at a fever pitch, even when things get slow.  And most importantly, he loves the theatre and he wears that love like a badge of honor.
  • The best Broadway tunesmiths.  This year Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda came up with the most excellent opening number, a real showstopper.  It had the Radio City crowd on its feet, and I am sure I wasn't the only one at home cheering and clapping.  Next year, let Pasek and Paul use all that giggly fanboy energy have a crack at it!


  • Longer musical segments.  Maybe it was just me, but didn't the numbers seem to last longer than usual?  Nice to hear whole sings!
  • The topical mid-show number and show closing number.  It'll be hard to top the TV cancellation number - Benanti, Hilty and Ranells in the same show?  Dare to dream, Jeff, dare to dream.  The show closing number stays as long as Harris does, deal?


DUMP IT

  • The playoff music.  It's one night of the year, CBS.  Loosen up.  These are speeches many people only get one chance to give their entire lives.  And if you can't be across the board, at least agree that living legends (Cicely Tyson, Christopher Durang) can have as long as they want.
  • The purpose of the Broadway League bit. Whether you try to be funny (like this year) or deadly serious (like every other year) no one cares about it.  And that includes the entire audience at the Tonys.

Thought Bubble: " I won for Other Desert Cities," you idiot."

  • NY1 coverage of anything.  This year's red carpet was simply embarrassing.  Calling Will Chase "Will Anderson," telling Judith Light that she won the Tony for Lombardi is bad enough.  But asking Santino Fontana how it is to wear white tights in Cinderella is just bad journalism *he doesn't wear tights in the show*, and asking Valisia LeKae if she's had relations with Diana Ross would be grounds for termination where I work.  How about you?
  • Matthew Broderick.  Give Ferris Bueller the day off.  Permanently.  He couldn't even fake enjoying Broadway?  Lord knows the movies don't want him...


FIX IT

"Good Lovin'" for everything but the Plays

  • No montages of closed shows.  What they did to The Mystery of Edwin Drood was disrespectful.  Fix it by offering a song, no frills at a cut rate to producers.
  • No extraneous acts.  The Rascals were pretty good.  But why them, and no time for the creative awards?

Jesse can talk FAST

  • More time for creative awards.  See above.  We could have heard more of each speech if Motown was cut.
  • Figure out a better way to include the plays.  A perennial problem... I can live without fully staged scenes, but Jesse Eisenberg speed reading through the entire bit was hard to understand, and I even knew what he was talking about.


RETIRE IT

Sandy and Neil introduce a segment

  • Show characters announcing awards and numbers.  Turns out I really loved it 95% of the time.  It was clever and a fun way to revisit older shows.  Now don't do it again for a few years.


AND FINALLY...

  • Top 3 Best Speeches of the Night: Billy Porter, Cyndi Lauper and Patina Miller
  • Worst Speech of the Night: Cicely Tyson.  Don't hate me, but come on.  Her speech sounded like a death wish.  Norma Desmond lives!

  • The musical numbers that should help ticket sales: A Christmas Story, Pippin, Kinky Boots, Cinderella
  • The musical numbers that really didn't make me want to see the show again: Matilda (out of context, a noisy, muddled mess, with too little Matilda, and too much Spring Awakening, Jr.), Annie (Though Jane Lynch was SUPERB, it is now firmly documented that the orphans are not the biggest kids on the block anymore, the kids from Matilda and A Christmas Story are true triple threats.)
  • The worst musical numbers: Motown: The Musical looks and sounds like a bad amateur hour/community theatre talent show.  Memphis and Hairspray both did it better. The Phantom of the Opera: Ok, not the worst.  They did pick the best number to present, but the close ups in this HD age took a lot of the mystery out of it.  Side note: I can't believe that people are so shocked that it was lip-synched.  Almost the whole thing is lip-synched in the actual show - I mean there are 3 or 4 Phantoms and Christines running around the stage during most of the song to perfect sounding voices.  Get real.


TWO LAST THINGS

  • Tony picks.  For those of you keeping track, Mike and I did pretty well with our Tony predictions.  I did only slightly better, getting 1 more right than he did. To see our list, click HERE.
  • JKTS Awards.  Click HERE to see the complete list of this year's winners!


Jeff
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