I think we can all agree, this year Broadway’s biggest night was BAD. ASS. Back at Radio City after a few years at the Beacon, the Tony Awards managed to fill the gigantic space with pure theater joy. I was lucky enough to be watching from the orchestra seats (right behind Jesse Eisenberg! You can sort of see my left ear and shoulder in a really quick shot, so I’m basically a famous person now, FYI). The show was delightful from there too – no small feat considering you are sitting in your seat for four plus hours straight, and it’s hot under those lights, and so most people are just sweaty hangry spanxy messes by the end.
Despite all the awards handed out during the show, I felt that there were some awards left hanging. So, I thought I would step in to fill that void with some awards of my own. Thus, without further ado:
Best Avoidance of Misuse of Power: Neil Patrick Harris
Can we just agree that Neil Patrick Harris is the best host of anything ever? I mean, seriously, the dude did like seven things in the opening number that the vast majority of regular humans cannot do, and he did a lot of them at the same time. And yet the entire time he made it seem like piking through hoops and being lifted by cheerleaders while also singing and being incredibly charming was the easiest thing ever. At the end of that number (which made me cry with pure Broadway love upon rewatching), the audience in Radio City had so collectively lost their minds with the overwhelming face-melting joy of it all that Neil Patrick Harris could have commanded us all to do pretty much whatever he wanted, and we would have done it – crowd-surfed the cast out like we were a giant mosh pit, opened our wallets, stormed the barricade, murdered Michael Reidel. Instead he just kept on hosting the show, like a BOSS.
Tony Loss Most Personally Upsetting To Anika Chapin: Bertie Carvel
This isn’t to take anything away from Billy Porter, who is amazing and deserves prizes. But dang, Bertie Carvel created another species of human being on that stage, and it was one of my favorite performances of all time.
Tony Performance Most Representative of the Show Itself: Motown
Motown’s performance started out great – fun dancing and singing of songs everybody loves. And then, much like the show itself, it got to the point where you thought “well that was fun, I suppose it should be wrapping up now,” and there proceeded to be many more long minutes of performance, on a diminishing scale of funness. Motown, you’ve got some great stuff in you, but you are too. Fucking. Long.
Most Mystifying to an Entire Audience/viewing Public: The Rascals
What the hell WAS that?! Maybe I was distracted by Steve Van Zandt’s ‘I Am My Own Wife’ headscarf, but there was a distinct aura of confusion in the house when The Rascals did their performance. The show itself was a bit of a mystery – it just popped up one day in a theater like a strange psychedelic Brigadoon – and I don’t think the performance helped clarify anything. So it’s about… a band? It IS the band? There’s some trippy projections and someone from The Sopranos? Is the entire show an immersive experience to simulate an acid trip? Inquiring minds want to know.
Best Argument for Immediate Casting as a Comedic Character in a Comedy: Laura Benanti
That TV number was genius, and all four of its participants were great. But damn, Laura Benanti is HILARIOUS. And yet, she’s most often cast as the sweet, sort-of-ditsy female straight man. She’s a talented actress, so I’m not saying she doesn’t also do that well, but come ON, people. Just because she’s gorgeous doesn’t mean she and her genius comedy instincts couldn’t be the smart funny lead of her own show. Get with it, producers and TV execs.
Best Argument for Immediate Casting as a Batman Villain: Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson proved herself a legend with with her moving and dignified acceptance speech, and she proved herself a legend twice over by pulling off a dress no other human being on the planet could possibly rock:
But I can’t help but think that she would be triply legendary if she wore this exact look straight on over to Gotham City. Think about it: she could be the regal Lady Aubergine, capable of hypnotizing the good people of Gotham with her velvet voice and dignified dramatic pauses, only to kill them with poison darts from her ruffles.
Best Embodiment of the Full Variety of Sexiness: Scarlet Johansson and Alan Cumming
Big props to both of these guys for being so funny and gracious about not being nominated, but also, dayamn!! With ScarJo in black and Alan Cumming in white, they were like the yin and yang of sexy: completely opposite types, one lush and voluptuous, one skinny and unusual, but both possessed of that ineffable juju that makes everyone in the world want to do it to them.
Best Visual Description of a Weird Problem with Broadway: the NINETY BILLION PRODUCERS onstage with every show.
Sweet lord jeebus, there were a ton of people accepting awards for the winning shows! I counted 26 people for ‘Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf’, a show that featured a cast of four people. I know the economics of producing Broadway are getting increasingly complicated, but it feels like if we keep going this way it’ll just be easier to put the camera on the audience and have everyone who DIDN’T produce the show raise their hands.
Best Accessorizing of a Tony: Fran Weissler
She won a shiny silver Tony for the stellar revival of ‘Pippin’, and it happened to go perfectly with her awesome and gigantic necklace. Whether she had won or not, that is the necklace of a winner. Or a queen from an exotic kingdom on ‘Game of Thrones’, which is pretty much the same thing.
Just the Best: NPH, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tommy Kail, and Audra McDonald.
Just, blargh, you guys. This quartet – my brain can’t form worthy words. Between the opening number, the final rap, the sassiness with which Audra McD chimed in, there’s just too much goodness here, so I’ll let their final moment speak for itself: