The Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall hosted by Neil Patrick Harris held no surprises if you saw the Drama Desk Awards. The award wins echoed each other this year, as the winners of the Drama Desks and Tonys mirrored each other last year. It’s as if the separate award committees sat down with each other and agreed on the wins.
Just the highligts are repeated here, of the Best Musical, Best Musical Revival, Best Play, Best Play Revival and the Actor awards. I’m thrilled for the Kinky Boots win for Best Original Musical and Cindi Lauper’s score win for Kinky Boots. I’m glad it won over Mathilda which I didn’t think was as great as it was touted to be when I saw it. I have yet to see the production of Kinky Boots, but will get tickets as soon as possible. Billy Porter now has a Tony to add to his Drama Desk Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. The trailer posted online with him dressed in drag is a show stopping number and looks like a deserved win. He, as many of the performers did, thanked his family and God for sustaining him throughout to bring him to the stage and the wins.
Pippin won for Best Musical Revival. I’m thrilled. See my review of Pippin here! I predicted wins for Andrea Martin (Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Revival) Diane Paulus (Best Director for Musical Revival) and Patina Miller (Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical Revival). I am so thrilled because I had the opportunity to tell Andrea Martin and Patina Miller that I hope they won because they were fabulous. Their wins bring viability and credibility to their careers and will most probably sky-rocket them to other roles in film or Broadway. I’m absolutely joyous for them. They and Diane Paulus so deserve it for their efforts.
Cicely Tyson (Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play ) received the Tony to go with her Drama Desk for her incredible, moving performance in A Trip to Bountiful. She was absolutely stunning and heart-wrenching. Judith Light received a Tony to go with her Drama Desk for her humorous character portrayal in The Assembled Parties. Likewise, Tracey Letts (Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play) won the Tony, adding to his award shelf that already holds a Drama Desk and other awards for his performance of George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The play’s director, Pam MacKinnon, also won the Tony as she did the Drama Desk.
Courtney B. Vance from Lucky Guy by Nora Ephron brought home the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play. He was excellent, though I did want Tony Shalhoub to win in that category for Golden Boy. Shalhoub’s portrayal of the father (too bad it was so early in the season) was exceptional; he was dynamic and powerful in his soft-spoken, loving, nuanced portrayal. His was a pivotal character, the conscience and the theme of Odets’ play. He brought together the elements brilliantly in a living, vital performance. It was a shame he didn’t win; he was breathtaking. Vance, though fine, didn’t do it for me, where Hanks, actually, was touching and wonderful…enhancing Ephron’s somewhat lackluster characterization of McAlary. (See my review.) If not for Hanks, the play would have been a yawn. But Letts was the favorite and I unfortunately missed this supposedly iconic Virginia Woolf. After all the nominations, Matilda did receive a win for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (Gabriel Ebert). For me, it was a toss up between Terrance Mann (Pippin) and Ebert, but I didn’t see the other performances, so I can’t say. I did think that Ebert was pushing for laughs as was Mann…both comedic roles. Comedy is very, very hard to do well.
The finest remarks in the evening were delivered by Tracey Letts as he thanked the ATW. He said something to the effect that the others in the category were not his competitors, they were his peers. He was absolutely correct: Tom Hanks (Lucky Guy) David Hyde Pierce (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) Nathan Lane (The Nance) and Tom Sturridge (Orphans)? I saw each production and there is absolutely no way I would have been able to select from these. Of course, I did not see Letts. And the Best Play? Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. What can I say? I loved it and of the four nominees, it was my favorite.
As a show, The Tony Awards was better than the Oscars which lasts forever in its own self-indulgent mode. But then I only watched two hours of The Tonys while I was online doing other things. It is how I watch TV, if I watch it at all, which is extremely seldom. I prefer streaming or the interactivity of social or mobile. The more alive, the better. That is why I love theater, but am annoyed that they have not entered the Social Media age of living, breathing interactivity during performances. They (the theater police) don’t trust the rabble to not throw things, I guess.
Don’t they understand about Macros flash settings and texting and silent mode on mobile? Don’t they get it that interactivity from fans IS THE BEST PROMOTION AND ADVERTISING OUT THERE FOR A BROADWAY SHOW? Maybe not. NASA gets it. They have Tweet teams. A play is a potential TWEET TEAM LAUNCH ON SOCIAL Yawn. I’m waiting for them to “get it.” It may take years.