This year’s show for me was, in some ways, exactly what I expected, and in other ways, not at all what I expected. This especially had to do with the host. Kevin Spacey was not the Tonys’ first choice, and he certainly wasn’t my first choice. However, I was really pleasantly surprised that he did such a great job. I enjoyed his singing and his impressions were amusing. The writing and staging also really shone through. The opening number packed a whole lot into a few minutes: parodies of the nominated shows, jokes about the actors, and tons of high-stepping, toe-tapping, well-choreographed dance moves that I had no idea Kevin Spacey could do. I agree with what many people have been saying, that the jokes in the opener flew completely over the heads of those who don’t know anything about this year’s shows, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
The jokes peppered throughout the evening were great as well, and it was just the right amount of politics: enough to give the evening the right amount of flavor, but not too much to leave people with a bad taste in their mouths. It is true though, that they could have spent less time on some of the comedy bits in order to have more time for speeches, especially the one for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Both that award and James Earl Jones are too important to be condensed to such a short clip.
As far as the speeches went, there were, sadly, no tearful sonnets or rapping this year, but I still found most of them beautiful. Some were short and sweet, some were long, some were a little TOO long 😉, but all were heartfelt. Ben Platt’s was my absolute favorite, but I’m probably biased because he is my absolute favorite. I love how suddenly he burst onto the Broadway scene and how quickly everyone has connected with him. He seems sweet and kind of dorky and goofy, which makes him generally just a good person to be around.
As far as awards, there were no huge upsets, but some of the results surprised me. Altogether, I was proud of hard everyone in each of those shows worked to make their Broadway dreams come true. Many elements go into building a Broadway show, and when they all come together, it’s beyond beautiful. The Tonys ensure that everyone is recognized, from the people who sketch and stitch magnificent costumes, to those who set stages alight, to those who belt their faces off and act their hearts out.
Speaking of belting, I enjoyed every single performace, even though some stood out more than others. It’s beyond me how they do this eight times a week. Dear Evan Hansen, Miss Saigon, War Paint, The Great Comet, and Bandstand were my absolute favorites. I got to see some seriously amazing belting in Dear Evan Hansen and Miss Saigon, but what amazed me even more is that the Tony nominees (one winner) in both these performances are 23 and 21 years old. It just goes to show that practice and dedication go a long way, and with the right opportunities, they will take you further than you ever thought possible. The glorious Patti Lupone just OWNED her War Paint performance as did her co-star, Christine Ebersole, making me question all the rumours I’ve heard that the show is not worth seeing. As for Bandstand and The Great Comet, it was pretty obvious why both these shows had Tony nominated choreography. They both electrified the stage with energy, with Bandstand’s old school Fosse-style moves and with the fun Russian romp that is The Great Comet. The purpose of performing at the Tonys is to get people excited about your show, and all of these performances did just that for me.
I’m glad that so many people enjoyed this year’s awards, even though ratings were down from the Hamilton-fest last year. It’s unrealistic to think this year’s show could’ve competed with that anyway. No matter the number of views, I’m sure everyone who poured their heart out on that stage went home with a full heart. That is the magic of theater.
Musical Theater Quote of the Day: “The things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.”-Ben Platt