The Playgoer: Tony Blogcast 2010

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tony Blogcast 2010

OMG the lead Memphis producer sounds so gay!  And I thought this was the compromise/consensus choice of the voters.

The winner gets to perform at the end??  What is this American Idol???

Hey the broadcast came in almost on time this year!

So Memphis is the winner they say...but lately the real contest starts the next day: when we see who did well at the box office the morning after...

g'night y'all

Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth--along with Kristen Chenoweth, earlier--seem to be cementing a new Tony tradition of big stars parading their humility over not being nominated.  Why not. I'm glad for any drama left on these shows.

Gosh, Catherine Zeta-Jones is so surprised!...And thank you, Catherine, for keeping us from sleeping tonight by actually reminding us you sleep with Michael Douglas every night.

"If you want to see a Democrat kiss a Republican every night, come to the Longacre Theatre"--winner Douglas Hodge tipping his hat to La Cage Aux Folles co-star Kelsey Grammer.

American Idiot--yes "subliminal mindfuck America" and "faggot America" have to get bleeped on the Tony Awards, just like Top 40 radio.

Only presenters to give a shout-out to the balcony: Helen Mirren and Billy Jo Armstrong.

Raquel who?

Best Play Revival Fences--they just played Carol Shorenstein-Hayes and Scott Rudin off! Do they not know who they're dealing with! Welcome to the for-profit world, Carol...

Best Play Red--I know and like Arielle Tepper, but be careful, Ari, in exhorting all artists to learn from what Red shows Rothko doing.  You mean, tell your money-men to go fuck themselves when they compromise your art too much?

A Glee tribute??? It's not on Broadway, it's not on Off Broadway.  But it's the only desperate hope the theatre industry has... (see this argument in today's Times.)

Bill T. Jones wins Choreography--Fela still in the running! (Unless it means all they liked was the dancing.  As Times dance critic Allistair McCauley wrote recently, it certainly is the show with the most dancing.)  I love how nobody in America knows what the hell Jones means by his shout-out paying tribute to Fela Kuti!  They still haven't said what the show's about...

Speaking of Fela, what went into that performance-excerpt choice???  I respect former Tony-winner Lillias White and all, but let's face it: the draw for the show is the Fela guy!  Sahr Ngaujah!  I haven't even seen the show and even I know the best number is that "blah blah Kay Kay!" moment with the lights flashing on and off.  (You know, that clip they used to show all the time.)  Really bad choice in marketing here.  What resulted was a weird medley of seemingly disconnected moments that just made the show seem...well, foreign.

Compare that to the Come Fly Away--they just put forward the gal jumping around in "That's Life", their best number.  End of story.  Ticket sales will soar tomorrow, mark my words.


Denzel Washington tells his (college-age) kids to "go to bed."  It's not even 10.

Jude Law a no-show!

NewslfashViola Davis thanks God and Scott Rudin--in that order!

Hey, Jay-Z woke up!  At the sight of Sean Hayes in an Annie dress apparently...

Just one more hour to go...

9:38 Send in the clips!  So there's the videos of plays--a two minute montage.  Pretty impossible for an audience not familiar with the Broadway season to follow, I'd think--unless they just like seeing Denzel or Hugh Jackman's face.

Nice to see I have competition again this year from the Times!  Watch Charles Isherwood pseudo-blog, with the help of reporter Dave Itzkoff...

Speaking of the Times, they revealed the other day that the Tonys are bigger than ever!  The physical trophy itself, that is. "It now stands at five inches tall," reports Erik Piepenberg, "up from three and a quarter inches, and weighs three and a half pounds, a two-pound gain." Part of the rationale, they say, is to make it easier for winners to hold aloft.  So...can you tell?

I haven't seen Memphis.  And many seem to like it.  But that excerpt sure looked lame...Let us note, too, that Bon Jovi's David Bryan did indeed win a Tony in the pre-show for Best Score for Memphis...Jay-Z didn't seem too into the excerpt either. Or very awake, for that matter.

Who got a bigger hand, John Bon Jovi or Ted Chapin?

The Directors: two Brits, Michael Grandage (Red) & Terry Johnson (La Cage).  Signaling something of a sweep for both shows in their respective categories. (And doesn't bode well for loser Bill T. Jones and his Fela!)

The Plays:  As for the new format...well, could be worse!  At least they spent more time on each play than the usual 2-second excerpts they used to play. (Ah yes, that immortal line from Coast of Utopia: "Indeed!" Summed up the whole nine hours.)  And it did allow a bunch of otherwise unknown stage stars to shine (Patrick Breen, Laura Benanti), or at least be seen (Brian D'Arcy James--saving his voice, maybe, for Next to Normal?). And actually describing the plots in detail might even help sell regional and school productions of the plays.  But a few video clips couldn't have hurt, could they?

8:40re: the first two awards, the "Featured Performances"--shall we say the Pretty People win?  Actually, Scarlett Johansson was indeed not bad in her stage debut.  And by not bad I mean, she didn't shrivel up on stage like most movie stars.  It was a totally stageworthy, almost self-effacing performance...As for Red's Eddie Redmayne, let's just say he's not the reason to see Red. (And neither is John Logan's script.  So you figure it out.)

The La Cage excerpt was pretty awkwardly handled.  I'm sure many were hoping for Douglas Hodge's show-stopping "I Am What I Am."  (Especially since George Hearn was not allowed to perform it in drag for the original show's 1984 Tony moment.)  But no, that wouldn't include Kelsey Grammer--who American TV viewers have heard of.  "The Best of Times" is a sensible alternative, I guess, being probably the show's most famous number.  But it certainly didn't show the production in the best light.  Avoiding the ire of the homophobes was certainly not the thinking, since here you have the whole team of scantily clad "Cagelles" strolling down the aisles.  Speaking of using the aisles--pretty awkward television.  No matter how many close-ups of the Glee guy they show.  Ah if only they let Hodge lapdance Will Smith!

Kudos to Sean Hayes in his opening monologue for three gutsy moves. 1st: taking on the whole Newsweek controversy right off the bat by smooching with Kristen Chenoweth...2nd: welcoming "closeted right-wingers" to the Broadway community...and 3rd and most daring: opening with a View from the Bridge joke. CBS must just love having to broadcast a three-hour inside joke every year, huh?

Uh...were those Green Day banners supposed to look like Nazi flags?  Billy Jo and friends certainly got disproportionate air time compared the non-rock stars.  But with their appearance plus opening with an Elvis impersonator the Tonys have finally achieved their dream: to be a poorly produced Grammys.

Of all things, opening with Sean Hayes: concert pianist? Ok, that's odd....Awkward segue to Million Dollar Quartet--Welcome to your favorite PBS telethon, Those Fabulous Fifties!...Memphis guy has to recite lame "DJ" script adapting his character for the competing shows?  Poor actor...Kind of a diss to the actually nominated shows to mix them in with the also-rans, no? .... Boy, Fela sure left 'em silent, didn't it? Hope there's more to come...

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