Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tony Awards 2009 Recap - The Most Fun Moments of the Night

This weekend's telecast of the 2009 Tony Awards® was more fun than a box of Slinkys® but not for all the right reasons (being brilliance, make-me-jump-on-the-phone-to-Telecharge, yada yada yada).

Let's run through these (in no particular order):

  1. Brett Michaels' train wreck collision into the drop.  The genius that he is, he took too long enjoying the excitement of the awards show that he delayed his exit upstage and got creamed by the Broadway drop that was meant to conceal him.  I'm sure in rehearsals this was all timed perfectly.  My only regret is that we didn't get to see excatly what is hidden under that hat!
  2. Alice Ripley's excited acceptance speech.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I love her and her performance was totally worthy of the award.  But the speech was so incredibly uncomfortable.  Granted, I would be a complete bafoon up there trying to remember what I wanted to say and would probably talk far too loudly and reveal terribly embarassing things about myself.  (Nudge nudge... if you want to hear them petition to get me a Tony® for excellence in the theatre when I'm 55.)
  3. The three Billys being cutely unprepared to accept their award.  Ok, let's get this out of the way.  I think it's charming that the Billys won and "how wonderful" for them and I have no beef with the talent they posess and the hard work they do.  But... I think it is unfair that the committee decided that voters did not have to see all of them perform.  This lends itself to becoming an award for the character (since the actors weren't necessarily viewed.)  That diatribe aside, it was cute to watch them fumble their way through the acceptance speech and to let dead air play while they looked at each other, telepathically asking one another, "Are you going first?"
  4. Sit down you're rockin' the boat... please, just sit down.  I wanted to love the Guys and Dolls number so much but it was tragic.  This is partly the fault of the sound tech (who, side note, was dreadful throughout the show) but I can't say I enjoyed Tituss Burgess take on Nicely-Nicely Johnson.  It was bizarre x2.  The performance reminded me of Babu from the Jeannie cartoon from the 70s (p.s. I loved the episode of the Scooby Doo Movies where the meddling kids meet Jeannie and Babu). 
  5. Finally.... Liza!  Oh Liza.  You are such a hot mess I love you.  i was fortunate enough to see her show at the Palace this winter and loved it, loved it, loved it. 

    Pardon the flashback but... there was this 60+ year old superfan in the front row, center who, at a moment when Liza was nearest the edge of the stage, tried to hand two, maybe three, dozen yellow roses to her.  But the orchestra pit proved too wide and she couldn't reach them.  They fell onto the mesh covering the pit and fell to pieces.  Superfan desperately tried to collect them but just couldn't reach them all. Liza shrugged it off saying, "Just leave'em darling."  But he kept on.  It was tragic.  She never got them.
    Back to present day (or at least this past Sunday).  I missed this moment in the telecast (I don't know how) but apparently she didn't have the envelope when she were preparing to announce the Best Musical winner. But my favorite Liza moment of the night was when she announced that Billy Elliot won and then didn't seem to know where to go next.  The camera captures the cast, creative team and producers surging onto the stage and for a brief moment everything is normal.  Then... it happens.  Liza wanders back into frame and (oh I was too delicious) she looks around as though thinking, "Where's the exit?"  Then, deciding to stick around and leave with the crowd, she hugs Elton and then cheers with the group.  Priceless.  Maybe she meant to but it all just looked so hysterical.
Please know that I love everything Broadway and wouldn't miss the Tonys®, but the misteps in this telecast we far too fun to not rehash.

Photo:  The company of Hair peforming in the opening number of the 2009 Tony Awards.  Photo: Anita and Steve Shevett