Sunday night’s 70th anniversary of the Tony Awards proved once again to be the best awards telecast out there, but no awards telecast is ever without a few shortcomings. Below, the good, bad and ugly of American theater’s biggest night.
As they are every year, the acceptance speeches at the Tonys were magnificent. The amount of heart that went into every word really resonated. However, there were two that really stood out.
Best Original Score winner Lin-Manuel Miranda broke from his usual freestyle rapping of his acceptance speeches to deliver a sonnet that beautifully acknowledged everyone who helped make “Hamilton” what it is, along with a touching tribute to the victims of the massacre that occurred the same day at a gay club in Orlando.
Putting the Tony for Original Score back in the broadcast was a welcome move. Let’s just hope that it remains in the telecast and wasn’t only brought back so we could see Miranda accept the trophy.
Then Best Actor in a Play winner Frank Langella (“The Father”) read a very simple statement in honor of what happened in Orlando, praying that the survivors and the community draw strength from the tragedy and that the Broadway community will stand with them every step of the way.
The bit with the Grant Thornton Tony accountants was brilliant: host James Corden stood beside them, impatiently counting down their 10 seconds of obligatory screentime in silence. It wonderfully showcased how ridiculous it always is to introduce the accountants during awards shows. Good job on that one, Corden!
We’ve got to get Nathan Lane to host something at some point. He presented an award during the telecast, and seriously, he is funny and knows how deliver perfectly. Can we get him to host this telecast next year?
The performances were all top notch, but let’s not kid ourselves — the performance by the cast of “The Color Purple” including Tony winners Cynthia Erivo and Heather Headly and Tony nominee Danielle Brooks was out of this world. Even I was standing up in my living room at the end.
The opening rap with the cast of “Hamilton” introducing Corden was also great. It was funny and smart, which makes me wonder…
Why did Corden stop in the middle of it and then jump into a completely different number? That second part was okay but a total letdown when compared to the “Hamilton” opener.
Was it just me or did that “In Memoriam” sequence feel way too short? Couldn’t you at least have found a better song than that damn “Seasons of Love” from “Rent”?
The dancing in the “Fiddler on the Roof” production was great, but why didn’t they perform a number that highlights the show’s nominated star, Danny Burstein?
I just didn’t get the recurring segment where the casts of the nominated shows ran outside the Beacon Theater to perform five seconds of a completely unrelated musical.
Why didn’t the Tonys take any time to acknowledge this being the 70th anniversary of their ceremony? Usually when an awards show reaches that kind of milestone they at least do a segment that looks back on the great moments in their history. They dropped the ball on that one.
The sound quality was really bad. Oftentimes, as during the presentations for Best Play and Best Play Revival, the music was so loud I could barely hear what the people on stage were saying. I know the Beacon Theater is set up differently than Radio City, but there must be a way to make it work better on TV.
I’ve said it again and again: they should not include numbers from shows that didn’t get nominated for top awards. The fact that “On Your Feet!” was performing when it only had a single nomination (Best Choreography) was very unsettling to me. Rapping part of “Turn the Beat Around” didn’t help at all either.