Another Tony Awards season has come to a close! My colleagues Susan Haskins-Doloff and David Buchanan rubbed open our weary eyes after a long night celebrating the best of Broadway to recap the highs and lows of the 75th Annual Tony Awards. Watch the exclusive season wrap up above.
With a total running time of four hours (when you combine the “Act One” presentation on Paramount+ and the main telecast on CBS), this ceremony was packed with incredible performances. But we thought that one number managed to tower above them all: newly minted Tony Award winner Joaquina Kalukango in “Paradise Square.” I had the thrilling privilege of sitting in the audience at Radio City Music Hall, and I admit that while watching her belt out “Let It Burn,” I was aware that I was watching an iconic Tony moment be created in real time. Susan also notes that “Billy Crystal woke up the room” with his interactive “Yiddish scatting” number from “Mr. Saturday Night.” And David gushes that Mare Winningham’s performance of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” from “Girl From the North Country” was “really spectacular.”
SEE Top 7 Tony Awards acceptance speeches: Patti LuPone, Jesse Tyler Ferguson …
We of course also sing the praises of host Ariana DeBose, who brought the house down with her opening number “This Is Your Round of Applause.” From the moment she stepped onto the stage, you could feel the energy in the room shift as the audience fed off of her infectious enthusiasm.
As far as our prediction scores are concerned, this season proved to be a challenge to predict with perfect accuracy. That’s largely thanks to a shrunken pool of eligible voters. Not everyone was able to see all the nominated productions due to COVID spikes which halted travel, and those who could attend every Broadway show often found that a nominated performer was out sick or with injury. Susan jokes, “I set a personal Tony predictions record by not getting one performer right!”
SEE 2022 Tony Awards: Every winner (and nominee) in all 26 competitive categories
She may have suffered in her predictions, but she shares in our joy that Deirdre O’Connell pulled off a win for the long-closed “Dana H.” over Tony favorite Mary-Louise Parker (“How I Learned to Drive”). I was over the moon for her win (apologies to my seat neighbors at Radio City who likely had their eardrums blasted out by my loud cheering), noting “I have never seen a performance like ‘Dana H.’ and probably never will again.”
Our disappointments with the ceremony are few, but Buchanan is quick to lament that “they still have not figured out how to present Best Play!” He was aghast that the nominated playwrights were tasked with distilling their work down to a single word in the pre-taped video package, which didn’t give viewers at home a great sense of what their plays were about. He also expresses sadness that the “landmark production” of Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive” went home empty handed. I piggyback on that sentiment, noting my dismay that the revivals of “For Colored Girls” and “Trouble in Mind,” in addition to Vogel’s play, were totally skunked.
To hear our complete discussion of our favorite moments (Bravo, “A Strange Loop”!) and lessons learned (playing a real life figure will always be an advantage — hats off to “MJ’s” Myles Frost), be sure to watch the full video discussion.
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