Tony Came and Left Me Breathless

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The 68th Tony Award Ceremony held plenty of outstanding, shining exhibits

that were thoroughly satisfying entertainment. Some name-dropping and

my overall impressions will ensue, if this is not your ‘cup of tea,’ don’t worry,

skipping this is totally understandable!

Hugh Jackman utilized comedy and hopped, literally, from one famous person

to another, on his path into the auditorium. He passed, “Sting” along the way.

He was one of a few that got singled out, in performances, since he ended up

sitting in the front row.

The scene shown from the musical, “The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,”

was exhilarating and you would have enjoyed this trio. The man caught between

a blonde haired woman, who he would like to marry, and a brunette he enjoys her

company, standing in a hallway, leaning into one room to sing and then the other,

was quite amusing. Juggling two women, reminded me of the way Shakespeare’s

“Comedy of Errors, ” can bring the audience to roaring laughter.

From the audience, Tyne Daly, never looked more radiant. She has chin length

blonde toned white hair with her smile lighting up the room along with her golden

dress.

Set designs and costumes were all presented beautifully.

The man who played, “Genie” character in the musical, “Aladdin,” won and his

show-stopping performance on stage showed he truly earned “Best Supporting

Actor” in a musical production. He had the audience clapping to the song, giving

the rhythm and capturing the man’s enthusiastic energy.

The scene from “Cabaret,” was bawdy and well-choreographed. The image of Joel

Grey’s portrayal of the “Host” that ‘welcomes you’ to “Cabaret,” floats into my mind.

The actual line is done in German, so it is “Wilcommen…” In the reprisal of this

musical, Allan Cummings performed in the position of “Host,” on Broadway.

“Best Supporting Actress” was earned by an actress portraying a character in “The

Raisin in the Sun.” Sophie Okonedo made a joke about her cultural heritage and ‘the

chance’ the director took on her being able to play an American woman in that

period. I have seen the movie and also, the play on stage. It was remade recently,

for a television version. Always a thought-provoking period piece that depicts a part

of American history.

The “Best Actress” Tony was given for the sixth time to the same woman, making

Audra McDonald a ‘record breaker.’ She was playing Billie Holliday, in “Lady Day

at Emerson’s Bar and Grille.” Her singing is effervescent and gives me chills. After

I listened to her singing, I feel she certainly deserved to take home “Tony.” I loved

the credits she gave to her family and the memorable female singers, actresses, and

poetess who came before her. This is the essence of Audra McDonald’s speech:

“Thank you to my parents who did not medicate me for being hyperactive, but

instead persuaded me to explore acting in the theatre. I give honor to the women

who I am standing on their shoulders: Lena Horne, Maya Angelou, Dionne

Carrole, Ruby Dee and of course, the legend I was fortunate to portray, Billie

Holliday.”

The competition was thick for both the best actor and actress roles. The “Best

Actor in a Dramatic Play” went to Bryan Cranston. I predicted this one! So far,

this is the only one that I felt I knew ahead of time, I just ‘knew’ he would win,

if you have not seen a clip of his portrayal of LBJ in the play, “All the Way,” please

check him out! Awesome job and it is a fascinating piece of history, where he

had to take the Presidency, immediately after JFK was shot. He was the one

who should get a lot of credit, for getting the Civil Rights Bill passed, among

other great accomplishments. That Texan drawl that Bryan Cranston does

is very similar to the original.

Ru Paul, as a man, introduced “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” scene. He looks

great these days, he is one of the most famous trans-gender, cross-dressing

men in theater. Ru Paul says the play encompasses ‘love and acceptance’

for all choices in lifestyles. He has probably won a few awards in his lifetime.

This scene incorporated a pulsing, fast-paced rock ‘n roll beat, “Sugar Daddy,”

sung by Neil Patrick Harris, looking unrecognizable in his long blonde wig, his

short skirt, hose and tall pump shoes. N.P. Harris engaged actively with the

front row audience, taking Samuel L. Jackson’s glasses off and leaning into

Sting and then, bouncing on his lap!

Kenneth Brannaugh, the fine British Shakespearean actor, announced the

nominees for “Best Playwrights.” I liked Kenneth Brannaugh in the movie

leading role in “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.”

The dramatic play, “All the Way,” won for “Best Playwright.” The actual

play writer was not there to accept the award, so the two producers, including

Robert Shanken accepted it. He reminded the audience of the tense political

atmosphere in 1964. He called passing Civil Rights bill,” seemingly impossible”

and  gave his own personal summary of the way he felt about class structure:

“Those people who have more money take, at the expense of those who have

nothing and feel good about it.”

There was humor shown in the two plays that showed scenes from, “Casa

Valentina,” and “Mothers and Sons.”

Wayne Brady, comedian and also, improvisational artist, introduced, “Violet,”

with a riveting and rhythmic song, “As I Travel On.” It had the pulse and

emotions of the “Gone, gone, gone” song and the “Cups” song sung by Anna

Kendricks. This had a really ‘current’ sound to it, which would carry over

well on the radio. This led into a revival and rousing gospel song. The story

line is intriguing about a young woman, Violet, who has a disfigured face,

due to an accident, seeking a ‘miracle’ to help her with her face and life.

The scene from “Wicked,” which has the two sisters, Glinda the Good Witch

and the Wicked Witch singing a duet was quite touching. I had seen some

clips of the musical but truly had never heard the entire song before. It

is the ending song, “Because I Knew You,” which includes the line,

“I have been changed for the better”…. then after it has been sung several

verses later…”I have been changed for good.”

I read that huge volume called, “Wicked,” which I passed on to my oldest

daughter and she still takes it out and reads a chapter or two. It is longer

than almost any book that I have read, including, Tolstoy’s, “War and Peace.”

Well, I may be exaggerating a bit. But there is a LOT of story about the two

sisters, years in the making, until the happily ever after conclusion that has

this lovely song, with two excellent women singing it. The musical, “Wicked,”

celebrated its tenth anniversary.

Carole King came out and joined the singer, Jessie Mueller, who portrays her

younger self. I am very pleased to tell you that Carole King impressed me with

her “natural woman” look; her curly, blondish-white hair, her medium build

in a white silk blouse with black trim and black slacks. No plastic surgery, not

even sure her hair has dye in it. She looked amazing for her age! The musical

play, “Beautiful” incorporates Carole King’s life and her music.

She mentioned before her performance, that she did not go to the opening

nor was she ‘too crazy’ about seeing someone portray her.  She says the story

has heartbreak in it, which she was uncertain she wanted to ‘relive this.’She

finally did go to the theater and expressed gratitude for the way the play was

written, her character was portrayed and the presentation of the songs, too.

She highly recommends the musical, of course!

The best performance of the night, for me, was Carole King with Jessica

Mueller singing, “I Feel the Earth Move…(under my feet)” The audience all

stood up, clapped to the rhythm and several famous people were singing

along, their lips moving and showing smiling faces, too. Loved this so much!

(I still have my “Tapestry” music engraved in my head, too!)

A clever and playful rap from the revival of “The Music Man,” was first

introduced by Hugh Jackman. He could do it all from memory, he said and

it is to a fast beat, too. Then, out came LL Cool J and “T. I.” to join him,

turning it easily into a very groovy rap song. This was another timeless

musical, many high schools, across the country, Hugh Jackman reminded

us, put this play on their stages. It is the song about “River City.”

The song that Sting sang, “The Last Ship,” was eerie and haunting, with an

Irish melody. It is telling a mournful tale that includes these snippets of

words, “dark, unholy sight,’ ‘halo of light,’ ‘Calgary Hill,’ and ‘May angels

protect me when the last ship sails.’ Also, describing the ship, ‘mountains

of steel makes its way to the sea.’

This was one of my top three favorite performances. Sting’s ship song was my

second favorite and my third would have to be the rap between LL Cool J,

Hugh Jackman and “T. I.” playing “The Music Man.”

The Carnegie Mellon School of Drama awarded it first Tony for an Arts educator.

This seemed appropriate since many of the acceptance speeches recalled the

teachers in drama, arts and music that had led them to seek their calling in

musical or dramatic theatre. One who had done this, Neil Patrick Harris said,

“When most people in my high school thought that sports were the way to

become popular, I had a special theater teacher, in New Mexico. For her, I

will always owe an extreme debt for her love of teaching and her love of drama.”

(He listed her name, if you look up speeches, I am sure you will find it out.)

Rosie O’ Donnell was recognized for her philanthropic donations to the Arts.

Best choreography went to “After Midnight.”

Best Orchestration went to “Bridges of Madison County.”

I enjoyed the scene with fighting from “Rocky” and the way, the actor yelled

out for “Adriane!” It was a very pleasant evening with the best times being when

I knew the songs and recognized the famous people in the audience.

Did anyone see the Tony’s Award Show?

What were some of your favorite moments?

 

 

 

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14 responses »

  1. i didn’t see it robin, but it sounds like an amazing show. thank you so much for describing it, and sting is my fav so i probably would have loved to have seen him perform there. it sounds like there were many amazing performances throughout the night. how long did the show run? i had no idea ‘bridges’ had been made into a stage play and happy it won for something, i love that story. wow, what a night and it sounds like it did not disappoint ! )

    • Thanks, Beth! I did not know that about ‘Bridges of Madison County,’ but could see that being fairly easy to do, with the proper set designs, her kitchen, the bridge and the place where they romance a little. Maybe a picnic?
      I can tell you that it was my favorite Tony Awards’ Show ever! It was very exciting, so glad you read this and hope you will look up the performances on Youtube, ones you may have enjoyed. I started watching the Red Carpet, then watched the show until 11 p.m. I had many more notes, but gave everyone a ‘break!’ Smiles, Robin

  2. I think I would like to see “Rocky” the musical, Robin, so I could see the choreographed fight scenes and the young actor yelling “Adriane!” Thank you for your wrap-up, so now I do not feel badly for not watching!

    • You can imagine some of the plays and musicals without having to actually see them! I think that the “Rocky” musical would resemble the choreographing of “West Side Story.” Did you ever see that one? It has a street fight and some parrying involved… Take it easy on that vacation and enjoy the views! Smiles, Robin

  3. Let me say up front that we are not theatre goers. And having said that, we had the very great pleasure to be holidaying through Oregon in 2012 and our schedule permitted a stop in Ashville to see a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. My husband refused to see any real Shakespeare but we managed to get very good tickets to “All the Way” as it premiered. The experience was phenomenal and I’ll never forget Cranston’s performance. We are now in the process of planning another holiday and we will definitely make it work to be in Ashville with tickets to see the sequel to. “All the Way” – “The Great Society”. I just find it so hard to believe I actually saw a play that won a couple of Tony’s.

    • I am so thrilled to have a commenter who saw won of the ‘Tony winning plays!!’ So glad to see this comment and am thrilled that you will ‘try another play!’ The sequel to “All the Way,” which I did not know was “The Great Society!” you have added tremendously to this post, my friend! Thank you, Francis! Smiles, Robin

  4. I have it recorded, hoping to watch some of it with my daughter when she gets back here (her show in town has been extended). There are probably a few of her friends in some of the numbers. The daughter of one of my friends was featured in the slide show, and I can’t wait to see that. She an actor, but also an up and coming young musical theatre composer. I can’t wait to watch it!

    • I am excited to hear this, Luanne! We now have someone who saw, “All the Way,” and your daughter and you, who actually know some of the real actors in the musical world! Thanks for sharing this, if you didn’t notice Francis’ comment above, I was so thrilled, that she and her husband, ‘who aren’t theater goers’ saw the Tony Award winning play! We are an amazing circle of people, aren’t we? Smiles, Robin
      P.S. Hope I didn’t ruin this for you, since I will tell you I had a whole other page of notes, I did not use!

  5. I generally let my wife control the TV….so even if I were interested, I let her pick the shows. I grew up enjoying theater–she did not. (I have my High School “OSCAR” to prove it). So…we didn’t watch it. I have to choose my battles, so to speak. Glad it was a good one! 🙂

    • I am so glad you admitted to liking theater! I enjoyed the “Music Man” being made into rap, since he does that very rapid sales speech, song to “River City,” hoping to get them to purchase marching band uniforms. all a ‘sham’ or trickery, but he falls in love with Marion the librarian. Did you like that one, in the olden days, I sure did! Smiles, Robin

      • YUP! But saw the movie long before the stage version—altho’ a high school in town (near Binghamton, NY) did a good version. Sang to the recording off of the movie for years!

      • Thanks for telling me this, Jonathan. I am so glad you know all the words, also that some high school nearby put on “The Music Man!”
        My parents would put a whole stack of mainly musical productions and a few New Christy Minstrel Singers, Frank Sinatra and Harry Belafonte. This was their idea of a ‘party’ with our Friday or Saturday night pizza. We would have it in the background while we played games. Family nights were the best, back in the day! Smiles, Robin

  6. I know my wife would have watched the Tony Awards if we had been anywhere near where it was televised. While I have not been much into the musical shows, I will say they have better awards shows than any other entertainment awards. They are more lively, more entertaining, more inclusive of one another, and thus more interesting and more exciting to watch. This is one area of entertainment that New York’s Broadway has over every other place in the world. Thanks for a fun synopsis. – Mike

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