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June 11th, 2012

The Tony Awards 2012

-Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number was a comment on life being more like theatre. It had back up dancers, a 7 second costume change, jazz hands and Patti Lupone. It probably could have been a bit more clever (last year’s was stellar), but the combination of the jazz hands and Patti Lupone more than made up for it.

-Why is Phillip Seymor Hoffman always so angry?

-“Welcome to the Tonys. Or as they are otherwise known: “50 shades of Gay.”
(Neil Patrick Harris)

-Judith Light in “Other Desert Cities” won for Featured Actress in a play. She raced up the aisle, raced through her acceptance speech and then raced off stage. She was clever, looked great, and was apparently, playing Beat The Clock.

-I have no idea what “Newsies” is about, but I couldn’t care less. The dancing was among the most spectacular I’ve ever seen in my life. I had no idea the human body could get in that many positions without a chiropractor.

-I’ve seen the coming attractions for the film version of “Les Miz”. I have no desire to sit through a whispered version of “I Dreamed a Dream”.

-James Earl Jones was bouncing up and down in his seat. All night long.

-Bernadette Peters wore a massive, electric purple trumpet dress with a train that needed Train Assistants.

-The gorgeous voices in “Ghost the Musical” rang through the rafters, but even that didn’t pull me any closer to going to see this thing. Although I’m for anything that creates more music on Broadway, I’m just a little sick and tired of seeing movies on the stage. I long for the days of pure and complete originality. When Caisse Levy began to sing “Oh, my love…” I wanted to gouge my eyes out.

-Mike Nichols won his sixth Tony last night for “Death of a Salesman.”, and watching his gorgeous wife Dian Sawyer look at him with such love and such admiration reminded me of what lasting love looks like, even in our business.

-I’d watch Stockard Channing read the back of a toilet paper roll.

-Josh Young tried really, really hard in the “J.C.” revival. I guess I’m waiting for the revival that casts Jesus as just a little bit closer to what he might have actually looked like. Every director in every production casts a Ted Neely look-a-like, when in reality, he most likely resembled Ben Vereen.

-Dear Actors,

Please stop thanking your agents and your managers. They’re just doing their job. Unless it’s mine. Then it would make sense.

-Who was the randon actor in the audience wearing a “Lion King” head dress? He looked like he just came from a Cher concert.

-It was great to see Judy Kaye win her second Tony for Featured Actress in a musical. She’s a Broadway legend and deserves all the praise she accumulates. I also have to say, I love that she thanked “The best damn band on Broadway.” …and her Father, who passed away only a week before.

-I have to see “Peter and the Star Catcher”. Please get me tickets.

-I don’t want to talk about the Judy Garland Lady. So don’t bring it up.

-NPH did a psychotic 3 minute mish-mash of most every Broadway musical ever done in the history of Broadway musicals. It was a lesson in Viewpoints. There were maybe 3 or 4 notes per song, and with each new title, with each new event, Harris instinctively released something new. It wasn’t about simple Gestures or changes of Shapes, it was about what was happening to him as each piece of text came out of him, and even with his lips in hyperspeed, his character work was clear, precise and truthful. And that’s what made it hilarious.

-Audra MacDonald is a National Treasure.

-When “Death of a Salesman” won Best Revival, an entire row of Suits got up to accept the award. In that row, was Diane Sawyer who had to get out of her seat to let the row of old white guys pass. Watching her clutching her husband’s Tony to her breast like a precious child, was amazing.

-“Once”: This is what Broadway’s all about.

-“Stop trying to ACT like a Broadway star, Ricki Martin. You ARE a Broadway star. So…stop it.”
(My Pal Lysa Fox)

-God bless the guy dressed in black who scampered across the stage and picked up the multi-colored confetti left by the “Godspell” cast and their confetti guns.

-Mandy Patinkin and Patti I’m Still Here Lupone presented the award for Best Revival of a Musical and sang a small piece from “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” And I was a complete sucker for it.

-The beauty of The Tonys is that people actually thank their same sex spouses. This is something you don’t see at most awards shows. Look at what’s happening now with the John Travolta nightmare. Everyone who’s in the closet stays in the closet and the people they love, the people who’ve given them hope and unconditional support throughout their lives, remain anonymous. They disappear. They don’t exist. And I’m a little sick and tired of well-known gays and lesbians pretending no one knows they’re gay or lesbian and continually hiding behind:

“I don’t talk about my private life.”

That’s fine. No one cares about your private life. But the person you’re sharing children with, or a mortgage with, or who help put you through acting classes by working three jobs at once, at least deserves an honorable mention. And the more these people stay closeted, the more the bullying, the name calling, and the second-class status will stay in fashion. Take responsibility. Come out. Before it’s too late. Take a lesson from the artists at The Tonys.

-There was a clip from “Hairspray” which was done aboard Caribbean Cruise Lines. I felt like I was in the middle of a gigantic sea commercial.

-Hugh Jackman did his one man show last year and raised almost $2ml for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This is a man who gets it. He truly gets it.

-The nominees for Leading Actor in a Musical were all first timers, with the exception of one. The look of hope and shock and utter surprise on their faces was beautiful. There were a million things racing through them, and all of them poured out and shot straight into the Universe. It wasn’t about the winner. It wasn’t about what was going to happen next, it was about right then. That moment. There was something pure and gorgeous about hearing their names and looking upward toward the stage waiting for the Next Big Thing. It was everything. It was every one of them living completely. That, for me, was The Tonys.

Harris was the producer of last night’s show and I have a feeling that’s why it was so wonderful. He allowed it to last the length it used to last when I was little. In recent years the musical numbers were cut in half, and we saw no clips from any of the plays. I’m assuming (and I’m only assuming, it’s not we had lunch or anything) that NPH got them to extend the time so it could compete with the Oscars. Which it absolutely did.

It was a beautiful celebration of what we know and what all of us do every day:

Life in our Art.

I’m on the edge of my seat, waiting for next year. And more Neil.