Theatre Awards Shows (Part 3): Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony

Let’s talk Tony Awards!

My Tony Awards experience was a little different this year. I ended up not being home for the actual broadcast so, while I did find out the winners that night, I decided to have my own alternative viewing party the following (Monday) morning. I found the full broadcast on the CTV website, picked myself up some breakfast at Tim Horton’s and settled in to watch the awards!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the Tony Awards! I find the whole thing so exciting and this time was no different (even with knowing the winners ahead of time)!

I can’t say I’m surprised that they really embraced the popularity of Hamilton, using it in both the (pre?)opening and closing of the ceremony. I loved both of these performances but I do feel sort of bad for all the other shows that, while having the opportunity to show their stuff during their own performances, didn’t really have much of a chance to get out of Hamilton‘s shadow. At the same time though, I do think Hamilton deserves all of the accolades and recognition it’s getting.

I liked James Corden as the host. One thing I noticed in the Hamilton opening parody was that he looked so happy to be there. You could see it when he was looking around after singing “James Corden” the first time. It was really fun to watch. The opening number was also a lot of fun an great for anyone (like me, and really probably anyone watching the Tonys). The part at the end of the song with the children onstage who were then replaced with the nominees from the musical acting categories was beautiful.

I am happy with (and not surprised by) all the Hamilton wins! I did think it might have been a close race for Leading Actor (aside from the Hamilton nominees)- from what I’ve heard I definitely thought Danny Burstein would be in the running, actually that whole category was full of great actors! But I am happy with Leslie Odom Jr.’s win! It didn’t come as a surprise to me to see Cynthia Erivo take Leading Actress as she’s been getting a lot of hype, and her performance on the Tonys was stunning! And it was kind of nice to Hamilton not win everything. Like the Leading Actor category, the Leading Actress category was also full of excellent performers!

Even before I saw the winners listed I knew Hamilton was going to take home Best Musical. There was no question in my mind that was going to happen. Best Revival on the other hand, I really wasn’t sure which show would take home the prize. From everything I’ve seen and heard though, The Color Purple looks like a beautiful show!

Figuring that Lin-Manuel Miranda would win at least one award I was looking forward to his speech. He had freestyled his In the Heights Tony and his recent Grammy acceptance speeches so I figured he would do something (probably freestyle) this time too. Then when he said he wasn’t going to freestyle but had written a sonnet instead, my reaction was, “of course he did.” And of course it was wonderful.

The performances are always one of my favourite parts of the Tony broadcast, and this year was no exception! All of the Best Musical and Best Revival nominees put on excellent performances. Though that didn’t really come as a surprise as this 2015/2016 Broadway season seems to be exceptionally good with so many talented actors/actresses gracing the stage! Fiddler on the Roof and The Color Purple are two well-known, popular shows with which I myself am not actually very familiar, but watching their performances on the Tonys has given me more incentive to look into them further!

I was really looking forward to the School of Rock performance and it didn’t disappoint! It was really exciting for me since it was a show and cast I had actually seen before they were nominated for a Tony, which is definitely not a common occurrence for me (I think it’s happened once before with Bring It On). I was interested to see which song they would perform and wasn’t surprised that it was “You’re in the Band.” I was also very interested to see which song Hamilton would perform and “Yorktown” hadn’t really crossed my mind as a possibility but I do really like that song and I loved the performance!

I was really happy when Spring Awakening was nominated for Best Revival because a) I wanted them to be nominated and b) I really wanted to see them perform on the Tonys! And their performance was beautiful! I really wish I could have seen that production. I had seen that Andy Mientus had tweeted about them having to change some of the signs in their performance for TV. What I found interesting was that, even knowing that about the signs, I noticed that the lyrics of the song (“The Bitch of Living”) were not censored as they had been when the original company performed on the Tonys. It makes me wonder what they had to change in term of the signs.I do feel bad for Michael Arden since the camera showed Christopher Fitzgerald instead of him during the Director category announcement. It’s one of those situations that’s kind of funny and elicits entertaining social media reactions (including from Michael Arden himself) but I feel like they should have attempted to at least somewhat rectify the situation and show him at some point in the broadcast even if they couldn’t move the cameras around enough right then to show him with his category.

The Waitress performance was wonderful and stunning. “She Used to Be Mine” is one of my favourite, if not my favourite, songs from the cast album. Then there was She Loves MeShuffle Along, and Bright Star (also On Your Feet). They were all so good! And I have since spent time rewatching many of these performances!

I will admit the “In Memoriam” this year did make me cry. When Chita Rivera called it a “final curtain call” and then they played “Seasons of Love.” It’s like they asked, how can we ensure that people will cry? Pull on their theatre heartstrings and play Rent.

Overall I thought it was a good year for the Tony Awards and though my experience watching it was a little different this year, I still got to watch and enjoy it and it’s made me just as excited as ever about Broadway (even though so many shows have already closed or announced their closing)!

My only real complaints about the Tony Awards are the following (and this is more about the Tony Awards in general as opposed to this particular broadcast):

  • There should be a better way or international audiences who do not have cable to watch the Broadcast live. When I was still planning to be home to watch it I was having a very difficult time figuring out how I was going to do so because I do not have cable, the CBS live stream doesn’t work here, and while CTV was showing the awards this year, to access their live stream online, you need to have a TV service provider and you have to log in. If I had a TV service provider I wouldn’t have had the issue in the first place! (I will say that CTV did come through for watching the awards when I did the next day and I am very happy and grateful that they offered an easily accessible, good quality, legitimate option for watching- if only it would have been that easy to watch the live stream!) (Unfortunately I was just looking at the CTV site again and you now have to log in to watch the full awards show, but you can watch clips without logging in.)
  • They need to bring back the Sound Design Tony.
  • I wish they would show more of the creative awards. I want to hear those acceptance speeches as much as those of the directors, actors, etc. who are shown on the main broadcast. The short clips they show aren’t enough. As someone who is very much interested in that side of the theatre I would love to see those winners get the recognition they deserve and see them celebrated like the rest of the winners! And I get there are issues with timing, etc. that limit how much can be shown in the broadcast, but I can still hope.
  • Sound Design.
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