Theatre Is Easy: 2009 Tony Wrap-up

Written by Theatre, Theatre Is Easy

Miss the Tonys? Never fear — our trusty theatre critic, Molly Marinik, is here with the highlights and the lowdown.

tonyawards2009-300x420[1]Well, the Tony Awards aired last Sunday night and there weren’t any surprises of note. Everyone who was supposed to win took home their respective awards and aside from the teleprompter being apparently really hard to read, the night pretty much went as planned. Billy Elliot won almost all of the awards it was up for, including the coveted Best Musical prize. God of Carnage won the award for Best Play, as expected. Neil Patrick Harris proved to be a decent Tonys host, not terribly cheesy but still endearing to Grandmas in Ohio. And the G-rated entertainment offered more musical performances this year including the tours of Legally Blonde, Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia (because that’s apparently what people want).

Other highlights included NPH’s blatant mockery of Jeremy Piven’s “mercury poisoning” (his reason for dropping out of Speed-the-Plow earlier this year) and Frank Langella’s snarky “I’m not mad I wasn’t nominated for a Tony” rant. Winners were genuinely gracious and most, like Gregory Jbara (who won the Best Featured Actor in a Musical award for Billy Elliot), gave truly thoughtful speeches. It was also pretty great that The Norman Conquests won Best Revival of Play, even though none of the four actors who were up for acting awards won (that’s okay, it really is an ensemble show).

There were a lot of unfortunate things about the Tonys, too.  First of all, Bret Michaels sang with Rock of Ages in the opening performance (a pretty great idea) but got injured exiting the stage by some moving scenery (seriously, he fractured his nose). I feel bad for Bret; I mean, there were a whole lot of people on stage in that opening clusterfuck.  Another issue I’m bothered by is that the creative awards (including Best Choreography, Best Book of a Musical, and all of the designer awards) don’t get to be announced during the live broadcast. Instead, they are announced at a small, less significant ceremony beforehand. I understand people might not care which play had the best lighting design, but the broadcast had the 48,000th tour of Mamma Mia performing for god’s sake. Another Tony problem: CBS mixed up the Mary Stuart ladies (Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter) when showing their close-ups as the Best Leading Actress in a Play nominees were announced. I know they’re British and starring in a drama but come on, there are five people in the category, get it right.

For the full list of Tony winners, visit tonyawards.com.

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