Three Quick Thoughts About the Tony Awards

  1. Now that the New York Times has taken to polling the Tony voters in advance — getting to a fairly sizable portion of the relatively small population of voters — the Tony Awards show has largely been drained of whatever suspense it once had. Almost every award went as predicted. The Band’s Visit won pretty much everything it was nominated for in the musical categories (a clear statement vote: This is the Sort of Show Broadway Should Have More Of). Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Angels in America, predictably, swept most of the other awards. The only surprise was in the category of Best Musical Revival, which was assumed to be a close fight between two revered classics, My Fair Lady and Carousel. But they must have split the golden-oldies vote — allowing Once on This Island to sneak in for an upset. Cheers. 
  2. Just how much political messaging can one awards show hold? Andrew Garfield dedicated his Tony  to the LGBTQ community and urged, “Let’s just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked.” Tony Kushner reminded us that we have “21 weeks to save our democracy.” Members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama department sang “Seasons of Love” from Rent. Glenda Jackson praised Americans for being “welcoming and kind and generous” and added, “America is always great.” And then, to cap off the night, Robert De Niro opened his presentation with a defiant “Fuck Trump!” Worthy sentiments all. And yet De Niro’s words were bleeped out, leaving the TV audience to sit mystified as he got a standing ovation. Could there be a more vivid example of the chasm that separates the Broadway community (really the whole show-business community) from the country that voted Donald Trump into office? Was there not a single person in that crowd of 6,000 crammed into Radio City Music Hall who voted for Donald Trump? Shouldn’t there be?
  3. Interesting that the #MeToo movement was largely left out of the political speechifying. But just a reminder of how far we’ve come: The host of last year’s Tony Awards show was Kevin Spacey.




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