Some Thoughts About the Tonys 2004
The only one of the shows that I saw this time around was The Boy from Oz, and I'm here to tell you that Hugh Jackman definitely deserved his award. Broadway hasn't seen a star turn like that in a long time. But I keep up with things, and I definitely have opinions about this stuff.
- This was an immensely satisfying night for me. The awards were generally amusing, and nearly every one of my choices won. I should've made my predictions public or put money on them sigh. Now I'm going to sound like a fake psychic. Oh well.
- I was right about everything except Best Revival of a Play and Best Musical. I really thought Wicked would take the latter, despite my strong preference for Avenue Q, and I thought Raisin would take Best Revival. But I was astonished to hear that only one pundit had chosen Avenue Q's book as best, expecting Wicked to take the prize. Come on, wasn't it obvious?
- Thank GOD Wicked didn't take anything important except Best Actress in a Musical. Although I don't hate Stephen Schwartz as much as, say, ALW, and I actually like several of his older scores (The Baker's Wife and The Magic Show), he's still one of my least favorite composers, and he's a godawful lyricist. That song they sung--one cliché after another.
- I have to run out and get the Avenue Q CD right away!
- Congrats to Phylicia Rashad for being the first black woman to take Best Actress in a Play. It's about bloody time! And she gave a wonderfully dignified speech.
- In general it was Year of the Black Women at the Tonys, with three important awards going to them. Will this FINALLY convince Broadway producers to hire more minority actors and produce more minority plays? (Probably not, but one can hope.)
- This was also Year of the Debut Winners. I believe the majority of the major prizes went to people or creative teams debuting on Broadway. Coolness!
- I hoped for Tonya Pinkins to take Best Actress in a Musical--her featured performance was incredible, though the song was dreadful. If the whole score sounds like this, no wonder it didn't win. (I have yet to hear anything from Jeanne Tesori that I like.) By contrast, Idina Menzel's performance didn't display the chops that won her the Tony; I mean, anyone can stand up and be defiant with a dopey overproduced song like that. (And Kristen Chenoweth got shortchanged in that number. Couldn't they find something that showcased both actresses?)
- Can anyone doubt that Hugh Jackman belongs on the stage rather than the silver screen? I'm not terribly fond of his voice, but boy, he's got live performance chops! I loved how he dragged Sarah Jessica Parker onstage and how genuinely embarrassed she got. And did you notice the bulge in his pants?
- (Do you think a glimpse of Parker's breasts would have caused a tenth as much of the sensation that the glimpse of Janet Jackson's did? Goddamned prudes. They wouldn't have been watching the Tonys anyway.)
- OK, I hate Martin Short, but he had some of the funniest lines of the night, dammit.
- The duet between LL Cool J (who had no business being there) and Carol Channing was a true classic. Do you think he was humbled by the tepid applause he got and the huge ovation she got?
- Mary J. Blige's overwrought and wrongnoted rendition of "What I Did For Love" was pure bilge. And could she have chosen a more boring song? How about "Look What Happened To Mabel" or "Glitter and Be Gay"? (I DARE her to try either of those and discover just how lame a singer she really is.)
- I was hoping that the number from Assassins would include "Where's my fucking prize?", but the honor of saying the F-word went to Avenue Q. I really must get that CD.
- Yay for Assassins, taking the most awards overall (five). Where was Sondheim, I wonder? I was hoping to see him. I hope he's all right.
- I still think Assassins should have been considered a new musical.
- I missed the first half hour or so of the ceremony because we were watching the new episode of Coupling, so I don't know just how non-ethnic "Tradition" was. Robin taped the show, so I'll find out eventually.
- I sure wished PBS had broadcast the "less important" awards. Maybe next year.
- If I was in New York City, the first play I'd get tickets for would be I Am My Own Wife. God, that looks good. (Tour here, tour here, tour here .) But I'd see just about everything, even the Shakespeare.
- My dad commented on the difference between Carole Bayer Sager's smooth face and her claw-like crone hands. What's up with that?
- Harvey Fierstein is soooo coool. Even just presenting he's marvelous. My cousin used to live next door to him and says he's a great guy. My fantasy is that someday I'll meet him through her. Or, I'll meet him because I've written a musical that he appears in. Ah, dreams .
- The show wasn't quite as flamboyantly gay as last year, but between Jackman camping it up, half the award-winning guys thanking their partners, choice comments from Nathan Lane, Avenue Q's Rod panting all over Jackman, and the I Am My Own Wife guy (can't remember which one) making statements about the shits [my language] trying to prevent gay marriage (and having the music roll over his statements for his pains, cowardly bastards at CBS), things were still very jolly. If the Tonys were more of a national phenomenon instead of a local-NYC one, I'm sure all the schmuck homophobic ministers and politicians would be blathering away today in the press. Well, maybe it would be useful if they did--adding a sense of forbidden danger to the Tonys might increase interest in them and in theatre in general.
Let me know your opinion of this page. I welcome dissenting opinions! Also any corrections or additions.
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