Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Things I Learned At The Tonys...

Things I Learned At The Tonys...

As noted a couple days ago, I had the enormous pleasure of taking in the American Theatre Wing's 62nd Annual Tony Awards hosted by Whoopi Goldberg on Sunday evening. And may I just state for the record that I thought Whoopi made an excellent host.

I learned so much, not only about all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into this production, but also just how much more fun actually being there can be. It's not just seeing the nominees and presenters in person, but the chance to see those amazing performances live one more time. It's also the nonstop buzz you feel from the moment you step onto the red carpet right up until you receive your Tony swag bag upon departure from the Gala.

But there are other things I learned along the way, either from personal experience or overheard from others...

...Tonys weigh more than I thought they would ... Don't bother asking Harry Potter-cum-Broadway star Daniel Radcliffe for an autograph ... It's perfectly fine to congratulate S. Epatha Merkerson on her Tony nod (she was beaming as she escorted her mother around), just please don't even think about approaching her in the ladies' room (and please don't approach me in the men's room, either) ... John Waters was really just kidding last year when he suggested he was working on a script called "Last Stall To The Left" about Senator Larry Craig ... The restrooms are "the great equalizers" at the Tonys (as I learned from my new friends Daniel and Donna from Lexington, Kentucky)...

...Not only does Gypsy director Arthur Laurents know a thing or two about pacing a show, he's pretty fast on his feet for a man of 90 years ...The orchestra is nowhere to be seen during the Tonys, prompting the justifiable wrath of Patti LuPone during the dress rehearsals when she could not hear the music as she tried singing "Everything's Coming Up Roses" ... Speaking of dress rehearsals, only a few of the presenters were no-shows, including Alec Baldwin, Harry Connick, Jr., Laurence Fishburne and Marisa Tomei ... Could be that last star's no-show that prompted Lily Tomlin to mimic her actual appearance ... The morning rehearsals were just a tad too early for Stew, who made his feelings known as the Passing Strange troupe concluded rehearsing "Keys"...

...The ever gracious David Pittu has written a show he's getting ready to premiere at the Atlantic ... across the Atlantic, August: Osage County will make its West End debut this fall ... English actor Mark Rylance lived in my hometown of Mequon - Thiensville, Wisconsin during his formative years (since we're about the same age, I can't help but wonder if we ever met way back when) ... speaking of formative years, Keith Carradine is very proud of his progeny Martha Plimpton (he served as her Tony Awards escort, appropriate given it was Father's Day)...

...The technical Tonys were skillfully hosted by the witty, dynamic duo of Julie White and Michael Cerveris ... even Tony winning stars like White can get excited about the chance to see other stars like Connick ... thanks to Cerveris, I finally learned how to properly pronounce Les Liaisons Dangereuses ... Laura Linney was gracious when at least one person told her they thought she was terrific in that play they can't pronounce ... "Project Runway" winner Christian Siriano's name was on the lips of countless young fans who were thrilled to meet him, while big stars like Glenn Close walked right on by unbothered...

...Awards do occasionally get bent, just ask Catherine Zuber ... As this year's winner for Best Costume Design for a Musical, Zuber was overheard telling someone complimenting her on her apparel choices (or lack thereof) for Matthew Morrison, "I'm no dummy" ... In person, In The Heights' Olga Merediz looks to be about half the age of Abuela Claudia, the role for which she earned her Tony nod for Best Featured Actress in a Musical ... Speaking of In The Heights, creator and lead actor Lin-Manuel Miranda looks substantially younger without his trademark ivy style cap, and he was practically floating through the Gala crowd while on Cloud 9 all evening.

Here's toasting all the nominees and winners. I'd like to thank them for a truly spectacular year on Broadway. It's one that I'll never forget.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
Tony Awards: Win Place Show (June 16, 2008)
Tony Time (June 15, 2008)
Strange: Passing In The Heights For Best Musical? (June 13, 2008)
SOB's 2008 Tony Picks - Who Will Win (June 10, 2008)
SOB's 2008 Tony Picks - Part III (June 6, 2008)
SOB's 2008 Tony Picks - Part II (June 5, 2008)
SOB's 2008 Tony Picks - Part I (June 4, 2008)
And The Tony Nominees Go To... (May 12, 2008)

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At 17 June, 2008, Blogger HughE Dillon said...

Great coverage. I love the behind the scenes info.

At 17 June, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Thanks Hughe.

Hopefully for some great photos, others will click onto your site!

At 17 June, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Terrific roundup! What an incredible experience - hobnobbing with Broadway's best! So what's up with Daniel Radcliffe? You'd think with his legions of young fans he'd be very accommodating for autographs. And what a coincidence about Mark Rylance. I was confused when I first heard him speak because I thought he was British, but then I read he moved to the U.S. at age 2. And then I thought maybe he was reciting a scene from his play! I found out the next day it was a poem.

At 17 June, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Thanks Esther. While I personally don't know exactly what Radcliffe said - I was told he said something along the lines of, "I can't sign any autographs, I must be going" once his dress rehearsal appearance was over.

I could give him the benefit of the doubt, but if that persists this fall, he's likely to disappoint many fans, young and old, when Equus opens later this year.

At 17 June, 2008, Blogger Dale said...

It sounds like an amazing evening for you and I'm glad your experience was so great. Nice inside scoop so thanks for all that.

I enjoyed Whoopi too although somehow I expected not to. Now I want to know what's in the swag bag!

At 19 June, 2008, Blogger Roxie said...

Can I tell you that I had a dark moment after Sarah's Tony party in Penn Station...I was waiting for the train and this couple came in, all dressed up, with their Tony swag so when the track was announced I followed them down and sat in their car - like a crazy person!! - in the hopes that one of them would say "Oh, this bad is so heavy...we don't need two of these...blah, blah" and then I would have the opportunity to be the hero and rescue them from their heavy bag woes.


I would like to place the blame for this behavior squarly on Sarah's fantastic Cosmos.

Thanks for giving up the inside peek! I'm glad that you had a good time!!

At 19 June, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Roxie, That is absolutely hysterical. And just for the record, Dale, the bag was not all that glamorous. No Harry Winston, no iPods, not even a CD or DVD in sight.

But I have a very funny story about the dog treats that were included. Someone I know started noshing on them...

At 23 June, 2008, Blogger Flip Chick said...

Thanks for your comments about Tony night. I, too, was in attendance - as a seat filler. I had a great time. I actually bought a ticket for the Tony Awards once - probably about 10 years ago - and sat way up in the nosebleed seats. I was lucky enough to sit in a few different seats and had an all around good time. My only real disappointment of the evening - I couldn't get a program. Seat fillers weren't given programs. I tried to find a leftover on the floor, but others beat me to them.


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