Monday, June 08, 2009

Twittering The Tonys

Twittering The Tonys

By now, you already know that Billy Elliot - The Musical won the most Tonys during last evening's ceremony (click here to view a full list of all of this year's Tony Award winners).

Billy Elliot earned 10 Tonys in all ... or 12 if you count David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish individually for the joint Tony they received as "Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical" -- a topic I'll circle back to shortly.

The evening started out surprisingly enough as Martin Koch (Billy Elliot - The Musical) and Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt (next to normal) were both declared winners in a tie for Best Orchestrations.

But it all ended up seeming so, well, mostly predictable. While I accurately predicted 19 out of 27 categories, I was dead-on in almost every one of the major categories.

The predictabity was OK, not just because I liked most of the shows and performances that won, but also given the wonderfully witty 11:00 number offered up by host Neil Patrick Harris, which only needed a few last-minute changes from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The only things completely unpredictable were the excrutiatingly painful headbanging poor Bret Michaels endured or the embarrassing mics that seemed to not work more often than they did.

Unlike last year, when I enjoyed the Tony Awards from a great orchestra seat at Radio City Music Hall, I was in the comfort of my own living room offering up my Tony tweets via Twitter. It was a totally unique experience for me, but one that I have to admit enjoying primarily because of the banter with other theatre Twitters.

The only downside was that during the first hour of the televised awards, I hit Twitter's limit on the number of tweets any one individual can post in any given hour. Who knew? I certainly didn't! Fortunately, after being sidelined for over a half hour, I was able to get back on, although I ended up being a bit more judicious in what I posted.

Now, coming back full circle on the awards, the only winner I still can't wrap my head around is giving all three Billys the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Don't get me wrong, I am sure they are each very talented. Yet, how can the four other nominees who give 8 performances each week compete with three actors who perform 3 times tops per week? And to say that they are all equally worthy? Well that thinking's akin to the way they give away soccer trophies just so no one's feelings will get hurt.

Yes, I know about the bizarre Tony precedents.

In 1960, all of the young actors portraying the von Trapp family children in the original production of The Sound Of Music -- Lauri Peters, Kathy Dunn, Evanna Lien, Mary Susan Locke, Marilyn Rogers, William Snowden , and Joseph Stewart -- were nominated together in the category of Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Wonder if Snowden and Stewart ever fully recovered from that!

This year's Tony winning Best Performance by a Leading Actress Alice Ripley had to share a joint nomination for the same award with Emily Skinner for Side Show back in 1998 simply because they were portraying conjoined twins Violet and Daisy, respectively. I always thought conjoined twins had their own individual personalities.

There used to be a rule that whoever opened in the show was eligible for the Tony. Just ask Frank Dolce, who alternates with Tony nominee David Bologna as Michael in Billy Elliot - The Musical. Same show, different rules apparently apply. Maybe it was their rousing ode to individuality called "Expressing Yourself" that did them in.

I'll get off my soapbox long enough to admit how pleased I was with the rest of the results overall -- in fact, I plan to finally see both Billy Elliot and God Of Carnage on Broadway after having first seen them in London.

I was downright thrilled (sorry David Bologna) when Gregory Jbara -- one of Broadway's nicest actors -- won for his role in Billy Elliot. I got goosebumps when Angela Lansbury earned her fifth acting Tony. And I was giddy with delight that The Norman Conquests rightfully won Best Revival of a Play during prime time where it belonged (although I thought director Matthew Warchus deserved to win for that effort over his other God Of Carnage).

So, dear readers. What did you think of this year's Tony Awards? And how many of the winners did you get right?

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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2 Comments:

At 08 June, 2009, Blogger Esther said...

Hey SOB,
I agree with you about the three Billys. The kids are cute and talented dancers but they don't do it eight times a week. It's almost like they gave the award to the role rather than to the performer.

And I'm happy for Gregory Jbara too, even though I was rooting for Will Swenson. I was just rooting for Hair for everything. ;-)

But Jbara gives a very powerful performance as Billy's dad, showing how his feelings about his son evolve over the course of the musical. Well-deserved. Glad you'll get to see him. And very gracious at the stage door - definitely one of Broadway's nicest actors.

It'll be interesting to see what you think of God of Carnage with a different cast. I just thought all four of them were great and worked so well together.

Finally, I know you may not be able to fit it in, but I highly recommend Joe Turner's Come and Gone. It was my first August Wilson play and I was enthralled by the storytelling and the performances, including Tony winner Roger Robinson.

It made me want to see all of the other plays in his century cycle.

 
At 09 June, 2009, Anonymous Michael H said...

Hey There
It may interest you to know ( though you probably already do)that the were the "Billys" have been nominated they have won - here - the Helpmanns, Sydney Critics award, Green room awards ( Melb) and I think the Olivers ( they began it) - so the precedent was there

Favourite moment in out lounge room was the 11 number

and Ms Lansbury's generous and classy speach
Cheers
Michael H

 

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