Sunday, June 07, 2009

Liveblogging, Lord help me, the Tony Awards

Thanks for visiting my liveblog of the 2009 Tony Awards. Because I got a late start and wasn't intending to liveblog the show (thanks to Jon for encouraging/demanding), I didn't have a lot of extras to add during the actual liveblog. Items in red have been added after the liveblog, mostly between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. on Monday, June 8.

11:04 Haha! A little Broadway humor to end the evening.

11:03 An 11:00 number -- a closing number sung by NPH. Maybe he's going to earn his paycheck.

11:02 Liza rushes over to hug Sir Elton, and it's a little freaky.

11:01 I realize it's been a while since we've seen NPH. What does the host do, really? Seems like Announcer Woman has been working harder than NPH.

11:00 Liza announces the Tony goes to "Billy Elliot" and then freaks out kind of like a small, slow child. It's cute how the other kids in the cast are celebrating together.

10:59 I said it before, and I'll say it again. Here comes Liza; everybody buckle up. She gives us the nominees for Best Musical.

10:56 "Oh, what a night! Doo doo doo doo-doo," etc., etc.


10:52 Someone whom I have never seen before introduces an historic collection five Frankie Vallis, from the Toronto, Las Vegas, National Tour, Chicago, and Broadway productions of "Jersey Boys."

10:51 One of the Billies just referred to Sir Elton John as "Elton" before they all thanked their brothers and sisters. Cute.

10:49 Audra McDonald, who I think looks like an African-American version of my friend JennySchell (of course, I think Adam Lambert looks like Mindy Cohn, so whaddayagonnado?), introduces the Best Actor-Musical nominees. The three Billy Elliots (why are there three?) win, marking the first time the Tony Award has been shared by three people.

10:47 Alice! Ripley! Is! Enthusiastic! about that JFK quote: I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.

10:45 Niles Crane presents the Best Actress in a Musical nominees. And he does so quickly. The winner is Alice Ripley. Even though this is her first Tony, I'm pretty sure that it's no surprise.

10:43 Announcer Woman tells us "The cast of 'Jersey Boys' will perform after the break." And I abandon almost all hope of us finishing up by 11:00.

10:38 Kristen Chenoweth reminds us of the nominees for Best Revival of a Musical. This is a toughie. But the winner is "Hair."

10:37 This clip is, um, interactive.

10:34 Anne Hathaway, beautiful as always (and weathering well the storm caused by her troubled ex-boyfriend), introduces the clip from "Hair."

10:34 I'm worried about Doogie.

10:33 The conductor jumped the gun a bit, but playing him out with "The Best of Times" was a nice touch.

10:31 Jerry Herman is just a little man, but is apparently a great big talent. I hope the orchestra doesn't play him off, even if we look back at this as the moment when the telecast went long.

10:27 Angela Lansbury introduces a Jerry Herman montage. I guess I didn't know all these shows had anything in common. He gets a lifetime achievement award. And a standing O.

10:21 Or maybe I should talk to my doctor about Reclast, which is only one IV a year to get treatment for post-menopausal bone density loss. (I'm beginning to think I'm not necessarily in the Tony Awards's target demographic.)

10:19 Best Play nominees from La Fierstein. Winner is "God of Carnage." Yazmina Reza, the writer, thanked her "mother, who overcame her fear of flying to be with us tonight." That's pretty cool.

10:17 "The Norman Conquests" wins, and they storm the stage. I don't think they were supposed to do that.

10:16 Harvey Fierstein just wants to be loved. Is that so wrong-guh? He gives us the nominees for Best Revival of a Play.

10:15 "Legally Blonde" is touring or whatever.

10:11 It's Peanut Butter Smoothie time! (You may sing that to the tune of "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" if you wish.)

10:06 Billy Elliot appears to be a danger to himself or others, especially wearing those automatic tap shoes that Professor Frink invented for Lisa Simpson.

10:05 Sir Elton John introduces the clip from "Billy Elliot" but it sounds like he is saying "Billit."

10:03:30 Why are these clips of nominated plays so short?

10:03 Piper Perabo has come a long way since "Coyote Ugly."

10:02 And the Tony goes to Marcia Gay Harden. It's her first Tony, and it makes her hotter to me. Her husband's name is Thaddeus. You don't see many Thaddeuses (Thaddei?) these days.

10:01 Frank Langella tells us the nominees for Best Lead Actress-Play.

10:00 Frank Langella is hilarious.

9:58 Frank Langella always scares the hell out of me. Like he could snap his fingers and I would be killed instantly. I always thought it was odd that he was (is?) Whoopi Goldberg's boyfriend.

9:57 Earlier tonight, the designers got their awards.

9:52 I need to talk to my doctor about Actonel. I'm worried about post-menopausal bone density loss.

9:50 What's the deal with showing the recently deceased on a projection screen and then swooping around with the camera on and around the screen? They did that at the Oscars this year, too, didn't they?

9:48 Lilith Crane introduces the In Memoriam for Natasha Richardson, Gerald Schoenfeld, and others, as "What I Did For Love" is sung in the background.

9:47 Major Dad and some woman introduce some "chronicle of small-town life" play, a 20-second clip of which fails to tell us the name of said play.

9:45 Veteran actor Geoffrey Rush wins his first Tony Award, Announcer Woman tells us.

9:44 Jessica Lange saunters out seductively to deliver a hilarious ad lib. Oh, sorry -- the Best Actors-Play from before were Best Featured, not Best Lead. JLa is presenting Best Lead Actor in a Play right now.

9:42 For the second time tonight, we see the Irish Step Dancing "Best part of waking up" Folger's commercial. I guess they don't have to create new ads for the Tonys the way they do for the Super Bowl.

9:35 More audio problems. What's up with the sound system tonight?

9:34 Carrie Fisher arrives, dressed like a fool. She looks like Salieri in his post-suicide-attempt hospital gown, except hers is reddish; she introduces a song from "Next to Normal."

9:32 Uncle Jesse now introduces the Best Actress in a Musical nominees. Karen Olivo from "West Side Story" wins. One of the other nominees is named Haydn Gwynne. Do you think she frequently gets confused with veteran character actor Aiden Quinn?

9:29 Uncle Jesse from "Full House" will be in "Bye Bye Birdie" later this fall. He is now presenting the Best Actor in a Musical award. One of the Billy Elliots One of the kid stars of "Billy Elliot" is nominated. He does not win, but Gregory Jbara, also from "Billy Elliot," does win. His wife is three inches taller than he is, but it doesn't matter, because he's giving a heartfelt speech. (I remember him as Kevin Kline's brother -- Walter, I think? -- in "In & Out.") "Thank you, American Theatre Wing; this is the best." Nice.

9:27 Luci Arnaz is wearing a lovely black gown that is marred by a pink-and-black striped bow monstrosity. Her friend from the Theatre Wing board, whom I recognize as an actress but whom I cannot name, seems to have killed a black swan for her gown.

9:26 Earlier tonight, the Creative Arts Tonys were awarded, mostly to boring and/or nonbeautiful people. (Just kidding.) (Many of them were British and, therefore, interesting.) (Just kidding.)

9:23 Commercials. I'll take this time to share with you that I always thought that the people who produce musical theatre would do well to mainstreamify themselves by producing televised versions of shows currently on Broadway or touring, to get people interested in attending the shows either in New York or when the tours come through their town. I could see Rosie O'Donnell and/or NPH and/or Hugh Jackman hosting a monthly Broadway Showcase or whatever on CBS Sunday night.

9:22 We're over an hour into this liveblog -- almost an hour and a half since the show started and there's a LOT of awards left. Best Actor/Actress in a Musical, Best Musical, Best Play... Oh. Well, I guess there's only a few awards left.

9:20 Nice performance. I think I want "Guys and Dolls" to win whatever they're up for.

9:18 Nicely-Nicely's microphone doesn't work, so the dude runs out with a handheld, like Zach had to use in "Fiddler" last month. (See, Zach, it happens to the pros, too!)

9:17 The woman from "Gilmore Girls" and the guy from "Lake Placid" (I know it's Oliver Platt and Lauren Graham, but I think it's hilarious to reduce them to previous roles.) introduce "Guys and Dolls" and it's my favorite song: "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."

9:16 Who knew a show called "God of Carnage" would be so hilarious?

9:15 "God of Carnage" preview. Marcia Gay Harden and Hope Davis introduce it. I think Marcia Gay Harden is hot and is going to be hot until she dies.

9:14 Liza Minnelli takes to the microphone; everybody buckle up. They're going to need an elephant tranquilizer to get her offstage.

9:12 Edie Falco introduces the Best Special Theatrical Event nominees. But she doesn't get to say the names of the nominees. (Announcer Woman does it.) "Liza's At The Palace" beats out Will Ferrell's "You're Welcome, America." Not a surprise, but it would have been nice for Ferrell to get some recognition.

9:07 Commercials!

9:05 First "The Sopranos," then "Glee," now "Rock of Ages." Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" has really made the rounds.

9:03 The mainstreamification of musical theatre is unlikely to come through a fey-acting man in a tuxedo t-shirt flirting with Liza Minnelli.

9:02 After nearly decapitating Bret Michaels in the opening number (I still don't know how I missed that), "Rock of Ages" threatens to set something on fire. The way Constantine Maroulis says "ROCK," as in "I wanna ROCK!" makes me uncomfortable. Realizing he's already been disappointed on the national stage in "American Idol," I kind of hope he doesn't win this show, either.

9:00 I adore Susan Sarandon for keeping us on track. She doesn't even leave the stage before presenting the award for Best Direction of a Musical. She is tasky, this Sarandon. "Billy Elliot" wins. And I learn it's 2 Ls and 1 T in "Elliot." I also learn that the British seem to be better at theatre than us, so far.

8:57 We're back. For the record, we have presented 3 awards in 57 minutes. Three. Awards. In 57. Minutes. Susan Sarandon tries to move things along by presenting Best Direction of a Play. Some guy is nominated for two different plays. He wins, for a play called "God of Carnage." It is his first win, and he seems like a pleasant enough bloke. Sadly, America doesn't care about direction of a play. GIVE US ANOTHER CELEBRITY! Real, hard-working people are boring!

8:53 Announcer Woman promises Edie Falco and Susan Sarandon and Lauren Graham, as well as performances from "Rock of Ages" and "Guys and Dolls," and then General Motors apologizes to us advertisingly: fewer, stronger brands; fewer, stronger models. Leaner, greener, faster, smarter. Kind of like the 6-Million-Dollar Man, only we actually had the technology to fix him.

8:52 Everybody in the audience says a prayer for Tony and Maria's high end note.

8:51 It is a true fact that I snapped along with them.

8:49 Don't you think these snippets would be better if they had, I don't know, plot, rather than just being glorified show-choir numbers? I do.

8:48 "Mambo! Go!" The kids from the revival of "West Side Story" show off a little bit. I may or may not have shouted out "Mambo!" along with them.

8:47 The 1 of the 10 is cut off as his time runs out on his acceptance speech. ("Schadenfreude," much?)

8:45 Best Original Score goes to "Next To Normal," whatever that is, which was apparently composed by the number 10. (Seriously, it's like Stick Person and pre-weight-loss Peter Jackson wrote this musical.)

8:44 Will Ferrell tells us the nominees for Best Original Score Written for the Theatre.

8:43 After a 15-second snippet of Jane Fonda "acting" in "33 Variations," a surprisingly slim, damn near gaunt, Will Ferrell arrives to, among other things, mock La Fonda's earlier pronunciation of "Waiting For Godot." (Which we now know was correct.)

8:42 Best Play nominees will be sampled throughout the evening, too. Here's "33 Variations." Colin Hanks sounds like his dad, but looks like he wants to kill us.

8:41 Aaaand, we're back! NPH has a "Broadway Scratch-n-Sniff" gag. It's not funny.

8:39 "Medium" is moving from NBC to CBS this fall? I guess? You'd think Patricia Arquette's character would have had a dream about what a bad idea that is.

8:37 Potty break!

8:36 Aaaaand, I'm going to say that was a fail on the "Mamma Mia" peek. There are a few other songs that would have been cooler.

8:35 I receive KT's "Murder, She Wrote" reference in the comments and regret not having thought of it myself.

8:33 This year at the show, we're going to see snippets from North American tours. First up: Mamma Mia, whose title song was featured in this week's Song! Intro! Challenge! I kind of wonder why they're doing "Dancing Queen," though, since it seems just kind of like lame karaoke at this point.

8:31 The Tony goes to Angela Lansbury. Which, come on. It's her fifth Tony, Announcer Woman tells us. But, to be fair, she's 140 years old now, so she's had some time. She does a classy job with her speech. "Thank you for having me back." Very nice!

8:30 Jeff Daniels and James Gandolfini dispel the myth that you have to be beautiful to be an actor as they present the award for Best Actress in a Play.

8:29 NPH is trying a scoche too hard with the comedy.

8:28 "Things Are Looking Up in Duloc," but they are not looking up for "Shrek the Musical."

8:25 Is everyone in "Shrek the Musical" gay? As KT says, the Prince is even more Uncle Arthurly.

8:23 Aaaand, we're back. "Shrek the Musical" gets a feature. Is Shrek gay? It's like Uncle Arthur from "Bewitched" turned green and Scottish? Or something?

8:22 A commercial for some sort of eyelash-growing prescription drug. Really? We can do that, but we can't cure cancer? Priorities, you jerks. (You can learn more about eyelashes here.)

8:19 Commercials!

8:18 I use this guy's speech time to get caught up on the recap of the opening number, since I didn't start this until 8:12.

8:17 Some guy I've never heard of wins Best Actor, after Jane Fonda screws up "The winner is..." which, I guess, is not how you say it any more.

8:16 I'm not sure Jane Fonda is getting any name right in her nominees. "Waiting for God-oh"? (God. Oh...apparently that's how Samuel Beckett pronounced it.)

8:15 "The incredible Jane Fonda" comes out to present the first award. She looks good, even with her glasses. Especially with her glasses. Jane is presenting Best Actor in a Play.

8:14 Constantine from "American Idol" is here. He's in "Rock of Ages." I saw him on the "Today" show a week or so ago.

8:12 Neil Patrick Harris makes his first appearance to tumultuous applause. Did you see his Top Ten List earlier in the week on Letterman? Pretty good.

8:10ish The voiceover lady of every award show welcomes us. How do you get that gig? I want it.

8:00 A veritable Broadway Who's Who starts with Elton John doing a song from "Billy Elliott" ("Eliot"?) I start the liveblog late, so here's what I can remember:
  • Audio problems make a good show crappy.
  • Then comes the "West Side Story" cast, but the wrong microphones are hot, so we hear some other performers doing their warm-up, instead of the Jets and Sharks singing, in English and Spanish, respectively.
  • A cross-over between "West Side Story" and "Guys and Dolls" is pretty cool.
  • Poison don't need nothin' but a good time. Singing the song that they sang that is now being sung in "Rock of Ages" -- ladies and gentlemen, the real Poison! (Also, I think Bret Michaels just got beaten up by a set piece.)
  • Singing the song that she sang that is now being sung in "9 to 5" -- ladies and gentlemen, the (mostly) real Dolly Parton!
  • Singing some song I've never heard in a way I wish I'd never heard -- ladies and gentlemen, a parody of her former self, Liza Minnelli!


K.T. said...

Now that guy reminds me of Uncle Arthur.

K.T. said...

Watch out...Angela Landsbury is there. There's sure to be a dead body backstage.

Anonymous said...

Hey Buddy...Sara really dug the Momma Mia number....a song from back in the day!

Anonymous said...

Can't remember my anonymous I am! NKP

Scott S. Semester said...

Nanci (and Sara) -- "Dancing Queen" is a fine song, but it doesn't really encapsulate what "Mamma Mia" is about...

K.T. said...

Major Dad is in a play?

K.T. said...

Lilleth had a hard time with that speech.

Scott S. Semester said...

I would imagine Lilith knew Natasha Richardson. That must have been hard.

And, yeah, I guess Major Dad IS in a play. Who knew?!

JL said...

I just realized the benefit to living on the west coast and following a live blog from the east coast - I can pick and choose when to flip over to the Tony's or not. Tonight I will be tuning in to the Tony's at approximately 9:15 to see the song from Guys and Dolls but I will not be watching at 8:31 because I don't really care about Angela Lansbury! Thanks!

Scott S. Semester said...

This is the service I offer to you, JL.

You may pay me back by buying me dinner or something when you're here in July. :) I think this service I'm providing is worth at least that much.

Anonymous said...

My friend from my theatre in Michigan is in the Chicago cast of Jersey Boys! His name is Shonn him!
-cuz Lisa

JL said...

Thanks for the shout-out but I don't know that I look anything like her. But she is pretty so that's okay. Now how do you feel when someone says you look like Phillip Seymour Hoffman?

P.S. My plan was ruined by Directv. I was looking at the listings for California but forgot that Arizona starts primetime at 7. Foiled Again!!

shouldhavezagged said...

I think "Sue Me" might be my favorite song from Guys and Dolls...although I am hard-pressed to pick because I simply adore that show and its music.

Sonja said...

There are three actors playing the lead role in Billy Elliott because the role is very physically demanding for a child that age. The three boys rotate performances through the week, so the powers that be chose to nominate them as a group.

Anonymous said...

Re: 9:29. That was not one of the Billy Elliots who was nominated. It was the boy who plays the role of Michael. Different kid.

Scott S. Semester said...

Thanks for the clarification re: the first Billy Elliot kid nominated. I'll update that.