Every year, the entertainment awards season begins with Emmys and ends with Tonys. Lesser known trophies occur whenever production companies feel they can draw enough viewers to get decent ratings, but as for the major ones, that’s the start and end of it.
Whoopi Goldberg hosted the theater version of the Oscars 2008. I have to say, Hugh Jackman does a better job. The telecast showed clips of other times she had been part of the show, and they did little to change my opinion. In fairness, her Mary Poppins imitation was respectable. At least she doesn’t make singing her profession.
Much of the hype was about musicals this year. While no single show took home everything, a few stood out for what they grabbed.
South Pacific was awarded Best Revival of a Musical, and its star Paulo Szot received Best Performance by a Lead Actor. All in all, the show snatched seven Tonys, though most were design awards, the kind given out prior to the broadcast. Wisely, a selection of some of the most well-known songs was shown live. Both lead actors were solid, though the guy portraying the head Navy seabee sounded a little flat.
Gypsy took home its share of awards. Patti Lupone won Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Mama Rose. Best Featured Actress in a Musical went to Laura Benanti, while Best Featured Actor was Boyd Gaines. If these titles sound similar, keep in mind that “featured” means the character was not a lead role, but an important supporting one.
Best Musical went to In The Heights. Lin Manuel Miranda won his first Tony for this musical’s score. Best Book went to STEW of Passing Strange.
On the non-musical side, August: Osage County won both Best Play and Best Director. Deanna Dunagan won her first Tony, for Best Performance by a Lead Actress. Mark Rylance won Best Performance by a Lead Actor for his work in Boeing Boeing.
A couple of touches made this year’s Tony Awards extra special. The original cast of Rent teamed up with the current crop to sing “Seasons of Love.” John Waters announced Cry Baby, which might explain one actor running around with a scary resemblance to Hannibal Lecter. Mandy Patinkin accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award for Stephen Sondheim. I’m assuming the full beard is part of his next character.
Most of these shows will end up touring. Look for them at a local theater near you!