Hello, freaks and geeks, and welcome to our 2013 Tony Awards internet party!
Every year, Tony Awards are awarded to the best that American theatre has to offer; any show, whether musical, play or special event, that played in one of about 40 New York theatres that are considered Broadway and that opened within the last year is qualified. The awards themselves are mostly meaningless, but damn it if they aren’t ridiculously entertaining. This year’s awards will feature performances from eight new musicals as well as appearances from tons of older shows. Neil Patrick Harris, who is hosting for his third consecutive year, said that “it’ll be bigger than last year,” which is either a bizarre come-on or an ambitious promise.
It was a big year for musical theatre just about everywhere except Broadway — “Les Mis,” “Pitch Perfect” and “Smash” happened; Sutton Foster, Andrew Rannells, Josh Gad, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Aaron Tveit all have their respective TV shows; “Glee” continues to plague us. It should be interesting to see how the beating heart of the theatre world handles a year where no original musicals were nominated for any big awards. Apparently Mike Tyson is making an appearance tonight? The night is young and full of possibilities.
Here is a full list of the nominees! The awards kick off at 8 p.m. EST/PST on CBS, so grab your favorite bionic diva and get comfortable. Comment your feelings below and/or tweet me @GraceCEllis. It’s all happening.
7:44p: I wish “60 Minutes” would just re-air their special on “The Book of Mormon” because whatever they’re doing right now is super boring.
7:57p: Apparently Jesse Tyler Ferguson hosted the non-televised technical awards! Which is especially funny because last year’s opening song included a joke about him understudying NPH. As per usual, I wish they had just shown the technical awards. Forever disappointed.
8:00p: I have almost the exact outfit that Neil Patrick Harris is wearing. #gay
8:02p: Mike Tyson! That didn’t take long.
8:04p: “On Broadway, we don’t need extreme close-ups to prove we’re singing live.” The lyrics in this opening number are kind of incredible? I would argue that they’re better than anything in “Kinky Boots,” but spoiler alert, I don’t really like that show. I find it cloying.
8:07p: Ok, that number was beyond amazing. I’ve done nothing but watch original Tony songs the last two days, and that was maybe the best. It was everything it needed to be: It had everyone in it, it was energetic, and it only had one “How I Met Your Mother” joke. The crowd is going nuts, I am going nuts, Neil Patrick Harris is going to go backstage and vomit from all the running he just did. It was like a gay explosion but not in a sexual way, unless you’re into that, which: Who could blame you.
8:10p: Courtney B. Vance kicks off the night with a win as Best Featured Actor in a play. I am 0 for 1 in my guesses so far.
8:11p: Oh gawd, characters are presenting awards. This is going to be, uh, interesting. The Newsies are endearing, at least.
8:12p: “Matilda: The Musical” opens up the performances, probably so the kids aren’t falling asleep by the end of the show. It’s so interesting to hear what a chorus of children sounds like today compared to what they sounded like when the original “Annie” was playing. These kids are good.
8:14p: This staging looks like “Spring Awakening.” Not in a bad way. There’s a reason it was heavily lauded on the West End.
8:15p: The “Matilda” cast is riding scooters! Because “Little Mermaid” stole their idea for Heelys, probably.
8:16p: Aww, all four girls who play Matilda are singing! I’m glad there are so many good roles for young women on Broadway this year.
8:21p: This play-musical mashup thing Neil Patrick Harris is doing right now is ripped right from Twitter, I just want you guys to know that. “Bring It On Golden Pond” was a good one, though. Good work, champ.
8:23p: I would like to take Tom Hanks’ mention of Julie Andrews to plug the greatest blog of all time, Julie Andrews and Cabins dot tumblr dot com.
8:25p: Judith Light wins a Tony for the second year in a row! Holy cats, that’s insane. What an incredible woman, what an incredible speech.
8:29p: Oh wow, “Bring It On” is killing it. I’m really glad Lin-Manuel Miranda has a new show — as much as I love musical theatre, there is an unforgivable lack of representation for people of color. Besides, he’s such a talented writer that everything he touches turns to gold.
8:30p: “That last number just described the starting of a high school GSA, right?” –Intern Madi
8:31p: Really upset at the lack of mishaps this year. I miss the good old days of 2009 where the entire show was a tribute to live theater mishaps.
8:36p: Mufasa is talking about presenting technical awards. Last year, that would’ve been a joke.
8:38p: Alan Cumming! What a babe. His bowtie looks like a prop from “Pippin,” which is AWESOME.
8:39p: Gabriel Ebert wins Featured Actor in A Musical for “Matilda,” also wins a place in my heart.
8:40p: My wish came true! The mic won’t lift high enough! YES! Good work, tech team! The tradition continues.
8:41p: Oh good, “Rock of Ages” is introducing “Cinderella.” A hint of irony would do everyone some good right now.
8:42p: “Cinderella”! This is one of my favorite shows this season. Remember when Brandy and Whitney Houston did a movie version of this show? That was cool. Anyway, the costumes are pretty much unparalleled in this revival. Laura Osnes is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical, and if that performance is any indication, she’s definitely got a fighting chance.
8:45p: Wait, do they have a camera person literally onstage with them? That seems unnecessary? Ps, the bump music they played after the performance is my favorite song in that show, “Stepsister’s Lament.” Rogers and Hammerstein could write the shit out of an ironic upbeat number, I’ll tell you what.
8:50p: Take a shot every time someone says the word “kinky.” Contract alcohol poisoning within five minutes.
8:57p: Diane Paulus won for directing “Pippin”! Pam MacKinnon won for directing “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”! A TWO women directors won this year! THIS HAS LITERALLY NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE! FEMINISM, YOU GUYS. It’s all happening.
9:00p: I really like the light and projection design of this “Motown The Musical” performance. Everyone is so high energy! It’s going to play for the next billion years, approximately.
9:01p: “I WANT YOU BACK” IS MY FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME. Little Michael Jackson is much better than I was anticipating. Kids these days, with their Broadway-caliber voices and what-have-you.
9:08p: A commercial for the “Wicked” tour just played on my local station. That may be the most lesbian moment of the evening.
9:10p: I wish Jane Krakowski had presented that award in character as Jenna Maroney. THAT would’ve been worthwhile. Someone write that down.
9:11p: Jesse Tyler Ferguson screamed “GIRL, YOU’RE GONNA HAVE FUN TONIIIIIIIGHT,” when announced Cyndi Lauper’s win for Best Score for “Kinky Boots.” We have reached Gay Saturation.
9:12p: Cyndi Lauper is the first woman to win Best Score without a cowriter.
9:14p: “Hey, Spider-Man is an orphan, just like Annie! Wouldn’t it be awesome if an army of Spider-Men introduced “Annie”???” No. It would be weird.
9:16p: Jane Lynch is singing “Little Girls,” which is actually great casting, in my opinion, although all of America has already seen this performance since she did it on “Glee.” This is the new Most Lesbian Moment of the Evening.
9:23p: Omg omg is Andrew Ranells going to sing a duet with NPH?!?!
9:23p: Omg omg omg HE IS.
9:25p: I’m glad we’re hanging a lampshade on the fact that Broadway star’s TV shows keep getting canceled. This is cute.
9:27p: Andrew Ranells, Megan Hilty, and Laura Benanti singing that song will be the highlight of the night, I bet. Additionally, I recommend checking out Glitter and Be Glib, which Forbidden Broadway wrote about Kristin Chenoweth and the same subject.
9:29p: Anna Kendrick, be still my heart. She’s got mad singing chops, I wish she would sing now. I hope she does another show someday soon.
9:31p Andrea Martin is the light of my life.
9:34p: There’s gotta be a better way to summarize the season than whatever is happening right now.
ETA: There is a lesbian kiss in that clip package! According to my friend Drew, it’s from the play “‘The Performers.’ It’s two straight porn stars, played as a joke.” The play itself is really good, though, he says.
9:40p: Jessie Eisenberg is talking so fast because he is too famous to be here.
9:44p: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” wins for Best Play, much to no one’s surprise. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. Shout out to the guy on stage playing on his phone right now.
9:46p: Neil Patrick Harris just made out with the dog from “Annie.” The gay agenda has revealed itself.
9:48p: Oh wow, that kid in “A Christmas Story” is tap dancing in a way would make the cast of “Anything Goes” jealous. Sutton Foster, eat your heart out.
9:50p: Sidenote, I really want “A Christmas Story” to win something because I love the composers Pasek and Paul. They used to write a lot of cabaret-style stuff, but you might know them from their work on “Smash” or their other musical “Dogfight.” Check, check, check it out!
9:55p: Having someone smash NPH’s phone is a good example of simple jokes and knowing your audience. Having Simba introduce “Pippin” is a good example of a directorial choice that didn’t pan out as well as they wanted it to.
9:58p: Aww “Pippin” is so much better than I thought it would be! And Patina Miller as the lead player is inspired casting. I’m gonna need a cold shower.
10:01p: Don’t you break that fourth wall, Pippin. Don’t you do it.
10:01p: They broke the fourth wall.
10:03p: Sigourney Weaver in a blue dress.
10:05p: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” wins for best Play Revival. We are approaching “Gilmore Girls” levels of fast-talking here.
10:06p: Someone write a “Gilmore Girls” musical with me.
10:10p: Twenty years from now, when the girl playing Annie is all grown up, I hope she teams up with Andrea McArdle to do a revival of “Grey Gardens.” Where is Andrea McArdle tonight, actually? I have such a crush on her. I wish she were singing.
10:12p: Hal Prince’s speech was almost as long as Phantom’s run! These are the jokes, take ’em or leave ’em.
10:14p: “Oh great, ‘Phantom.'” -The audience at Radio City, before leaving to go to the bathroom
10:16p Billy Porter wins Best Actor in a Musical for “Kinky Boots”! Holy crap, I don’t even like “Kinky Boots,” but his excitement is contagious. He’s so fierce in that show. Hey, that’s the first time I’ve said the word “fierce!” That’s the second!
10:19p: I just wish “Kinky Boots” wasn’t actually about a straight dude? I’m really bored of gay stories being told via straight people. Anyway. Billy Porter is very cute, and I’m so relieved he won.
10:22p: Tracy Letts wins for Best Actor in a Play. I just remembered that he’s an actor and not just a playwright. Life!
10:23p: “In Memoriam,” starring Will Schuester’s tie and Cyndi Lauper’s mohawk.
10:25p: “Is this a tribute number or a tv high school lesbian sex scene?” –Intern Madi
10:28p: So when is Patti LuPone going to appear in a cloud of smoke? I hope it’s during the “Kinky Boots” performance for maximum impact.
10:32p: These teleprompters are show-stopping, LITERALLY. #dadjokes
10:33p: Jake Gyllenhaal is presenting because his name was drawn at the “we need to have one outrageously hot famous guy at the Tonys” reaping.
10:35p: Somewhere, someone is transcribing Cicely Tyson’s speech for Best Actress so that she can use it as an audition monologue for community theater. Incredible.
10:40p: PATINA MILLER! BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY! I am straight-up swooning over here, y’all.
10:44p: “Kinky Boots,” doing their best Ok Go impression
10:45p: I’m sorry that I don’t like “Kinky Boots.” Forgive me.
10:52p: I was kidding about Patti LuPone, but THERE YOU ARE. (Zing.)
10:53p: “Pippin” wins Best Revival of a Musical, which Patti is apparently very pleased with.
11:00p: “Welcome back to the Tony Awards. Have the gay person next to you describe what’s happening because it’s already 11:00 and the time for giving you context has long passed.”
11:02p: Bernadette Peters: Diva of the Century
11:03p: “Kinky Boots” wins Best Musical. A SHOW CALLED KINKY BOOTS IS THE OVERALL BEST MUSICAL THAT OPENED THIS YEAR. I’m not sure, but I feel like we can do better.
11:04p: Neil Patrick Harris is rapping! Audra McDonald is singing! My eyes have turned into hearts and are exploding into fireworks!
11:06p: AUDRA MCDONALD WITH THE MIC DROP. TONY AWARDS OUT.
And that’s the end! Thanks for sticking with it. I correctly guessed 12 out of 26 awards, which is pretty good for me! Here is a full list of the winners. How do you feel about all of this? What was your favorite NPH moment? Why can’t I call him anything but his full name? Has anyone set up a parody Twitter for Patina Miller’s arms yet? Comment with your answers!
“Gilmore Girls: The Musical,” coming to Broadway in 2014. If you can dream it, you can live it.