Monday, June 8, 2009
Good morning, readers!
Let's kick-off with a confession: I am quite skeptical of bloggers and blogging. Nobody needs to know if my lunch sandwich was tuna or peanut butter, or what I had for dinner last night (for the record: it was a stunning grilled pork tenderloin on the grill, corn on the cob, asparagus, and a moment of salad. Plus ice cream while watching the Tony Awards). But when Justin approached me about guesting on his blog this week, and I realized that with Twitter and Skype and Gawker and Hoochie Man, I am slowly but surely fading with the times. I'm an admitted luddite; I refuse to accept the Kindle trend (I much prefer the paper and glue smell of books), and I refuse to set up a real, true-blue blog of my own. Despite my devotion to stringing words together in pleasing and witty ways.
HOWEVER - Justin can be quite persuasive; and I am quite interested in seeing if I can keep up this commitment over a week's time. So wish us both luck.
Last night, the 2009 Tony Awards were broadcast in all their abridged glory on CBS. I use the word "abridged" because, like the last few years on the Tony broadcast, they have cut the creative awards from the primetime show - AND made no bones about a blatant bid for commercialism. Hence last night's iffy performances by touring shows around the country, a cameo by Dolly Parton (whom they flashed back to when she didn't win the Tony for Best Score - she waved like the friendly trooper she is, then got the hell out of there), and a very strange 1-2-3 by the casts of Guys&Dolls / West Side Story, followed by the rock band Poison, and THEN having Stockard Channing stroll on semi-belting a Rodgers and Hart tune. Odd blend of show business and, well, um, BUSINESS.
The NYTimes is right - the oddest moment of the opening number was Channing flirting with the dead boy in NextToNormal - despite his protests that he's "alive" - and trying to harmonize as they walk backwards off the stage. You know Stockard was doing shots backstage before coming back on to dance with the smelly tribe from Hair during the finale.
All in all, though, from the vantage point of a Fire Island television, the show was quite fun, albeit with nary an upset. The last few years of the Tony Awards have been greeted with pretty near-locks in all the categories pretty much since the day the nominations are announced; any attempts at suspense created by the producers and/or agents is met with shrugs and indifference: Geoffrey Rush, Alice Ripley, Marcia Gay Harden, the kiddies from Billy Elliot (how about that photo op backstage - crazy staring Ripley with those three? Like an alternate version of "The Shining"), etc etc etc. All were predicted, and all won. The closest upset was when the writers of NextToNormal (deservedly) beat Elton John for Best Original Score - and then, with all the hoopla over not paying the writers due respect, had their mic turned off during their thank yous!
(Somebody who did not get her mic turned off during her acceptance speech was Ms. Liza May Minnelli - and you knew that she wouldn't because a.) she's a "national treasure" according to the producer of her show; b.) she mentioned those two golden words - her Ace in the Hole: "my parents." You don't turn off Liza when she's talking Judy and Vincent, y'all.)
The highlight for me, of course, was Ms. Angela Lansbury finally receiving a standing ovation at the Tonys (remember the year that she opened the show between the lines of dancers from A Chorus Line and Ethan Hawke refused to applaud her?) when she won her fifth Tony for Blithe Spirit. It's been thirty years since Lansbury won her last Tony (for Sweeney Todd!) and it was a graceful tribute that the Emmys never seem to recognize. The fact I could be sitting and watching a legend be recognize while dipping my feet in the Atlantic Ocean was worth all the razzmatazz that one suffers through along with it.
And yes, Neil Patrick Harris' finale number was indeed witty and clever - and unapologetically theatrical. None of this will matter tomorrow, but tonight ...