Some Thoughts, Questions About The Tony Awards Telecast

Kind of a disappointing show after last year's "Hamilton" sweep -- which only proves it's not about suspense but celebration.

Some random takes:

Most were sympathetic and supportive about Kevin Spacey as host. (Who can't identify being chosen last for the team in gym class?) But the opening number just wasn't first rate. Of course, the nature of the leading shows didn't give much to play with but it just looked thrown together.. Colbert appeared as if he didn't; show up to rehearsal and Whoopi looked ill-prepared, too. The Billy Crystal clip seemed like an add-on,

Spacey's impressions didn't land all that well -- Johnny Carson, who;'s that? younger viewers might say -- and though the Frank Underwood/"House of Cards" bit was fun, it's the Tonys, not the Emmys. And "Doug" should have at least killed someone. 

Could someone cheer (or wake) Kevin Kline up? But at least he remembered to thank mentors, teachers and the NEA just as the music came on.

Gavin Creel was inspiring thanking his teachers and college and bringing it home that it starts ion the schools. 

Where was any image or mention of "Anastasia," one of the new shows grossing more than a million dollar a week. "War Paint "and "Bandstand" didn't receive best new musical nods yet they both received full numbers. Perhaps the producers didn't pony up for the cost of doing the number on TV. Bottom line: This is a major show on Broadway this season that is grossing $1.1 million last week and deserved to be acknowledged that it exists.


I wonder if there was backlash against producer Scott Rudin's strategy this year. Obviously, Hello, Dolly and Bette had to be recognized but I wonder if the media blitz for "A Doll's House, Pt. 2," which many I talked to thought was indeed the best play of the season, cost it the win.  (Penny for the thoughts of that play's investors at the cost of that media campaign and those full and multi-page ads for the show week after week.)

Yes, it looked like the Rebecca Taichman win as director of the play "Indecent" was an upset but that play -- which she began to nurture since she was a grad student at Yale -- was her baby and the journey it took with her was epic. The show, as wonderful as Paula Vogel's script is, was so dependent on its integrated presentation of text, music, dance and performance in creating the  complete experience. On that basis, you could say the choice was obvious.

Then why didn't Rachel Chavkin get the directing award for the musical "Natasha and Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812." After all, the immersive staging is the first thing folks remember about that splendid show. Well, you got me. All those I talked with thought it was between her and Michael Greif for "Dear Evan Hansen." I'm glad Chris Ashley was recognized but the win was a bit of a surpriseBut happy to see producer Sue Frost looking so ecstatic. How she and her team ferried "Come From Away" is nothing less than heroic.

I wonder what Bette was thinking as she watched full cast after full cast perform numbers from all the musicals. Did she have at least a tad of regret wishing her cast could show to the world what their production was like? David Hyde Pierce is a swell performer but his "Penny" looked puny.

I've heard all the arguments about having the cluster-you-know-what on stage for the big awards but these people are Investors, not producers. This isn't high school and adults needn't have a "good job for giving us money" medal. Hey, maybe "Doug" could have knock them off as they left their seats. 

The show that a newbie would most want to see after watching the show: "The Great Comet," 2) "Dear Evan Hansen."  Least: "War Paint," save for the costumes. The songs in that show are just so, well, literal. I started to drift somewhere in the middle of the number and began doing my nails. There's something wrong with a show when the two powerhouse leads don't even LOOK at each other until the final second. 

Favorite speeches: Could the composers of "Dear Evan Hansen" be more excited -- and thankfully, prepared to speak so well -- and fast.. Benj Pasek and Westport's Justin Paul (who got a big career boost at Goodspeed Musicals developing "James and there Giant Peach") are on the verge of something else pretty terrific. First an Oscar (for their lyrics to "La La Land," now a Tony. Inevitably a Grammy. Which just leaves an Emmy which is possible -- all in one year (!) after their "A Christmas Story" musical gets the TV treatment later this year. Not enough? They're creating the tunes for the all-original feature film musical starring Hugh Jackman, "The Greatest Showman," about. Bridgeport's P.T. Barnum." It will be released around Christmastime.


Closing song with Spacey and Patti LuPone with winners hanging out join the background was a real hunt? moment.. (But knowing Spacey's Bopbby Darrin fixation, perhaps that was simply part of the deal. to get him to host. Sounds like an Underwood move.)  It was a sluggish song that ended the evening with a whimper. A penny for Patti's thoughts as she waited for her turn to sing.

 The Hollywood Reporter reports the show drew a modest 4.7 metered market household rating against the deciding game in the Stanley Cup Final. That was down -31% from last year’s 6.8 rating for the Tonys, which also faced the Stanley Cup Finals. The Tonys’ delivery also was below the 2015 show (5.1), which aired opposite the highly rated NBA Finals.

Nationally the show averaged 6 million viewers and a 0.9 adults 18-49 Live+same day rating, down -31% and -44%, respectively, from 2016.