Some viewers may have braced themselves for serious withdrawal upon the news that Neil Patrick Harris wasn't hosting this year's Tony Awards. However, the telecast offered up a two-fer. Not only did we get strapping Hugh Jackman as host, but Neil Patrick Harris was still present as he performed and made an acceptance speech after winning a Tony. And like NPH, Jackman was a ball of good-humored energy. Whereas NPH is cute and impish in an elf-like way, Jackman is leading man handsome and debonair with a playful side. And the show's opening number showed that the 45-year-old was as fit as 40-year-old NPH.
I enjoyed the opening although I was scratching my head over it. After the show I discovered that the hopping idea came from the number Take Me to Broadway from the 1953 movie Small Town Girl. (Musician Peter Wolf's 1987 music video for the song Come As You Are was also a tribute to this number.) It might have been helpful if Hugh mentioned this fact (he did sing the title, but with no context). Nonetheless, it was fun and I liked how Hugh interacted with the casts of the nominated musicals. What was especially impressive was that he didn't appear to break a sweat nor was he noticeably winded.
I was quite entertained with Jackman's rendition of Rock Island from The Music Man, and it was further enhanced when he brought out rappers LL Cool J and TI to preform it as a rap song.
For me, the highlight of the telecast was Carole King introducing the musical number from Beautiful and then singing a duet of I Feel the Earth Move with the show's star, Jessie Mueller (who later won for her role).
Two award winners, Darko Tresnjak (Gentleman's Guide) and Neil Patrick Harris (Hedwig & the Angry Inch) gave their respective husbands on-camera kisses. And when he peformed as Hedwig NPH gave his hubby a very passionate kiss (almost as passionate as the one Al Gore planted on Tipper at the 2000 Democratic Convention!)
I thoroughly enjoyed the numbers from Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway and Beautiful.
I was touched by the last line of Lena Hall's giddy acceptance speech after winning for her performance in Hedwig - "Friendship is magic."
Audra McDonald always gives a heartfelt, emotionally gratifying acceptance speech and this year's was no different - for her sixth Tony Award. (I think what gave her the edge in the voting was her role as Mother Superior in NBC's live telecast of The Sound of Music last November.) And the camera caught her husband, Will Swenson, wiping away tears and looking very proud.
I found it amusing that Kenny Leon's wife was staring directly into the camera when his nomination for Best Director of a Play was announced (he won for Raisin in the Sun).
Then there was this adorable photo bomb by the son of Ramin Karimloo (from Les Miserables) as nominee Jarrod Spector's face was being shown (for his role in Beautiful). But by the time Karimiloo's name was announced for his nomination later in the show, the little tyke was asleep and Karimiloo playfully tried to hush the audience (and there was yet another adorable son at his side).
Sutton Foster and Ru Paul were pretty in pink (bringing to mind the time when Michelle Obama and Ann Romney both wore pink dresses to one of the presidential debates).
Jackman's playful interaction with each actress nominated for Lead Actress in a Musical was fun.
Bare chests! There were four of them: Adam Jacobs from Aladdin (pictured), Andy Karl and Terrence Archie (pictured) from Rocky and Alan Cumming from Cabaret.
Judith Light's hair was a mess (the Cameron Diaz look) but Zach Brach's was even worse.
Every song Idina Menzel sings sounds the same (aka Celine Dion syndrome).
The number from A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Marriage left me cold. I saw the show and this was not the best number. And I don't think it's going to drive audiences to the box office.
The 10th anniversary of Wicked was highlighted but it was also the 10th anniversary of Avenue Q beating out Wicked for Best Musical (that wasn't mentioned).
Kenneth Branagh's charcoal suit was very shiny.
During NPH's acceptance speech he told his twins that hed be back soon to spend time with them and read bedtime stories, so he's letting us know that he's not going to be in Hedwig very much longer.
While it was great to see Jennifer Hudson, who looked stunning, perform a song, the show it's from has yet to appear on Broadway. It came near the end of the telecast, pushing it past 11:00, so those taping lost the announcement of the award for Best Musical at 11:04. (Sting's number earlier in the telecast was also for a show not yet on Broadway.)
At least 13 gay men and lesbians got camera time and surely there were more that I missed, or I was unsure about their sexual orientation (e.g., Warren Carlyle and David Binder).
- Matt Bomer (presenter)
- Alan Cumming (Cabaret)
- Harvey Fierstein (presenter)
- Jonathan Groff (presenter)
- Neil Patrick Harris (preformed; award winner for Hedwig)
- Cherry Jones (nominee)
- Michael Mayer (Hedwig)
- Terrence McNally (stage appearance)
- John Cameron Mitchell (stage appearance/Hedwig)
- Rosie O'Donnell (presenter; recipient of honorary award winner)
- Zachary Quinto (presenter)
- RuPaul (presenter)
- Darko Tresnjak (award winner, Gentleman's Guide)
This year I snapped photos from the TV screen (couldn't have done it without the DVR!). Here are some miscellaneous shots I liked: