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2011 Tony Awards - Still Mostly for "The Gays"

 

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Despite the 65th Tony Award's delightful opening number - "Broadway - it's not for Gays Anymore!" - this TV special still remains the special province of gays, even more so than the Academy Awards.  The Tonys have never been gayer, with overt references, gay-themed jokes and the easy mention of same-sex partners in acceptance speeches.  How refreshing is that?

 

  • As fine as Sutton Foster's rendition was, I'm still partial to Patti LuPone's sassy performance of Anything Goes from the 1988 Tonys telecast.  I was somewhat surprised the musical's producers didn't choose to do a different number from the show this time around, perhaps Blow Gabriel Blow.

 

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  • Besides the Neil Patrick Harris' dazzling opening I thought the other great numbers were from How to Succeed in Business, Catch Me If You Can, and The Book of Mormon.

 

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  • I got a kick out of Christie Brinkley in her Vanna White-like gown and the wide-eyed enthusiasm she showed.  (At first I thought she was on stage to announce the night's lottery numbers!)  She sort of had a Connie-Stevens-from-the-early 1960s look going on.

 

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  • The acceptance speeches by Ellen Barkin, Frances McDormand, and Sutton Foster were all wonderfully heartfelt.  However, as terrific as McDormand's speech was, her "outfit" was by far the worst of the night's award winners.  (Whoopie Goldberg's was the worst dressed of the night's presenters.)   It looked like she had been ready for bed, remembered she needed milk, threw on a jacket over her nightgown and ran to the store, and on the way home decided to drop in on the Tonys. 

 

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  • Mark Relyance's win for Best Actor in a Play for Jerusalem was the closet the night had to an upset.  Like his acceptance speech three years ago for Boeing, Boeing, this year's was equally head-scratching.

 

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  • Although uncharacteristically low-key, Larry Kramer's brief acceptance speech for The Normal Heart winning Best Revival of a Play, was, nonetheless, touching and passionate.  (It was amusing that he came across as a kindly, avuncular sort.)  I'm glad the show's "timekeepers" allowed him a few extra minutes.

 

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  • Wearing a sparkly black shirt, Book of Mormon co-creator Trey Parker was one of the gayest looking men in the audience.  And he also seemed to be one of the most excited of the night's winners. 

 

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  • Props to Brooke Shields for displaying such poise and grace during her multiple flubs on live TV.   

 

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  • I was surprised that Norman Leo Butz seemed to mention everyone under the sun, but Catch Me If You Can's dashing young star Aaron Tveit.  However, two nights later he emotionally rectified this oversight during the curtain call at the end of Catch Me if You Can's performance.

 

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  • Finally, I got a lascivious chuckle when during their duet Neil Patrick Harris sang to Hugh Jackman, "If I'm the bottom, then you're the top".  

 

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It's shows such as this and the Kennedy Center Honors that brings to mind CBS's old reputation as the "Tiffany Network".  Kudos to the network for its continued support of the Tonys, a show for the few million of us with sophisticated tastes.  (In addition to this recap I've also published recaps for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 telecasts.)

 

 

Comments

Darrell

Like you, I saw the '88 "Anything Goes" live. However, unlike you, I also saw the '11 production. I enjoy Patti LuPone and enjoyed the '88 performance. However, the '88 video looks soooo static compared to Sutton Foster. Patti sings, and then recedes to the background. Those on top of the ship merely bounce. The entire new production is kinetic and tightly executed. Patti is the matron of Broadway musicals. Sutton, who sings, acts and dances very well, is the vivacious present.

As a whole, I enjoyed the entire show, including Mark Rylance. That's what live television is for. And the closing rap, like last year's, was great, especially considering it being composed as the show went on. I don't know what Frances McDormand's issue was. Even her post acceptance photos look like mug shots. I would be curious about the backstory there. I liked Whoopi's hat, just like I liked Aretha's hat @ the inauguration. She's a comedienne/actress! Like Sutton Foster, N. L. Butz seems to be great in anything he does, even if the show's a stinker. I saw him in "Thou Shalt Not" and "Is He Dead?"

Also, plaudits to the production staff/crew for pulling this off, with no stage wings nor pit @ the Beacon. CBS did a wonderful job of showcasing its intereior. If you haven't been there, since its facelift, check it out while it still has that "new hall look."

Linda Seitz


Wished I had seen more of the show so I could comment better. I enjoyed the comments made by you and Darrell. I liked what I did see. Glad to be one of the special people to a certain extent this year!

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