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I've talked plenty about this year's TONY Awards already... I know this is a film blog but June is a special theatrical time. I can't help it. So herewith a brief review and then we return you to your normally scheduled film programming.
The performance from The Drowsy Chaperone made me grin from ear to ear and also had the partygoers at my apartment laughing heartily (most hadn't seen the show). Here it is.
I liked Julia Roberts gracious compliments to the theatrical community. As to other film and television personalities that dip in the theater and were there... Anna Paquin, Lauren Ambrose, Paul Rudd, and Alfre Woodard all looked particularly good last night. Beautiful. I liked most of the other performances from nominated musicals too, even if some of them were truncated to the point where you couldn't quite get what was special about them. Nevertheless, this is always the best part of the show. And the main reason for watching since their actual choices for the winners...
...are pretty damn frustrating. The TONYs are, if it's possible, even more frustrating than the Oscars in this way. There can be general consensus that a show will be regarded as a classic and they'll still ignore it for a touristy moneymaker. It's the reason they gave the big prize to Spamalot! over Light in the Piazza last year and the reason Jersey Boys took the big prize from Drowsy Chaperone this year and Pajama Game beat Sweeney Todd, too. In all of those cases, it's a crying shame. The really puzzling thing about this voting trend is that you'll always hear that this happens due to the touring company voting block. They want the ability to advertise the blockbusters on the road as being "Best Musical" winners. That would make perfect sense if they needed that title. The truth is these blockbuster shows that they vote for don't need awards. They usually come ready made for mass public appeal. You can't tell me that a show about a beloved cult film and a jukebox musical about the Four Seasons can't be marketed without that Tony-winning hook. It's the real deal new musicals like Piazza and Chaperone that need this boost. Arrrggh.
Basically I'm always left with the feeling that TONY voters are showbiz whores. And dumb ones at that. If they gave the prizes to the work that deserves it they could make even more money. The shows that sell themselves will keep selling themselves. Duh! The shows that are tougher sells and more deserving and crucial to the survival of the artform they're supposed to be celebrating will be easier to sell if they are given the recognition they deserve.
Click here for a complete list of winners Yes Miranda from Sex and the City and Emperor Palpatine are now TONY winners... and The Color Purple did not suffer the same fate that it suffered at the Oscars.