Monday, June 10, 2013

Random Acts of Tony.

"Climb Ev'ry Tony!"
There is not one new musical up for an award this season I am even remotely interested in seeing. Between the blah new shows, and the avalanche of 1970s and ‘80s revivals, I was just too bored to write a full recap/review of The Tony Awards Show. Here are just some random thoughts that crossed my alleged mind over the course of watching the telecast.

You know what the fake Tonys on Smash never did? It never trotted out rapist and professional beater-up-of-people Mike Tyson to befoul a Broadway stage.

I figured out what the divine Audra McDonald’s presenter outfit was supposed to be. Someone told her it was a "Fancy Dress" event, and she took the English meaning, "Costume Party," and came dressed as the poster for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. All she needed were the words "We Are Not Alone" tattooed across her forehead.

Her boobs make the glow over the horizon.

It worked because she was presenting with Zack Quinto, who was dressed as "Mr. Spock in 1955."

You barely need a color TV anymore.
Star Trek: Into Dimness.

I’d rather be waterboarded than see one more second of Matilda after enduring that fake classroom full of screeching children. Oh dear, there’s also going to be something from Annie. Shoot me now, please.

Judith Light’s speech could make me nostalgic for award shows where the band plays people off.

Having fictional characters as presenters pretty much strips away the last layer of illusion that these awards are meaningful and real. It no longer qualifies as "Reality TV." Next the characters from Smash will be handing out Tonys: "Since we won the Tony for Best Musical two weeks ago, we now get to announce the newer, realer winner of "Best musical."

And then, when we got to the presenters from Once, the characters were "Guy" and "Girl." We've now gone from real people to fictional characters, and then from fictional characters to Generic Character Tropes.

Hold on! "Guy" isn't a guy, it's Rory Pond nee Williams, from Doctor Who. A fellow who takes his wife's name and drops his own isn't a "guy" in my book, or at least in my blog, which this is, so he isn't.

"Guy" oustside his enormous Pandorica.

Cinderella is not much of a show, but it was nice to hear some actual Richard Rogers melodies. By the way, about "Prince Charming": Cindi can do better. "Prince Meh" is more like it.

Good Grief, one of The Smith Brothers just won Best Sound Design. That seems an awfully big award just to give someone for finding a way to silence audience coughing.

If I yank on his beard, will it reveal Kevin Spacey?

If you had a cute eight year old who could dance, would you want him playing Michael Jackson? Well, I suppose it’s better, and safer, than having him meet the real one.

Cindi Lauper said she’d practiced her speech in front of the shower curtain for a few days. Her hair looked like she’d slept on a shower curtain for a few days. I think this may have been the very first time I ever found myself watching Cindi Lauper and thinking: "Get off the stage."

Okay, an army of Spider-Men introduced the inhuman torture that is a chorus of little Girls belting out that shrill horror of the American Theater, It’s A Hard Knock Life. Oh, if only the little girls had seen the Spider-Men, shrieked "Ew! Spiders! Run!" and they all then fled the stage without singing that hideous number.

So neither Derek nor Tom won Best Director of a Musical after all? Well, that was much-plot-ado-about-nothing, which, come to think of it, describes the entire run of Smash. Turns out it went to a woman for directing a circus. I was hoping Susan Strohman would get it for Imitation of Life. Anyone who could make that slushy, dated soap opera almost interesting for two hours deserves every award out there.

(In the hilarious 1959 movie of Imitation of Life, there’s an emotional moment when John Gavin snaps at Lana Turner: "Stop acting!" I’ve never seen it without thinking: "STOP acting? What are you talking about? I’m still waiting for her to START acting!")

And that's just what she does. John & Lana Imitate Life unconvincingly.

They’re giving Tonys to straight plays again? When did that restart? They sure weren’t doing that two weeks ago. (On Broadway, the term "Straight Play," means something entirely different from what civilians mean by "Straight Play." What non-theater folk mean by a "Straight Play" does not exist on Broadway. On Broadway, it just means "A musical with all the songs cut.")

Are they sure they want to bring out Cuba Gooding Junior? The Oscars made the error of giving him an award many years ago now in a rush of as-it-turned-out-baseless enthusiasm for his - ah - talent, and they’ve regretted it ever since. He’s doing a play on Broadway, is he? What’s the Broadway equivalent of straight-to-video? No "Original Cast" CD?

"Hey, pretty white boy, I so dazzled and distracted them with these abs that they lost track of what they were doing and accidentally gave me an Oscar. I was hoping for a Tony too, but my abs are 16 years older, and people keep looking at Cecily Tyson like she's all hot or something."

Oh, Andrea Martin can run on all she likes. I love her so much, I’m okay with just hearing her babble. (And she won that Tony for singing a song while hanging UPSIDE DOWN, performing a trapeze act as she warbles, in her mid-60s! She should get a Pulitzer!)

"Good Lovin’." What is this? Shindig in 1968? When did the Tonys become about fat, elderly rockers? It’s supposed to be about fat elderly Broadway divas. Where’s Liza?

I think I can skip the touring company of The Testament of Mary.

Now I saw the movie of The Lion King, and thought: "Eh? I’ve seen Hamlet done better." However, Simba in the movie was just a cartoon lion. He lacked the spectacular mantits on the guy playing Simba on the Tonys last night. "Hello, Kitty! Can I Feel Your Love Tonight?"

"Simba, darling, Rowr! (Lose the other pussies.)"

Given what an Amazon Sigourney Weaver is and what a hobbit Michael Bloomberg is, her kissing his ass without actually stooping over was more acrobatic than anything in Pippin.

Every time someone from Annie came out, I found myself tempted to switch over to the Game of Thrones finale, and I’ve never even seen any of its other episodes. (On The Tonys, they'd have "The Gay Red Wedding.")

Harold Prince came out to celebrate the 25-years-and-still-running show Phantom of the Opera, which exists to prove that, on Broadway, you don’t have to be any good to be a smashing success, nor be rotton to be a crashing failure. (People who saw Cats have also learned this weird fact.) The audience at Radio City Music Hall were very polite and patient about having to sit through the lengthy Phantom excerpt on top of all the Annie crap.

So Billy Porter, the fast-reading drag queen who won for Kinky Boots, didn’t just get a job, acclaim and a Tony for work in this show; he was also, he said, "Healed." Is it a musical show or a Christian Science Reading room?

Is Matthew Broderick still doing that show he got fat for on Broadway last year? Because he’s still fat.

So Tony show designers, what did eliminating podiums do for the show? It forced winner after winner to set their award on the floor (where it was quickly scooped up by a person whose sole function seemed to be "Tony Scooper"), while they fished out and read their speech notes. Please remember, designers, that form FOLLOWS function. Award shows have podiums for a reason.

Hey! They left Ray Harryhausen out of the Dead Folks Montage! You try using stop-motion animation in a live show some time, I dare you.

"You think Liza Minnelli is real? I animated her, frame by frame."

Andy Griffith is still dead? It seems like he’s been in every dead folks montage for the last three years now.

Why wasn’t Smash included in the "In Memorium" segment?

R.I.P. Smash.
("Psst, Debra, you were only nominated for a pretend Tony. These are the real ones.")

Did they bring on "Velma Kelly" twice because no one has any idea who is playing her now, 17 years into the run? In any event, "Velma," if you don’t know your lines, then know where your teleprompter is.

You could take an entire trip to Bountiful, and back again, in the time it took Cecily Tyson to get to the stage. Fortunately, since she isn't a man, she stopped and asked for directions enroute - twice! She was wearing a lovely purple wad of clothing. Please tell me that she’s not related to Mike Tyson. (Well, someone beat up her frock, and it didn't look like Chris Brown's type.)

"I'm terribly sorry, but I seem to have slept in my frock. Are there beets? I was promised beets. The last time I was promised beets, it just turned out to be okra. This wig is heavy."

(Cecily, when they’ve been playing you off for 30 seconds or more, one "Thank you" is sufficient. You needn’t do five.")

Patina Mitchell won Best Actress in a Musical primarily for acting near and under a 66 year-old Andrea Martin, flailing about on a trapeze in mid-air above her. Think how distracted you'd be trying to sing with your grandmother doing mid-air somersaults through flaming hoops five inches above your hair!

How gay is Broadway? Well, Bombshell lost out to a show about footware. The producer of Kinky Boots told us that it was a show about accepting "Other people who might be a bit different than we are," in other words, about accepting those people who watched the Game of Thrones season finale last night instead of The Tonys, and even people who like sports. No, seriously. (However, I draw the line at people who like Mike Tyson.)

Still they have not learned that when a show has already run five minutes overtime, no one wants a funny "Finale." Say, "Thank you," and then shut up and go to the bar. The line forms behind me.

Cheers, darlings.

The creative team of Kinky Boots celebrates their triumph.
[And then stop watching all this theater crap and buy and read a copy of my new book, Tallyho, Tallulah!, which is all about doing a play in live theater. But did I win a Tony? No? Well, excuuuuuse meeeee!]