Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Whoopi: Thoughts on the Tony Awards (part I)

Although I was fairly positive at an hour into the three-hour televised event that has become the Tony Awards Ceremony, I must admit that, overall, I felt a little "meh" over the entire thing. It wasn't the worst Tony Awards show ever, but it all just seemed a little flat (for a full recap of the entire evening, check out Television Without Pity). There were a few very nice moments tempered with a liberal dosage of WTF? ones (Mark Rylance, I'm looking at you). As the dust settles, here is my take on the Tonys (part I).

The host - While Whoopi's attempt to have a surprising entrance based on every show on Broadway became a little tedious (the very thought of A Chorus Line starring just Whoopi and Mario Lopez is enough to scare me), she wasn't a terrible host. I must admit that she had a few inspired moments, and the scene with her and the Phantom was kind of awesome. I also loved that she inadvertently smacked down Clarence Thomas. It probably was a genuine mistake, but I still thought it was funny.

"Best New Musical" production numbers - I was underwhelmed by some of the production numbers from the new musicals this year.
  • Although I'm not familiar with Passing Strange, I wasn't terribly keen on its number, which reminded me of an amalgam of "Light My Candle" from Rent and the choreography from last year's Spring Awakening excerpt.
  • I liked the number from In the Heights simply because it seemed very original. The music was good, and the choreography was awesome - it had an authentic feel without being too disorganized or messy. Kudos to the fact that they managed to feature the entire company on stage without it looking or sounding fragmented. Too many shows try to shoehorn the entire cast and it looks really awkward (i.e. the Mary Poppins number from last year).
  • Xanadu was okay - nothing horrible, nothing great. Like In the Heights, they were able to include the entire cast in an organic way and still feature the main characters prominently (a difficult feat in and of itself). The little moment with Tony Roberts was nice, and Cheyenne Jackson is nice to look at.
  • I almost forgot Cry-Baby (which should tell us all something). It looked fun enough, but it is certainly no Hairspray. The choreography was very clever, the music not so much.
Part II is coming soon...