Tony Aftermath

The very first thing one should know is that after last night's Tony Awards, the Tony voters went back to their nursing homes, took their prescriptions, and went to bed for another year. It's rumoured that the average age of a Tony voter is 80.

So, let's get serious here. (Still, I would be very much interested in a demographic survey; it might explain a few things.) Going to the Tonys was a very exciting experience, as usual. I've been going for years and never tire of it. A whole group of us met 65 floors up at the Rainbow Room for drinks. Well, it was packed, but still a lot of fun meeting everyone.

Radio City Music Hall is simply an awesome theater and our seats were front mezzanine so we had perfect views. We, like viewers on TV, watched the PBS special, which I thought was very nicely done. As far as the awards, well, I thought all was going well until Best Play - then things went wacky. I mean, everything was pretty much predictable up to that point. Audience gasps could be heard throughout the theater when Art was announced as the winner. Everyone was turning around and looking quizzically at each other as if to say Do you believe that? And it's still hard to believe. The Beauty Queen of Leenane takes Best Director of a Play and 3, count them folks, 3 major acting awards, and doesn't get Best Play. Perhaps, it is only a writing award, and performance and direction have nothing to do with whether a play is Best Play. Go figure.

Overheard at Joe Allen by a cast member of Art after the Tonys:
"I can't believe we won that."

Well, neither can I.

Okay, here's where I eat crow. Ragtime. Plain and simple, Drabinsky and company wuz robbed. But it happens every year, and it's impossible to figure out. Before I get into the Best Actor category, I have to admit that Alan Cumming turns in a sensational performance in Cabaret, which I caught yesterday afternoon. However, his performance is one dimensional to a degree. Because it's a character role, his singing and dancing skills, or lack thereof, are perfect. I found it all very one dimensional and was quite stunned when he won the award for Best Actor in a Musical, especially after having seen Brian Stokes Mitchell in Ragtime five times. I still think Stokes is giving the performance of a lifetime and is a winner in my book.

Having said that, though, and I'm not back-pedalling here. If it weren't for Stokes, I would have been with Cumming all the way. It's just my vote as a fan. I could have lived with a tie. Anyhow, another case of robbery. Last year Cuccioli was robbed, and now Stokes. Oh well, welcome to the club, Stokes. And throw in Mazzie, too. To even compare her performance to the other nominees was unthinkable to me. Oh, Natasha was good in Cabaret, with the same skills as Cumming, or lack thereof, and she is a fine actress, as is Alan an actor. Nonetheless...

The Best Musical Award to The Lion King? I'm sure both camps know they have a good musical on their hands, but to even compare them is an impossibility in my book. Fools can't explain it... and wise men won't even try.

After the Awards we headed over to Joe Allen for a late supper with 14 Talkin' Broadway staff members, and we had a wonderful time talking about the Awards. Just as people were posting on our forum here, we were doing the same thing. I thought it was quite nice of Chris, the Maitre d' at Joe Allen, to throw a few tables together for us. There were seven columnists/writers at one table, and then we had to get a third table to accommodate everyone else.

Overheard at the next table as Joel passed by: "Oh, Joel let me ask you this, how did you feel about the Cabaret awards?" "I don't think I'm the right person to answer that," said the wise Mr. Grey.

Joe Allen was packed with everyone in formal attire. There was so much buzz in the air over the Tony Awards and some of the controversial winners that it made for an exciting evening.

In closing, I'd like to congratulate all the winners especially Alan Cumming, Natasha Richardson, and the producers of The Lion King and Art for a job well done. Opinions vary on the outcome, but those nominated should feel they were in good company. To me, to be nominated is an accomplishment in itself.

Next year though, I believe the American Theatre Wing should send Prozac with the Tony ballots to the voters.


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