Monday, June 16, 2008

The Best and Worst of the 2008 Tony Awards


Every year I look forward to the Tony Awards, and every year I'm just a bit disappointed. Sure, there were some deserving winners (In the Heights, August Osage County, South Pacific, Patti Lupone, Laura Benanti, Paulo Szot, Deanna Dunagan and Rondi Reed), but there were also some ho-hum performances, a no-show from Stephen Sondheim and a disappointing Rent reunion.

Well, you win some, you lose some.

Here's my take on the Best and Worst of the 2008 Tony Awards:

The Best
1. In the Heights performs "$96,000" and wins best musical
Easily the most spirited and well-produced number of the evening, In the Heights likely sold a lot of tickets with this performance, not to mention Lyn Manuel Miranda's charming acceptance speech for Best Score. Oh yeah -- that top musical prize won't hurt the Box Office either.

2. South Pacific takes home the most awards, and beautifully represents itself with a medley
Definitely the classiest performance, South Pacific got to show off it's Tony nominees Paulo Szot, Kelli O'Hara and Danny Burstein in a mostly well put-together number (the transition from "Some Enchanted Evening" to "Wonderful Guy" seemed a bit rushed to me). Kudos to the stellar Lincoln Center Theater production for taking home all of the Design Awards, as well as trophies for director Bart Sher, leading man Szot and Best Revival. And didn't you just love Andre Bishop's speech?

3. Gypsy brings down the house, and picks up three acting prizes
I probably would have given the Featured Actor award to Passing Strange's Daniel Breaker over Boyd Gaines, but other than that I can't quibble with the prizes for Patti Lupone and Laura Benanti. And how about "Everything's Coming Up Roses"? While I would have prefered "Rose's Turn," there's no denying La Lupone -- and her speech was fabulously over-the-top. Loved it.

4. Stew and Passing Strange give the Tony's a jolt
Passing Strange doesn't easily lend itself to an out-of-context production number, but they got to show off the unique energy of the show, as well as the stellar performances of Breaker, Stew and the rest of the cast. And though Strange didn't take home any major awards (and will likely announce a closing date soon), I was happy to see Stew pick up the prize for Best Book.

5. Xanadu brings a light kick to the proceedings
There one shot at taking home a Tony disappeared early in the evening after Douglas Carter Beane's book lost out to Stew, but their production number was easily the most lighthearted fun of the whole proceedings. And don't even get me started on Cheyenne Jackson in those short-shorts!

Honorable Mentions:
-August Osage County's wins for Rondi Reed, Deanna Dunagan and Best Play
-Boeing Boeing taking out Macbeth for the Best Revival of a Play trophy
-Liza Minelli. Just 'cause.

Coming soon...the WORST of this years's Tony's. Stay tuned!


1 comment:

Katrina said...

seriously I don't understand Passing Strange. That show didn't deserve to be nominated at all.

I was kind of sad that Jesse L. Martin wasn't at the RENT reunion and I agree with you. I wish they would have done more than that just a edited version of Seasons of Love. I also was disappointed at some of the audience's reactions. Bradley Whitford who for the most part I like but he just had this bored look on his face. It was rather annoying

So Glad South Pacific won.. Bret did an amazing job with The Light in the Piazza so I'm really glad he won.