Ten Best Things About the 2016 Tony Awards
Last night's Tony Awards held few surprises (unfortunately) thanks to the general sweep by Hamilton. However, there were some surprises within the show that made the evening exciting outside of the Lin-Manuel Miranda realm. Here are ten of them in no particular order.
1. Carmen Cusack's voice - The sounds that came out of her mouth made the best case yet for this unique musical that has sadly gotten lost due to the Hamilton juggernaut. I suspect Bright Star won't be with us much longer, but we are sure to see so much more from Cusack. There is a great deal of consolation in that.
2. The casts of Broadway musicals singing classic showtunes outside the Beacon Theatre. It's nice to know that the classics continue to be revered and remembered in a world where what's come before is often ignored and maligned for being old fashioned.
3. The diversity amongst the nominees. It's nice to see a wide contingent of ethnicities, body shapes, and ages represented. It was also a season of strong female roles. Theatre is always about 20 years ahead of Hollywood.
4. Frank Langella's eloquent acceptance speech that addressed the recent atrocities in Orlando. He turned the focus away from himself and brought everyone together.
5. Jane Houdyshell finally winning a much-deserved Tony Award. Her timing in both comedy and drama is a study in how the actress of a certain age remains vital, relevant and trailblazing.
6. "Vanilla Ice Cream" performed by Laura Benanti. Benanti is giving the performance of her career, a wacky and wonderful depiction of Amalia Balash. I'm so glad that her big song was part of the awards night!
7. Speeches remained efficient and meaningful. We were not subjected to too many endless lists of people we don't know. There was also an air of sincerity amongst the winners
8. The lively, wonderfulness and heartfelt sincerity of the scenes from Waitress. This is another musical that deserves better than it got this season, but Hamilton mania relegated it to the barren lands of "also rans" Hopefully, it continues to thrive at the box office and finds its way into audiences' hearts.
9. Donald Trump in The Book of Moron. Do we really need any further explanation?
10. Cynthia Erivo's win for The Color Purple. I haven't seen her performance (yet), but the kick ass cast recording from Broadway Records has become a subject of continuous play for me, thanks largely to Erivo's emotionally raw and heart destroying performance. The role of Celie is one of strength and determination and deserves an actress who will pour her heart and soul into capturing her journey. Erivo is doing that.