Broadway Musical Musings: Tony Baloney and Other Stories
Well, we are almost to the end of our wait and the Tony Awards will be given out this weekend. There has been a tremendous amount of hoopla leading up to the awards, something I affectionately refer to as “Tony Baloney.” I don’t know if there have always been this many publicity stunts surrounding the awards, or if certain theatre websites are just running out of other things to talk about, filling the void with the news of every photoshoot and luncheon that the awards season brings. I always liked that New York theatre took a reserved approach to handing out accolades, keeping it classy and about the work, without getting too caught up in the flash and trash aspect. Certainly, these hardworking artists deserve to be recognized for their work, I just hope that the current trend of over-promotion is not a necessity born out of keeping up with other awards shows. Surely, the trophy is enough.
Growing up, the Tony Awards were always a religious experience for me as I sat there in my upstate New York, country home, experiencing my one connection to live theatre a year. My parents were not theatergoing folk, so I could only live vicariously through the Tony broadcasts that I videotaped, replayed and memorized. I can probably quote every acceptance speech from the 1990 Awards shows (City of Angels, Grand Hotel) I played it so often. Every year was an exciting year and I have almost always been invested. I wish that were the case this year. With the foregone conclusion that Hamilton will win many of the awards this Sunday, my interest in this year’s telecast is more remote than usual. I feel like there are so few surprises in store that the only reason to watch is for the scenes from shows (which, honestly, I can watch on YouTube the next day). People keep asking me “What are your Tony predictions?” and all I can reply is that “I predict it will be predictable.” Is there even one category where we really think we are going to be gobsmacked by the results? I sure hope we get one or two surprises.
In other news, I am quite dismayed to hear that the Lincoln Center revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I has announced that it will close. I am also excited to be seeing it this Friday, especially after hearing all of the sparkling reviews that Marin Mazzie has been getting since entering the role of Anna Leanowens. How wonderful it is to have Ms. Mazzie back on Broadway, a picture of good health, once again giving a celebrated performance. I first saw Mazzie in Passion back in 1994 and would go on to be awed by her performances in Kiss Me, Kate, Man of La Mancha, and Ragtime. What a truly luminous star of the stage. Speaking of Tony Awards, isn’t it about time she won one? I can think of no one more deserving.