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« Cyndi and the EGOT | Main | It's Almost Tony Time! »

2013 Tony Awards Live Blog (UPDATED with video!)

Dancin' Dan here, very excited to start my very first attempt at live-blogging! So, it might not work, but I hope it does. Won't you join me in this adventure?

7:37 - It's almost here! I, for one, cannot wait to see whether Hit List or Bombshell Kinky Boots or Matilda will walk away the big winner on the Musical side of things. I love them both equally, but we will have to see what the Tony voters think! Also very looking forward to Neil Patrick Harris's by-now-traditional closing song recapping the evening. It's pretty much been the highlight of every Tony ceremony he's hosted.

7:58 - Commercial for Motown: The Musical, which is pointedly NOT nominated for Best Musical. Wonder how many other commercials for Broadway shows we'll see tonight... Rest of the evening after the jump.

8:01 - Opening number a take-off of Once (which is completely brilliant and you all should see it ASAP). NPH: "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for someone else passing on hosting. So, thank you Shia LeBoeuf!"

8:03 - Diane Paulus's revival of Pippin is also brilliant, and should win Best Choreography hands down. Mike Tyson cameo is hilarious.

8:05 - NPH to all the Broadway kids: (from Annie and Matilda) "Is there some Broadway day care you all go?" If there isn't there should be.

8:06 - "Can I have my Tom Hooper Les Mis close-up please? See, on Broadway we don't need a close-up to prove we sing live." AWESOME. See, there IS a way to do a great Opening Number to an Award Show!

8:07 - Julia Houston Debra Messing is AMAZED by the opening number, as she should be.

8:10 - Featured Actor in a Play, presented by Zachary Quinto and Audra McDonald to... Courtney B. Vance in Lucky Guy. I was pulling for Billy Magnussen in Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, but Mr. Vance has been away from the theater for a while and was apparently quite good in Lucky Guy (which I haven't seen). Thanks his wife, Angela Bassett (HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS?!) and "George C. Wolfe, George C. Wolfe, George C. Wolfe," which makes Tom Hanks cry.

8:13 - "Revolting Children" from Matilda. This show is SO GOOD, you guys, and the children are all so talented. Bertie Carvel is brilliant as Miss Trunchbull, but I'm still pulling for Billy Porter (as Kinky Boots' Lola) to win Lead Actor. I still don't quite know why they had adults in the children's ensemble, though.

8:18 - Non-televised winners: Costume Design (Play) - Ann Roth for The Nance; Costume Design (Musical) - William Ivey Long for Cinderella. Both no-brainers based on name alone, although they each had worthy competition.

8:21 - NPH's annual play/musical mash-ups: THe Elephant Man of La Mancha; Children of a Lesser Godspell; 42nd Streetcar Named Desire; Cats on a Hot Tin Rood; The Testament of Mary Poppins ("Oh, man. What's Scott Rudin gonna write about that one?"); The Diary of Anne Frank-enstein The Musical ("Too soon? Justin Bieber would have loved that show!"); Caba-Raisin In The Sun; Bring It On Golden Pond (and others). This is why I love NPH, but also why he is perfect for the Tonys specifically.

8:23 - Featured Acress in a Play presented by Tom Hanks to... Judith Light in The Assembled Parties. I can totally see this pulling off a mini-sweep tonight, winning for its actresses and Best Play - although I was pulling in this category for the lovely Condola Rashad in The Trip to Bountiful.

8:26 - I want to make the entrance that "Velma Kelly" just made whenever I enter ANY room.

8:28 - Performance from Bring It On: The Musical, which is more like one of the awful direct-to-DVD sequels the awesome movie has spawned. Literally the only thing it has in common with Bring It On: The Film is cheerleading. The choreography was pretty good, but overall I didn't think the show was very good.

8:32 - One more non-televised award: Best Orchestrations - Stephen Oremus for Kinky Boots, furthering my theory that Kinky Boots will win for Score.

8:38 - Featured Actor in a Musical presented by Scarlett Johansson and Alan Cumming (hilariously mentioning that neither of them were nominated for their work on Broadway this season) to... Gabriel Ebert in Matilda, who is hilarious as Matilda's father. "Honored and humbled and grateful and slightly freaked out" to be mentioned alongside his fellow nominees.

8:40 - Interesting introducing characters from musicals currently on Broadway. Velma Kelly and Mufasa make sense, but the guys from Rock of Ages don't really, especially since they're presenting a number from Cinderella...

8:43 - Okay, that Best Costume award for Cinderella totally seems right after seeing the very cool transformations in this number. "You'd be surprised how many beautiful dresses have crazy women in them," says the Fairy Godmother in Douglas Carter Beane's Tony-nominated new book.

8:50 - OMFG Rory from Doctor Who is now Guy in Once?!?!? I am even more excited to see this show again in a few weeks now!

8:51 - Oliver Platt (as the Spirit of Comedy) and Liam Neeson (as "the Spirit of Tragedy. Screw you!") to introduce the American Theatre Wing. Neeson is hilarious, Platt slightly less so.

8:53 - Martha Plimpton ("It's great to be nominated... and nominated.. .and nominated") and Jon Cryer ("Just an honor to be miscast") present Best Direction of a Musical to... Diane Paulus for the revival of Pippin. I have an issue with this win, being that I came up with this concept first, in college. I will take this as proof that I should win a Tony. "Creativity is a form of knowledge." Love her, even if she did steal my idea.

8:56 - Martha and Jon present Direction of a Play to... Pam McKinnon for the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She thanks Edward Albee for his brilliant play, which she absolutely should since Woolf always manages to be the best, most modern play on the boards every time it's revived.

8:59 - The Jersey Boys present a number from Motown the Musical. They couldn't have had anyone more appropriate intro this show. Except for the fact the Jersey Boys is great and Motown is kind of a slog outside of the music. Odd that a musical not nominated for Best Musical has a featured spot, though. Usually the non-nominated musicals are part of a larger number. The power of Berry Gordy?

9:09 - Jane Krakowski and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (CAST THESE PEOPLE IN MOVIE MUSICALS, HOLLYWOOD!) presented the non-televised awards, and now present Best Score to... Cyndi Lauper for Kinky Boots!!!! She is visibly shocked and humbled, and gets a standing ovation (and a "Girl, you're gonna have fun tonight!" from Jesse Tyler). She practiced in front of a shower curtain for a few days for this. She learned how to sing from her mother's Broadway Cast Recording albums. She is also sporting a red mohawk and gives my favorite acceptance speech of the night so far.

9:14 - Spiderman, for some reason, introduces "Hard Knock Life" from the Annie revival. This show gets a lot of flack because it's so overdone, but there's a reason for that - the score is great, and the current revival is pretty damn good (I was honestly a bit surprised that Lilla Crawford didn't get a Tony nomination for her turn as the title curly-haired moppet). So glad Jane Lynch shows up to do "Little Girls", since I maintain that she should have been cast as Miss Hannigan from the start (much as I love Katie Finneran).

9:23 - The Newsies are back... to present the non-televised Tony for Best Choreography to Jerry Mitchell for Kinky Boots. First real surprise of the night, since Chet Walker's crazy circus choreography in Pippin was jaw-dropping. I can see it, though, since Jerry Mitchell is Jerry Mitchell.

9:25 - The number about moving from Broadway to TV is a genuine surprise since the Andrew Rannells intro is so off-hand. But Megan Hilty (deservedly) gets the biggest applause and Laura Benanti the biggest laughs. Will Chase is sitting to Debra Messing!!!! WHAT IS HAPPENING!?!?!?!?!?

9:28 - That number is why The Tony Awards Show is the Best Awards Show around... including the NPH-delivered kicker: "Coming to a dinner theater near you!"

9:30 - Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Anna Kendrick present the Tony for Featured Actress in a Musical to... Andrea Martin in Pippin!!! This is her second Tony Award, and it is ridiculously deserved. Her trapeze number in Pippin is un-be-fucking-lievable (she sings haning upside down, y'all!) - "Do you know what it's like for a woman my age to be held by a man like that and never dropped?" - and she brings the old-school theatricality to the book scenes as only she can. LOVE HER.

9:32 - Steven Van Zant presenting a look at the Broadway season, scored to a number from his show The Rascals - which turns into just a number from The Rascals ("Good Lovin'". Yes, that "Good Lovin'"). This is so confusing. They couldn't have presented another award live instead? This number makes no sense.

9:40 - Jesse Eisenberg does the traditional montage of Best Play nominees - which amounts to him summarizing the play while a piece of the set from that play comes in behind him, followed by a short clip. I don't know that there is a better way to do this, but they've done this for years and it always feels a bit disingenuous given the big production numbers the musicals (even non-nominated ones!) get.

9:43 - And Jesse presents the Tony for Best Play to... Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike!!! I'm so glad a comedy actually won, as Best Play almost always goes to a drama. And, I'm pretty sure this is playwright Christopher Durang's first Tony, which is amazing considering the many great, hilarious plays he has written.

9:47 - Cute actors and cute dogs: Neil Patrick Harris and Sandy from Annie. NPH is so talented he can even ad lib hilariously with a dog! They present a number from A Christmas Story. (Personal aside: one-half of the songwriting team of this show, Justin Paul, is an alum of the children's musical theater company I worked for as a choreographer my first year out of college. He wasn't there when I was, but everyone couldnt' stop talking about how talented a musician he was. So congrats to Justin on this show and the Tony nomination!)

9:50 - UNBELIEVABLE tap solo from a little boy during the Christmas Story number. Really. AMAZING.

9:56 - NPH is tweeting about how great the show is going, and David Hyde Pierce (I think) comes on and smashes the phone. Take that, Hit List!

9:58 - Simba and Mufasa from The Lion King introduce Pippin, which kind of makes sense. About the only thing I didn't like about Diane Paulus's revival was Pippin, who had the most terrible posture I've ever seen by someone not playing a hunchback. Patina Miller was amazing as the Leading Player, as near a dead ringer for Ben Vereen as is humanly possible. And the ensemble, of course. Ridiculously talented. It is unspeakably amazing live.

10:02 - Sigourney Weaver and Mayor Bloomberg present the Tony for Best Revival of a Play to... Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf!!! The team accept the award from the wrong mic, which is unintentionally hilarious, since Sigourney and the Mayor can be seen in the background waiting to give them the actual awards. And after not being able to hear the first part of their speech while the tech team figured it out, the band cuts them off before they're done. A CLASSIC award show moment.

10:07 - The order of the awards seems odd: Why are Best Play and Best Revival of a Play before the Leading Actor/Actress in a Play?!? It takes a bit of suspense out of the evening. Hilarious cutaway to Cyndi Lauper playing with her Tony Award backstage, though.

10:11 - Annie and Daddy Warbucks present the non-televised Tony for Best Book to... Dennis Kelly for Matilda the Musical! He says he didn't know how to write a musical, so this award is an endorsement of stupidity. HA! Is my prediction about the Best Musical Tony coming true?!?

10:13 - The legendary Hal Prince presents The Phantom of the Opera, which is the longest-running show in Broadway history, and is playing in over twenty countries all over the world. I saw this for the first time this year, and thought it was great. The stagecraft is impeccable and the songs are great across the board. There's a reason why it's still going strong after 25 years.

10:17 - Enough with the Mike Tyson jokes, NPH.

10:18 - Sally Field and Matthew Broderick present the Tony for Leading Actor in a Musical to... Billy Porter in Kinky Boots. He gets a mini standing ovation. He cites Jennifer Holliday's performance in Dreamgirls on the Tony Awards as his inspiration to become a performer, and thanks his mother for accepting that which she does not understand and being a true good Christian (read between the lines, people!). He also says he shares the award with his co-star and co-nominee Stark Sands... "But I'm keeping the award at my house!" HA!

10:21 - Sally and Matthew present the Tony for Leading Actor in a Play to... Tracy Letts in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf!!!! This is his Broadway debut... as an actor. He previously won the Tony for Best Play August: Osage County (coming soon to a theater near you!). Can an Oscar for Adapted Screenplay be far behind? He was seriously brilliant as George - one of the three or four best performances I have ever seen on stage, so I am thrilled the Tony voters weren't blinded by the star power of Tom Hanks and David Hyde Pierce (both good, but nowhere near this).

10:24 - Tony Winner Cyndi Lauper (how cool is that?!) sings True Colors for the In Memoriam segment. Beautiful arrangement.

10:32 - Velma Kelly: "I will say something as soon as I have something to say" since she was facing the wrongs teleprompter. She presents the non-televised awards for Lighting Design to Matilda and Lucky Guy.

10:34 - Jake Gyllenhaal presents the Tony for Leading Actress in a Play to... Cicely Tyson for The Trip to Bountiful!!!! She gets a standing ovation for her first Tony, and it is so well-deservecd. I loved Kristine Nielsen too, and Laurie Metcalf was great in The Other Place, but my heart just grows three sizes whenever I think of Ms. Tyson's beautiful performance. I may or may not be crying a bit right now. "I didn't want to be greedy; I just wanted one more great part." "Please wrap it up, it says. Well that's what you have done to me - you have wrapped me up in your arms and have given me a Tony." Beautiful.

10:38 - Jake presents the Tony for Leading Actress in a Musical to... Patina Miller for Pippin!!! She doesn't quite get the darker side of the Leading Player in the early part of the show, but damn. Girl is IMPRESSIVE in this part, killing the choreography and singing in a simply gorgeous voice. Good for her. (And good for me, as I'm at 100% in my predictions in all the Lead Acting categories!)

10:41 - Donna and the Dynamos from Mamma Mia introduce a number from Kinky Boots. Ticket sales for this show are going to skyrocket after tonight, trust me. I kinda get why they chose that number to perform on the Tonys, but it is actually one of the worst numbers in the show.

10:52 - Guy and Girl from Once gave the Scenic Design Tonys to Matilda and The Nance, both very deserving.

10:54 - Patti Lupone presents a short clip montage from Pippin's only real competition for Best Revival, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and then presents the Tony to... Pippin! No-brainer, this one. Producers Fran and Barry Weissler rightly give all the credit to the incredible acrobats and dancers in the show as well the orchestra members.

10:56 - I am doing REALLY WELL in my predictions so far. I didn't publish them because I was too nervous, and because I went with my own opinions/my gut far more often than the conventional wisdom. But the only major categories I've missed so far have been the Featured Actor ones, which is shocking to me.

10:59 - Seriously, you guys. Go see Once. It is completely brilliant on every level.

11:02 - Moment of truth: Lee Conroy Bernadette Peters presents the Tony for Best Musical to... KINKY BOOTS! I'm kind of shocked. It really could have gone either way between this and Matilda, and I think Matilda was slightly more impressive, but Kinky Boots leaves you with such a high that I guess the Tony voters found it impossible to deny. And I can't begrudge them that.


Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone. This was my first time doing this, and it was a lot of fun. Hope you guys enjoyed as well! Good night everybody! Go see a Broadway show!

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Reader Comments (18)

I'll bet PIPPIN' gets more wins than Mathilda or Kinky Boots, all things considered.

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Jay, that is possible, but I could easily see either Kinky Boots or Matilda pulling off a sweep.

June 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterDenny

Wow, Cindy Lauper is only one award away for the EGOT - Get the Oscar, girl!!

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Some great numbers, some good speeches, NPH is terrific as usual and none of the presenters have made fools of themselves so far. But I just have to say how AMAZING Sigourney Weaver looks! The woman is 63, I didn't look that good at 43.

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Take Me Out, God of Carnage, Art, Love! Valor! Compassion, The History Boys and Clybourne Park are all arguably comedies.

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

joel6 - I actually met Sigourney once at a theater Gala, and she is seriously stunning in person.

Arkaan - True. ARGUABLY comedies. But of those, only God of Carnage wasn't dealing with a Big Issue. I see V&S&M&S as much more purely a comedy than any of those.

June 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterDenny

Fair enough. I don't like Durang's work much but love Greenberg's, so I was rooting for him (having read/seen neither).

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Great job. Thanks for doing it.

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry O.


Like a G! God I love her.

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJase

Jase - That mic drop was EVERYTHING.

Arkaan - Yes, Durang's work is much more of an acquired taste. But Greenberg already has a Tony (for Take Me Out), and Durang is an important voice in American drama, so I was rooting for him. The room full of theater people I watched with tonight were shocked that this was his first Tony - even those who aren't necessarily fans. It also helps that I adored the play.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Will Chase is sitting next to Debra Messing? More like will Chase has been DATING Debra Messing for the past year!

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

Courtney Vance won for LUCKY GUY, not GOLDEN BOY. And Chet Walker did not choreograph the circus acrobatics in PIPPIN; he did the Fosse-esque dance choreography. Gypsy Snider worked on the circus moves.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTabb

Thanks so much for doing this, Denny !

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

The NPH, Rannells, Hilty, Benanti number was EVERYTHING!!!!!!

I saw Debra Messing and Will Chase walking their dog around the park last summer (and walked behind them in silence for a few minutes and decided to change course before I geeked out). Pretty sure they're serious. I think the relationship broke up her marriage.

Awesome that the two director Tonys for both musical and play went to women along with Cyndi Lauper winning best original score (Believe she joins Lynn Ahrens and Betty Comden as the only women who have won- but both Ahrens and Comden won with a male writing/music partners).

And Jane Lynch as Hannigan KILLED. Good lord, it's like Reba in Annie Get Your Gun all over again.

They will never figure out a proper way to present the plays. I actually liked the time when Whoopi Goldberg hosted how interactive she got summarizing the plays but walking through the sets where she (unlike Mr. Eisenberg) got really into it and made it actually appear like she saw the works.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Tabb - thanks for that Courtney B. Vance correction! I've fixed it. Re: Chet Walker, though - my understanding is that it was a collaboration, and it's clear that voters (at least in the nomination phase) were voting for the acrobatics as well as the dancing. But I thought the dancing was a very smart interpolation of Fosse's original choreography. I've done Pippin with the original choreography, and there were lots of really interesting changes to fit this revival's setting and cast talents.

Ryan and CMG - WHAT. This is actually a thing? Not, like, some secret undercover pseudo-real-world third season of Smash? STOP FUCKING WITH MY HEAD Grace Adler Julia Houston Debra Messing!

June 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterDenny

I have inside intel that Cyndi Lauper had A LOT of help writing that score, but that's the business. I'm sure this is more common than not.

This is the first season in ages that I haven't seen a single thing nominated. Bummer.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

This had to be the greatest Tonys show ever! I mean, OLTL alum Judith Light winning AGAIN! Andrea Martin. Cyndi Lauper. Chicago's own Tracy Letts winning BA. NPH killing it AGAIN as ringmaster. And Jane Lynch stealing the show as Miss Hannigan. My God, that woman is just brilliant!

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I though Tom Hanks was going to win. Duh.

Nat, I selected my three favorite shots of COMPLIANCE (2012).
Here's my blog, I wish you enjoy it.


June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAntonio

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