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Tony Awards 2018 in Review

Thirteen random thoughts on last night's Tony Awards.

• Glenda Jackson won the Emmy and two Oscars in the 1970s but after a three decade break from acting, she returns triumphant with a Tony win, giving her the Triple Crown!

• Remember when Melissa McCarthy surprised everybody by winning the Emmy for Mike & Molly that one year? After the shock wore off everyone collectively decided that the Television Academy gave her that prize because of Bridesmaids that same season. I kinda think this is what happened with Laurie Metcalf winning a second consecutive Tony -- this time for Three Tall Women in a category people expected to go elsewhere. Not that Three Tall Women isn't brilliantly acted, but we're guessing her miracle performance in Lady Bird helped put her over the finish line. We're choosing to interpret it as Tony voters slapping Oscar's hand. Oscar deserved a slap for that one...

• Remember how when geek culture started ruling the world, hot young actresses who were probably cheerleaders in highschool were always trying to pass themselves off as nerds? Sometimes kinship is faked for cool points but I believed every single second of Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban confessing to being theater nerds when they were kids. They were good, if slightly non-pizazzy hosts for this year's festivities.

• Things got political which is no surprise. Besides the high LGBTQ visibility factor (always thus with the Tony Awards), we had Parkland kids singing Rent's "Seasons of Love", a show about Arabs & Israelis getting along practically sweeping, Tony Shalhoub's subtle reminder that we're a nation of immigrants with his tribute to his parents and grandparents. To top it all off, iconic liberal Bruce Springsteen got a showcase to sing about a struggling small town and was introduced by Robert De Niro who CBS censored by dropping the sound out but the two time Oscar winner said:

First, I wanna say, ''Fuck Trump.' It's no longer 'Down with Trump,' it's 'Fuck Trump.' 

• The winners were really delivering with their speeches. My favorites were Nathan Lane, Ar'iel Stachel, and Lindsay Mendez, all clearly overwhelmed by their wins and probably upsetting any Trump supporters who were accidentally watching the Tonys. Nathan tearfully thanked his husband and talked about the need to push himself as an actor. Lindsay talked about keeping her last name when she was told to 'change it or you won't get work.' Then Stachel talked about being Middle Eastern in the arts. It was just beautiful:

Your biggest obstacle may turn into your purpose."

Another reminder that representation is so important.

• I was pissed -- this won't surprise you since we go through this every year with the Oscars -- that the lifetime achievement prize for Chita Rivera was given off the air but for a few split seconds of clips. Booooo, Tony producers, Booo!!!!

Claire Danes giving the Triple Crown to Glenda Jackson

• Claire Danes gown startled me. It looked like a leopard and python had had a baby and then that baby had swallowed Temple Grandin whole!

• As much as I love The Band's Visit, I was a bit mystified by Tony Shalhoub's win. For one, he sings only maybe 1 bar of music in an entire musical while Ethan Slater and Joshua Henry were both working their asses and bodies and pipes off for entire shows. For the other the soul is Katrina Lenk who carries the emotional lyricism of the show while Shalhoub mostly just sits in chairs and watches her. To his credit he admits he's mystified too, citing his fellow nominees with a "I will never understand what just happened."

• That Summer number looked a bit more like a cruise ship performance than something on Broadway, right?

• Which was your favorite musical performance? I was excited to see "Omar Shariff" again from The Band's Visit but of the show's I haven't seen the performance that most convinced me that I needed to get to the theater immediately was "Mama Will Provide" from Once On This Island. I keep hearing great things and that sure was an engaging spirited number. Plus a live goat!

Runner up was My Fair Lady, reminding us of that classic score and announcing that Lauren Ambrose has an awesome voice.

• I already loved Tony Kushner forever due to Angels in America and Caroline or Change but his addendum to his speech 'what kind of a homosexual would I be if I didn't mention that it's Judy Garland's birthday?' made me love him even more. Even more than infinity, that is correct.

• Early in the show Sara and Josh warned that if you went overtime on your speeches this would happen. [Cue the very impressive Angels in America Angel and her puppeteers zooming across the stage.] "It's subtle" hee hee. I had a good laugh but then the Angel never came back so there just wasn't follow through like there was with that jet ski at the Oscars.

• Best Presenter: Titus Burgess from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt who made the presentation of Featured Actress all about himself to hilarious effect. 


THE BAND'S VISIT won 10 Tony Awards, nearly doing a complete sweep.

Best Musical“The Band’s Visit”
Best Revival of a Musical “Once On This Island”
Best Play: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”
Best Revival of a Play: “Angels in America”
Direction of a Play: John Tiffany, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child"
Direction of a Musical: David Cromer, "The Band's Visit"

Actor in a Play:Andrew Garfield, “Angels in America”
Actress in a Play: Glenda Jackson, “Three Tall Women”
Actor in a Musical: Tony Shalhoub, “The Band’s Visit”
Actress in a Musical: Katrina Lenk, “The Band’s Visit”
Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Nathan Lane, “Angels in America”
Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Laurie Metcalf, “Three Tall Women”
Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Ari’el Stachel, “The Band’s Visit”
Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Lindsay Mendez, “Carousel”

really happy about this choreography win!

Book of a Musical: Itamar Moses, “The Band’s Visit”
Original Score: David Yazbeck, “The Band’s Visit” 
Scenic Design of a Play: Christine Jones, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”
Scenic Design of a Musical: David Zinn, “Spongebob Squarepants”
Costume Design of a Play: Katrina Lindsay “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”
Costume Design of a Musical: Catherine Zuber, “My Fair Lady” 
Lighting Design of a Play: Neil Austin “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”
Lighting Design of a Musical: Tyler Micoleau “The Band’s Visit”
Sound Design of a Play: Gareth Fry, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”
Sound Design of a Musical: Kai Harada, "The Band's Visit"
Best Choreography: Justin Peck, “Carousel" 
Best Orchestrations: Jamshied Sharifi, “The Band’s Visit”


Lifetime AchievementChita Rivera and Andrew Lloyd Webber 
Special Award Bruce Springsteen for "Springsteen on Broadway" and John Leguizamo for his body of work
Isabelle Stevenson Award: Nick Scandalios, Executive Vice President of the Nederlander Organization
Regional Theatre: New York City's La MaMa 
Excellence in Theatre: Sara Krulwich Photographer, Bessie Nelson Costume beader, Ernest Winzer Cleaners Broadway dry cleaning service

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Reader Comments (27)

We are living in the Golden Age of Laurie Metcalf, and I could not be happier about it. She's remarkably talented and that dress is stunning.

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

You're SO right about McCarthy's Emmy win that year (she would later win a second for Saturday Night Live). I won't begrudge her, though, because that was the year all the nominees pretended to be in a beauty pageant:

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJakey

I love you Robert de Niro. You said what needed to be said. Plus, you apologized to our friends in Canada who didn't need to be dissed by our douchebag, idiotic dictator.

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

I really loved the Tonys ceremony this year. Bareilles and Groban were ideal hosts and the performances from the nominated shows were all pretty good, even if the winners were a bit boring, even the "surprises", since they all came as part of a sweep! But The Band's Visit is lovely, so I guess I can't complain too much about that.

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDancin' Dan

I'll disagree about Metcalf. She's already a pretty revered name in the industry and her reviews for TTW were outstanding. If anything, most people didn't predict her for the win solely because she won last year. If she hadn't, the consensus was the performance and the reception would've been slam dunk winners.

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlexD

My favorite number by far was the one from Carousel. I've seen the "greatest hits" from the show so many times that picking this group number (focusing on the dancing) really showed that it was about more than just If I Loved You and You'll Never Walk Alone.

I thought Sara & Josh were surprisingly deft. I admit I was skeptical.

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

Many attractive & perfectly shaped rear ends in the Carousel dance number. Sorry, but i could not help but notice.

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy

Jackson has two Emmys for the same performance in different categories. Glenda is hands down my favorite living triple crown recipient and the best of the living two-time Best Actress winners.

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Jackson is a talented actress, but her second Oscar win was a fluke. She deserved it for her first win, so I do not think she is the best living 2 time Oscar winner.

JaneFonda, Meryl Streep, etc. were much better choices.

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

Jackson earned the best actress award for Women In Love, but her second Oscar was for a lame comedy that no one ( including herself ) felt she deserved.

I do not know her Tony accomplishments, but 2 tome Oscar winners much better than she are jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Sally Field.. just to name a few.

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

Fr the angle, Claire Danes looks like a poor man version o Gwhiney Paltrow, n thr's not a good look! 😂

Jackson prides herself more as a stage performer than screen actress. She nev shows up for her two Oscar wins. Yes, her 2nd win is kinda a surprise. Consensus was for Woodward or Mason.

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Glenn Cose is the best 2 time Oscar wi.... On wait no she is A 6 TIME LOOSER stupid academy members!!! I think Frances & Meryl are my favorite 2 times winner. Wanna talk about the ones that should be? Well obviously Glenn but also Julianne, Annette, Charlize, Nicole, Susan, Isabelle (Huppert of course), Tilda to name a few... And my triple crown of the ones that shouldn't be? Easy, Sally (maybe 1) Hillary (should be 1) and Jodie (should be 0)

June 11, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

Triple Crown Trivia Alert:
It took Glenda Jackson 47 years to complete her Triple Crown, a new record that handily beats Jessica Tandy's 42 years (Anne Bancroft, who had to wait for her Emmy until the late 90s, comes in third).

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

Hello, ABC? Laurie deserves her own sitcom!

If anyone earned a sympathy vote, it's Tony Shalhoub. He is a well-liked, revered performer and I bet some of the voters felt it would be embarrassing for the star to go home empty handed (which is why Charlton Heston is an Oscar winner). Add a few voters who probably couldn't decide between Ethan's manic energy and Joshua's smoldering intensity, and you've got a near sweep.

Ari'el had me in tears. Hope we see much more of him.

So glad Once On This Island pulled that upset. It was the season's best revival and was robbed of a choreography nomination (and win).

De Niro is a national treasure.

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNewMoonSon

I think the Metcalf / McCarthy comparison is a bit of a stretch, considering this was her second Tony and it was given for a very well-received performance.

I liked The Band's Visit fine enough but also found it very dull and forgettable at times. 10 Tonys is a bit much, even in such a weak year for original musicals. I would have much rather seen someone like Harry Hadden-Paton or Lauren Ambrose win, both of whom acted the hell out of My Fair Lady.

Also, not for nothing, but Mean Girls looked TERRIBLE. I was genuinely shocked by how bad its performance was.

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

Also forgot to add that Ar'iel Stachel's win was so silly. Nice speech, but I could hardly remember him from the show. Granted, Norbert Leo Butz didn't necessarily need a third Tony, but talk about getting swept up in the sweep.

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

Laurie Metcalf could have triple crown in a single year like Bob Fosse, if only she had won for Lady Bird and Roseanne wouldn't have been cancelled.

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJorge

Jackson was magnificent in Three Tall Women. I have never seen her in a film, and I was blown away. I will definitely be checking out some of her work.

Metcalf was good, but frankly it wasn't anything we haven't seen from her before. It definitely didn't scream, "She deserves a second Tony for this!" I am seeing Angels in America and Harry Potter over the next month, so it'll be interesting to see how some of her fellow nominees stack up.

I thought the Tony ceremony was REALLY well done this year. The hosts did a great job. The speeches, by and large, were strong. The performance by the Parkland students was incredibly moving. Bruce Springsteen's performance was also really touching (he just needs an Emmy to be an EGOT, right?). I was pleasantly surprised how solid the show was given that it was a very weak season on Broadway and the awards themselves were not particularly exciting.

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

Despite the loveliness of Lauren Ambrose's soprano and the liveliness of the Carousel number, I have come to the conclusion that, by and large, pre-rock-n-roll-era musical theatre elicits nothing more than my admiration.

"Mama Will Provide" was my favorite presentation of the evening, but considering that Once on This Island is one of the all-time favorite musicals in which I've performed, that wasn't a big surprise.

I know that everyone seemingly loves The Boss, but I was confused by everything surrounding his segment, from the fact that he even was awarded a special Tony to his stream-of-consciousness monologue set to piano. I thought, "People paid top dollar for that?"

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

I had the same thought about Metcalf but the only nominee I saw was Gough and she was amazing so I was a bit biased. And that's also probably the best Metcalf has ever looked on the red carpet/awards show.

Oof, yes, that Carousel number. So many fine men executing really fun, unique choreography.

Groban, Bareilles and Burgess were all charming and funny.

That number from Once on This Island was fun, colorful and Alex Newell has an amazing voice...and I couldn't understand a single lyric in the entire song except for the title in the chorus. I get that Newell's voice is powerful but really, that should be used in service of the song, not for showing off.

Katrina Lenk is a beautiful, talented goddess and Hollywood SHOULD be snapping her up but they probably won't.

You know, I kind of love what De Niro did because, really, the sentiment is earned. But then he had to go and do that dumb double-flex pose and turn it into a moment of ego stroking and it totally turned me off.

And oh my god, Bruce, come on. Some of us have to get to bed. What WAS that?

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

I love the Tony Awards so much, but like all televised award shows, some of their omissions "for the broadcast" are egregious. I submit things that made me unhappy with Sunday night's telecast:

#1 - the freaking WRITER of the Best Play got played off? Jack Thorne appears to be one of the most talented, kindest, humblest people in the biz, but he'll get his due. He has already won tons of awards for his other work, and has a long list of in production.

#2 - Score, Scenic Design, Lighting, Sound, and Costumes not in broadcast? ARE THEY CRAZY? What is the point of a musical or theater in general without those major elements! And when the F### are they going to realize that CRAFT is part of this business and should be rewarded as equally as performance. (Drives me crazy that BAFTA does this in two parts, on different nights.)

#3 - The Boss thing. FTR-I've been to four Springsteen concerts and loved him since the early 80s. Didn't see this Broadway show, and I couldn't understand what the what was going on or why he was getting an award. For storytelling? Somebody--please tell me.

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPam

As a theatre professional, the thing that most consistently irritates me about the Tonys is its clear preference for musicals over plays.

It's a shame that performances from plays were eliminated about a decade or so ago; clips of Tony performances of James Earl Jones in FENCES or Viola Davis in KING HEDLEY II or Joan Allen in THE HEIDI CHRONICLES are such great public documents of those productions. That we won't have that of this year's productions (or any in a very long time) is a real loss.

And just the placement of the play awards in the ceremony make it glaringly obvious. Best Play wasn't given out even close to the end of the ceremony.

Maybe more tourist interest in straight plays would be generated if the one night where the rest of the country pays attention to theatre would share some of its focus...

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I thought it was a bit of a letdown, particularly the musical performances. The opening was cute, but of course doesn't hold a candle to an NPH opening. The nominated shows' performances ranged from cloying (My Fair Lady and Frozen) to boring (Carousel) to very disappointing (the music from Mean Girls really misses the magic of the film, no?). I kinda dug The Band's Visit's performance, but it's so low key.

The only one giving me life was "Once Upon this Island." I will be buying a ticket to that one!

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Denise Gough and Tina Fey should have won.

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSTFU

Aw, sad about Midler missing her chance here. Can't imagine her getting too many more chances...

Also, miracle performance (re: Metcalf in Lady Bird). I mean, damn, she was great, but hardly miraculous.

Sigh... So hard to see these awards in anything but a political light. All the choices become more calculated, even the ones that don't seem to be at first glance (or at all).

What we win as a society, we also lose something else in its place.

Ah well.

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterManny

@Manny - Midler won last year

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay


Oh you’re right, I feel so dumb now...

I’m abysmal at keeping award seasons/dates since I only follow when an acto or actress I like is in contention!

Thanks! :)

June 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterManny

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