A brisk, lively telecast kept viewers around the world entertained and inspired.
Return host Neil Patrick Harris provided a slew of highlights, including his 30 seconds of jokes about Spider-Man, his fabulous hosting duet with Hugh Jackman and his final hilarious rap-style summary of the evening.
Harris opened the night singing that Broadway is not just for the gays but there was plenty of gayness on display, such as men thanking their partners, wins for Larry Kramer’s AIDS drama The Normal Heart and the high camp of Priscilla’s “It’s Raining Men”, introduced by an original Weather Girl.
Daniel Radcliffe made a strong impact in the first of many numbers from musicals, displaying skill as a mover as well as singer in How to Succeed’s “Brotherhood of Man”. The short-lived The Scottsboro Boys presented a pair of up tempo numbers that will help set it on its way on tour. Patina Miller led the cast of Sister Act in the rousing choir lesson “Raise Your Voice.”
Best Actor and Actress in a musical each demonstrated their talent in big production numbers. Norbert Leo Butz tore up the stage with an energetic turn in Catch Me If You Can. Sutton Foster dazzled performing Kathleen Marshall’s Tony winning choreography in the title number from Anything Goes.
Big winner The Book of Mormon reportedly had trouble finding a song unblemished by profanity. Audiences keen to see some of the acclaimed new show were only treated to a glimpse with co-lead actor Andrew Rannells singing a solo “I Believe” (the nod in the opening lyrics to “I Have Confidence” from the movie of The Sound of Music was very cute).
Lucky to be included was the oft-maligned Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, which is finally having its official opening night this Tuesday 14 June, meaning that is part of the next season of eligible shows. Given the hype around the spectacle of the production, the intimate duet performed by Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano is not going to sell any tickets. The un-funny introduction by Bono and The Edge also didn’t help.
Two other choices of number also introduce a note of cynicism. Filmed versions of 2010 Best Musical Memphis and The New York Philharmonic’s 2011 production of Company are both being released in cinemas. Great news for Australian fans but it turns the Tonys into a bit of a paid advertorial.
War Horse was a worthy winner for Best Play and will no doubt be a huge hit when it eventually comes to Australia.
Nikki M. James (Best Featured Actress in a Musical) gave one of the most breathless speeches after beating a strong field of previous winners – Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone and Victoria Clark.
Frances McDormand (Best Actress in a Play) made a statement by not dressing up for the evening, in fact it was not clear whether she even washed her hair. Mark Rylance (Best Actor in a Play) made a statement with a straight-faced reading of the poem “Walking Through Walls” by Louis Jenkins. An interesting choice, but didn’t he have anyone to actually thank for getting him to where his is now?
Best of all, unlike the last few years there were no problems with sound!
Check out all the winners here