Tony Time: Should the Tony’s have a Permanent Host?
Each year before the summer months begin, the Broadway and Off-Broadway community share in a celebration of the theatre awards season. Despite the fact that many awards ceremonies take place through out this time, they all lead up to the biggest and most celebrated night in theatre, The Tony Awards. Each year, the show features a different host who will lend themselves to becoming the face of the awards show for that night. And while each year the an exciting point of the Tony Awards is finding out who the host will be, Should the Tony Awards stop their annual guest to guest appearances and simply have a Permanent Host?
The Tony Awards host is one of the most exciting faces for the Tony’s as the entire Awards Season bubbles down to that one night. From last year’s host Sean Hayes to hilarious Neil Patrick Harris to the lovable Hugh Jackman, The Tony Awards host over the past couple years has ranged from the biggest names in Hollywood to the biggest faces of the theatre community.
And while the Tony Awards host does change annually, the idea of a permanent host is not new. Some think the idea of a permanent face of the awards could bring in a permanent crowd for whatever person was to be chosen for that role. And considering the Tony Awards usually scores right with who is hosting for that night, that notion of a larger fan base is not only true but an added bonus for the Broadway theatre communities largest night when everyone is able to experience Broadway for the past year.
Another added bonus would be if you pick a permanent host along the lines of Neil Patrick Harris or Hugh Jackman. Both men have hosted before and have been considered huge hits really getting into the feeling of live theatre by performing live numbers on stage. Another added bonus about being the Tony host is your “Free Pass” card to joke at any Broadway show as you please. Not holding back on that seasons biggest flops or jokes, the Tony Host is able to talk about on stage what everyone is actually thinking in their head. And thats part of the fun of the night! You can really poke fun at the news in the community of the things people want to talk about and cant, but on this night you can! Its Tony Awards and everything is fair game for the host!
However, you also have to think to the opposite side of the argument of a permanent host. Over time, would people become sick of seeing the same face? And would that eventually draw people away from the Tony Awards? The same person using the same jokes for different shows each year could end up hurting the awards ceremony in the end instead of a fresh face each year.
Lets take a look some greatest hosts of The Tony Awards in recent years…
Hugh Jackman. The always lovable man hosted the Tony Awards for 3 years in a row! From 2003 to 2005, Jackman became the face behind the biggest awards ceremony in theatre and gained ridiculously positive reviews as host. His best year had to be 2004 however which he titled One Night Only. The 2004 Tony Awards opened with Hugh Jackman performing “One Night Only” including every show that was on Broadway for that season. His performance that night was actually so fantastic he was awarded an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performer in a Variety, Musical or Comedy program. Crazy, right!?
Another major popular host from just 2 years ago is the familiar face of Mr. Neil Patrick Harris. Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 2009 Tony Awards. and received very positive reviews as the host which may be the reason he is slated to host The 2011 Tony Awards. From giving advice to Broadway producers to his unforgettable eleven o’clock closing number, Neil Patrick Harris left the Broadway community watching the awards ceremony asking for more and his return the next year. He even poked some fun at the new president suggesting shows dedicated in his honor such as Obama Mia or Barrack of Ages!
Neil Patrick Harris’ performance as the host is what reinstated the idea of a permanent host in people’s mind. People hoped for NPH’s return in 2010 however it was announced Sean Hayes would be hosting. Hayes did a good job considering the huge shoes of NPH’s left to fill following the previous year. But as the 2011 Tony Awards near, fans heard what they wanted all along as it was announced Harris would host the awards again. And now people are only sitting here wondering, what is next?
However, I have to say I think the idea of a permanent Tony host isn’t really a terrible idea after all. I mean, I know seeing Neil Patrick Harris every year on The Tony Awards as the host would not be a problem for me. Even if it wasn’t him, as long as the person hosting was able to host the ceremony well, poke some fun at the Broadway community and make people laugh, you ultimately have a recipe for success right there. I also think that The Tony Awards have such an importance to the entire theatre community that choosing a person who can let people feel that no matter where they are is a major importantance. You want someone who isn’t just an icon but someone who will make the awards worth watching.
I think what it would all really boil down to is that while some people would like to see a permanent host for a person that has previously hosted and they have really enjoyed, the Tony Awards should not have a permanent host. People love seeing each year what the awards ceremony will pull out as they announce who will be hosting for that year. And if someone is an excellent host, lets just invite them back year after year for a couple years. I mean, that has worked for Hugh Jackman and now for Neil Patrick Harris as he has been invited back.
As they say for many things in life, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! So as I’m sure they will do, The Tony Awards will keep with their annual changing of the host as they continue to surprise people year to year! But what do you think? Should The Tony Awards have a permanent host or do you like them switching things up every year? And who would be the perfect Tony Host for a permanent position? So many questions to answer as Luner on Theatre explores this aspect of The Tony Awards! Check out all the rest of our Tony Time series and continue to follow as we explore all aspects leading up to Broadways big night! The Tony Awards will be on June 12th, 2011 broadcast on CBS. For more information, check out The Official Tony Award Website.