Tony Time: Oh It Was Bigger And Better
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that The Tony Awards are the biggest night for American Theatre each year. While the awards ceremony is recognized as the ending mark of one season and the beginning of another, The Tony Awards also brings together the the very best of Broadway in a one night dreamlike setting. When we sat down to right our official review of the 2013 Tony awards ceremony, we didn’t exactly know how to put it into a critical format for the evening. So here is what we thought; The 2013 Tony Awards will go down in history as the biggest and best celebration in American Theatre history in the last decade on Broadway.
From a business perspective, it seemed to us like many were worried about The 2013 Tony Awards. Between the official report released days before the ceremony stating numbers were down for the season and a year on Broadway dominated by theatre vacancies, how much would there be to celebrate come Tony Awards night? Well, when Neil Patrick Harris is set as your host for the evening, have no fear. A bleak Broadway season turned into a bright night of incredible performances, well known presenters and over the top shenanigans as Neil Patrick Harris hosts the 2013 Tony Awards for the fourth time proving his best hosting stint yet.
Neil Patrick Harris can’t possibly be human. That is said after watching him bring to life one of the best Tony Awards in recent years this past Sunday night. From the very beginning, Neil Patrick Harris helmed a show that would not only deliver fantastic ratings but also score universally with the theatre world and audience as well. His opening, the best in over a decade on the show, featured almost every single Broadway show currently represented in New York. He had no hesitance popping out jokes from the very beginning.
The opening number alone referenced Shia LaBeouf’s departure from Orphans, Alec Baldwin’s article written to Ben Brantley regarding his approach to theatre and Tom Hooper’s funky camera angles on the recent movie adaptation of Les Miserables.
- The Oddest Part of the Opening: An appearance by Mike Tyson that would go on to be the running joke of the evening.
- The Best Part of the Opening: (Besides Everything) A magic trick Harris did enterting a box elevated on stage and disappearing only to appear in an aisle of Radio City Music Hall less then 20 seconds later. How did he do it? Who knows!
Harris continued strong throughout the rest of the night never seeming reluctant to provide top quality entertainment to Broadway’s best. He appeared with Sandy from Annie which at first seemed to be a friendly introduction only to seconds later turn into a full make out session. Harris also poked fun at the multiple Broadway actors on television shows that ended up getting cancelled. Andrew Rannells, Megan Hilty and Laura Benanti all took part in that skit which used some of musical theatre’s best known tunes to mock television.
The night also featured performances from nominated productions that won over the audience consistently. From Matilda the Musical‘s revolting children to Pippin‘s magic, this year’s Tony Awards performances showed off that while this season may have seemed bleak to some, the productions that did appear on Broadway not only provided top quality entertainment but broke boundaries. Bring It On represented a totally new style of musical theatre while A Christmas Story won over audiences as a holiday favorite. Both Matilda the Musical and Kinky Boots proved as crowd favorites bringing down the house. Some of Broadway’s favorite shows such as The Lion King, Newsies, Mamma Mia and Rock of Ages all appeared to help welcome performers, presenters and even sometimes present awards in costume! This was a nice added feature of the night that only gave more to the spirit of the entire night.
We knew before The 2013 Tony Awards that kids ruled Broadway this year. And thank goodness for that. Children broke boundaries being represented landmark number of the productions on Broadway at the same time. Annie, Motown the Musicla, Kinky Boots, Matilda the Musical and A Christmas Story all featured young actors and multiple at that. I loved see the young talent on stage that will not only lead to the future of Broadway onstage but in audiences as well. Children on Broadway have invited a new audience to New York which will hopefully account for consistent theatre-goers the years to come. The children who made their way to Broadway this year displayed outstanding talent across the board. Whether you liked it or not, they deserved to be there.
Neil Patrick Harris closed the evening with a fantastic rendition of “Empire State of Mind” featuring lyrics by Linn Manual Miranda. He was accompanied by 5 time Tony Award winners Audra McDonald. Similar to recent years, Miranda incorporated all of the winners into the song’s lyrics which he wrote backstage as the show went on. Audra even managed to shock the audience dropping the microphone purposefully on her exit from stage.
By the end of the night, The Tony Awards saw a 20% rise in viewers making it the highest watched ceremony since 2009. However, at the end of the night, that’s not what The Tony Awards is about. While some shows go home big winners, The Tony Awards is about theatre winning as a whole. Theatre is something so important to our society that does not receive the attention given to it like television or film does. And thats absolutely okay. Over 10 million people visit New York each year to see Broadway shows and millions more see national tours moving around the country. Theatre is not only something entertaining but something we can connect to. The theatre is not the place we go to escape the world around us but rather to understand it better.
Thank you so much for joining Luner on Theatre for all of our annual Tony Awards coverage with our Tony Time series! Visit our Tony Time Page right here on the blog to see all of our past posts from this year and past Tony Awards! We will be back next year and will be sure to keep you informed on any changes until then! For more information, check out The Tony Awards Official Website! Be sure to check Luner on Theatre on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter as well! We are constantly updating these pages with information! And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know!