In case you weren't watching -- I hear there was some other show on cable that was pretty good? -- last night's Tony Awards ceremony was elegant and classy, and the television broadcast was sharp and professional. Everything went off without a hitch, and the whole thing seemed to be guided by a healthy respect, even affection, for theatre -- for its own sake, not just theatre as a breeding ground for TV and film actors. If it hadn't been for the ham-handed filming of the musical numbers, I'd wonder whether I dreamed the whole thing. So my hat is off to CBS, and the producers, and anyone else I should credit for making last night's show almost embarrassment-free. Was it thrilling? Only occasionally. But it was always dignified, and that is nothing to sneeze at, as my Nana would say.
Before the broadcast on CBS, I watched NY1's red-carpet preshow, which was every bit as rough as the actual event was polished. Roma Torre, Donna Karger, Patrick Pacheco and their crew flubbed every single toss ("Back to you, Patrick!...Patrick?"), and their interviews served up plenty of cringeworthy moments -- my favorite was when Donna announced, "We're standing here with John Mahoney, who's nominated for his work in Prelude to a Kiss..." Mahoney should have won a special award just for keeping such a straight face as he replied, very politely, "Unfortunately, I wasn't nominated." Whoops. Still, they were at least as prepared as Joan Rivers has ever been, and she has the easier job to prepare for (anyone who reads the occasional issue of Us Weekly would be more prepared for the Oscar night press junket than Joan). And their motives were pure -- they didn't stop talking to Charlotte D'Amboise (wearing what was surely the night's worst gown -- it looked like one of those tiny tank tops that bodybuilders wear, except with gold sequins) or the creative team from Grey Gardens just because Zach Braff walked by. What a surprise that the evening continued in that fashion!
Of course, I watched the actual ceremony with laptop close by, so check back later for the play-by-play!