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Monday, June 06, 2005

Tony, Toni, Toné
Being a New Yorker certainly makes watching the Tonys more interesting, since for once I’d seen several of the nominated works and have the chance of seeing more whenever I can snag tickets.

I think the ceremony set a new high for same-sex kisses and shout-outs, which makes me feel even better about the world of theater. Jerry Mitchell, who won the Best Choreography award (for La Cage aux Folles; he was also nominated for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) had a big smooch with his boyfriend before he went up for his statuette, and he thanked him by name (as bland as that sounds, it’s hard to imagine a winner using his partner’s name on national TV until very recently—even if the Tony ceremony isn’t exactly the Oscar telecast); Edward Albee dedicated his lifetime achievement award to his "life partner," who died last month; and the magnificent Cherry Jones snogged her girlfriend (who she also name-checked in her acceptance speech) when she heard she’d won Best Actress.

It’s funny how worked up we can get strictly on the basis of hype. Since I’d seen just a handful of the nominated productions, it was a little absurd for me to have strong feelings about the winners—but even having only seen The Pillowman among the works in which the five Best Actor in a Play nominees appear, I still had a sharp intake of breath when they announced Bill Irwin over Brian F. O’Byrne. And while I haven’t seen—and have no plans to see—Spamalot, the craptacular number they performed during the Tony telecast confirmed every snobbish preconceived notion I had about the show. I was really hoping for an upset by Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (which I saw and enjoyed much more than I expected to) or The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and I was actually disappointed when Spamalot’s name was called—even though it would’ve been a major upset for anything else to take the trophy. (And talk about a dreadful speech—even the fawning audience at Radio City couldn’t feign amusement at that appalling display; leave the jokes to the professionals, money man.)

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