Ah yes, early June. Time for the gayest night on national televisionâ€”not the Queer as Folk season finale, not the Cher guest spot on Will & Grace, but the 58th annual Tony Awardsâ€”the night when CBS tries to make middle America warm to a bunch of old, dried-out Manhattan theater queens.
Our host, Hugh Jackman, emerges onstage, flanked by some beauties from the casts of the musicals Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, and Caroline, or Change. They all shake it while singing ‘One Night Only’ from Dreamgirls. Hugh pretends to be interested in women.
Dear Hugh high-kicks higher than any of the Radio City Rockettes, putting the last nail in any chances he ever had to be the next James Bond. Hey Hugh, how’d your hamstrings get so limber?
Billy Joel limps onstage with Jane Krakowski to present the first award of the evening. T-minus how many days til he crashes his car into another house? Let’s take bets.
Ms. Krakowski, in standard charming-quirky fashion, saves the on-another-planet Mr. Joel from blatant flubs with his cue cards. Despite the help, Mr. Joel goes on to mispronounce several exotic nominee names, such as “Caroline” and “Jennifer.”
Phylicia Rashad (aka Clair Huxtable) and Sean Combs (aka P.Diddy, aka Puff Daddy, aka Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira Heinz Kerry) present Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Winner Michael Cerveris, the whitest man in the world, jokes, with attempted flava, about being onstage with “Puff.” Mrs. Huxtable barely tolerates this shit.
Kristin Chenoweth, who plays the witch Glinda in Wicked, floats out over the stage in a big bubble, amid supplementary bubbles. Somebody shoot that bitch down.
Alfred Molina sheds his scary metal prosthetic octo-arms to lead the company of Fiddler on the Roof in a rousing rendition of ‘Tradition’. They ignite the audience with their chutzpah and win the Tony for Butt-Ugliest Broadway Cast.
New Jheri-Curl spokesman Brian Stokes Mitchell, with excruciatingly perfect diction, introduces the nominees for Best Play. Nice shirt, crazy man.
8,000-year-old Chita Rivera sashays out to present Best Choreography and makes a nice mention of the dearly-departed Broadway great Gregory Hines. Kathleen Marshall, sister of Chicago film director Rob Marshall, wins for the wonderful dancing in the wonderful revival Wonderful Town. Fucking wonderful.
Edie Falco, sporting not-so-wonderful bulldyke-Caesar hair, introduces a musical number from Caroline, or Change. The usually amazing Tonya Pinkins sings a horrific, bellowing rendition of her big number from the show. Try clearing your throat and singing on key.
Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel (real-life wife of actor Taye Diggs) play who-can-shriek-the-loudest in a number from the bloated mega-musical nightmare Wicked. Ms. Menzel’s green wicked-witch makeup makes her and Mr. Diggs a doozy of an interracial couple.
Hugh Jackman pretends not to be interested in Rod, the closeted gay puppet from the magnificently demented little puppet musical Avenue Q. Mr. Jackman unnecessarily involves his “wife” in the oh-so-racy banter. OH REALLY.
8,000,000-year-old Carol Channing, accompanied by LL Cool Jâ€”a match made in someone’s heavenâ€”presents the award for Best Music. Ms. Channing not only sounds exactly like Barbara Billingsley as the Jive Lady in Airplane!, she also, we learn, LOVES hugging LL. The award goes to Avenue Q in a nice upsetâ€”Puppets 1, Witches 0.
BrÃan F. O’Byrne, an Actor, presents an Actorly speech about Acting in Professional Theatre. “Ooh look at me, I’m so Irish I need an Ã in BrÃan.” OH I BET YOU DO MARY.
Anne Heche, fresh from the mothership, presents Best Featured Actress in a Play to the lovely Audra McDonald from A Raisin in the Sun. Ms. McDonald accepts her fourth Tony in ten years with brief, heartfelt comments. Listen up, non-brief, non-heartfelt retards.
It’s Victor Garber. Who’s next, Treat Williams?
Martin Short got out of his straitjacket somehow.
Jimmy Fallon is introduced as “popular comic actor Jimmy Fallon.” Thanks, cheerful announcer!
For the first and likely last time in his life, Ethan Hawke has better hair than someone else. It seems Scarlett Johansson still hasn’t brushed, or even washed, her hair since she and Benicio Del Toro did their post-Oscars “making out or having sex or something” in the Chateau Marmont elevator.
Phylicia Rashad, most deservedly, wins Best Actress in a Play for A Raisin in the Sun. Her way-over-the-top delivery, however, nearly ruins what would otherwise be a lovely acceptance speech. Pipe down, Phylicia.
Washed-up songwriter Carole Bayer Sager, looking like Joan Collins meets Elvira with her fingers in an electric socket, introduces Hugh Jackman’s musical number from The Boy from Oz. Mr. Jackman emerges in gold pants, riding a camel. Bet that’s not the first thing he rode today.
Crazy old Hugh coaxes a tentative, mortified Sarah Jessica Parker onstage, but she refuses to lambada with him cause she’s “worried about her top.” Hey SJP, quit the prim-and-proper shit and just flash a little tit already.
Drowning in mascara, Laura Linney robotically presents the four nominees for Best Play – Revival, with a forced little smile for each one. Awwww.
Speaking of awww, cute little Bernadette Peters comes out to inform us that she’s not dead. Awww, let’s pet her.
Hair mussed from a backstage tryst with Doogie Howser, Hugh Jackman makes perfunctory mention of Tony Randall’s passing.
Patrick Stewart is still bald. Engage.
Best Actor in a Play winner Jefferson Mays uses the phrase “piquant ingenue.” Please run this guy over with a bus.
Bafflingly, Mary J. Blige comes out to sing ‘What I Did for Love’ from A Chorus Line. In keeping with the evening, she sings horribly flat. Tone-deafness aside, whoever matched her with that song must have been the same ad wizard who cast Random Hearts.
RenÃ©e Zellweger, eyes wide shut, twirls onstage with Rob Marshall to present Best Actress in a Musical. Turns out that winner Idina Menzel of Wicked looks better with the green makeup than without. She gets very verklempt. BITCH STOP GASPING.
Pale, tragic Nicole Kidman, ponytail ratcheted down so tight you can see her cranial nerves, puts on glasses to indicate that she’s Serious about Presenting her Award. In the process of announcing nominees for Best Actor in a Musical, she wins Most Painfully Awkward Teleprompter Utilization.
Hmmm, Aussie Ms. Kidman presenting Best Actor in a Musical? Coincidence? You think Aussie Mr. Jackman might win for playing Aussie Peter Allen in The Boy from AUSSIE-FUCKING-OZ??? Wait do you get it?? OH MY GOD I GET IT!
In the final award of the evening, Avenue Q wins a huge, gratifying upset over the odious Wicked. Yay upsets! Yay genuine emotion! Yay puppet sex!
LESSONS FROM THE EVENING:
1. Hugh Jackman = not the boy next door, not the next James Bond.
2. Audra McDonald = classy (and can probably beat up Hugh Jackman).
3. Live singing = flat singing.
4. Puppet raunch = Tony success.
In all seriousness, a nice evening of surprises and upsets, with Tony voters seemingly voting with their hearts rather than checkbooks. For the academics, a list of major winners:
Best Musical – Revival
Best Actor in a Musical
Hugh Jackman – The Boy from Oz
Best Actress in a Musical
Idina Menzel – Wicked
Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris – Assassins
Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Anika Noni Rose – Caroline, or Change
Best Direction of a Musical
Joe Mantello – Assassins
Best Book of a Musical
Jeff Whitty – Avenue Q
Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx – Avenue Q
I Am My Own Wife
Best Play – Revival
Best Actor in a Play
Jefferson Mays – I Am My Own Wife
Best Actress in a Play
Phylicia Rashad – A Raisin in the Sun
Best Featured Actor in a Play
BrÃan F. O’Byrne – Frozen
Best Featured Actress in a Play
Audra McDonald – A Raisin in the Sun
Best Direction of a Play
Jack O’Brien – Henry IV