So, those 59th annual Tony Awards. Nothing like a chance to see Hugh Jackman and other leggy drag queens in a variety of “liberal” situations. I confess that I quasi-missed the first few minutes of the show because I was too busy doing an inventory of all my illegally obtained pharmaceuticals—next time I’ll have Lindsay Lohan help me.
I don’t think I missed a whole lot at the beginning: there was a montage of moments from various musical disasters, a brief appearance by Julia Stiles and her silky contrabass, and some outlandish displays of Jackman masculinity, such as sequined pants. Anyway, after about forty minutes, I finished arranging my Paxil in neat little rows and was free to watch.HIGHLIGHTS:
At one point I catch Mr. Jackman looking into the crowd, saying he sees “so many people who go both ways.” That’s just your reflection in the Teleprompter, sweetcheeks.
By golly, Christina Applegate just fell into the orchestra pit—just like her career after Married With Children! Those Tony producers are so crafty this year, what oh what will they think of next. Ms. Applegate is really cute onstage, but while presenting it seems like she’s expending nearly all her mortal will in an effort to keep her eyes from crossing. They have special contacts for that you know.
After a man-on-man kiss with his partner (gasp, on network television!), choreographer Jerry Mitchell gives his acceptance speech for, well, Best Choreography. In the course of about thirty seconds, he singlehandedly and preemptively out-gays everyone for the entire evening, which is a really tall order on Tony night. You just won a BEST CHOREOGRAPHY award for LA CAGE AUX FOLLES and then KISSED YOUR MAN-FRIEND—did you really need to throw in a PINK POCKET SQUARE ON TOP OF IT ALL? WE GET IT. GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY.
Odd couple #1, Jeff Goldblum and Emmy Rossum, come out to present. Ms. Rossum seems to have turned into a mini Penélope Cruz—perkiness, giant head, tiny shoulders, teensy pencil neck, the whole works. Someone call inmigración! While Mr. Goldblum talks, Ms. Rossum fills all her “quiet time” with insipid, googly-eyed smiles and aimless clapping. Get this girl some posterboard and it’ll be just like she’s curbside at a high school cheerleaders’ car wash.
To rescue us from boring speech after boring speech, we get a number from the veritable musical thrill-a-thon A Light in the Piazza. Per Mr. Jackman’s request, the set includes a bare-assed statue of the male form.
Continuing the thrill-a-minute motif, Doris Roberts comes on to talk about how nice it is to see television and film actors connect with a live audience. As she MOST CERTAINLY IS NOT DOING.
Now presenting are odd couple #2, Allison Janney and Dennis Haysbert. My god does he look bored while the white bitch is talking.
Chita Rivera, now older than Stonehenge, makes a flub while presenting a tribute to her deceased friend, renowned lyricist Fred Ebb. CBS bleeps her out—as it turns out, for uttering that most odious of curse words, “Jesus.” JESUS, and I thought John Ashcroft was bad.
Kathleen Turner comes out with her hooks in some fresh young meat, Liev Schreiber. She is in full throaty form. Seriously, you haven’t seen masculinity until you’ve seen Kathleen Turner these days. Hugh Jackman could take a pointer or two. Ms. Turner peppers her podium time with a few deep, husky “MMMM”s and ends with a punchy “NNNGH.”
To make Ms. Turner’s voice seem dainty by contrast, they immediately bring out the only person who could possibly accomplish such a task, James Earl Jones. O Tony producers, thy tricks, so transparent. Mr. Jones starts off promisingly, with a nice “MWAHAHA” and a booming “THE NOMINEES ARE,” but is cut short when Ms. Turner rushes the stage, rips off his head, and bellows, “YOU SHALL KNOW MY FEMININITY, MORTALS!!”
Once Ms. Turner is tranquilized and caged, Mr. Jones’s companion, Leslie Uggams, picks up where he left off. It’s a cliché to compare dresses to curtains or sofas, but really, I’ve never seen anything like this. There must be more than 50,000 yards of fabric and frills in Ms. Uggams’s outfit, all in an appalling purple. Ms. Uggams LOVES pronouncing A Light in the PIAZZA in “authentic Italian.” Yes, let’s all say it together, ARRIVEDERCI! BOBOLI!!
The winner for Best Featured Actress in a Musical is Sara Ramirez of Spamalot, the new musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Though Ms. Ramirez is not yet well known, she likely soon will be due to her giant breasts. Jesus, those things are gigantic. She must’ve used a gallon of Crisco to get into that dress. When she gets up out of her chair, she gives her girls a big “UP WE GO” and barely makes it up to the podium. She seems cool though. And not just because of the, you know, GIANT BREASTS.
Nice little reaction shot of Spamalot director Mike Nichols and his wife, Diane “Oh Katie Couric Your Ass Is So Mine” Sawyer. She smirks complacently and does her standard beaming thing.
The odd couples keep getting odder—now we have Anne Hathaway and Tony Shaloub. Ms. Hathaway is the awkwardest presenter ever. It’s not helped by her “dress,” a provocative piece entitled Composition No. 42: All the Finest Cloth Scraps I Could Find in the Dumpsters of Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
The ancient proto-Burt Reynolds, Robert Goulet, introduces the musical number from La Cage aux Folles, which features garter-clad “ladies” squealing, doing splits and cartwheels in high heels, and generally mounting one another. Tom Cruise LOVES this part, so excited he nearly drops his clutch purse in the champagne bubble bath at the Tonys telecast bash at Stonewall.
Accompanied by two puppets from last year’s Best Musical winner Avenue Q, two execs come out to explain what the American Theatre Wing is and what the organization does—the Tony equivalent of the Academy president coming out to be, well, boring as hell. Sorry, puppets don’t make it any more interesting.
Sally Field comes out to present. Damn, she looks young—seriously, like twelve years old. And she played Forrest Gump’s mother ELEVEN YEARS AGO for god’s sake.
Oh, darling Hugh makes a joke about Sara Ramirez’s top busting out. Please, like he even noticed her giant breasts.
Hugh says that “the range of our next presenter [Nathan Lane] is legendary.” OH YES HUGH I’M SURE YOU’VE EXPLORED HIS RANGE QUITE A BIT.
Billy Crystal wins Best Special Theatrical Event for his one-man show 700 Sundays. Great, I’m predicting a cloying, pepper-and-paprikash speech that lasts about 700 hours. He thanks “people that I loved who touched me and made me a man”—which yields a quick camera cut to Hugh Jackman, who winks and smirks LIKE THE DIRTY LITTLE SCHOOLBOY THAT YOU ARE OH HUGH YOU NAUGHTY BASTARD YOU.
The pre-commercial announcer promises some “riotous” performances to come. Damn, let me get my dentures and trifocals back on.
Mike Nichols wins Best Director of a Musical for Spamalot. Diane Sawyer beams and tents her fingers, thinking, “WITH EACH PASSING HOUR MY TRIUMPH OVER YOU BECOMES MORE COMPLETE, O COURIC.”
La Cage aux Folles wins Best Musical Revival, prompting general shrieking among drag queens everywhere. All four remaining viewers in the red states turn off their TVs in disgust.
Now that the red-staters have tuned out, apparently it’s safe to bring out Al Sharpton. He introduces a musical number from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Maybe my pills are wearing off, but this is a remarkably odd, unfunny celebrity visit.
Idina Menzel reviews some award winners from earlier in the night who weren’t “lucky” enough to make it in front of a “national” audience. Highlights include the winning costume designer from A Light in the Goddamn Piazza, who lurches toward the stage like the Bride of Frankenstein, and the winning set designer from The Pillowman, who (I believe) says, “It’s incredible. I just… it’s crazy. I learned to ride a bike between speedbumps.” With the seat taken off I gather.
Issuing a full-on WASP counteroffensive to the earlier Jones/Uggams flava onslaught, we have Joan Allen and David Hyde Pierce presenting Best Revival of a Play. Either she’s ENORMOUS or he’s a tiny little homunculus. The winner is Glengarry Glen Ross, best known to mainstream audiences for its 1992 film adaptation, which showcased several incendiary performances, skewered the American business culture of the 1980s, and introduced the phrase “you stupid f*cking c*nt” into the vernaculars of college males everywhere.
After a luminous-Laura-Linney-led tribute to deceased playwright Arthur Miller comes the ever-exciting death/popularity montage. Oddly, almost no one gets any applause, not even Marlon Brando or Janet Leigh—only Ossie Davis and Fred Ebb get a mild smattering. Damn, this is a tough crowd. Then they bring out an actual live guy, Jesse L. Martin, to do a little song and dance and milk the now three-year-old Chicago marketing cash cow. Maybe I missed something, but how does “Razzle Dazzle” have even the slightest bit to do with dead people? I’ll Google it.
Hugh Jackman ushers things back to gaydom with a tinkly little laugh. He jokes about wanting to see Paris Hilton‘s “play” eight times a week. He then mentions his long-suffering “wife.” Please, enough already.
They present Best Actor in a Play, and aww, Bill Irwin wins his first Tony, for the role of George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I saw this performance, and it was pretty incredible. His co-star Kathleen Turner is so elated that she rousts her mighty flanks from the seat and starts clapping like a giant purple-clad walrus. Mr. Irwin gives a nice coherent speech. Take note, EVERYONE ELSE.
The camera cuts to actor and non-winner Brían F. O’Byrne, he of the í that makes me írrítated that Í myself am not Írísh and alas laddíe cannot have an í of me very own. I hear his Tony-losing performance in Doubt is not to be missed.
Okay, this odd couple takes the cake—Alan Alda and Marcia Cross. He’s his standard smiley and squinty self; she’s her standard robot self. Essentially they just cancel each other out. Who invited her to this thing? I know she’s been in a couple plays, but what this show needs desperately is, you know, human charisma. She just stands there, emaciated body perfectly postured and symmetrical, zeroing her unwavering cyborg gaze directly at the camera, boring into the retinas of all 200 viewers who are still watching.
Oddest couple ever is actually there for a reason—to present Best Actress in a Play. I love Phylicia Rashad, but god I hope she doesn’t win, lest we have another All About Eve moment like last year. As was widely predicted, Cherry Jones wins for Doubt. Before heading up to the podium, Ms. Jones gives her partner a big luscious lesbian lady-loving kiss. What is this, the CHENEY HOUSEHOLD??!?
Finally, the much-touted musical number from Spamalot—the pre-commercial announcer has mentioned it about five times by now. Star Tim Curry acts like he’s still in the movie Clue, and in fact, Madeline Kahn comes back from the grave to do the whole Mrs. White “flames… flames on the side of my face” bit. It turns out that Sara Ramirez‘s giant breasts have given her an amazing voice, and she hams it up bigtime. This woman is awesome. Somehow she keeps her enormous, gargantuan, giant breasts under control. Seriously, she has got some giant breasts.
John Patrick Shanley, the writer of Doubt, accepts for Best Play. Are you kidding that this is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright? He has the accent and delivery of Colin Quinn for god’s sake.
I knew this was coming—Hugh Jackman starts singing again.
Jealous of all the attention that Sara Ramirez’s giant breasts are getting, Aretha Franklin comes onstage and joins Mr. Jackman in full force. She amps up the breast wattage into uncharted territory, wearing a gold-emblazoned shower curtain bought at some Costco outside Marrakech, topped off with a red wig, about eighteen inches of cleavage, and five chins by my count. Okay, forget Alan Alda and Marcia Cross, this is the oddest match ever. Hugh and Aretha start belting (actually more gasping on her part), and it just does not work at all. Their voices don’t match or blend or complement each other in the least. “There’s a Place for Us”? Yeah, how about NOT ON MY TV.
Oh no they did not just start holding hands.
Victoria Clark wins Best Actress in a Musical for The Light in the F*cking Piazza. Please, will you all just SHUT UP ABOUT THE GODDAMN PIAZZA. She goes on and on and concludes by telling her eleven-year-old son, “you are my light in the piazza.” Cause, you know, we really needed one more piazza, just to top off the evening.
Bernadette Peters comes out, says “piazza,” and leaves.
Actually, she presents Best Actor in a Musical to Norbert Leo Butz of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The guy’s got one built-in butt joke already, but Ms. Peters wants MORE, so both times she says his name she says “Norbutt Leo Butz.” Mr. Butz spends about half his speech talking about the always-pressing Butz/butts issue. With each passing word of the Butz-laden speech, Hugh Jackman becomes more aroused, until finally the producers have to cut off Mr. Butz in the interests of public safety.
In the final award of the evening, Spamalot wins Best Musical. Sara Ramirez’s giant breasts accept the award. Any and all momentum the telecast might’ve had for even a second is killed by the Spamalot producer, who starts his speech with what appears to be a Jar-Jar Binks joke (timely!) and then goes into odd rambling. The exasperated orchestra, which just wants to go home, cuts in, prompting even odder, bitchier comments from the increasingly desperate producer.
Finally, Mr. Jackman is forced to step in to end things, because unlike the Oscars the Tonys cannot go EVEN ONE MINUTE OVER the allotted three hours. So he chimes in with a cheerful “Good night and thank you and this is the most abrupt awards-show ending ever! Support the theater and buttsex! Good night!”
Best Musical – Revival
La Cage aux Folles
Best Actor in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Best Actress in a Musical
Victoria Clark, The Light in the Piazza
Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Dan Fogler, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Sara Ramirez, Spamalot
Best Direction of a Musical
Mike Nichols, Spamalot
Best Book of a Musical
Rachel Sheinkin, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Adam Guettel, The Light in the Piazza
Best Play – Revival
Glengarry Glen Ross
Best Actor in a Play
Bill Irwin, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Actress in a Play
Cherry Jones, Doubt
Best Featured Actor in a Play
Liev Schreiber, Glengarry Glen Ross
Best Featured Actress in a Play
Adriane Lenox, Doubt
Best Direction of a Play
Doug Hughes, Doubt
Best Special Theatrical Event