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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tony Awards 2011 Preview

Okay, in case you're in a quandry over whether to spend your Sunday night watching The Tony Awards or the NBA basketball game, let us make the choice easier for you. We'll go ahead and tell you everything you're going to see on The Tonys tonight so your t.v. viewing decision will be a little easier.

1. "The Book of Mormon" is going to win everything. Oh, sure, there'll be a few other winners only because "Mormon" wasn't nominated in every single category, but don't be shocked when the outpouring of love for "The Book of Mormon" reaches epic proportions.

2. In acting categories in which famous Hollywood stars are up against no-name Broadway actors, the famous stars almost always win. Tony voters are often no better at critically judging acting performances than Oscar voters, thus when all else fails, the Tony voter usually defaults to the more famous name.

3. Once again, we will be treated to, (forced to endure), the mediocre, often hapless "talent" that is Neil Patrick Harris. Harris will host The Tonys where he'll "sing", try to crack jokes and mug mercilessly for the camera. Okay, we get it, CBS, no one will watch The Tony's unless the host is famous, but is Harris, with his titanic forehead, the best you can do? Really? Come on, there's got to be someone out there who can actually sing, who is actually funny, and someone not nearly as irritating as Harris. James Franco's probably not doing anything tonight, is it too late to give him a call?

4. There will be lots and lots of singing and dancing, thank god. We're especially looking forward to watching our friend, Nick Adams, perform in a number from "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert". And we can't wait to see Sutton Foster perform, arguably one of the Broadway's greatest talents. Luckily, the rousing musical numbers will make up for having to listen to Neil Patrick Harris.

The Tony Awards, along with the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys, are considered to be the four major awards of the entertainment business. But unlike movies, music and t.v., which are easily accessible to every American, The Tonys are given for Broadway shows, which by their very nature are only seen by a very small number of people. Thus the built-in problem that the Tonys have every year in trying to convince Americans to watch the awards show, much less care about the shows it's promoting. It's hard for anyone to get excited about an award for a show they've never seen, and so begats the desperate pandering to mainstream American tastes which in turns gives us Neil Patrick Harris and loads of cameos by Hollywood stars at the cost of showcasing real Broadway performers who are much more deserving of our attention.

We've always wondered why The American Theatre Wing, the organization which gives out The Tonys, doesn't team up with PBS for a few weeks each year, prior to the Tony Awards, and show the Broadway shows which are up for Tonys. Okay, we know what you're thinking, if the Broadway shows are broadcast on t.v., then no one will show up at the theaters to watch them live. But each show could be filmed with its original cast, held in reserve, and when the show closes, then it could be shown on t.v. The t.v. broadcast would hurt the ticket sales for future road shows of each show, no doubt, but what Broadway needs more than anything else is exposure, and there's no better way to expose Americans to the richness of theater than to let more Americans see that theater.

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