Rating the Tony Awards’ Highlights

Who caught the Tony Awards yesterday? It was an interesting night at the Beacon Theater, with lots of surprises when it came to the winners, for sure. But I’d like to begin this recap by establishing that Neil Patrick Harris is a national treasure. If he could host everything, ever—maybe with an occasional cameo by Hugh Jackman—the world would be a happier place.

Let’s run down the highlights of the show, shall we? To simplify this a bit, I’ve decided to rate Tony 2012′s top moments by jazz hands, from one (meh) to five (YES!).

1. The Book of Mormon introduction. OK, the idea of starting out with the BofM cast members ringing famous Broadway stars’ doorbells was cute. But this show had its big moment last year, and the number itself lacked…something. (Maybe the hundreds of obscenities that pepper the rest of the production’s songs?)
Rating: Two jazz hands

2. Neil Patrick Harris’s opener. “What if life were more like theater?” NPH asks, and thus begins a cute musical number that pays tribute to beloved theater traditions while also poking gentle fun at them. It would basically have been impossible to top last year’s insane opening number, but the “preventermission” and the Annie cameo brought it pretty close.
Rating: Four jazz hands

3. Movie-musical hybrids. “The Towering Inferno No Nannette. The Exorcister Act. Field of Dreamgirls. My Left Footloose. (Think of the dance numbers!)” Cute.
Rating: Two jazz hands

4. The Newsies performance. Yes, yes, yes!! Love all these boys. Way to wake up the audience with Christopher Gattelli’s high-octane moves. (And Newsies fans: Stay tuned for July/August issue!)
Rating: Four jazz hands

5. Christopher Gattelli winning for Best Choreography—during a commercial break. So well-deserved. But really? Hiding the presentation away during the commercials? Choreographers are people too, Tonys!
Rating: Five jazz hands (the award); zero jazz hands (the timing)

6. NPH’s Spiderman stunt. “Any concerns I had about this Spiderman rig failing have been overshadowed by the searing pain in my junk.” [Cut to Andrew Garfield.]
Rating: Three jazz hands

7. The Lion King guy sitting in the audience in full costume. I’m sorry, what??
Rating: Zero jazz hands

8. The Porgy and Bess performance. Oh, man, I could listen to Audra McDonald sing “Summertime” all day. Which is why I was a little bummed that they performed a confusing medley of songs instead of just letting her do her thing. Though it’s also a treat to see Norm Lewis and David Alan Grier up there, so…
Rating: Three jazz hands
(Side note: McDonald’s engaged to Will Swenson?? Where have I been??)

9. The Tony-Award winning composer medley. NPH sings a (pretty awesome) song mash-up commemorating all of the composers who’ve won for best score…and the whole thing is an introduction for Sheryl Crow? I’m a little confused (though I did laugh out loud at “Hello 12, hello 13, hello—where is love?”).
Rating: Two jazz hands

10. The Once performance. “Gold” is a beautiful song, but I was hoping they’d do “Falling Slowly,” which is just gorgeous. Also, it would’ve been nice to hear Cristin Milioti sing a bit.
Rating: Three jazz hands

11. Hugh Jackman’s surprise face. Jackman knew he was getting a special Tony Award last night—but he didn’t know that his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, would be presenting it. That is real surprise right there, and it is adorable.
Rating: Three jazz hands

12. “I just got terrible news: The cast of Hairspray has been taken over by pirates…of Penzance.” Nerdy theater jokes! Yay!
Rating: Two jazz hands

13. The Leap of Faith performance. I’m sad this show closed before I got a chance to see it, because the cast’s performance was unexpectedly amazing. That is some serious choreography!
Rating: Four jazz hands

14. The closing recap. The best. And the ending was perfect. Just watch and appreciate all that is Neil Patrick Harris.
Rating: Five very enthusiastic jazz hands

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