Thank you, musical theater gods, for (newly-crowned MacArthur genius) Lin-Manuel Miranda. He brought us In the Heights. He brought us Bring It On. And then he went and brought us Hamilton—that most unlikely and yet, somehow, most fantabulous rap musical about America's Founding Fathers.
As if that weren't enough, he also instituted the daily #Ham4Ham lottery, which gives 21 lucky Broadway fans last-minute $10 tickets to the indefinitely sold-out Hamilton. And as if THAT weren't enough, he then decided to entertain the crowds of lottery hopefuls with daily #Ham4Ham performances at the stage door—impromptu appearances that have become events in themselves.
Why? Oh, because they tend to feature guest stars who may or may not be the biggest names on Broadway. Some of them are from the cast of Hamilton itself—like Jonathan Groff, who rapped it out with Miranda. Some of them are Great White Way legends—like Kelli O'Hara, who did her best LL Cool J. Some of them are adorable precocious children—like our friend Iain Loves Theatre, who gave us a preview of what the next Hamilton generation will look like.
But while generally rich in singing and rap-battling, the #Ham4Ham performances haven't featured much dancing. Until yesterday.
Realizing that critical oversight, Miranda invited master tapper Jared Grimes to do a little something with Broadway and TV actress Laura Benanti at last night's #Ham4Ham show. The result—which involved a tap board and a My Fair Lady classic—was, unsurprisingly, totally delightful.
Happy Thursday, everyone.
Did you catch the Kinky Boots Awards last night? Uh, I mean the Tony Awards?
Yes, it seemed like Cyndi Lauper's high-spirited, be-spangled musical took home just about every prize there was, including Best Musical. But at the risk of sounding totally cheesy, I'd say we, the audience, were the real winners last night—because hey, it was a darn great show! Here are the evening's many high and few low points.
-Neil Patrick Harris. Can NPH host everything, ever? He was particularly awesome in the...
-...kick-butt opening number (written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt). After getting shoehorned into the smaller Beacon Theater for a couple of years, the Tonys were back in Radio City Music Hall this time around—and boy, did they ever "go bigger." GO NEIL GO!
-By the way, did you catch Mike Tyson in there? Apparently he had a one-man show this year, which meant we got to see him do "choreography" and try to bite off NPH's ear. It was pretty spectacular.
Dance, Mike, dance!
-The Matilda performance. Super-clean choreography and fabulously clever lyrics performed by some of the most talented little kids ever? Plus scooters? And Ryan Steele? It doesn't get better than that.
-Actually, here's a shout-out to all the incredible kids who performed last night. From the Annie's orphans to A Christmas Story's hooligans (Luke Spring!), they showed a level of professionalism most Broadway grown-ups never achieve. And they were cuter to boot. As NPH put it, “They’re the reason this whole season seems to look like Chuck E. Cheese’s.”
-The mid-show musical tribute to Broadway actors and their canceled TV shows, starring Andrew Rannells, Megan Hilty, Laura Benanti and brilliantly rejiggered versions of classic songs. Just watch it again (and suck it, Will Chase!):
-Cyndi Lauper's acceptance speech, because she seemed so genuinely thrilled by the awesomeness of it all. She also happens to be the first woman to win the Best Score Tony solo, which is pretty cool. (Honorable mention goes to presenter Jesse Tyler Ferguson for screaming "Girl, you're gonna have fun tonight!" upon opening the envelope. And to Lauper's hair, last night and always.)
-Audra McDonald dropping the mic. (After helping NPH nail Lin-Manuel Miranda's awesome show-roundup rap, that is.) BOOM. What a boss.
-The introductions by other Broadway characters. Fine, the Newsies boys were adorable. But the pairings of old shows with new seemed totally rando (the Rock of Ages guys introducing...Cinderella??), making the gimmick disorienting more than anything else.
-Mike Tyson's reactions to the Tyson zingers NPH sprinkled throughout the show. Mike was not amused, Neil. And he's probably not the kind of guy you want on your bad side. Just sayin'.
-Patti LuPone's dress. No. I love you, but no.
I'm sorry I couldn't find a full-length pic, because the bottom only gets crazier. (photo Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
-Matilda not winning, like, anything. What? I mean, WHAT? OK, yes, it got Best Book and Best Featured Actor and a couple of those smaller ones they do during the commercials, but it was up for 12 nominations. Four out of 12? Did you see that performance earlier, voters??
By the way: Last week, we asked you who you thought would win the award for Best Choreography. While the actual Tony went to Jerry Mitchell for Kinky Boots, you guys were bigger fans of Andy Blankenbuehler's high-flying Bring It On choreo. Here are your results:
Andy Blankenbuehler for Bring It On: The Musical: 50.49%
Peter Darling for Matilda The Musical: 24.27%
Chet Walker for Pippin: 18.45
Jerry Mitchell for Kinky Boots: 7%