Award Shows: 2012 Tony Awards

Peter and the Starcatcher

Peter and the Starcatcher
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She Said: 2012 Tony Awards

I love the theatre. I am always so excited for the Tony’s. There weren’t a lot of shows that I was really familiar with before this year’s awards show. I was hopeful that I would discover a couple of gems (and that Once and Jesus Christ Superstar wouldn’t drive me too crazy). I haven’t ever enjoyed a Tony night less then I did this year.

I don’t like Neil Patrick Harris. I know. I’m one person in a sea of a hundred million who love him- so be it. I don’t think he’s funny or talented. I wish they could get Hugh Jackman to host again because he was awesome.

I was really disappointed that the show opened with a number from Book of Mormon. I really don’t like this show. I’m not a Mormon, I’m a Christian and denominationally speaking I am a Baptist. But, I don’t like to hear the name of Jesus being thrown around and played for laughs even at the expense of a false religion that deceitfully use his name.   I shudder to think of the day that this show will make it’s way down the theatrical production food chain and it will be performed at the community theatre level. It’s always great when a show has the opportunity to reach a new audience, but there’s nothing redemptive about this show that make it worth reaching an audience.

There were a lot of performances on the show and that was really cool. Of course I would have liked to have seen the entire presentation of the Isabelle Stevenson award to Bernadette Peters (not just 20 seconds). I love New York and I want to go back and visit again. Of course seeing live theatre is something I want to do and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to learn so much about so many shows.  Here are my thoughts on some of the biggest shows of the night.

Newsies– I don’t like it. I know most people my age were big fans of the movie when we were kids. I didn’t like it then and I really don’t like it now. The music was irritating. I thought some of the choreography (in the march section) looked like bad community theatre dancing. I’ve heard lots of people say that they are the healthiest, buffest and cleanest Newsboys that anyone has ever seen. Yep. I understand we are supposed to suspend disbelief but how about a little verisimilitude.

Follies: This show originated in DC so I have somewhat of a soft spot for it. But, the truth is that most of it isn’t very good. It has a couple of wonderful numbers “Broadway Baby” and “I’m Still Here” and other than that I find the music pretty grating.

Ghost– I may never hear Unchained Melody the same. The performance was really dreadful. When will the trend of trying to turn everything into a musical end? And, I say this as someone who loves musicals!

Jesus Christ Superstar– I thought the suit that “Judas” character wore looked like something someone’s nana would wear to a special occasion. A shiny blue pantsuit with a sparkly blue top underneath just screams grandson’s graduation. I don’t really get this musical. It just seems like another tired attempt at trying to sensationalize or trivialize the life of Jesus by bending facts and adding embellishments to the story. Some of the lyrics really bother me and I think can confuse people.


Nice Work if You Can Get It– I was very excited to see this show. I’m a big fan of Gershwin music. Kelli O’Hara sang an absolutely beautiful version of “Someone to Watch Over Me’. She’s one of my favorite actresses on the Broadway stage, today. She has such a wonderful ability of creating range within each character. The whole number from the show disappointed me. Matthew Broderick and a bunch of scantily clad dancers really killed what started out as a cute segment. I believe that you can have dancers and even flappers who don’t have to dress in such a skimpy fashion. I really thought that part of the performance was really sleazy. This show is being hailed as a throwback to the old Hollywood musicals of 30s and 40s. I wish this show were as clean as some things were then. I wouldn’t feel comfortable watching a show like this.

Peter and the Starcatcher– this seems to be one of the neatest shows on Broadway right now. It’s a play based on the book, Peter and the Starcatcher, which is a modern “prequel” of sorts for the classic Peter Pan series. The actors were all so completely committed to their characters that I was disappointed when the show moved on.  It seems like such a fun and fast paced show. I’ve always loved Peter Pan.

One Man Two Guvnors– I have no idea what this show is about. It was really just a guy screaming and throwing himself into trashcans. I could look it up but I resented the minutes that seeing and writing about it have wrested away from my life.

End of Rainbow– I appreciate that Tracie Bennett’s performance looks spot on. She really nailed Judy’s later performing style. I don’t know if I would want to see this show because it seems so sad. I’m actually uncomfortable watching real performances of Judy Garland later in her life. I also think there’s a fine line between acting and impersonating. I don’t feel that I can discern where this show fits in with only seeing one brief performance.

Once– I loved the movie. I still listen to the soundtrack. We’ve even seen The Swell Season perform live. Even though I got heat exhaustion at the concert I still tried to go back inside and hear the last 10 minutes instead of going home. I love this music! I just really hate the musical. Guy and Girl for me will always be Glen and Marketa. In the musical the Guy doesn’t sound Irish and the Girl seems to be mentally challenged instead of foreign (which I think is kind of rude). I don’t like the changes that they’ve made the story and I don’t like the band-dance troupe chorus combo.

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess– I was excited to see this because it was more Gershwin music! I’m also a fan of Audra McDonald. She’s so talented and such a joy to watch. I also think Norm Lewis is wonderful. He has the most amazing voice and I think it’s a travesty that he isn’t Javert in the movie version of Les Miserables.  Most of the music sounded wonderful and I enjoyed it as well as the dancing. At the very end David Alan Grier sang a song as a very unsavory character (who’s a drug dealer) about how everything that happened in the Bible isn’t actually true. While I realize that we are seeing a character that is deeply disreputable, but I’ve had a hard time getting that song out of my head. It’s very catchy but it’s a not okay song to have running through my mind. I do believe that everything happened in the Bible just as it says it did. I understand the need to show bad characters and their actions, but I think it must be carefully handled or you run the risk of just helping people sin.

Godspell– I don’t like this show because I feel like it distorts and confuses people about the Gospels. That’s a problem! Sometimes the staging, lyrics and choreography present events in not truthful and confusing ways in order to tell “story” rather than share about Jesus. I think a lot of Christians get misled about it

Leap of Faith– I was so annoyed when I found out they were making this into a musical. I don’t like the movie so why would I like the show. All the rudeness +bad musical numbers+ one of my least favorite Broadway actors, Raul Esparza= a big mess. I am a big fan of gospel music, but I couldn’t even understand the choir. I was shocked by how ugly his last of the song was. I’m always so sad when I hear of people who are being taking advantage of and misled about God. While we have to be educated about the evil in this world I don’t think much is truly accomplished except creating more evil by making fun of and potentially hurting others.

Evita– I used to love this show. When I was in high school it was one of my dream shows. I don’t really like it anymore and actually find the music to be kind of annoying. Ricky Martin seemed out of breath during the whole number. While it’s cool that the lady playing Eva Peron is an Argentinean herself she’s not very talented. Her voice was grating. I will say that the dancing in this looked stunning. It appears to be a very well choreographed show.

Hairspray– I thought that was the crassest and tackiest advertisement aired in the middle of an award show that I’ve ever seen (like literally, not on a break, in the middle of the show).  Last fall I was privileged to see Signature theatre’s production of Hairspray so this “production” seemed like cold soup for sure. Why was Tracy so petite? Why did everyone seem to be acting so poorly? I would have rather seen a production number from Bonnie and Clyde (or the presentation to Bernadette Peters).

So that’s it. I still love theatre. I love Music Man, Our Town and Beauty and the Beast. I’ll watch the Tony’s next year and will be hoping to see a better selection of shows. I don’t think that there are really many shows at all I would to see. But, there definitely a few older shows and a couple of new ones from this year that would be really cool to see.

Rating- 1

He Said : The Tony’s

The theatre can be one of the most touching, memorable, engaging, and in some cases life changing experiences in the world.  Kari and I met acting together in a play.  Which is why I really take it hard when the Great White Way sucks so bad sometimes.  I’ll start by talking about the award show itself, and then get into my treatise on bad theatre

Once again, Neil Patrick Harris made me miss past hosts, especially Hugh Jackman.  The original numbers are getting fewer and farther between, and when we get them, they just aren’t amusing or funny.  Neil Patrick Harris can’t dance, and makes too much fun of the technical shortcomings of live theatre.  I understand making fun of the foibles of the business, but talking about technical limitations is really piling on in this era of big budget, special effects laden movies.  His final song was enjoyable, but someone else always writes that anyway.  I suppose that so goes the plays and musicals, so goes the Tonys.

Theatre is very cyclical, so it’s not surprising when a bad season comes along.  This is a very bad year for theatre in my opinion.  In place of creativity we’re only seeing movie adaptations, smuttiness, and bad revivals.  Of the four nominees for best “new” musical, three were adaptions of movies.  A small indie film that was robbed of any originality (Once), A blasphemous 20 year old Steve Martin movie (Leap of Faith), and another 20 year old movie, this time a Razzie winner (Newsies) show us that Broadway doesn’t have any new ideas either.

Well, there’s always the revivals, right?  Not this year.  Of the four nominees, you had one that would have met our standards.  The others are either about washed up showgirls, wishing they could show the skin they used to, a sexed up take on Jesus, and a musical where a drug dealer tells us all about how the bible is wrong.

I’m so saddened by what’s on Broadway right now.  The blasphemy is the worst part.  In addition to Jesus Christ Superstar and Leap of Faith, this year also brought us a new version of Godspell (which isn’t as nice as people want to think it is) and The Book of Mormon continues to be a big presence.  I don’t agree with Mormons, but you can’t help guide people away from what’s wrong by making fun of it.

I used to dream of taking Kari to New York City, and going to see a show every night.  I’m not looking forward to that this year.  I really hope next year is much better.  The Tony Awards show itself too.

Rating- 1