Reflections on the 2011 Tony Awards

The American Theater Wing's 65th Annual Tony Awards took place on Sunday, live from the Beacon Theater, and here are my comments on the broadcast.  The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theater is Broadway's grandest prize and I think this year's ceremony was the most entertaining in a while.
  • Neil Patrick Harris was an excellent host from the opening musical number right up to his finale almost-improvised rap ditty. 
  • Brooke Shields came across as a bit ditzy, flubbing her singing at the top of the show and then dropping some profanity as a presenter when she good-naturedly explained her gaffe. I couldn't help but wonder whether the whole bit was staged.
  • The big flaws of the broadcast, as with most award shows, were the long, boring acceptance speeches that tended to stop the evening's momentum in its tracks.  Do winners really need to thank the world and their kitchen sink?  Have a speech prepared and keep it short and sweet!
  • I was very impressed with Daniel Radcliffe when he performed a number from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.  Who knew he could sing and dance so well?  Warner Bros. should consider turning Harry Potter into a musical franchise!
  • I've been hearing great things about John Leguizamo's one-man-show Ghetto Klown and plan to see it before it closes, but his Tony Award segment mostly fell flat.
  • Loved the Catch Me If You Can performance.  The musical itself was really great and I was thrilled to see Norbert Leo Butz win a Tony for Best Actor.
  • The 30 seconds of Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark jokes was sheer brilliance.
  • Curious (and slightly distracting) to see Angela Lansbury use notecards during her presentation, but she was classy as always.
  • I want to see Book of Mormon, the big winner of Sunday's ceremony.  South Park's Trey Parker seemed genuinely thrilled and in awe of his show's success and critical acclaim.
  • The best moment of the night was the combined might of Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris together.  They should co-host an upcoming awards show, maybe even the Oscars. 
  • The appearance by Bono and The Edge was nice, showing some honest self-deprecating humor.  I especially liked the line, "I used to be famous for being in U2" before their names became linked to the Spider-man musical debacle.
  • Speaking of Spider-man, the sample song performed from the cursed musical was underwhelming.
  • I know he's grown it for a stage role, but Robin Williams should shave that beard.  Scary!
  • I wish plays would get as much love and appreciation as flashy musicals.  The video segment, introduced by Vanessa Redgrave and James Earle Jones, of some of the notable plays of the year, was embarrassingly short, with blink-and-you'll-miss-them clips.
The good news is Broadway had its best year ever and the theater pros know how to stage a great show, something other awards broadcasts can learn a thing or two about.

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