June 14, 2017

Tony Talk Podcast: Episode 12: Wrapping Up

The 2016-2017 theater season that ended on Sunday night with the Tony Awards ceremony hosted by Kevin Spacey was one of the best in recent memory. That made the contest for the top prizes one of the most competitive and, as the creation of the Tony Talk podcast attests, fun to follow. Alas, the telecast didn't measure up to either.

Unlike in the past few years, when Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman and James Corden made a special effort to be inclusive so that theater nerds would feel embraced and newcomers would feel welcomed, Spacey was almost entirely self-referential, doing an opening number that only made sense to people who'd seen all the nominated shows and knew all of their backstories, taking up time with irrelevant impressions of Johnny Carson and Bill Clinton and hyping his Netflix series. 

The folks who chose the musical numbers to showcase were almost as tone-deaf. Viewers around the country look forward to getting a peek at each season's new musicals but the excerpts this year were confusing or lugubrious and revealed little about what made their shows special and worth seeing.

The ones that came off best were Ben Platt's performance of a song from Dear Evan Hansen (he won Best Actor in a Musical and it Best Musical) and a high-energy dance number from Bandstand, a show that didn't get nominated for Best Musical but took advantage of the opportunity to show why its choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler earned the top prize in that category.

Nor did the telecast solve the longstanding problem of how to showcase plays. This year's approach of having the playwright of each of the Best Play nominee describe his or her show probably didn't sell many tickets but it still was great to see all four of those remarkable writers get a moment in the spotlight even if only J.T. Roger's Oslo emerged as the ultimate winner.

Plus some of the speeches were moving and some of the outfits were gorgeous. So this week, in our final episode, my pals Chris Caggiano, Bill Tynan and I talk about all of it. Click the orange button below to hear what we have to say or check out all the Tony Talk podcasts on SoundCloud by clicking here. And you also can find a bunch of other articles about the broadcast in the Tony Talk magazine on Flipboard, which you can find here. 

No comments: