We Fix the TONY AWARDS in 5 Simple Steps

To borrow a line from 2007’s Tony┬« Award Winning Best Musical Spring Awakening, last night’s 63rd Annual Tony Awards were, “Totally F*cked.” Which is why this TV Addict thought he’d take the opportunity to vent after a weekend of blogging downtime courtesy of the server company from hell to rip the Tony’s a new one humbly suggest five suggestions that the Tony’s might wish to consider taking into account for next year.

Step #1 – Hire competent people: From the opening number that wasn’t quite audible (kind of a big deal, wouldn’t you say?) to being the one telecast of the year that now holds the distinction of having made the Tony Award Winning Billy Elliot look unwatchable, last night’s award ceremony was a technical train-wreck from beginning to end. Which is kind of a curious considering that the ceremony takes place in New York City, where you’d think, CBS might have been able to scrounge together a technical staff of behind-the-scenes experts to ensure the telecast didn’t look and sound like it was shot from ‘the team’ that did PS 142’s High School production of A Chorus Line.

Step #2 – Mandate interesting speeches: You know the only thing that is less interesting to the average television viewer than watching some guy you’ve never heard of (say, Matthew Warchus) win a Tony for Best Direction of a Play that you’ve never seen (God of Carnage)? Having to listen to him thank an entire team of people that mean absolutely nothing to anyone outside of Radio City Musical Hall and/or TalkinBroadway (The web’s preeminent theater discussion message board.) Which is why we’d like to see the Tony Award Winners save their thank-you’s for off-camera and plead with them to use their fifteen-to-twenty seconds of fame to deliver an interesting and inspiring arts related message that won’t have viewers reaching for the fast-forward button.

Step #3 – You hired a host, why not use him?: As much as Neil Patrick Harris is into magic, we really didn’t expect a disappearing act during the show he was supposed to host. Seriously, what was the point of hiring the multi-talented (some might say, legendary) NPH if he’s going to be M.I.A. for the majority of the show, only to save his most only memorable moment just in time for the credits to role? (See: Video above)

Step #4 – Scrap the best play clips: Plays by their very definition are meant to enjoyed within the intimate confines of a dark theater. Heck, if they worked on TV, they’d be television shows! So rather than continue the inexplicable and ineffective tradition of airing pointless clips that (newsflash!) do not shine a positive light on the Tony nominated productions, why not scrap them entirely and do something you know, entertaining. Invite the nominated cast members up for a little “paper bag dramatics” or if that’s too theatrical, fun and risky for CBS, at the very least give us more time for Neil Patrick Harris (See: Our previous point)

Step #5 – Show less depressing ads: Since the Tony Awards are the SuperBowl equivalent for the geriatric set, we’re the first to admit that this is probably not going to happen. That said, it would be nice for CBS to recognize that not every Tony viewer is over sixty-five and suffering from a multitude of health problems. In fact, the only thing more depressing than the unwatchable Shrek’s multitude of Tony noms was the fact that the never-ending stream of ads offering to help viewers lower their cholesterol put a damper on this TV Addict’s traditional award show meal of Popeye’s Chicken Strips!

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  • BradInToronto

    I agree with all except for maybe #4. If anything, they should expand the clips (they were too short), or even better do a short scene from each play live (didn’t they used to do that?)

    Problem #1 was the most inexcusable. One can argue over creative decisions (and there were some pretty questionable ones), and a glitch or two in a live show can certainly happen, but someone’s head should roll for 3 hours of an improperly miked production.

  • BradinToronto,

    Since you commented, I must now give you a shout out for last night’s best Tony Twitter line when you reacted to the three ‘Billy’s’ winning the joint Tony for Best Male Lead in a Musical. “Did the Jonas Brothers just win a Tony?#tonys”

  • Next year, they should get NPH to reenact a scene of each play nomination by himself. THAT would be entertaining!

    #2 and #3 carry over to the Emmys and Oscars as well though. It’s an awards show problem more than Tonys.

    WTF was with #1. I was with poor Michael who had to keep explaining to the crowd that it wasn’t his fault but CBS’s.’

    AND btw, yes, you NEED to see Hair. Can’t believe you had no interest.

  • Vance,
    Great idea with regards to NPH reenacting a scene of each play! Did you see his TVLand Awards opening, he was legen…. wait for it… dary!

    As for HAIR, it definitely was a phenomenal advertisement for the show. The energy level was off the charts and something I’m definitely intrigued to check out in person.

  • I agree that I wanted the clips to be longer. It made me want to see God of Carnage. The technical stuff and lack of NPH was disappointing. I loved the speeches though.

    What annoyed me was the camera moving around and panning to the singers during the In Memoriam. Learn from the Oscars, we care about seeing the people on the screen. It’s about them.

  • I have to agree with the moving camera during the memoriam. It was disrespectful to the very people it was meant to showcase. The viewing audience had no interest in the people singing. We wanted to see the names of the people who had passed, and the explanation of their contribution to the theater, especially in the cases of those not so well known to the average viewer. I could not even see the print below many of the pictures because of the swinging and swaying of the camera and the ludicrous angles they were shot from. And also, if you are going to bother to flash the past Tony nominations and awards at the bottom of the screen every time someone wins, leave it there long enough for at least an excellent reader to read and comprehend it!! And I would also have liked to see them make more use of Neil’s talent. He is far more entertaining than most of the people we had to endure. And the musical numbers were a big old muddled up mess at the beginning of the broadcast and went on way too long, especially the one from Shrek!! And I can’t believe with all of the Tony’s Billy Elliot grabbed, the one who DIDN’T win was Sir Elton!!

  • AJ

    ITA about the speeches!!! I get that it is their chance to thank people that helped them get there; but if it’s going to be televised, they should also consider the audience. I think they need to let broadway do what they do best!!! let them perform live. make it into a 3 hour commercial to entertain and educate the audience on the amazing shows that are currently running. rather than frustrating the audience with a bunch of unknowns, let us know what the storylines are.

    I also totally agree with the misuse of NPH. he oozes talent, but they didn’t allow him the chance to run with it. he could EASILY work up a billy crystal type opening number!!! maybe he could even target them as dr horrible. LOL

  • Peter A

    The flymen should been shot for the opening number. Look when you are flying stuipd.