Many portions of the Tony Awards last Sunday night left both theater professionals and viewers at home feeling puzzled, disappointed or downright angry. But rather than just complain, let’s think about what ought to change for next year to restore some integrity, professionalism and sanity.
What shows are highlighted
The Tony Awards are supposed to recognize the season that just occurred, not shamelessly promote upcoming shows like “The Last Ship” and “Finding Neverland” as if it were an infomercial. If those shows are worthy enough, they can be included in next year’s telecast. And was it really necessary to devote time to the current cast of “Wicked”? On the other hand, nothing was performed from “The Bridges of Madison County,” which won best score and orchestrations.
Which songs to perform
Producers need to seriously consider how their shows will appear onscreen when deciding on what production number to present. “Friend Like Me,” “Wilkommen” and “One Day More” may be rousing crowd pleasers at the theater, but they looked sloppy and lost on the giant stage of Radio City. On the other hand, Idina Menzel looked great while singing a comparatively inferior solo from “If/Then.”
Fewer irrelevant, weird concepts
This year’s opening number, with Hugh Jackman energetically bouncing around (apparently in homage to a 1950s film), was probably strange enough to compel more than a few viewers to change the channel. And don’t get me started on the absolutely pointless “Music Man” rap.
There is truly no legitimate excuse for taking out the “In Memorium” section, which pays tribute to industry figures that died during the past year. Relegating it to the internet is disappointing and insulting.