From her perch in the first balcony of Radio City Music Hall, Millie Goldfarb reveled in the pre-show and live-TV drama of the 60th Annual Tonys Awards Sunday night. What follows is her stream-of-consciousness note-taking, with post-show addendums in brackets. For supplemental commentary, see Beedow's play-by-play.
NEW YORK CITY, June 11 -- You can see the people getting into place! You can hear the fans outside screaming for celebrities during the first hour pre-show. They’re screaming. Boy the pre-show is boring. Just a lot of kudos to everyone whose names no one knows.
[The first mezzanine was completely full during the entire pre-show, but the orchestra where the majority of the celebrities sit was almost entirely empty.]
There is SRO at the Tonys?
[Apparently they sell a limited number of standing room only tickets, but those people still need to wear black-tie attire. I would not want to be a girl wearing nice shoes and standing for 4 ½ hours. No thanks!]
The stage manager just said: “We thank you for listening to all these worthy thank yous.”
Sondra Gilman [chair of the theatre wing] is mad plastic.
In 1947 there were 1,200 guests at the Waldorf Astoria. Now there are 5,000 gathered at Radio City and millions of people watching on CBS. If you think tonight is going to be long, in 1947 they gave the awards beginning at midnight.
The stage manager just compared the Tonys to ancient Greece. Think, laugh, cry and make them applaud.
[I guess I see the similarities.]
They are still screaming outside.
It’s David Drumlin from Contact! [aka Tom Skerritt, an actor who made a notable (notable to me, not to anyone else) appearance in Contact]
The Intiman Theatre in Seattle is getting the regional Tony. Oh, they premiered The Light In The Piazza.
Bartlett Sher. Ooh, Piazza music. Nice touch.
There are people peeking behind the curtains.
VICKI AND NORBIE! [Victoria Clark and Norbert Leo Butz]
Vicki’s wearing blue.
Sarah Jones does a great speech.
STAR TRIES TO EXIT THE WRONG WAY TALLY: 1
When they announce the nominees, they turn the lights all the way on really, really bright so that the cameras can see everyone. [It’s the only show I’ve been to where you are not sitting in complete darkness.]
The camera guys tell the winners which stairs to use. [The camera guys walk backwards as the winner is charging up towards the stage, and if they were seated somewhere in the mid-section, the camera guy gestures extremely emphatically to get them to go the right way.]
Norbie just said some people like to go both ways. [This was in response to designers doing plays and musicals.]
Norbie is too close to the mic. [Ironically, they later showed a video before the start of the televised portion that told winners how to get to the stage and warned winners and presenters not to touch the mic and assured them it would pick up their voice. They showed a hilarious video of Madonna desperately trying to adjust a mic that didn’t need adjusting. They ended with “If you are not a card carrying member of IATSE, do not adjust the mic stand.”]
Techies not meant to speak in front of groups.
Score: Drowsy 1, Jersey 1, Sweeney 1
Bob Crowley: “But between you and me, I should have won for the other one.”
Score: Drowsy 2, Jersey 1, Sweeney 1
Gallo just loves his job. Oh, he thanked his high school drama teacher!
Weird and awkward silence. Everyone whips out their cell phones and Blackberrys.
Some guy [who will henceforth be known as VOICE OF GOD] says: “OK. Here we go! Please take your seats.”
Funny cell phone thing. [They played a video of Kelli O’Hara and the girls from The Pajama Game singing a song from the show re-written about turning off cell phones. During the whole thing, Michael McKean’s cell phone was going off in the video. Very funny.]
60 sec call.
VOICE OF GOD: “We have a big opening with wide shots and we don’t want to see any empties so sit down in front.”
60 people talking backstage. [After the anti-climactic opening with the 60 stars standing on the stage, they moved on with the show, but the stars were talking loudly backstage. During the whole first award presentation you could hear them cackling as they made their way back to the house. Way to go, guys.]
STAR TRIES TO EXIT THE WRONG WAY TALLY: 2
The 60 people from the opening are now sitting down.
You get commercials, we get entertainment!
COMMERCIAL BREAK #1: We are shown a video of people who started out in the chorus of shows and then became famous. This is hosted by Seth Rudetsky. His signature word is “amazing” pronounced “ah-mah-zing.”
“Show Off” instead of “Toledo Surprise”? [This is my question as to why The Drowsy Chaperone decided to do the solo Sutton Foster number “Show Off” instead of the hilarious big company number from Act I. Muy enjoyable anyhoo.]
COMMERCIAL BREAK #2: Memorable production numbers from past years.
Paul Rudd can’t see.
Score: Drowsy 3
Barbara Cook is wearing a muumuu.
Score: Drowsy 4
COMMERCIAL BREAK #3: Commercials from old shows. Equus???? [Equus is a creepy play about a boy who loves his horse a little too much. Weird commercial.] Art, Agnes of God, Noises Off, Burn This, Tru.
Oliver Platt is wearing sneakers.
Score: Sweeney 2
Sondheim mentions: 3
Crazy woman in audience wants to see Jersey Boys now because Joe Pesci is in it. [Woman in front of me remarks to her husband that she wants to see Jersey Boys because she loves Joe Pesci. He calmly explains that Joe Pesci is not in the musical.]
COMMERCIAL BREAK #4: Seth Rudetsky explains that people on the Tonys are performing to impress TV producers so they can get a series. They do this by not blinking. He proceeds to show videos of past Tony performances where actors did not blink for more than 30 seconds.
David Drumlin is back. "And moi"? [Tom Skerritt just referred to himself as “moi” like Miss Piggy.]
Hal Holbrook totally made Brian Stokes Mitchell laugh.
Jamie-Lynn + Molly? Ugh.
They made The Wedding Singer look good.
Number of times announcer lady has reminded us that Julia Roberts is coming up: 2
COMMERCIAL BREAK #5: Seth Rudetsky reminds performers that the Radio City stage is a lot bigger than the stages that they are used to. He reminds everyone to mark properly. As an example, he shows a video of Patti LuPone in Evita. At the end she makes a sweeping motion to link arms with Peron and totally misses his arm.
The Spamalot bit with the knights and Sondra Gilman was not live. We saw that on a screen.
Lots of Purple fans. [There were a lot of loud fans of The Color Purple fans around me.]
BETH!!!! “Who would put an olive … in a Gibson?” [Beth Leavel’s best line from The Drowsy Chaperone] She thanks LIFE! She jumped and posed.
Why are people clapping for Cyndi Lauper? This is reaffirming my decision to not see this show. This is why middle-America thinks theatre people are weird. [The staging of the musical number for The Threepenny Opera probably had several effects: 1) It offended most of middle-America, 2) It did not sell any additional tickets, 3) It caused people who already had tickets to ask for their money back.]
COMMERCIAL BREAK #6: Past Tony performances. TITANIC! Rosie O’Donnell? Rewind? [After the video ended, they rewinded it on the screen before turning it off.]
Phantom needed more practice. [The Phantom of the Opera f*cked up the words.]
I’m sitting near the mother of someone involved with Jersey Boys.
COMMERCIAL BREAK #7: More commercials from old shows.
Look at all these Grey’s Anatomy people. [Sara Ramirez (Dr. Torres), T.R. Knight (George), Kate Burton (Ellis Grey)]
No one really clapped during the deathy thing until Shelley Winters. Which was nice.
COMMERCIAL BREAK #9: More commercials from old shows.
Why does EVERYONE go on stage when a show wins an award?
Why do producers talk?
Oh look! GOD! [Oprah]
Flashbulbs for Oprah [They confiscated cameras at the door and gave you a claim check to pick them up later. Women must have been shoving them where the sun don’t shine because as soon as Oprah walked on stage it was SNAP SNAP SNAP.]
COMMERCIAL BREAK #10: Nothing!
People started leaving. Weird.
Leading actor before leading actress?
STAR TRIES TO EXIT THE WRONG WAY TALLY: 3
LaChanze thanks Oprah the way some people thank God.
COMMERCIAL BREAK #11: Nothing!
Wow. Jersey Boys.
[After the show I planted myself right at the exit of Radio City and watched everyone come out. Some people (Oprah, Julia) must have snuck out side entrances but I managed to brush up with Elisabeth Withers-Mendes, Brian F. O’Byrne, Kate Burton (who was pacing in front of Radio City in her poofy dress desperately looking for someone or something), Kelli O’Hara and Michael Ceveris.
And then I saw Gregg Barnes, who won for his costume design of The Drowsy Chaperone and he was just walking down Sixth Avenue with his Tony (second photo above). Just walking down the street! I didn’t realize you actually leave with the award. I thought they would deliver it to you or something. A guy walked up to him and was like “Can I touch it?” And he responded, “You can hold it!” He let the guy hold it and take a picture with it. Then Bob Martin, from The Drowsy Chaperone came out and I got a picture with him (third photo above). He was so nice.
As I was making my way to Fifth Avenue to catch a cab, I literally walked into Beth Leavel, winner for best featured actress for Drowsy. I asked if I could get a picture with her and she was totally game. When I admitted I didn’t have any friends to take the picture for me, she said “Oh, my husband can do it.” She ganked it out of my hands and shoved it at him and said “Here.” It was a priceless moment (fourth photo above).
Overall, this theatre devotee and true addict had a marvelous time. Well worth the price of the ticket ($202.50) and just a really great experience.]