Image Credit: Kevin Mazur/Wireimage.comIf you watched the 2010 Tony Awards—and that’s a very big if, considering it was the night of the True Blood premiere and game 5 of the NBA finals—you probably saw a few strange things: Host Sean Hayes tonguing Kristin Chenoweth, Green Day playing a mini-concert, and Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Catherine Zeta-Jones making off with two of the four major acting awards. The night’s biggest winner was, uncharacteristically, a play: the Mark Rothko homage Red, which took home six awards including Best Play. Memphis—featuring music by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan—won Best Musical. Below, a few more moments from Tony night 2010:
Green Day night: So, let’s tally it up here: American Idiot had four musical numbers. Four: three in the opening number (one from the cast, and two from Green Day), then the show’s official Best Musical performance later in the telecast. That’s more awards than it got (it won best sets and lighting). Heck, that’s more nominations than it got. Think the other best musical nominees were ticked off?
The Jay-Z factor: We wonder…did Fela! producer Jay-Z make some sort of no-cameras deal with the Tony people—like, I’ll be there, but don’t keep showing me in the audience? His co-producers Will and Jada Pinkett Smith got some camera time—and even went onstage to introduce Fela!’s musical number. Seriously, we didn’t even know he was there until he and Beyoncé gave choreography winner Bill T. Jones a standing ovation. Come on—eight jillion cutaways to Glee star Matthew Morrison and practically none to Jay-Z? We wanted to see what Beyoncé was wearing!
The press factor: This year, journalists—about 100 or so of them—were removed from the Tony voter list. So did that make a difference? A few weeks ago, at a luncheon at Sardi’s, a few journalists were talking Tonys, and were asked what effect, if any, we thought the press’ absence would have on this year’s awards. My answer: I thought it would take votes away from Fela! in the very tight Best Musical race.
Worst pairing of presenters: Former Equus and future How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying star Daniel Radcliffe with All My Sons alum Katie Holmes. Next to the towering Mrs. Tom Cruise, Radcliffe looked more like a Hobbit than Harry Potter.
Best pairing of presenters: Tony winner David Hyde Pierce (Curtains) and La Cage aux Folles star Kelsey Grammer, who gave us the Frasier reunion we’d been waiting for. Now if only they’d thrown Bebe Neuwirth in there! But it seems she was busy…
Good sport award: Non-nominees Neuwirth and Nathan Lane—who headline the box-office juggernaut The Addams Family—presented the awards for Best Actress and Actor in a Musical…the very categories for which they were overlooked. Neuwirth got to display her trademark drier-than-dry humor, Lane did his flask-swilling, brow-sweating manic thing (complete with Bob Hope “Passover” joke), and a good laugh was had by all.
Did he really not know where that trophy came from? Fences star Denzel Washington didn’t seem nervous while accepting his Best Actor Tony, so even folks who voted for him were puzzled by this line in his acceptance speech: “I’ve been awarded by the Tony Award—what do you call yourselves? The Tony Committee.”
A kiss is just a…wink-wink, nudge-nudge taking-the-high road comeback: Well, you knew Sean Hayes was going to say something about the Newsweek article that claimed he wasn’t convincing as the straight Chuck Baxter in Promises, Promises. Enter his feisty scene-stealing costar Kristin Chenoweth. “I just wanted to say, break a leg, you’re gonna be great,” she purred. Cue Al-and-Tipper-style open-mouthed. Exit Chenoweth, knees ever-so-slightly buckled. “I know what you’re thinking,” he deadpanned. “She’s too short for me.”
Best pratfall (intentional): Chenoweth, who took a tumble in the name of comedy and “fainted” upon hearing the news that she wasn’t even nominated for her performance in Promises. How she did it and kept her crystal-studded Tony Ward Couture micro-mini from going over her head we’ll never know. (Incidentally, Chenoweth also got prime placement in the opening number where she belted “I Say a Little Prayer.” We love our Cheno, but can’t help but wonder—has a non-nominee ever gotten so much airtime on the Tony telecast?)
Best pratfall (unintentional): Best Actress in a Musical winner/A Little Night Music star Catherine Zeta-Jones, who tripped on her voluminous ice-blue Versace gown while walking up to the stage to accept her Best Actress trophy—then simply laughed it off by wondering how Cinderella did it in her ball gown.
Strangest spouse shout-outs: Scarlett Johansson called hubby Ryan Reynolds “my Canadian, who I live with.” (So did the Canadian have a curfew? Johansson was hiding in a corner at the View From the Bridge/Next Fall/La Cage aux Folles after-party with her publicist.) Zeta-Jones, meanwhile, ended her speech by acknowledging her husband Michael Douglas: “See that man there? He’s a movie star and I get to sleep with him every night!” Backstage, she said she couldn’t believe she said something so “crass.” Oh, CZJ—we’ll take crass spontaneity over scripted list-reading any day!
Good host, bad sendoff: Buzz at the Rockefeller Center gala was all good for host Sean Hayes, who really threw himself into the gags (the Annie outfit!?!) and played to his strengths (showing off his concert pianism). And he had big shoes to fill, considering Neil Patrick Harris did such a bang-up job last year. But the ending was a disorganized mess: Letting the Best Musical winner perform one more time was actually a cool idea—better than hearing tons of producers rambling on and on. (The full companies of all four nominated shows were huddled backstage, waiting to hear their show’s name announced.) But in all the chaos, the Tony host didn’t even get to say goodnight. He didn’t even get to finish his last joke! In the Tonys.org thank-you cam tradition, we propose that Hayes tape it, so we can see the ending he would have given us, had time permitted.
Overheard at the gala: “So how many people broke out their checkbooks for Funny Girl tonight?” Everyone’s pretty much assuming Lea Michele has already won the Barbra Streisand role. (And, let’s face it, her very intense “Don’t Rain on My Parade” was a pretty obvious audition.) Let’s hope Glee figures out a way to graduate her character.