My Top 5 Favorite Moments of the 2017 Tony Awards.

Well, another Tony Awards is in the books!

And, I gotta say, when Michael Aronov won for Oslo at the top of the show over the beloved Danny DeVito, I thought we were in for a night of surprises (some of you who were following me live tweeting the show may have even caught my quickly deleted tweet congratulating Mr. Aronov, with a link to Danny DeVito’s Taxi clips!  Oops!  I had admittedly prepped the DeVito tweet before it was announced and forget to remove the link!  #TweetPas).

But after that, things settled down, and the odds makers earned their money, with most of the awards going as the pundits called them.  And while I’m disappointed that my Groundhog Day and even more so that my original Altar Boyz  cast member, Andy Karl, didn’t walk away with a hunk of metal for his mantelpiece, at least they were bested by a terrific show and a terrific talent.

So now . . . on to the telecast itself.  What did I think?

Well, without further adieu, here are my Top 5 Moments of the 2017 Tony Awards Telecast.

1. That Time When the Co-Producers Rushed The Stage.

It wasn’t written about too much, but there was quite a scandal brewing last week, when the Producers of nominated shows were told they could only have a total of six people on the stage.  This was an attempt to prevent the many Co-Producers out there from flooding the stage when their show won and making it look like it took the state of Delaware to produce a new play.

The problem is, there are more than six people in the hair department of most big Broadway musicals, so I’m not sure how this was expected to go down.  And it didn’t.  Jitney broke the ice, and then all the others, Mr. Rudin’s Hello, Dolly! most prominently, followed.  And, I can’t blame them.  Co-Producers are who we count on in this business to help us get these shows off the ground, especially the risky ones (my Spring Awakening never would have happened without my tenacious Co-Producers and I think we’re all better off for it).  So is keeping them off a stage the best way to distinguish between what Lead Producers do and what Co-Producers do?

2.  That Time When The Playwrights Were Given A Voice.

“So . . . how are we going to represent the plays?”

I feel like this is a question that gets asked every year at the first Tony Awards meeting.  And what I love, is that every year, they try something different . . . trying to find the magical combination of marketing and respect.  This year, they let the playwrights tell the audience directly what their play was about.  It was simple, honest, and confident.  We’re not pandering.  We’re playwrights.  We’ve written this.  See it.  Or don’t.  But we’re proud of it.  Will it sell tons of tickets?  Probably not.  But I loved seeing the faces of people we don’t see very often.  And hearing them speak.  And, oh, I also loved that it was the Broadway debut for all four of them.  And 50% of them were women.

3.  That Time Kevin Spacey Impersonated . . . Everyone.

The best award shows don’t force their hosts to do something.  They let them do whatever they do best.  And what we learned, is that Kevin Spacey can impersonate the @#$% out of a ton of people.  I mean, that Johnny Carson impersonation?   Wow.  If this acting thing doesn’t work out, Kevin has a career as a Las Vegas lounge act like tomorrow.  Move over Rich Little, Kevin Spacey is a comin’!

Overall, Kevin was funny, classy, charming, and even did a little hoofin’.  I’d be lying if I didn’t scroll through the list of roles in classic musicals he could play (comment below if you’ve got any good ideas and I’ll bring them to him!).

4.  That Time They Had An In Memoriam.

Remember that one time they didn’t have an In Memoriam section?  Yeah, well, thank G-d that’s over.  Because this one was a classic.  The cast, the song . . . the truth is, if we have time for The Rockettes, then we have time to honor the men and women who helped build the theater as we know it.  Honor what has gone before us, so they’ll look out for us as we go forward into the future . . . that’s what I say.  Well done, Tonys.   Well done.

5.  That Time Bette Midler Gave A Speech.

Ok, so the WHOLE speech wasn’t one of my Top 5 moments, because after a while, it got a wee bit awkward, didn’t it?  At least they stopped playing the music and didn’t cut her off and cut to commercial like they did to Elaine Stritch years ago.  But still . . . whew . . . it went on a little long.

That said, something she said at the beginning of her speech was one of my favorite moments of the telecast.  She said that performing in Hello, Dolly! was, “one of the greatest professional experiences of my life.”

Let me repeat that . . . it was “one of the greatest professional experiences of my entire life.”

Whenever a star of Bette’s magnitude says something like that, it’s like those famous EF Hutton Ads from the early 80s . . . everybody listens . . . especially other A+ list stars like Bette.

And then they come here.

And they bring new audiences.

And the theater grows.

Which is the most important thing of all.

Oh, and in case you missed it, Bette later tweeted that despite that lengthy speech, she forgot to thank someone. 🙂

BONUS . . . Here’s my 6TH favorite moment!

6.  Originality Wins. 

As I said, and you know, I was up for Best Musical with Groundhog Day.  And we didn’t win.  And that sucks.  But I’m a big boy (and also a Broadway blogger – so if I didn’t know we weren’t going to win then someone should take my WordPress away from me).

But I tell you something . . . if I’m going to lose, I love losing to one of the rarest things on this artistic planet . . . a totally new, original musical, not based on a movie, a book, or an anything.  And it’s a bonus when that idea is commercially successful.  Congrats to the entire Dear Evan Hansen team on a brilliant collaboration of art and commerce.

And let this open up a new era of originality on Broadway.


So those were my Top 5 6 Tony Award Moments of 2017.  What were yours?

And what did you think of the telecast?  (If you need to see a list of the winners, click here.)

WAIT!  Before you answer . . . click here to take our survey!  And I’ll pull all the answers together and report them right here on my blog.  That’s right, forget the real ratings, we’re going to take a look at the ratings that count . . . the ratings from my super smart, ProducersPerspective readers!

Click here to take our 2017 Tony Award Survey!

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.