My Top 5 Favorite Things about the 2011 Tony Awards.

Last year, when it was announced that the Tonys were going to be evicted from their temporary residence at Radio City, everyone wondered what the change of venue would do to the show.

Well, I think we have our answer.

Moving uptown shook some dust off the ol’ girl, because in my opinion, the 2011 Tony Awards were the best I’ve seen in the last . . . well . . . since I’ve been watching.

It didn’t matter that we all knew who was going to be walking home with the most Tonys on his arm at the end of the night–the show itself was a fantastic representation of the top-notch entertainment that Broadway can present.

Now, we can only hope that more people were watching this year than last.  But even if the ratings don’t bump, the people that were watching got a terrific show that I know will get them more excited about going to the theater.  (Take that Oscar!)

What made it so special?  Here are my top five reasons why this Tony Awards telecast was so special.

1.  Not just another opening, another show.

Oh yeah, they went there.  And it was funny, original, and unabashedly proud of who we are.  Rather than trying to pretend we’re something we’re not (which never works in awards shows and in life), NPH and the nominated shows let their freak flags fly, and said this is who we are, and you know you love it.  And if a couple of viewers in red states reached for the remote when they heard the “G” word, I’d bet a bunch that we had them laughing before they could change the channel.

2.  Broadway is a “numbers” game.

When I was just another Broadway fan from Massachusetts, I used to tune in every year for one reason, and one reason only . . . to see production numbers from Broadway shows.  See, I lived far away from New York City.  You know, like 65% of our audience.  So I wanted to see what I couldn’t see any day of the week.  This year, in addition to the numbers from the nominated musicals and musical revivals, the Tonys included numbers from Spider-Man (it’s what the world is talking about, after all), the non-nominated Priscilla, and last year’s winner, Memphis (what a coup!).  I’d keep pushing the numbers envelope myself, and start doing more previews from the next season’s slate.

3.  The host with the most.

Neil?  You had me at “I’m teen heartthrob Neil Patrick Harris.”  Yeah, he can sing, he can dance, he can tell a joke, and he looks good in a tux and a purple jumpsuit.  But most importantly, the guy loves Broadway, and it shows.

4.  The plays are usually not the thing.

Year after year, the Tonys try to come up with a creative way to showcase the incredible writing behind the nominees for Best Play.  We’ve seen live snippets of scenes, we’ve seen all the plays jumbled together in a Best Play soup, and many more iterations.  This year, they just showed footage.  Simple, great footage, and wonderfully succinct descriptions (and a special appearance from “Joey” the War Horse).  Sometimes being too clever gets you into trouble  Just show us the show and move on.

5.  “The Circle of Doom”

Something had to be done about the swarms of people that have taken to the stage over the last few years when the Best Musical, Best Play and Best Revivals are announced.  This year, a pre-determined select group of folks were invited to the stand behind the microphone, while the rest were sent to “The Circle of Doom”, as labeled by Trey Parker.  The acceptance speeches were classy and clean, less chaotic, and most importantly, quicker, creating a much smoother show.


I’m giving the show a 9.  I’d give it a 10, but I would have liked 1 or 2 more A-list stars that I haven’t seen before giving something away.  Oh, and I know they are on tour, but we couldn’t get even one member of the Glee cast?  A lot of kids would have stayed up late to see Darren Criss for just a sec.

What would you rate this year’s Tonys?

You’re going to get a chance, because we’ve created a quick seven question survey for you!  Click below to take the survey and share your thoughts.  The results will be posted on Friday.

Take our Tony Awards Survey!

Oh, and stay tuned to tomorrow’s blog for the announcement of the winner of my Tony Pool, and to see how I did with my predictions.

Don’t forget the 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.