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Entertainment Tony Awards Review: Broadway Teaches TV A Lesson With Livestream-Broadcast Hybrid

08:45  27 september  2021
08:45  27 september  2021 Source:   deadline.com

Good Morning, Broadway! Original 'Hairspray' Cast Reunites for 2021 Tonys

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While other entertainment industries like TV and film found ways to restart during the pandemic, Broadway was unable until now due to financial and physical impediments. Now it’s time for the Tony Awards , celebrating an art form that really needs the boost — live theater. Sunday’s show has been expanded from its typical three hours to four, with Audra McDonald handing out Tonys for the first two hours and Leslie Odom Jr. hosting a “ Broadway ’s Back!” celebration for the second half, including the awarding of the top three trophies — best play revival, best play and best musical.

All but three Tony Awards will be presented during the Paramount+ livestream , with three awards – Best Play, Best Revival of a Play and Best Musical – presented during the CBS concert portion live from Broadway ’s Winter Garden Theatre. The Broadway ’s Back! concert special also will include performances from the three Tony -nominated Best Musical contenders (Jagged Little Pill, Moulin Rouge!

  Tony Awards Review: Broadway Teaches TV A Lesson With Livestream-Broadcast Hybrid © Mary Kouw/CBS

Broadway, you might have heard, is back, and, miracle of miracles, it seems to have figured out how to present a truly excellent television awards show.

Splitting the traditional three hours into four and somehow coming up with the right math, Tony organizers, Paramount+ and CBS presented a two-hour livestreamed 74th Annual Tony Awards and, immediately following, the two-hour broadcast concert special The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!. The approach worked remarkably well. The no-nonsense presentation of award announcements and acceptance speeches was followed by a lively special that impressively showcased contemporary Broadway musicals on their home turfs and classic reunions that felt fresh and welcome.

Jagged Little Pill Star Antonio Cipriano Exits Show After Producers Were Accused of Transphobia

  Jagged Little Pill Star Antonio Cipriano Exits Show After Producers Were Accused of Transphobia "Broadway should be a safe space for everyone," Antonio Cipriano wrote as he announced that his performance with the cast at Sunday's 74th Tony Awards would be his last Cipriano plays Phoenix in Jagged Little Pill, which opened on Broadway in December 2019, using songs from Alanis Morissette's 1995 album of the same name. The show tells the story of the Healys, a suburban Connecticut family hiding a well of issues behind their picture-perfect façade. pic.twitter.

26, the Tony Awards present BROADWAY ’S BACK!, a multi-platform celebration of the best of Broadway —the 74th annual # TonyAwards & a live concert event celebrating the return of live theatre, on CBS and Paramount+. Big Broadway bravos to James Monroe Iglehart for doing an amazing job with the # TonyAwards #nominations yesterday!

Now it's time for the Tony Awards , celebrating an art form that really needs the boost — live theater. Sunday's show has been expanded from its typical three hours to four, with Audra McDonald handing out Tonys for the first two hours and Leslie Odom Jr. hosting a “ Broadway ’s Back!” celebration for the second half, including the awarding of the top three trophies — best play revival, best play and best musical. While other entertainment industries like TV and film found ways to restart during the pandemic, Broadway was unable until now due to financial and physical impediments.

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Perhaps best of all, both portions of the evening were emceed by hosts who avoided entirely the tired combination of snark, smarm and insider smirk that has been de rigueur on the Oscars and Emmys for more than a decade now. Audra McDonald hosted the awards portion with elegance and charm, while Leslie Odom Jr. handled the CBS special with a likability and panache that was perfectly suited to Broadway’s homecoming.

So why only a near-perfect score for the evening? The non-musical plays got unforgivably short shrift on the CBS portion of the night, an oversight all the more egregious on an evening when Jeremy O. Harris’ remarkable Slave Play went zero wins for 12 nominations, leaving America guessing what all the fuss was about when it opened on Broadway in 2019. Can it really be too much to ask for some sort of Tony presence for it and the other plays – including, of course, the winning entry The Inheritance?

Tony Awards 2021: Complete List of Nominees and Winners

  Tony Awards 2021: Complete List of Nominees and Winners Tony Awards 2021: Complete List of Nominees and WinnersThe 74th annual awards will honor Broadway musicals and plays that opened during the 2019/2020 season. Theaters were forced to close their doors in March 2020, but have slowly started to welcome sold-out audiences once again. On Sunday, September 26, hosts Audra McDonald and Leslie Odom Jr. will ring in Broadway’s biggest night with a special two-part celebration.

TV Review : The 2019 Tony Awards . The last time James Corden hosted the Tony Awards , the CBS late-night host was understandably subsumed by events onstage Corden’s presence on that broadcast was low-key and affirming; whatever one thinks of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s declaration that

Now it's time for the Tony Awards , celebrating an art form that really needs the boost — live theater. Sunday's show has been expanded from its typical three hours to four, with Audra McDonald handing out Tonys for the first two hours and Leslie Odom Jr. hosting a “ Broadway ’s Back!” celebration for the second half, including the awarding of the top three trophies — best play revival, best play and best musical. While other entertainment industries like TV and film found ways to restart during the pandemic, Broadway was unable until now due to financial and physical impediments.

But back to the considerable good points: The livestreamed awards presentation hosted by McDonald was the most efficient such contest in memory, free of bloat and grandstanding. Winners kept their remarks brief and on-point, and bypassed any for-the-camera histrionics. Even so, the ceremony never felt bloodless. Jagged Little Pill actress Lauren Patten accepted her Tony and addressed the recent controversy over the musical’s treatment of her once-non-binary, now-not character Jo, and did so without pandering or cowering. Aaron Tveit, the sole nominee in the lead actor/musical category, accepted his inevitable award with humor and sincere emotion.

The few musical numbers presented during the livestream portion were all the more impactful for their scarcity, including Ali Stroker’s “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line, original Hairspray cast members performing that show’s “You Can’t Stop The Beat” and, best of all, Jennifer Holliday tearing down Radio City Music Hall with “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from 1981’s Dreamgirls.

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Now it's time for the Tony Awards , celebrating an art form that really needs the boost — live theater. Sunday's show has been expanded from its typical three hours to four, with Audra McDonald handing out Tonys for the first two hours and Leslie Odom Jr. hosting a “ Broadway ’s Back!” celebration for the second half, including the awarding of the top three trophies — best play revival, best play and best musical. While other entertainment industries like TV and film found ways to restart during the pandemic, Broadway was unable until now due to financial and physical impediments.

Now it’s time for the Tony Awards , celebrating an art form that really needs the boost — live theater. Audra McDonald will hand out Tonys for the first two hours and Leslie Odom Jr. hosts a “ Broadway ’s Back!” celebration for the second half, including the awarding of the top three trophies. The sobering musical “Jagged Little Pill,” which plumbs Alanis Morissette’s 1995 breakthrough album to tell a story of an American family spiraling out of control, goes into the night with a leading 15 Tony nominations.

The concert special on CBS and Paramount+ began with host Odom performing an original opening number that could have signaled a rather old-school awards show approach, but was concise enough to get out of the way before wearing out the welcome. All the better since the first musical number from a current Broadway show was a scorching “Burning Down The House” from David Byrne’s American Utopia.

While Odom and most of the Broadway’s Back performers appeared live from the Winter Garden Theatre, the nominees for Best Musical – Moulin Rouge!, Jagged Little Pill and Tina – The Tina Turner Musical – performed from their home venues, a decision that showed the productions to ideal advantage, with full sets and costumes. Moulin Rouge!, especially, looked gorgeous.

Other highlights of the concert special:

John Legend performing “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” with the cast of Ain’t Too Proud, a pairing that could have come off as a slight to the Broadway actors but instead seemed a nice homage;

A series of duets with reunited pairs from Wicked (Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel), Rent (Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp) and Ragtime (Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald);

Tony Awards and TV special hope to be the jab Broadway needs

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A largely improvised grand finale number by the cast and creators of Freestyle Love Supreme (including, among others, Lin-Manuel Miranda, James Monroe Iglehart, Christopher Jackson and Wayne Brady) that included spot-on references and affectionate parodies of appearances from earlier in the evening.

Even the In Memoriam segment was, by and large, well handled. A few of the names and faces of those lost over the past year were impossible to see on the TV screen when the cameras cut to long-shots. But the roster appeared to be inclusive – no glaring omissions, at last on first notice – and the accompanying performances of “The Impossible Dream” by Brian Stokes Mitchell and “Somewhere” by Norm Lewis and Kelli O’Hara were stirring.

So, was anyone watching? Ratings will tell that tale soon enough, but I suspect even potential viewers who skipped the show – or shows – tonight will be seeing the reverberations on other award shows soon enough. Going in, I was skeptical about the split livestream-broadcast format. Not anymore.

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