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  • Kevin Spacey was not a very good host. I mean I realize he's not that much of a comedian or song-and-dance man, and he mainly did reprises of his famous characters (Verbal Kint, Frank Underwood, Bobby Darin) and out-of-place impressions. Also I think several of his jokes were kind of ableist? (Ablist? Neither spelling looks right.) The only one I remember is a bit about Verbal Kint's limp in a notional Usual Suspects musical, though.

  • I didn't care for the opening number, either—a medley of parodies of songs from the nominated shows about Spacey's insecurity about his role as host. Lampshading Spacey as an odd choice of host was fine; but beginning the Tonys with a medley of parodies doesn't make a lot of sense if you don't assume the bulk of the audience is already familiar with the songs being parodied. Last year a Hamilton parody made sense because Hamilton was a legitimately Huge Sensation, but this parody medley seemed pretty inaccessible to the casual viewer, which is not where you want to go for the opening.

  • The Groundhog Day bit in the opener was well-executed, though, with Kevin Spacey waking up in bed after seemingly having danced offstage in the other direction. I fell for it.

  • The only one of the nominated shows that I've seen is Come from Away, and the number they performed was "Welcome to the Rock", the opening. I felt that wasn't a great choice—I think it's one of the weaker songs in the show—but the friend I was watching with loved it, so maybe it was fine. It would have been nice to have a song that featured Jenn Colella a bit more, as their only acting nominee, but I realize it's an ensemble show and to really get a sense of it you want an ensemble number.

  • I also think that, in editing the song down to fit their timeslot, they blew the timing of the best moment in "Welcome to the Rock": when Beulah, Annette, and Bonnie say "I turn on the radio", there's a brief pause and then the chorus comes in with "You are here..." in the background, and the Bonnie/Oz scene is after that. In the Tony performance, they moved the Bonnie/Oz scene before "you are here", which really diffused the impact of the moment.

  • Yet again I wonder how they decide how to assign introducing duties to pairs of celebrities. What does Sutton Foster have to do with Scott Bakula?

  • The choice of scene to perform from Miss Saigon was an odd one too, unless Eva Noblezada's performance is just the only thing about the production. She was great though.

  • Every year I hope they'll do something to showcase the non-musical plays a bit better, and this time they did! They had each nominated author talk a bit about their play and how and why they wrote it. That's waaaaay better than the one-sentence synopsis of each from the host that we usually get. It would still be nice to see a bit of video clip to get a sense of the feel of each play, but what they did this year was a vast improvement over the non-attention the plays usually get.

  • Indecent is Paula Vogel's Broadway debut? Pulitzer-Prize–winning, theater-hall-of-fame Paula Vogel? That's astounding. Anyway Indecent sounds amazing and I really want to see it.

  • Rachel Bloom was great as backstage host. Why couldn't she have been, like, on-stage host? (I know, I know: not famous enough. Nevertheless. She would have done an amazing job.)

  • Falsettos is coming to movie theatres! I hope I can fit it in; it will probably be during the road trip I'm doing this summer. It looks good!

  • I was very surprised that Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 kept getting referred to as The Great Comet, after last year when Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed was never referred to by any name shorter than that.

  • Meanwhile, we've hit three out of four revivals that felt obliged to mention the author in the play's official title: the Best Revival nominees were August Wilson's Jitney, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation, and Present Laughter. Sorry, Noel Coward, nobody cares about you apparently.

  • This year they put the Best Score award during the actual broadcast, while still leaving out Best Book. I guess this also squeezed out James Earl Jones's lifetime achievement award, which seems awfully unkind. I promise you if they'd had Kevin Spacey's Johnny Carson impression during the commercial break and let James Earl Jones give his acceptance speech on the air nobody would have minded.

  • Kevin Kline is not a good speaker, is he?

  • The choice of songs from Groundhog Day was also odd. Groundhog Day is a time-travel comedy; people go to see Groundhog Day because they want to see time travel and comedy, not a generic love ballad. I did listen to the cast album of this show a couple months ago and very little of it stuck with me, but I know it had more entertaining material than this. Barrett Doss's boots in this number were amazing though.

  • I don't know who the two guys who introduced the Rockettes were, but they were funny.

  • David Hyde Pierce still can't do a convincing accent to save his life, can he? But he's a great performer, and "Penny in my Pocket" was an entertaining song. It's astonishing to me that they couldn't persuade Bette Midler to perform a song from her star vehicle, though.

  • Patina Miller and Sara Bareilles's introduction to the Best Featured Actress award was a bit of a fakeout: they started out talking about the importance of high school theatre, and I figured they were going to present the theatre education award, but then it turned out they were introducing an acting Tony. And then Josh Gad was talking about acting, and then presented the theatre education award. It was very weird and I wonder if their scripts had gotten swapped somehow.

  • Very glad that Come from Away, if it was only going to win one Tony, won it for direction. The show is incredibly intricate, and just being able to figure out how to get the actors where and when they need to be is an achievement that I'm glad was recognized.

  • Ben Platt did not look like he agreed to be involved in Kevin Spacey's Bill Clinton jokes.

  • Finally, nearing the end of the show, we started getting performances that actually seemed like the right number from their shows to perform on the Tonys. I mean I don't know anything about The Great Comet and Bandstand or what other songs they might have, but they both of these did a good job of showing off the shows' casts and stars and what made them seem worth seeing, and getting the audience (well, me, anyway) excited about them.

  • Bette Midler won the fight with the play-out music! Her acceptance speech was too long, the play-out music began, and she bet that no one would come to remove her if she just utterly ignored that she was out of time, and she was right. The music stopped before she finished speaking.

  • Given that a House of Cards bit was inevitable, I was expecting it to come early to get it out of the way, but saving it for the end was reasonable as well, and it enabled Spacey's one really funny joke (a presumably ad-libbed bit about the length of Bette Midler's speech, totally in character as Frank). I wasn't expecting them to have Robin Wright and Michael Kelly there with him, which was a nice touch.

  • Anyway. It wasn't the greatest Tony Awards show, but I saw some good performances and learned about some shows I'd like to see, so it got at least some of its job done. Hopefully next year will be better!
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