I know there have been quite a few theater postings here recently, but hey, 'tis the season. Not to worry, at least for today this will be the last Tony-related piece, More to come tomorrow, but I expect to be Tony-free today after this.
But this one will be worth it if you didn't watch the Tony Awards last night -- or tuned in late and missed the opening (or saw it and were as impressed as i was and want to see it one more time to make sure they really did do all that) -- since Neil Patrick Harris and team did it again. The last several years he's performed seriously impressive openings -- very funny and wildly entertaining. (Two years ago, they did "Broadway Isn't Just for Gays Anyway," and last year, "What If Life was Like the Theater.")
This year, I suppose the question was how do you top those extravaganzas? And apparently the answer they came up with was -- you go bigger.
Usually theatrical extravaganzas don't play well on a small TV screen. But they did it right -- and it helps that the theater is Radio City Music Hall, so they had plenty of room.
Incidentally, at one point Neil Patrick Harris does an impressive magic trick, largely if I recall correctly as an homage to Pippin. I mention this, not just because it's a really good trick, but it's worth noting that he really does like magic in "real life," and is, in fact, president of the Magic Castle. (So, all those times he does silly,little magic tricks on How I Met Your Mother, that's likely the reason they write them in.)
For all that's going on during the whirlwind proceedings, my favorite moment had nothing to do with the production number directly, but rather audience member Debra Messing's expression of total disbelieving awe and wonderment at the 6:36 mark.
By the way, one of the reasons the broadcast ran long this year is because the reaction at the end of this. And no, I'm not exaggerating. I've never seen any opening number on any awards show get this kind of blow-the-roof-off audience response. (Half the reaction is probably because everyone in that theater audience truly understood what it takes to pull off a number like that, live.) Take out your stop watch...
And one admonition -- open the video to full screen. Trust me.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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