Last night over dinner, before the Tony’s (my Super Bowl), my husband made a casual, but valid, query. He wondered out loud why this awards show receives prime time coverage when the Broadway audience is on the narrow side as compared to movies, tv shows, and football games. I cocked my head a bit and gave some garbled answer as to the importance of bringing the theatrical arts into the living rooms of America, but I was off the mark, way off the mark, with my answer.
Thank goodness the actual show – the 72nd Tony Awards broadcast on CBS – went on to beautifully answer his query during each and every minute of the sunny, song and dance filled, three hour broadcast. With the insanely likable co-hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban leading the charge, this celebration of all things theater geek proudly and passionately illustrated exactly why the Tony’s should be broadcast on national television.
The stage, way more so than a recording studio or movie/television set, is HIGHLY relatable. It’s hard to get through school (thank goodness) without at least once gathering on a stage to sing in some sort of chorus. If you have some talent, you may nab that first singing or dance solo. The stage is where you are first seen or at least got that first glimpse of hoping to be seen. And the co-hosts dug right into this nascent emotion early on by inviting audience members to post pictures of themselves in any production of their choosing and to tag the photo with the hopeful hashtag: #tonydreaming. No other awards shows could pull this off… go ahead America and tag yourself in the recording studio or on that movie set? Nope. Can’t. Not relatable. But the stage? RELATABLE.
Broadway permeates this country, if not directly by seeing a Broadway show in Times Square, then on stages across America where kids have big dreams about someday going to the Big Apple to make it to the big time. This is what many of the award winners on that Tony stage achieved and it is the requisite time they logged on the little stages flung across America that got them there (and they have the adorable pics to prove it). Tony dreaming is right!
Even the non award winners, as self deprecatingly spoofed by the co-hosts, can have an unabashed and at capacity love for all things related to the stage. And they don’t need trophies to prove it. I challenge you to watch the video of kids plucked from the stage of the Stoneman Douglas High School singing their hearts out on that Tony stage to honor their award recipient teacher and not get chills, or tears, or a combo package of the two. Keep watching until the bust out solo by the girl with the red hair in the cold shoulder maroon dress. Don’t miss the solo! Wow!
The whole show was a giant love fest for musical theater – for it’s celebration of love, it’s inclusivity, it’s open mindedness and it’s safe harbor for emotion, individuality, race, sexual orientation and talent. So yes, dear husband and favorite seat mate of mine, the Tony’s are worthy of a prime time spot on National television. And, by the way, I was watching you smile away during the first hour of the show (until Billions came on at 9pm) and I know you loved it, appreciated it, and felt it too. Am I right!??