It’s that time again. That night when most of America tuning in to CBS at 8pm EST is expecting to find. . . Blue Bloods (I had to go look that up, and I’m totally guessing purely based on next week’s schedule) and instead finds the full frontal song-and-dance assault of the Tony Awards.
If this is you, resist the impulse to go channel surfing for the latest public display of ineptitude of reality TV. Stay and watch. I promise, there will be no ineptitude. There are some ridiculously talented people on Broadway- like, sick! The Tony Awards are when they get to play to their largest audience ever. That’s you!
Neil Patrick Harris is hosting again, and he’s actually funny. Last year’s Best Musical winner Book of Mormon is performing, just because they’re awesome. And, at 8:45pm you’ll see Tony-Award-nominee and total badass Josh Young sing the song Jesus Christ Superstar live, with the whole damn Tony-award nominated cast of the eponymous show– if you stay tuned in, which you totally should.
If I ran the Tonys, I would give out some extra awards and they would all go to my show. Here’s my list.
-Hardest-Working, Least-Jaded, Full-Out-Every-Show, Never-Phone-It-In Ensemble.
This production of Jesus Christ Superstar originated at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The majority of this cast is making their Broadway debut. There is nothing green about their performances; their debut-ness (for lack of a better word) shows in their enthusiasm, the way they’re always smiling when they’re at work, and in the way the get maybe a little star struck when they meet people like Ben Vereen, Whoopie Goldberg, and Matthew Broderick. That’s refreshing.
They’re also mostly Canadians. This is truly the hardest working ensemble I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. Their energy is contagious and it’s like that every single show, eight times a week. I am also told they do a pretty great Broadway yell, which happens every Saturday night at the five minute call when they line up at the dressing room windows that face 52nd street and scream at Jersey Boys across the street.
-Best At Making Believers Out Of Agnostics in a Single Song
This would go to Paul Nolan, aka Jesus, for his performance of Gethsemane every night. He sings the crap out of that song. It also has my favorite guitar riff off all time in it, right after the line “I will drink this cup of poison”.
And? He looks totally hot in the loin cloth on the cross.
Yes, I said that.
-Best Band. PERIOD.
There really, really ought to be a Tony for best band. Our guitar player alone is worth the price of admission. And the other guitar player. And the reed player. And the drummer and the bassist and the organ and the french horns and. . . yeah, all of them. It’s a band full of rock stars and they blow me away eight times a week.
-Set Piece That Makes the Rest Of The Crew Happy They’re Not Carpenters
This would go to the diving board, or as I like to call it, the Nordic Track. It’s the ramp that does some pretty complicated automation moves and Jesus rides it during Superstar and it comes out over the first few rows. It’s a pain in the ass. The carpenters do a lot to it every day to make it work right.
Jeremy Kushnier, who understudies Judas, Jesus and Pontius Pilate. He may do Mary too, I’m not sure. He’s amazing and he totally owns whatever part he’s thrown into at the last minute. I loves him.
-Hell Yeah I Can Do Judas With No Rehearsal
To Nick Cartell, one of our swings who joined the company in New York. Early in previews when Josh Young was out, Jeremy Kushnier was badly injured in the matinee and couldn’t perform the evening show. Nick had never had even so much as a blocking rehearsal. He went on and knocked it the hell out of the park.
-Best Preshow Workout Partner
Matt Stokes. One of our swings, he warms up next to the sound board every day and has inspired me to work out a little bit while I’m waiting to check mics. We’re thinking of making a workout video and calling it something like “Five Feet of Floor Space: the 20-minute New York Workout”.
Your links this week are internal–did you find them? Here’s your picture:
Oh, that’s the ramp/diving board/nordic track. I found this photo uncredited online but it must be the work of the incredibly talented Joan Marcus. She’s THE Broadway show photographer and does excellent work. Check out her website here.
CC and I were invited to three Tony parties, but this year we’re heading home to the heathens. We’re doing an at-home Tony watching party with just us, complete with high calorie snacks and lots of shouting back at the TV. Think of it as a Superbowl Party, with jazz hands.