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Monday, June 14, 2010

I never learn

When will I learn? I do it every year - watch the Tony Awards live, without even using the dvr. What do I get for my efforts? Frustration and heartache.

Every year the Tony Award voters show how insecure they are by voting for anyone from Hollywood who is willing to tread on a Broadway stage. Denzel Washington, Scarlett Johansson and especially Catherine Zeta-Jones winning a best acting category? Please.

Although Washington is one-note actor, he isn't all that bad. He's fortunate that"Fences" fits his type and shows his limited talent to best effect. I have no doubt he was good in the role.

However, let's look at what else went on Sunday night. "Red" won for best play, best direction, best supporting actor, best set, best sound and best lighting. However, the heart and soul of the show - Alfred Molina - who gave a magnificent varied, emotional and smart performance was passed over for Washington. I can't buy that.

As for Scarlett Johansson at least she had an important role in a major play, "A View From the Bridge." However for her to beat out veteran actresses Rosemary Harris and Jan Maxwell her first time on a Broadway stage - well? I'm convinced if Johansson was not a well-known Hollywood star she not only wouldn't have got the award, she likely wouldn't have got the role.

Which bring me to Catherine Zeta-Jones, who sang the worst rendition of Send in the Clowns I've ever heard and then wins the Tony. It was shocking. Even her husband Michael Douglas looked dismayed.

There's no reason to dwell on the sad state of the Broadway musical, except to say the revivals were clearly the better product this season. No surprise they won most of the talent awards. However, I have to give points to the voters for giving the best actor in a musical award to Douglas Hodge over tv star Kelsey Grammer for their work in "La Cage aux Folles." I assume Grammer did good work, but Hodge had the tougher role.

Back to musicals. There wasn't one musical number that made me want to buy a ticket to any of the shows. The Tony Award show makes it clear that the only audience Broadway cares about is the casual theatergoer and the tourist.

Holding that thought, I change my mind. For that audience, this was the perfect Tony Award show.


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