The hosts, the Greys, the locked box
Exuberance, pointed words, self-deprecation keep it lively
Memorable moments from an evening of many, including Neil Patrick Harris’ Oscars callback.
Like any of life’s extreme events, awards shows bring out the best and worst in their players. Here are some of the most memorable moments from the 69th Tony Awards: Transcendent humor: Co-hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming — she in a tuxedo mini-dress, he in purple shorts and a tie — opened the Tonys with a topical zinger. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen — and those who don’t identify as either!” Cumming quipped. Dance of acceptance: In her acceptance speech for featured actress in a play, for “You Can’t Take It With You,” Annaleigh Ashford — in a fitted emerald green dress — joked: “I can’t believe I’m standing on a stage at Radio City Music Hall for the worst dancing that ever happened on Broadway!” Then she thanked: “… every friend I’ve ever had, every teacher I’ve ever had — every person I’ve ever met!” OK. Way to cover your bases. Family poignancy: Fatherdaughter duo Joel and Jennifer Grey introduced a musical number from nominee “Fun Home,” which Jennifer Grey called “universally resonant.” No doubt an aspect of the musical, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about her closeted gay father and struggling with being gay herself — resonated personally as well for the Greys. Joel Grey came out earlier this year. Biggest win we didn’t see: Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, songwriters for “Fun Home,” made history as the first female writing team to win a Tony for musical score. But we missed most of the moment, as it took place during a commercial break. During the snippet of their acceptance speech that was later broadcast, Kron joked: “It’s statistically 10% better” than it used to be for women on Broadway. “It’s unacceptably low, but it seems that perhaps we’re making some progress,” she said. The King and iPhone: It was her Broadway debut, but Ruthie Ann Miles still scored the Tony for featured actress in a musical. And she didn’t waste any time using the platform to further a cause. Her first words at the podium? “Recycle,” she said, holding up her iPhone to an applauding crowd. Most G-rated moment: Accepting the best play award for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” playwright Simon Stephens thanked his young children for inspiring him to create a play, adapted from the novel, without swear words or violence. Graduated to Broadway: Alex Sharp snagged lead actor in a play for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” “Sooo crazy,” said the 26-year-old Broadway newcomer, wearing a cream tux accentuated by a crooked bow tie, as if dressed for his bar mitzvah. “This time last year I picked up my [diploma] after graduating from Juilliard; now I’m holding this. So crazy!” Then Sharp dedicated his award to “any young person out there who feels misunderstood or different. And to answer the question: ‘Does that mean I can do anything?’ Yes, it does!” Unlocking the joke: Neil Patrick Harris made the best comeback of the night by revisiting his “locked box” joke, which didn’t play well when he hosted the Oscars earlier this year. The Tonys crowd was more forgiving, and this time the joke was met with warm applause. Explains the snub: Introducing the best musical category, Larry David let his hallmark comic bitterness come to the fore. His play “Fish in the Dark” was not nominated, and he felt sure he knew why. “They couldn’t put aside their anti-Semitism,” he joked. “For me or Harvey Weinstein.”
IN A CUTE MOMENT, lead actress in a musical winner Kelli O’Hara performs with some of her young cast mates from “The King and I.”
ALEX SHARP, who receives his award for lead actor in a play from Judith Light for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” is a year out of Juilliard.