×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: 71st Annual Tony Awards

Maybe it was inevitable that in the year after “Hamilton’s” triumph, the Tony Awards would seem to be lacking in pizzazz.

The 71st annual Tony Awards was, as always, a well-produced affair, stocked with incredible displays of talent and passionate winners. A highlight was actress Rachel Bay Jones, a winner for “Dear Evan Hansen,” saying that she finally forgave her parents for “cursing me with a love of the theater.”

The musical numbers were lively and engaging and the flow of the show was well-paced.

The biggest shortcoming was host Kevin Spacey, who just didn’t deliver the same kind of engaging effort as his recent predecessors. The contrast was especially sharp against last year’s emcee, “Late Late Show” host James Corden, who so memorably rose to the occasion when faced with the daunting task of pulling it off less than 24 hours after the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Spacey’s big opening number was all about himself not being the first choice for the job. He also relied on his stock of celebrity impressions that just seemed out of place for the setting. There were groans in the audience at Radio City Music Hall when Spacey came out as Bill Clinton and took some dumb shots at Hillary Clinton. His Johnny Carson fell even flatter. Ahead of the best musical announcement, when he came out in his Frank Underwood persona from “House of Cards,” with his on-screen wife Robin Wright in tow, it was at least mercifully brief. “Hamilton” mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda, who presented the award, even quipped “It’s been a long night.”

Dear Evan Hansen” was the night’s big winner. That provided a nice showcase for the musical and the meteoric success story of star Ben Platt, who capped a huge Broadway debut with a Tony win on his first at-bat. Bette Midler provided another highlight with her filibuster of an acceptance speech, gushing about the enduring charm of “Hello, Dolly!” She went so far as to tell the orchestra “shut that crap up” when they tried to play her off.

But overall, it was a ho-hum night for the best and brightest of the Great White Way. That may have been the biggest surprise of all.

TV Review: 71st Annual Tony Awards

More Legit

  • CAROL CHANNING HERSCHFELD. Actress Carol Channing

    Remembering Carol Channing: A Master of Channeling the Power of Personality

    There was only one Carol Channing, and her outsize personality was a source of delight to many fans — and imitators. Gerard Alessandrini’s stage spoof “Forbidden Broadway” had many incarnations over the years, including the 1994 edition when an audience member was selected every evening to come onstage and impersonate Carol Channing with the cast. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda Among Celebrities Remembering Carol Channing

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bernadette Peters are among the slew of celebrities taking to Twitter to pay tribute to late singer, comedienne and actress Carol Channing. Known for her starring roles in Broadway’s “Hello Dolly!” and “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” the legend of the stage and screen died Tuesday at her home in Rancho Mirage, [...]

  • What the Constitution Means to Me

    Listen: How Things Got Scary in 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    For a decade, writer-performer Heidi Schreck had wanted to write a play inspired by her experiences as a teen debater. But over the years the show started to develop into something both urgently political and deeply personal — and things got scary. In the Broadway-bound “What the Constitution Means to Me,” Schreck reimagines her speech-and-debate [...]

  • Carol Channing Dead

    Carol Channing, Star of Broadway's 'Hello, Dolly!' and 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' Dies at 97

    Larger-than-life musical stage personality Carol Channing, who immortalized the characters of Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello, Dolly!,” has died. She was 97. Channing died Tuesday of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Her publicist B. Harlan Boll confirmed the news. He wrote, “It is with [...]

  • 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    'What the Constitution Means to Me' Transfers to Broadway

    “What the Constitution Means to Me,” a buzzy Off-Broadway production that counts Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem among its fans, is making the move uptown. The play will come to Broadway this spring for a 12-week limited run at the Helen Hayes Theater. “What the Constitution Means to Me” is one part civics lesson, one [...]

  • Choir Boy review

    Broadway Review: 'Choir Boy'

    Honestly, I was afraid that “Choir Boy” — the sweetly exuberant account of a gifted prep school boy’s coming of age, written by “Moonlight” Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney — would be swallowed up in a Broadway house, after winning us over in an Off Broadway staging in 2013.  But aside from the odd set [...]

  • Jason Robert Brown

    Listen: How Ariana Grande Got Jason Robert Brown to Madison Square Garden

    Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown never expected to find himself performing onstage at Madison Square Garden. But he did — thanks to his pal Ariana Grande. Brown met Grande before she was a superstar, when she was in the 2008 Broadway cast of his teen musical “13.” The two have kept in touch ever since [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content