It’s almost midnight on a Sunday, and usually I am sound asleep right now.
But not after the Tonys.
After I watch the Tonys, I’m wired. I’m excited and happy and I have so many thoughts and feelings and emotions, and all I want to do is gush.
So bear with me…here goes.
For the first time ever, I had seen not one, not two, but three of the four nominees for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book – which all happened to be the same four shows this year. So watching the Tonys this year, I actually had opinions and thoughts based on more than just YouTube clips.
And that made it So. Much. Fun.
I waited in the TKTS line in the pouring rain during spring break (#badtiming) to get tickets to see Sara Bareilles in Waitress. But it sold out before I got to the front of the line. So as a runner-up, we got tickets to Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.
I honestly can’t tell you the plotline. But I can tell you it was an EXPERIENCE. There were people dancing on tables above my head in the balcony while playing fiddles. An ensemble member threw me a perogy and an egg shaker. I didn’t know where to look because there was something happening everywhere. Some of the audience sat on the stage, some got brought into the show. Josh Grobin sang and played the accordion and the piano. I loved the music and the acting and the dancing, and just the whole thing. But I seriously have no idea what it was about. And I’m okay with that.
It won the Tony for Best Set and Best Lighting, and I totally understand why.
I got to see Come From Away twice when it was in Toronto. To say I loved it is an understatement. Its message of kindness and hospitality and resilience was so…big. I was afraid this baby bird of a show wouldn’t be embraced by the Broadway audience like it was embraced in Toronto. It’s so incredibly Canadian and so different than anything else I had seen.
I’ve never been more happy to be wrong. I was really wrong.
Broadway people I admire started sharing how amazing it was. The New York Times raved about it. It was nominated for everything. I have no right to be proud of this show, but I am SO proud of this show.
And although it only won Best Direction (but in a super tough category this year!), the fact that it was nominated and was neck and neck with the powerhouse musical that did win (more on that later), is so much more than this show had initially hoped for. And that’s a big deal.
And Dear Evan Hansen. Oh this show. I actually wrote a really long, gushing, winding blog post right after I saw it (kind of like this one), but didn’t post it because I didn’t feel there were any words I could write that would do it justice.
But tonight, after watching the show win almost every major Tony Award, all I can say is this:
I feel so lucky to know just how well deserved these awards are.
Rachel Bay Jones tore my heart out in this show. So Big/So Small was one of the most painfully beautiful, cathartic performances I have seen. I didn’t know what to do with those emotions.
Pasek and Paul’s score is new and smart and fun and painful and oh-so-layered. I exerted more self-control than I knew I was capable of, and only listened to three of the 14 songs on the cast recording before seeing the show. I was so grateful that I got to hear the songs for the first time on the stage. And I now have the album memorized.
And Ben Platt. I walked in having read the seemingly hyperbolic accolades he had received – just Google his name and you’ll see. But there was no exaggeration in these reviews. He deserved every single one. As much as I tried to stay in the moment as I watched this show, my mind kept going to “how is he doing this??” And he’s only 23. Twenty-three. Good grief.
Tony season is always fun. It’s fun to see the thing I love so dearly getting wider coverage. But this was definitely a special year.
Yet again, I feel so grateful to have found something that brings me so much joy.
By the way, it’s also so fun to have a Broadway Best Friend Forever (a BBFF, if you will), who is just as nuts about all this as I am. Lyndsay and I have made annual pilgrimages to NYC to see shows for the past few years. We trade YouTube clips, articles, tweets and jokes that no one else in our world appreciates more than each other. Watching the Tonys with her is one of my favourite traditions.