The 2019 Tony Awards are in the books, and I could not be more grateful to have been at the tippy-top of Radio City Music Hall to watch the entire event go down. It was everything I could’ve imagined, and so much more. And while my recap can’t dare do the evening justice, I’ll try me best. Both for anyone who wants to hear about it, and also to remind my future self of what an absolutely mind-blowingly magical experience the night was.
Upon exiting the subway station, there were already people stacked along the barricaded and policed surrounding streets trying to get a glimpse of the celebrities exiting their limos and walking, talking and posing on the red carpet. The normally 3-minute walk to Radio City took closer to 30 minutes due to the sheer volume of onlookers and those trying to make their way into the theater itself like me. So after navigating through all of trailers and buses and workers on the back-side of the building, I went through security and entered the venue. Radio City is stunning on a normal day, but it was sparkling last night. And there were people — incredibly dressed people — as far as the eye could see.
Found my seat in the second-to-last row of the theater and settled in for the show. The non-televised portion of the awards started an hour earlier, so it’d be about 4 hours. The people sitting around me were super nice. One lady on my row was from Nashville and was excited to see the awards for the first time in person and then see some of the winning shows while she was in town. Another was the merchandise manager for Tootsie who had down seat-filling in the past, and was there to hopefully cheer her show on to victory.
When the televised show started, it was electric in the theater. The companies of every nominated musical and musical revival joining James Corden on stage for a number that lauded everything I love about live theater was just perfect. Having proudly seen all of the nominated musicals, I especially enjoyed seeing what numbers they chose to perform on the show.
The commercial breaks brought commercial karaoke, James Corden’s take on his carpool karaoke, to keep the crowd’s energy level up throughout the night. My favorite was Ben Platt singing Tomorrow from Annie, with the audience eventually singing along.
Hadestown won big, taking home 8 total awards including best musical. The crowd was a big fan of the show — and while I would’ve loved to have seen the feel-good, funny, upbeat The Prom win best musical, Hadestown is certainly deserving of the top honor.
My favorites for actor and actress in a musical — Santino Fontana for Tootsie and Stephanie J. Block for The Cher Show — both won, which made me (and my merchandise manager neighbor) very, very happy.
The other highlight had to be James Corden’s parody of Michael in the Bathroom from Be More Chill. James singing about being freaked out in the bathroom over the pressures of hosting, and then being joined by past hosts Josh Groban, Sara Bareilles and the legend that is Neil Patrick Harris was the best vignette of the night.
The only downside of the evening was that The Boys in the Band, which won best play revival, ended its Broadway run before I got to NYC. I know with a cast that included Jim Parsons, Andrew Rannells and Matt Bomer, it would’ve been well worth the price of admission. Luckily, they’re working on a movie adaptation (with the same cast) that is expected to hit Netflix next year. All is not lost!
Last night made me realize a couple of things. First, I should really figure out how to work in this industry. I love being around it so much, and while I can’t sing or dance, I can use what I can do to help the cause. Talk about a dream job. Maybe one day!
Second, I need to go for the EGOT — shorthand for winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. It obviously doesn’t happen often, the honor has gone to greats like Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks and more recently John Legend. I’m setting out to see all four live in my lifetime. The first (maybe, who tracks this?) EGOT audience member.