The 2009 Tony Awards

07/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Ken Levine Emmy-Winning Writer/Director/Producer, MLB Announcer

I didn't watch them. I was covering the Dodgers-Phillies game instead. However, my brilliant but twisted daughter Annie Levine and her writing partner, Brock Wilbur did and filed this review. And if you were part of the 99% of America who didn't watch the show either, no problem. You'll still get some solid laughs. More than if I would have written it.


The problem with the Tony Awards: If you care about them, you're probably there.

But it was a great show. One of the best in years.

It opened with a montage of performances from the year's best musical nominees. The very first lines were sung by Elton John. Or so we assume? Sound problems plagued the show, and entire songs were inaudible. However, movie stars and rock musicians were deemed important enough to deserve working microphones. Case in point being the next performer: Brett Michaels and Poison. Does it count as hair metal if you need a toupee? The song was from "Rock of Ages," and they were surrounded by Broadway's version of 1980's Sunset Strip hair-metal groupies; girls vastly more talented than real groupies because they can dance WITHOUT a pole.

They were then joined on stage by Shrek, Liza Minelli, and the cast of "Hair." Coincidentally, it's the premise of our new sitcom pilot. Except they all run a pizza place.

Neil Patrick Harris, in a display of kindness, restricted his opening monologue to three minutes. Later, he closed the show with one of the best performances of the night, making it totally worth the five minutes he took from your local news. His parody of "Tonight" cleverly working in all the winners and suggesting a blowjob will get you a Golden Globe is why the Tonys remain the class of the award shows.

All of the ads were either for anti-depressants or anti-arthritis medication. We wonder who the target audience is. We're getting sort of depressed just thinking about it...maybe we need some Cymbalta...

Lauren Graham and Oliver Platt introduced "Sit Down, You're Rocking The Boat" by providing a plot synopsis of "Guys & Dolls." Is it conceivable that someone would be watching the Tonys, but wouldn't know "Guys & Dolls?"

Why is Maria in West Side Story always played by the whitest woman ever, while Anita is always played by a Carmen Miranda look-alike?

If your name is mentioned, you should probably smile. Odds are, the camera is about to pan your way. We're talking to you, James Gandolfini.

Annie's favorite part: Chris Siebert dancing on his knees as King Farquaad in Shrek. He should have won.

Brock's favorite part: When Mullet-Douche from Rock of Ages gave Liza Minelli a lap dance. Nobody won.

Poor Liza. She was so excited to have a microphone and her gay community that they practically needed a tranquilizer gun to get her off the stage.

Concern over Frank Langella lacking self-esteem was laid to rest, as he berated the Tony committee for his missing nomination.

Carrie Fischer was just happy to have escaped the hospital for the night. When did she go from the princess in the gold bikini to Jabba the Hutt?

Alice Ripley's acceptance speech for "Next to Normal" could have been touching, but she needs to work on her delivery. "INSPIRATIONAL WORDS" should rarely be shouted with the same force as "GIMME YOUR WALLET!"

Bebe Neuwirth introduced the "In Memorium" segment despite looking like a corpse herself. It'll be quite a stretch to see her next Broadway role as Morticia Adams.

How cute are the three little Billy Elliots? What a touchingly innocent acceptance speech, cut short by the network playing them off. These magic momen--

"Hair" definitely deserved to win Best Revival after their performance. It was even enough to make James Gandolfini smile...At least I think he was smiling. It was hard to tell with the lead male's crotch in his face.

How many members of the original cast of "Hair" are now bald???

Tonight's show took time to feature performers from touring companies. The only suitable response to "Mama Mia!" was "Jesus Christ!" Decidedly not superstar. Later, they featured five Frankie Valli's from the five different productions of "Jersey Boys". A fine concept, until they all started singing together, without the support of the other vocal parts. The resultant discord was less Broadway glamor and more drunken frat sing-along. But we were thrilled to see Andrew Rannells up there (from dad's yet-to-be-a-hit musical the 60s Project)! Hopefully next year he'll be up there as a nominee (Andrew, not dad. Well, dad too, but more Andrew).

It used to be that the offstage announcer occasionally dropped in a Tony fact or two. Now there are more statistics on the Tonys than the competing NBA Finals. Randy Thomas did great and never got confused. Not once did she say, "Angela Lansbury is 4 for 9 from the charity stripe."

Congratulations to all of the winners, nominees and performers. It was a GREAT show. Standing ovation!

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