Sunday, June 12, 2011

Watching the Tonys

It's Sunday night, and I'm watching the Tony Awards, the best awards show on television. As I watch, I swear I won't bother with the Oscars ever again; these people are real actors, they know how to talk, how to pull in an audience, not just wear giant clothes. The show started with a hilarious song and dance routine by the host, Neal Patrick Harris, entitled, "Broadway's not just for gays (and Jews) any more." And it has gone on from there. My God, talented little Daniel Radcliffe, our favourite wizard, singing and dancing in a zoot suit - spectacular.

What's especially thrilling is that two plays I saw and raved about in London, during my travels in 2009 and 2010, are now on Broadway and up for awards tonight. Those of you who've followed this blog might recall my night watching the magnificent "War Horse" in London, when I was the only person in the reserved British audience to stand at the end, and had my legs smacked from behind by an old woman with a cane. "I can't see!" she complained, as I stood clapping madly and alone. It was an unforgettable night in the theatre, and I'm glad Americans think so too.

And "Jerusalem" by Jez Butterworth, starring Mark Rylance - some of the best writing ever, too bad it was in the running against "War Horse" tonight for Best New Play. There's no question that "Jerusalem" is a far better play, brilliantly brave and ambitious, a torrent of words and ideas, but also far more difficult, even for an English audience, not to mention an American one. So "War Horse" won, not the correct choice, but a worthy one.

The obituaries went by, loud applause for those who've gone, and I am glad and grateful that I was once part of this ragtag brother- and sisterhood, a member of the family. I do not regret that I'm not a full-fledged member any more. But how I honour them and their work.

So to Brucie and Nicky and Kate and Brent and all of you - a kiss for you. And for Mark Rylance, one of the most brilliant actors I've ever seen on stage, who just won "Best Actor in a play" and gave, as my son said, "the best acceptance speech I've ever heard" - about how to walk through walls.

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