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The Tony Awards

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Conor McPherson
photo by Fionnuala McPherson

The Tonys often feel like the forgotten stepchildren of awards. All the razzle-dazzle of Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys are over by March, but the Tonys take place in June — so far outside of awards season, yet so close to the MTV Movie Awards. And, if I’m being honest, given the choice between the two, I usually tune into MTV.

This year I vowed to give the Tony Awards their due. As soon as the announcement came out, I scoured a list of nominees. Some thoughts:

1. I don’t get out to Broadway as often as I’d like — it’s an expensive trip, and blogging doesn’t bring home that much bacon, you know? — but the best musical I’ve seen recently is In the Heights. The musical takes place in Washington Heights, in New York City, and tackles subjects usually danced around in other musicals: immigration, gentrification, leaving a tight-knit and insular community, etc. Besides that, the music — a mix of salsa, meringue, and hip-hop — is way better than cheesy showtunes, and the dancing is hot. Therefore, I’m personally delighted that the show scored 13 nominations, the most of any production. I’m also personally intimidated, because I went to college with the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. We haven’t met, but he only graduated a year before me, and we have some Facebook friends in common (you know how it is). Now he has this multi-award-nominated hit Broadway musical and I have… this blog.

2. I’ve said it before, but it’s a good year to be Alan Menken. Though The Little Mermaid didn’t receive the best notices (and got a particularly brutal pan from the New York Times), the composer walked away with one of the show’s scant two nominations, for Best Original Score. (The second was for Best Lighting Design.) Menken was working off the same score that already earned him an Oscar in 1990 (talk about recycling). To top it off, he was nominated for another Oscar not once, but three times this year, for the music from the Disney film Enchanted. (He lost those to the more deserving song from Once.) I’ve never seen Alan Menken, but when I picture him in my head, he’s sitting in a big leather chair polishing his trophies like a James Bond villain.

3. Finally, let’s make a prediction for next year’s Tony Awards. Some background info: this year, the Seafarer, written by theatrical heavyweight Conor McPherson, earned four nominations. Last year, Spring Awakening trounced with eleven nominations. On May 21, the show Port Authority opens, which was written by McPherson and produced by the team that made Spring Awakening. Sounds like a lock for some awards, right? If I had to put money down now on next years awards, I’d stick it all on that show. And I’d feel good about that bet — unless some other superstar from my college decides to mount a fantastic Broadway production.

The Tony Awards will air on June 15. I promise I’ll try to remember to watch it instead of reruns of The Hills. No guarantees, though. Until then:

Check out the official website for the Tony Awards.

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