The Tony Awards last night celebrated the best of Broadway and Merrily We Roll Along won multiple awards including the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical, Lead Actor in a Musical for Jonathan Groff, and Featured Actor in a Musical for Daniel Radcliffe, both of whom are now first time Tony winners. In Daniel’s case that’s not necessarily a surprise, that it’s his first, but where Jonathan is concerned… it is kinda surprising, non? 

 

Jonathan Groff has been so excellent for so long, a lot of people have been expecting this to happen for him, and the word “finally” comes up a lot in the coverage about his win last night which tells you that, yeah, Jonathan Groff, Tony Award winner, was an overdue eventuality. His acceptance speech was a moving tribute to the theatre, the community, what it brought to his life, and also his castmates on Merrily, Daniel and Lindsay Mendez. I got choked up when he got choked up saying their names, and the friendship they’ve built through this production. You could see it in Daniel’s face, the intensity in his expression when Jonathan won, in their embrace, in their tears. This is Broadway – this is where you feel all the feelings! 

 

But how about Daniel Radcliffe’s career?! Daniel Radcliffe started as Harry Potter and has become an all-rounder. From Broadway to television to film, he can do action, comedy, drama, musical theatre, and Weird Al. He’s also one of the kindest, most non-asshole celebrities among celebrities. Everybody loves Daniel Radcliffe AND Daniel Radcliffe is SO good at his job, any job!

 

Jonathan, Daniel, and Lindsay performed “Old Friends” last night during the show and it was obvious to just about anyone watching that their bond wasn’t just for the stage. 

 

Lindsay was also nominated for a Tony in the Featured Actress in a Musical category, with the award going to Kecia Lewis in Hell’s Kitchen. Kecia’s co-star Maleah Joi Moon won for Leading Actress in a Musical in the semi-autobiographical production based on Alicia Keys’s life. So, speaking of “Old Friends”, Alicia joined the Hell’s Kitchen company to open the Tony Awards and, at the end of the performance, hooked up with an old friend for “Empire State of Mind”. Apparently Jay-Z pre-taped his appearance and some people are criticising this decision because in order to be with Jay, Alicia actually leaves the theatre and isn’t with the cast on stage when the performance concludes. To be honest, I was pretty hype about it watching the first time, before stopping to think about the optics and who we’re really here to honour. Part of that is nostalgia, because it’s been a minute since we’ve heard them do this song live. And the other part is, well, this is what happens when you’re glamourised by celebrity. And it’s not just the audience, it’s also the industry. Because the producers of the show made that decision, intending on creating that effect for the viewer and they would defend by rationalising that while the Tony Awards are about Broadway and the theatre, the Tony Awards is also a network television show on a Sunday night dependent on ratings, and their job is to ensure that people tune in. 

 

Good call or bad call? 

@cbs

The Hell’s Kitchen company with Alicia Keys & JAY-Z #TonyAwards

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