thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Why I love the Tonys (and You Should Too!)

In Award shows, musicals, Tonys on June 11, 2013 at 7:22 am

Phoebe B.

I watch the Tonys every year. In fact, it is the only award show I really even watch and I love it a lot. Unlike most awards shows, the Tonys–or at least about sunday night’s ceremony–don’t leave me feeling gross or mad or bad or furious when I’m watching (I’m looking at you, Oscars). In fact, I feel good–and sunday night I felt great. I think  the Feminist Spectator pretty much sums up why I think the Tonys are so awesome in general and why this year was particularly grand:

“Was it my imagination that the show also seemed politically and socially progressive and might point to a hopeful moment in Broadway theatre?  Each of the musical numbers seemed strikingly multiracial, from the cheerleaders of Bring it On to the fearful but feisty students of Matilda, and from the factory workers of Kinky Boots to the singers of Motown, in which the one or two white people in the chorus nicely reversed the typical demographic balance.  Even Annie’s orphans included African- and Asian-American girls.

Four people of color won major awards for acting:  Courtney B. Vance for Lucky Guy (sorry for leaving him out in my first posting of this blog!); Patina Miller for Pippin (whose gown, when she accepted, showed off her gorgeous, strong arms); Billy Porter for Kinky Boots (who thanked his mother for her graceful acceptance of things she doesn’t understand which, he suggested, could be a model for us all); and the elegant elder stateswoman, Cicely Tyson for Trip to Bountiful (who deserved more than the 30 seconds of speaking time she received).

Women, queer people, and drag queens stood out in the winners’ category all evening.  Diana Paulus won early for directing Pippin, eloquently urging people watching to “do what you love.”  Pam McKinnon won shortly after for directing Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.  She, too, spoke beautifully and sincerely about her long relationship with Edward Albee and the importance of the arts.  My Facebook feed exploded with shock and delight that two women took home this year’s directing honors, but Playwrights Horizon’s Beth Nathanson’s remark—“It’s about fucking time!”—seemed most astute.”

From Cicely Tyson’s beautiful acceptance speech and incredible dress to a plethora of drag performers and gay male winners thanking their husbands, Courtney B. Vance’s win,  and the many women who won, the Tonys were a major win. Also, NPH kissed the dog from Annie and it was delightful. The Oscars (and the Emmys) should seriously take note.

For the awesome full article, go to the Feminist Spectator. Seriously, read the whole thing, it’s great.

Here are some of the winners:

Cicely Tyson accepting her Tony for best female performance in a play

Cicely Tyson accepting her Tony for best female performance in a play

Petina Miller looking divine and overjoyed as she accepts Best Actress in a Musical (Pippin). Her performance earlier in the night was also amazing!
Patina Miller looking divine and overjoyed as she accepts Best Actress in a Musical (Pippin). Her performance earlier in the night was also amazing!

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