Tony Awards 2010: Green Day is everywhere, Jay-Z is nowhere, and Catherine Zeta-Jones gets 'crass'

Green-DayImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/Wireimage.comIf you watched the 2010 Tony Awards—and that’s a very big if, considering it was the night of the True Blood premiere and game 5 of the NBA finals—you probably saw a few strange things: Host Sean Hayes tonguing Kristin Chenoweth, Green Day playing a mini-concert, and Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Catherine Zeta-Jones making off with two of the four major acting awards. The night’s biggest winner was, uncharacteristically, a play: the Mark Rothko homage Red, which took home six awards including Best Play. Memphis—featuring music by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan—won Best Musical. Below, a few more moments from Tony night 2010:

Green Day night: So, let’s tally it up here: American Idiot had four musical numbers. Four: three in the opening number (one from the cast, and two from Green Day), then the show’s official Best Musical performance later in the telecast. That’s more awards than it got (it won best sets and lighting). Heck, that’s more nominations than it got. Think the other best musical nominees were ticked off?

The Jay-Z factor: We wonder…did Fela! producer Jay-Z make some sort of no-cameras deal with the Tony people—like, I’ll be there, but don’t keep showing me in the audience? His co-producers Will and Jada Pinkett Smith got some camera time—and even went onstage to introduce Fela!’s musical number. Seriously, we didn’t even know he was there until he and Beyoncé gave choreography winner Bill T. Jones a standing ovation. Come on—eight jillion cutaways to Glee star Matthew Morrison and practically none to Jay-Z? We wanted to see what Beyoncé was wearing!

The press factor: This year, journalists—about 100 or so of them—were removed from the Tony voter list. So did that make a difference? A few weeks ago, at a luncheon at Sardi’s, a few journalists were talking Tonys, and were asked what effect, if any, we thought the press’ absence would have on this year’s awards. My answer: I thought it would take votes away from Fela! in the very tight Best Musical race.

Worst pairing of presenters: Former Equus and future How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying star Daniel Radcliffe with All My Sons alum Katie Holmes. Next to the towering Mrs. Tom Cruise, Radcliffe looked more like a Hobbit than Harry Potter.

Best pairing of presenters: Tony winner David Hyde Pierce (Curtains) and La Cage aux Folles star Kelsey Grammer, who gave us the Frasier reunion we’d been waiting for. Now if only they’d thrown Bebe Neuwirth in there! But it seems she was busy…

Good sport award: Non-nominees Neuwirth and Nathan Lane—who headline the box-office juggernaut The Addams Family—presented the awards for Best Actress and Actor in a Musical…the very categories for which they were overlooked. Neuwirth got to display her trademark drier-than-dry humor, Lane did his flask-swilling, brow-sweating manic thing (complete with Bob Hope “Passover” joke), and a good laugh was had by all.

Did he really not know where that trophy came from? Fences star Denzel Washington didn’t seem nervous while accepting his Best Actor Tony, so even folks who voted for him were puzzled by this line in his acceptance speech: “I’ve been awarded by the Tony Award—what do you call yourselves? The Tony Committee.”

A kiss is just a…wink-wink, nudge-nudge taking-the-high road comeback: Well, you knew Sean Hayes was going to say something about the Newsweek article that claimed he wasn’t convincing as the straight Chuck Baxter in Promises, Promises. Enter his feisty scene-stealing costar Kristin Chenoweth. “I just wanted to say, break a leg, you’re gonna be great,” she purred. Cue Al-and-Tipper-style open-mouthed. Exit Chenoweth, knees ever-so-slightly buckled. “I know what you’re thinking,” he deadpanned. “She’s too short for me.”

Best pratfall (intentional): Chenoweth, who took a tumble in the name of comedy and “fainted” upon hearing the news that she wasn’t even nominated for her performance in Promises. How she did it and kept her crystal-studded Tony Ward Couture micro-mini from going over her head we’ll never know. (Incidentally, Chenoweth also got prime placement in the opening number where she belted “I Say a Little Prayer.” We love our Cheno, but can’t help but wonder—has a non-nominee ever gotten so much airtime on the Tony telecast?)

Best pratfall (unintentional): Best Actress in a Musical winner/A Little Night Music star Catherine Zeta-Jones, who tripped on her voluminous ice-blue Versace gown while walking up to the stage to accept her Best Actress trophy—then simply laughed it off by wondering how Cinderella did it in her ball gown.

Strangest spouse shout-outs: Scarlett Johansson called hubby Ryan Reynolds “my Canadian, who I live with.” (So did the Canadian have a curfew? Johansson was hiding in a corner at the View From the Bridge/Next Fall/La Cage aux Folles after-party with her publicist.) Zeta-Jones, meanwhile, ended her speech by acknowledging her husband Michael Douglas: “See that man there? He’s a movie star and I get to sleep with him every night!” Backstage, she said she couldn’t believe she said something so “crass.” Oh, CZJ—we’ll take crass spontaneity over scripted list-reading any day!

Good host, bad sendoff: Buzz at the Rockefeller Center gala was all good for host Sean Hayes, who really threw himself into the gags (the Annie outfit!?!) and played to his strengths (showing off his concert pianism). And he had big shoes to fill, considering Neil Patrick Harris did such a bang-up job last year. But the ending was a disorganized mess: Letting the Best Musical winner perform one more time was actually a cool idea—better than hearing tons of producers rambling on and on. (The full companies of all four nominated shows were huddled backstage, waiting to hear their show’s name announced.) But in all the chaos, the Tony host didn’t even get to say goodnight. He didn’t even get to finish his last joke! In the Tonys.org thank-you cam tradition, we propose that Hayes tape it, so we can see the ending he would have given us, had time permitted.

Overheard at the gala: “So how many people broke out their checkbooks for Funny Girl tonight?” Everyone’s pretty much assuming Lea Michele has already won the Barbra Streisand role. (And, let’s face it, her very intense “Don’t Rain on My Parade” was a pretty obvious audition.) Let’s hope Glee figures out a way to graduate her character.

More Tonys:
Tony Awards 2010: 10 Top Moments
Sean Hayes lets his Kristin Chenoweth kiss do the talking: How did he do as Tonys host?
Matthew Morrison at the Tonys: Watch his shirt magically open
Katie Finneran, Tony winner: Where do you know her from?
Tony Awards 2010: We live-blogged it!
Tony Awards 2010: Winners list

Comments (83 total) Add your comment
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  • george

    Great show except for the acceptance speeches. What a bunch of pompous blowhards!

    • Terry

      Katie Finneran gave a lovely speech…I thought Denzel Washington was quite disrespectful. He’s won 2 Academy Awards, the least he could do is remember American Theater Wing. They said it several times before he won. I don’t want to see Lea Michele as Fanny Brice, though she’d be great. There’ll never be another Barbra, so why can’t she find an original project? The thing that annoys me about these award shows is that if she did Spring Awakening now, after her Glee fame, she’d be a shoe in for a Tony nom.

      • Marie

        No one can hold a candle to Barbra Streisand; I agree, find another project.

    • Camee Faulk

      Let’s be honest…Lea went straight to crazy town with her performance. She was amazing on Glee when she sang Don’t Rain on My Parade, but downright scary on the Tonys. Overcompensation? Desperation? Too bad they want to cast an unknown…

  • graeme

    I loved CZJ’s speech. So humble and gracious and fun. I loved her lines about “forgiving her parents” for making her the woman she is today…and getting to sleep with a movie star every night.

  • Joseph

    Descent review … except 2 things.

    1. I dont necessarily blame the host for the ending. They simply ran out of time. Whether it was the speeches or too many commercials or whatever. THat is more the producers problem than his unless his jokes ran too long which i dotn tink.

    2. Fela! … while it may have been a tight race. And its a GOOD show its not a tony winning musical. for petes sake you actually have to have some SINGING. Its more of a play with some singing than a musical. The insturmentation is great but really singing blah.

    • GoMe!

      Yeah, and the huge dance sequences Fela! also makes it more of a play, too…right?

      And don’t bash Lillias White’s singing. I rather here someone sing with passion and heart! She is one of broadway’s greatest performers!

      • Joseph

        Yes the few songs she had. Heck the main actor barely sang, and when they did they had to have subtitles.

        Again … as i said its a good show. And good enough to get a nomination for tony. But not good enough to win.

      • GoMe!

        Well it didn’t win so I hope your happy!

  • Bobby’s Robot

    Maybe American Idiot got so much stage time because the Tony…what do they call themselves…committee was making up for the fact that they gave so few nominations to one of the high points of a mediocre season.

  • Spongey

    Actually when Lea Michele did her number, she stood in front of Jay-Z & Beyoncé for a few beats.

  • Tina

    I’ve been a fan of Michele’s since her early Spring Awakening days but she, despite what many people believe, would be a travesty as a Fanny; she just doesn’t have that natural wackiness and charm or quite face it, the acting chops to pull off the part. I’m hoping Sher’s got more sense than to cast her. Plus, I’m not quite sure why everyone was raving about her performance last night in particular…she’s sung that song much better (on key, on beat, and in better voice) before–for example, during the Glee tour’s stint at Radio City. Last night, she was off.

    • Sally in Chicago

      She sounded out of breath and desperate to me.

      • becki

        I agree. Her performance just seemed shout-ey and not very pleasant to listen to. She’s got a great voice, but I don’t think Funny Girl is the right vehicle for her.

    • amble

      she was trying WAY WAY too hard. It was uncomfortable to watch and I fast forwarded through it.

    • steved

      I really don’t believe you h8ers. Perhaps she was a little nervous doing it live in an audience full of producers and actors but she was thrilling and great. And why does anyone have to be better than Barbra? She’s more than qualified to do the role well and she is the only person with both the chops and the star power. But I forget that most of you who are complaining will pay full price and fly thousands of miles to see it either way and God Bless you for it

  • Amelia

    I’m just wondering how you didn’t see Jay-Z. He was on the screen quite a bit, which is why I expected him to be presenting an award at some point.

    • Sally in Chicago

      Agree. And I didn’t understand why Bill T. Jones didn’t acknowledge Will & JayZ as the investors…isn’t that the same as producers?

  • Henry

    I dislike Lea Michelle more and more every time I read anything about her and her diva-like tendencies.

    • Echo

      I am so with you on disliking Lea Michele. She’s no Barbra Streisand. I’d rather see Siobhan Magnus in the role, but she’s not seasoned enough yet. That being the case I’d opt for Ann hathaway.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Siobahn Magnus and especially Anne Hathaway would be woefully miscast as Fanny Brice, despite their talents.

      • Maureen

        Siobahn or Anne as Fanny Brice?! Why didn’t I think of that first? A brilliant idea! :D

      • Ladyin red

        Anne Hathaway? Her voice isn’t strong enough. I love Lea Michelle, but I don’t think she can do the comedy.

      • Marilayne

        He doesn’t stutter when he isnt wrinitg either. In fact, he doesn’t stutter at all. It’s called a lisp, which is caused by a physical reason. He’s probably wearing braces. Totally normal!Good vids J.K.! I’m researching other personal development coaches and I like the way you look at things and break it down.

      • Kesya

        will never forget metineg them for the first time in downtown Annapolis last winter for their engagement session. We started the session as I would with any couple & we ended it praying together at St.

    • strickens_girl

      Agreed. She was trying WAY too hard with that song last night. She bugs me.

  • Madd

    Lea is no Barbra. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

    • Sara

      Yeah…she’s a talented singer, but she was practically yelling out her song! Sometimes less is more, honey.

      • textumbleweed

        I thought it was preformed horribly. Yes, she was practically yelling out the song. She doesn’t seem to be a good fit for the part.

      • mamarose

        Wow, I thought it was an incredible and commanding performance. Surprised to see so much hating on Lea.

  • stephen

    No mention of the sound issues?? What is their problem? All the issues RUINED almost every number! Grrr…

    • Tom

      AMEN!
      This is two years in a row with disastrous sound on the telecast!

      • Ahmet

        e.l Posted on For one thing unless they’re plisbuhed you mean writers’.Only you can decide when, as it needs to fit round you and your members’ schedules.

    • Sarah

      The sound production was a tragedy. I think every single number had problems.

  • deedee

    You would think Broadway would know how to do the sound portion of the show to perfection

    • Zo

      You’ve got it right. Eight shows a week, Broadway houses put on miracles. How do they get it so spectacularly wrong at the Tony’s? You would think after last year’s embarassing gaffes, they would have made damnnnn sure to not repeat it. And yet it was just as poorly produced.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Sound for theater is different than sound for TV. CBS has to take the blame.

    • Sirleide

      *Sighs* That’s both sad and happy news. I love the fact that Tony may someday get his own sieers, but I hate the fact that a)he won’t be in this one, and b) if he doesn’t get his own sieers we’ll never see him on the screen.The very first Blood book I read was ‘Blood Trail’, and Tony was my favorite character there, despite being in a grand total of four pages. One of my biggest reasons for getting the rest of them (but definetly not the sole reason) was to see more of him. When the Smoke sieers first began I was momentarily upset because I’d been looking forward to another Valor book…then I saw who the star of the sieers was. My giddy shrieks are probably still echoing through the Halifax Chapters Bookstore.Anyway, what I’m trying to say, in a very long-winded way, is that Tony is my all time favorite of your characters. Beating out Bannon, Haysole, and yes, even Austin by a rather large margin. I’d love to see more and more and more of him, and his history of which we’ve only been given bits and pieces of.

  • Sara

    I liked when they also used to do a scene from the play nominees. Plays need more of a boost than musicals. And why did they kiss Green Day’s butt so much? I’m in that demo, have their cds but even I thought the whole thing was pretentious.

  • Allison

    I completely agree with the above assessment of the overdone and unnecessary Green Day appearances and yes, if I was involved in one of the actual *nominated* musicals I would have been ticked off.

    • Kim

      American Idiot was nominated for Best Musical.

      • Allison

        Sorry, I knew that. I got a bit carried away and should have said one of the *other* musicals instead.

  • LilyRose

    You should have mentioned CZJ’s amazing solo of “Send in the Clowns”. And you’re right – there were too many non-nominees stealing the spotlight. Sean Hayes is great – he’s actually the only reason I tuned in.

    • Tom

      That was one of the worst performances of the night.

    • Chelsea

      Amazing? Really? After her performance last night I couldn’t believe she was even nominated, let alone that she would win! I thought it was poorly sung and completely over-acted.

    • FC

      Amazing solo?! She had laryngitis and milked the drama of “Send In The Clowns” to ridiculous effect. Awful.

      • Betty

        I agree it was horrible. Simply based on that performance I was shocked that she won.

    • Irwin

      CZJ was horrendous in that song, couldn’t believe she one. She must be better in the show.

      • TerryT

        I totally agree! Terrible scenery chewing! I was shocked when she won.

    • sam

      She was terrible. I hope that she won for her acting, because I don’t think she can sing at all. She’s lucky that she married that movie star.

  • PungentAroma

    The direction of the show was absolutely terrible. From sound problems to even-worse-than-usual camera shots, the whole thing felt really sloppy. It was saved by Sean Hayes’ sheer presence and affability, and the terrific muted brilliance of the ‘La Cage’ number.

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