Yes, theatre still exists. And, more importantly, there are still theatre awards shows. Last night's Tony Awards, celebrating the best of Broadway, offered few surprises, but did bestow top honors upon two relative newcomers to the New York theatre scene. Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights, a musical love letter to upper Manhattan, won for best score and best musical, heralding the arrival of a distinct new voice, and reassuring the old white people clapping in the audience that they're not fusty and scared of the ethnics. August: Osage County, a brilliant and brutal three and a half hour epic of a play, won lots of awards, including best play for Tracy Letts and best actress for Chicago theatre grand dame Deanna Dunagan.
The musical numbers were relatively unremarkable, save for Patti LuPone's (also a winner last night) flaming "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and the creaky original cast of Rent who jiggled around on stage while the 400th replacement cast swayed awkwardly behind them. Oh, and the terrific Passing Strange looked and sounded great. I was disappointed that it didn't pick up more trophies ( show creator and star Stew won for best book of a musical). Host Whoopi Goldberg changed costumes a lot, like she did when hosting the Oscars a hundred and thirty-six years ago, most "amusingly" as a sassy black Mary Poppins. So Broadway theatre drums along another year, and the folks toiling away nobly in off-off-Broadway companies, and in regional theaters across the country, watch and sigh. Above is a clip of Glenn Close making an endearing ass of herself.