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Drag Queens, Revolting Children and Motown Legends: We Rate All of the Dazzling 2013 Tony Telecast Performances

Drag Queens, Revolting Children and Motown Legends: We Rate All of the Dazzling 2013 Tony Telecast Performances
We rate the Tony Awards performances!

Sure, it's fun to see which stars take home Tony Awards on Broadway's biggest night, but for many viewers, the most exciting time comes when casts from the competing musicals take the stage. These performances provide a golden opportunity for ticket buyers across the country to get a sneak peek at the best Broadway has to offer. Not only did the 2013 telecast feature production numbers from most of the contenders, but other shows, including Motown, The Phantom of the Opera and a couple of surprise special songs also earned center-stage slots. Below, weighs in on each performance. Take a look at what we thought, then vote for your favorite in our poll!

Failed TV Career Medley
Andrew Rannells (The New Normal), Megan Hilty (Smash) and Laura Benanti (Go On, The Playboy Club) joined Neil Patrick Harris on the stage for a "failed TV career" medley and it was hysterical. Each actor sang about his/her troubled forays into television, from Rannells' "I Like to Star in a TV Show," set to West Side Story's "America" to Benanti's boozy version of "Television Sucks" set to Company‘s "Ladies Who Lunch." Meanwhile, Hilty sung a psychoanalytic spoof of why performers do what they do. Harris tried his best to make them all feel better by leading them in a rousing rendition of A Chorus Line's "What I Did For Love." A+

"Make It Bigger," Opening Number
Host Neil Patrick Harris opened the Tony Awards with a Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda song that began in the pub from last year’s Best Musical, Once. Within moments, NPH transformed into a tuxedo to sing about how this year’s show was going to be "bigger"—and he was right! Special guest Mike Tyson joined the number along with the cast members from this year’s nominees. Harris even performed a magic trick and ended up in the aisle leading a pack of Newsies boys. In a small dig at the film version of Les Misérables, the host called for the camera to come in close and said, "On Broadway, we don’t need extreme close-ups to prove we’re singing live." Amen! NPH closed out the opening number with a stage full of dancers from the year’s biggest shows. The enthusiastic standing ovation from the audience was well-deserved! A

"Everybody Say Yeah," Kinky Boots
Tony winner Billy Porter and Tony nominee Stark Sands sounded fantastic as they belted out the musical's extraordinary uplifting tune, but the musical’s angels deserve a shoutout, too, for keeping up with the show's furious footwork. The cast's manic energy and Tony-winning dance moves were in full force as they blazed through "Everybody Say Yeah." Cyndi Lauper’s Tony-winning score is reminiscent of the bubbly pop of the '80s but with clever, sharp lyrics and a beat that gets you on you on your feet. Kinky Boots won Best Musical for a reason, and this performance was the perfect representation. A

"Get Ready/Dancing In The Street/Want You Back/The Love You Save," Motown The Musical
From the first notes of "Get Ready" to the signature Jackson 5 moves, everyone knows that the Motown sound is outta sight. Everyone at Radio City (and at home!) was clapping, dancing and singing along to this medley that can only be described as a roller coaster ride of fun. Star Brandon Victor Dixon, nominee Charl Brown and the cast were in top form as they channeled the soul and sound of Hitsville, U.S.A. However, we're pretty sure little Raymond Luke Jr. stood out as young Michael Jackson and he absolutely tore up the dance floor. A

"Corner of the Sky/Magic to Do," Pippin
There's no denying the pure joy Tony winner Patina Miller and her troupe of performers exude in the hit circus-inspired revival's signature production number. Chet Walker's handstand-filled, high-kicking, all-around-acrobatic Fosse choreography came across beautifully on the small screen. Matthew James Thomas kicked the high-energy performance off, and we even got small but sweet doses of Tony winner Andrea Martin and Tony nominee Terrence Mann. Pippin's number showed TV audiences why it deserved to win Best Musical Revival. A-

"The Phantom of the Opera," The Phantom of the Opera
Celebrating its 25th anniversary on Broadway this year, Peter Joback and Samantha Hill performed the title song from the iconic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical with intensity. Shows simply do not come any grander than The Phantom of the Opera, and Joback's performance as The Phantom perfectly captured the character’s range of emotion, and Hill held her own alongside him. Don't you want to go see this show again now!? A-

"In My Own Little Corner/It's Possible/Ten Minutes Ago," Cinderella
Beautiful dresses! Magical transformations! A tender waltz! Tony nominees Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana and Victoria Clark brought the enchantment and romance of the classic fairy tale to life. The cast gave fantastic performances and there were even plenty of laughs in the show's delightful medley. We may "never come down" again after this touching performance. B+

"You'll Shoot Your Eye Out," A Christmas Story
What a fun taptastic number! This holiday musical made Radio City Music Hall feel like Christmas morning with its warm, kid-friendly and crowd-pleasing showpiece. Caroline O’Connor led the bouncy performance, which featured one heck of a scene-stealing kid in uber-tapper Luke Spring. We're gonna write Santa that we want Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's tuner under the tree next year, too. B+

"Revolting Children/When I Grow Up/Naughty," Matilda
This medley was a bit too much of a hodgepodge. The number moved too quickly from the defiant "Revolting Children" to what should have been the stirring "When I Grow Up" and anthemic "Naughty." Without ample space, the numbers did not have the emotional impact that they do in the show's home at the Shubert Theatre. Scooters, school desks and more provided a visual feast, but the stars, except Tony nominee Lauren Ward, weren't given enough time to shine. B

"It's All Happening," Bring It On
Five months after their closing performance, the cheerleaders were back in fighting shape. Clad in high-top sneakers, Adrienne Warren and her co-stars sashayed with the show’s smart and sassy song, "It's All Happening." Though there were a few backflips, we missed the high-flying athletic cheering we saw when the show was at the St. James Theatre last summer. On the other hand, you’d never suspect this ensemble hasn’t performed together since last December. B-

"Hard Knock Life/Little Girls," Annie
Don’t doubt our devotion to New York City's favorite red-headed orphan, but we can’t help but feel this performance was a missed opportunity. Sure, Lilla Crawford was endearing as the tough title character and it was fun to see Jane Lynch take on the villainous Miss Hannigan, but the medley still fell flat. A medley should give a larger sense of the show as a whole, but this performance missed that mark. If you see it at the Palace Theatre with everything in place, Annie is still a charming and enjoyable show for all ages. C+

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