Every Friday, we look forward to bringing you Broadway.com’s 10 lessons of the week—but we learned so much at the 2013 Tony Awards, we think they deserve their own lessons! June 9 was packed with dazzling performances, touching speeches and of course, Mike Tyson (what?). What important facts did we learn this year's ceremony? Read below to find out!
The Bigger the Opening Number, The Better
This year’s opener "Make It Bigger" stayed true to its name. It included a mishmash of performers from dozens of long-running Broadway shows like The Lion King, Newsies and Phantom, and host Neil Patrick Harris catapulted into the air, performed magic tricks and swung on a gigantic Tony Award. It’s the most extravagant opening number in years, which just goes to show: The more glitter, crazy costumes and flipping acrobats, the longer the standing ovation.
This Season Is Chuck E. Cheese's with Less Pizza
With the rugrats from Matilda, A Christmas Story and Annie running all over the place, this year’s Tony Awards seemed a lot more like a first-grader's birthday party than a grown-up awards show. We did some calculations, and the median age of this year’s Tony performers is approximately nine. We weren’t huge fans of the 20-minute mandatory nap before the awards, but we really liked the juice box station on the red carpet.
You’re Never Too Old to Thank Your Mommy
In a heartfelt acceptance speech, Lucky Guy Tony winner Courtney B. Vance started the evening off right with a tearful “Mommy, this one’s for you.” Nearly every winner followed suit, from Billy Porter’s touching salute to his mother’s faith, to Tracy Letts' tribute to his parents, who “enriched my life beyond measure.” Even the adults were big blubbering kids this year. Man up, guys! You don't see the Matilda girls crying.
Broadway Taught Cyndi Lauper Everything She Knows
Cyndi Lauper was a big winner on Tony night, and although we always thought of her as more of a pop gal, she revealed in her acceptance speech that she first learned to sing by listening to Broadway cast albums. Wow Cyndi, now that we’ve seen your “True Colors,” can we expect a Cyndi Sings Broadway album next year? Or better yet, Cyndi Lauper: The Musical?! The possibilities are endless. Don’t even get us started on the hairstyles!
Tony Voters Are Seriously Kinky
After what seemed like an eternity of Matilda buzz, it turns out Tony voters weren’t quite as impressed by the telekinetic wunderkind as Olivier voters were. They weren’t even swayed by Ben Brantley's rave review in The New York Times, which called the show "the most satisfying and subversive musical ever to come out of Britain.” With its infectious score and eye-popping costumes, Kinky Boots came out on top. The moral? Don't mess with drag queens.
Tracy Letts Is a Big Softy
We always thought of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? star Tracy Letts as a dark, brooding guy. He is the man who wrote creepy-as-hell thrillers Bug and Killer Joe, after all. But when he took to the stage to accept his award for Best Actor in a Play, Letts was as gentle as a lamb, and even cried while thanking his parents. Awww, how sweet! That still doesn’t erase the Killer Joe fried-chicken-blowjob scene from our minds, but awww.
Broadway Is a Bad Girls’ Club
In the battle between the edgy Leading Player and the innocent Ella, Pippin star Patina Miller triumphed over Cinderella headliner Laura Osnes, proving that there’s just not a lot of love for sweet ingenues when it comes to Tony Awards. We were rooting for you, Laura, but at least you’re in good company. Our advice? Make a coffee date with Kelli O’Hara and Rebecca Luker this week and you ladies can talk it out.
Tony Winners Taaaaakkkee Theeirrr Tiiimme
You’d think a Tony winner wouldn’t want to risk being played offstage during her big acceptance speech, but Cicely Tyson and Emily Mann really surprised us. Tyson, who won for her performance in The Trip to Bountiful, drifted up to the stage like a Texas tumbleweed, while Mann, a producer of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, seemed more interested in thanking the McCarter Theatre board than letting Christopher Durang speak. You know, the playwright? Cue the orchestra.
Broadway.com Bingo Was Shockingly Accurate
In the first 90 seconds of the Tony telecast, we easily checked off the “Airborne Performer,” “Spinning Tony,” and “Shia LaBeouf Joke” squares on our Tony Bingo boards. We made the bingo cards just for fun—but we ended up predicting a lot of the stuff that actually happened at the awards! Too bad we didn’t have a square for “NPH French kisses a dog."
Broadway Stars Aren’t Afraid to Laugh at Themselves
What’s the best thing about Broadway stars? Well, as we learned at this year’s awards, they’re laidback, fun, and aren’t afraid to make jokes at their own expense. From the lament of the recently unemployed Andrew Rannells, Megan Hilty and Laura Benanti (who came onstage with a half-empty booze bottle), to Audra McDonald’s operatic rendition of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” we love seeing our favorite stars refuse to take things too seriously. You guys are crazy. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.