Tony, Tony, Tony
10:41: Whoa, Madonna presented a Tony award in 1988! And she did a crappy job, too. "I'm being punished for not coming to rehearsal today," she admits to the audience in this little clip, from back before she had a British accent.
10:42: Whoopi, who keeps changing into costumes and then back into that ridiculous clown blouse, is now introducing the number from Rent (which finally closes this fall). I've never been a Rent-head, so I'm not really swept up in the lovefest that ensues, but it is cute to see Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs together with the rest of the original cast. People in the audience are singing along with "Seasons of Love," and marveling that what used to seem edgy now looks quaint and cuddly.
10:47: Liza Minelli! Her shtick is so over-the-top at this point that it's hard for me to believe she's a real person and not, like, a Liza Minelli impersonator. Wouldn't it be so awesome if they had her presenting this award with a Liza Minelli impersonator? The award, by the way, is for Leading Actor in a Musical. Nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda looks like he's about to crap his pants when they cut to him -- maybe he hasn't got another rap prepared? Stew shows how seriously he's taking all this by letting the camera catch him wearing a goofy mask when his name is called. And hey, Tom Wopat! Did you know Luke Duke has become a solid Broadway musical leading man? Not an award-winning one, though; this Tony goes to Paolo Szot for South Pacific, because if it didn't have a mysterious, dark, foreign-born leading man, it wouldn't be South Pacific.
10:50: David Hyde Pierce, who won a Tony for Curtains last year, enters and says, "...and I'd like to thank Rob Ashford, who gave me the greatest dance on Broadway. ...Sorry, that was unfinished business from last year." Ha! He's presenting the Leading Actress in a Musical award, and the first nominee is Kerry Butler, who has her fingers crossed and is making an exaggerated "I really hope it's me!" face for the camera. This is, of course, a joke; she's awesome, but she knows she didn't win. In fact, she better hope she didn't win, because if she beat Patti LuPone, she'd have to watch her back for the rest of the night, and possibly for the rest of her life. But Patti wins! She came dressed for the part, in a gown with a long train -- but, being Patti, she looks a bit like a football player as she stomps across the stage, fighting the dress the whole way. She's also armed with an off-the-cuff-but-really-not, self-deprecating-but-really-not acceptance speech. I love that she thanks the house staff, her dressers, etc., but then she tries to fight the orchestra when they start to play her off, shouting, "Shut up, it's been 29 years!" The victim act is hardly classy, especially since she's been talking for some time already -- and the implication that she's been unfairly ignored all these years would be much more persuasive if she weren't the one making it. So this is all vintage Patti, in other words.