Tony, Tony, Tony
9:26: So, The Little Mermaid -- well, first of all, it's sort of bullshit that we're watching this number at all. The rules used to be that you had to be nominated for Best Musical or Best Revival of a Musical in order to get a performance slot during the telecast. If you didn't get a nod in one of those two categories, too bad. But this year, all of a sudden, they changed those rules! How lucky for Disney! Beyond that: how weird is it to see a live, adult human sing "Part of Your World"? Doesn't it make you a little uncomfortable? I feel like I'm watching a high-school talent show. And the chorus teacher should help this girl pick a more grown-up song for her solo.
9:28: Faith Prince sings a song from A Catered Affair, another musical that opened this year and hardly got noticed. It's... painful. Sales of Faith's cast recordings are not boosted by this appearance.
9:29: Speaking of squeaky character voices, it's Megan Mullally, singing "Deep Love" from The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein Buy Your Tickets Now! The whole song is a joke about how much she enjoys the monster's big penis. Funny, or unspeakably gross? You decide!
9:35: Up until last year, this part of the show -- the part where the people from the American Theatre Wing come out and tell you about their organization -- was your cue to go get a snack. But last year they turned the normally boring public service announcement into a surprisingly funny sketch featuring Jane Krakowski and John Mahoney, and now I feel compelled to stick around to see if they'll do something like that again. Instead, it's an earnest montage of bright-eyed Broadway stars telling you how much they love the ATW. Maybe you should have gotten that snack after all.
9:37: Whoopi Goldberg, wearing what I can only describe as the top half of a clown costume (but without the pom-poms), introduces the Best Play nominees by describing what they're about, while we see a representation of the set, followed by a quick clip of a taped performance. With plays, unlike with musicals, the production and the writing are not separated; it's all one award. (And they're lucky to be mentioned on TV at all. We could be using this time to promote Wicked!)