8:11: Even wearing a tux, John Waters manages to look like someone you wouldn't want to sit next to on the subway. He's introducing a number from Cry-Baby that happens to be set in a prison yard. "One wonders if there are actual prisoners who are watching the Tony show tonight," he says, with a coy smile. Well, if there are, screw 'em! How many tickets are they going to buy?
8:15: "A Little Upset," the beautifully choreographed number from Cry-Baby, will blow you away in person, but the camerawork made sure it didn't look that way on TV. It certainly gets my vote for sexiest dance number, though. The stomping! The biceps! The grinding hips! It is to swoon. These guys make those South Pacific sailors look like a glee club.
8:16: Cutaway to the audience. Liza Minelli -- who, in case you're wondering, is Skinny Liza at the moment -- liked it, too. Who can blame her.
8:20: We come back from the commercials with a "Broadway Spotlight" -- basically another advertisement, this one for Broadway itself (don't forget the touring productions!) -- featuring the four guys now starring in Jersey Boys. For some reason, one of them is standing over the camera so that we're looking at the bottom of his chin, and it's very unflattering. Perhaps they're trying to recreate the view from the front row?
8:22: Presenter Laura Linney looks like she's still wearing her (Tony-winning!) Les Liaisons Dangereuses costume. It's weird and ragged and nightgown-y, and sort of flesh-colored, but she manages to look radiant anyway. Damn, that Laura Linney can do anything. Well, anything except make this canned presenter dialogue sound spontaneous or heartfelt. She's presenting the Tony for Featured Actor in a Play, which is a category none of the producers care about, because all of the nominated shows have already closed. Hey, look, TV fans, it's Bobby Cannavale, from Third Watch and Will and Grace and Ally McBeal! You know him! If we keep the camera on him extra long, will you keep watching? Please? (The winner is Jim Norton, from the Irish play The Seafarer. He gives a lovely, gracious speech, and you just don't give a damn, do you. Moving on.)
8:25: Whoopi Goldberg is now sharing the stage with, I shit you not, Adam Duritz. From Counting Crows. And she even says to the audience, "Hey! This is Adam Duritz, from the Counting Crows," in exactly the tone of voice that you would use if you showed up somewhere totally random with Adam Duritz. (Didn't he date Jennifer Aniston for a while? You know she introduced him to everybody exactly that way.) Adam is wearing a light-colored suit and a bow tie, an ensemble that makes him look like an ice-cream man. Whoopi excuses herself, saying she has to pee (seriously! I think I'm enjoying this "Did she take her meds?" approach to Tonys hosting), and Adam introduces the next performance, from nominated musical Passing Strange. It turns out his appearance here isn't so random after all; he's a fan of Stew and Heidi Rodewald, Passing Strange's creators, from way back (in fact, he calls Stew "my roommate"). He's obviously nervous and genuinely thrilled to be introducing Stew and Heidi and the cast, and it's hard not to get caught up in his enthusiasm. Let's see how the song works...