8:50: Time to recap all the Tonys they couldn't present during the telecast, because they had to make time for that mini-number from Phantom. I'm kind of shocked to learn that the award for Best Revival of a Play has already been given out (to the '60s comedy Boeing-Boeing) -- I know the telecast tends to marginalize nonmusicals, but that's just ridiculous.
8:53: Presenter Julie Chen (you may know her from The Early Show and Big Brother) looks like she got her dress from the same Tattered Yellowing Nightgown store where Laura Linney went shopping. And, like Linney, Chen looks fabulous anyway. She's setting up "a look back on the year in plays," which is as much of a bone as we're going to throw the nonmusical backbone of Broadway tonight. It's really a montage of "Look, some movie stars were in plays!"
8:54: Duncan Sheik has a goofy (possibly drunk?) grin on his face as he explains the importance of the book of a musical. Yes, it's so important we couldn't be bothered to give out the award on live TV! That one already went to Passing Strange, and now Sheik is announcing the award for Best Score. One of the eternal Tony imponderables is the fact that a show can win both Best Book and Best Score and not win Best Musical - it's happened more than once. But not this year! In this category, I personally am most fond of Cry-Baby, whose terrific songs have been unjustly ignored and undervalued by most critics. You folks will know lyricist David Javerbaum as the executive producer of The Daily Show -- and his songs are exactly as funny as you'd expect. Realistically, though, I expect this one to go to In the Heights, whose author, Lin-Manuel Miranda, managed to take the ambient noises of northern Manhattan -- salsa and hip-hop blasting from crappy speakers (usually inside cars stopped at the traffic light just below my bedroom window); thundering subway trains; voices shouting in a variety of local and not-so-local accents -- and turn them into music that is actually enjoyable. Miranda wins, and I wasn't the only one expecting it, as is evidenced by his rhyming acceptance rap. I think this may be the first time ever a Tony-winner rapped his thank-yous, and I'm almost positive it's the first time a Tony was ever kissed up to Puerto Rico. It would be a stretch to say Miranda is freestyling (I'm pretty sure he had this worked out beforehand), but he name-checks Stephen Sondheim -- "Look, I made a hat where there never was a hat! It's a Latin hat, at that!" -- so who can criticize? That was adorable.