9:58: The unctuous Alec Baldwin presents the award for Leading Actress in a Play. Oh, shit, he said Macbeth! Right out loud, in Radio City Music Hall! You rolled your eyes at Mary-Louise Parker, but who will save you from the curse now, Tony audience members?! ...One of the nominees in this category is S. Epatha Merkerson (do you think her friends call her "S."?), and when the camera cuts to her, she points to the enthusiastically applauding woman next to her and mouths, "That's my mother." Aw. Speaking of mothers, the award goes to Deanna Dunagan, who played the pill-addled matriarch in August, and who finished her run in the show today. (But she's being replaced by Estelle Parsons, and I think that means I need to go back and see it again.) Her floor-length blue gown would be the talk of the red carpet, if anybody bothered to talk about what the "stars" wear to the Tonys.
10:00: Time for the number from In the Heights. It's cute when Lin-Manuel Miranda sings, "Reports of my fame are greatly exaggerated." Not anymore! Although the camera work is as erratic as ever, the number is the most successful one so far: it sets up the show, it captures some of the excitement, and it makes the music sound good. Nicely done.
10:11: I think I may be too old to find Daniel Radcliffe sexy. But he has such a nice way with that canned presenters' speech, and I love how he pronounces August: Osage County. He's over 18 now, right? Anyway, the winner, surprising no one: August: Osage County. Sorry, Great Britain! Not this year! Tracy Letts has already won the Pulitzer Prize for this play, so he had time to prepare his speech, and it's a great one. Surrounded at the microphone by a phalanx of producers, he jokes, "I don't know all these people. I assume they're associated with the play." Speaking from experience as an actor, he adds, "I can guarantee you that this moment beats the hell out of auditioning for JAG." Then he takes advantage of the spotlight to say something marginally subversive, naming the producers who "did an amazing thing: They decided to produce an American play on Broadway with theater actors." Oh, snap! The camera pulls back nervously to an aerial shot of the house, as if they're afraid Letts might pull out a sign that says, "F you, Disney!" or "Eat it, Stoppard!"
10:16: Mandy Patinkin is now onstage, in his parti-colored beard, to read some remarks penned by the absent Stephen Sondheim in recognition of his lifetime achievement award. Maybe Mandy is pretending to be Sondheim? Does that explain the facial hair? It's a very gracious statement, in which Sondheim credits and thanks his collaborators (and makes the evening's second "Finishing the Hat" reference, although this one is not in rap form) -- just what you'd expect from the guy who wrote all those songs that episodes of Desperate Housewives are named after. Now Mandy introduces "Move On," the number from Sunday in the Park with George. Eh, it's no "Part of Your World."