warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Live Blog: 2012 Tony Awards

Katie Buenneke |
June 10, 2012 | 4:41 p.m. PDT

Theater Editor


Sunday night's awards honor the best in theater. (Katie Buenneke/ Neontommy)
Sunday night's awards honor the best in theater. (Katie Buenneke/ Neontommy)
Hello! Your intrepid theater editor, Katie Buenneke here! I have braved the intermittent drizzle, crowds, and terrible WiFi in Times Square to present you, dear readers, with a live blog of everything Tonys. I'm surrounded by probably 1,000 strangers who love theater, Gavin Creel (who will be playing Elder Price in the upcoming tour of "The Book of Mormon"), and Lucy and Rod from "Avenue Q." All times are EDT.

[7:36] The unaired awards have begun! These are only seen by the people at the Beacon Theatre, where the ceremony is, and us here in Times Square. Norbert Leo Butz and Beth Leavel told us the rules of the Tonys (don't talk for too long, don't stoop into the microphone, etc.) Emanuel Azenburg received a lifetime achievement award and lectured the creators of "Smash" on how Broadway really works, Bernadette Peters received the Isabelle Stevenson Award for her philanthropic efforts in founding Broadway Barks, a charity that rescues companion animals. Actors' Equity is also receiving recognition on its 100th anniversary.

[7:43] The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC received a regional Tony and said they don't care if Shakespeare wrote his plays or not, so long as we get to keep seeing them. Martin Lowe won Best Orchestrations for "Once" and gave an adorably British acceptance speech. Christopher Gattelli won the Best Choreography for his work on "Newsies."

Enda Walsh won for Best Book of a Musical for "Once." He's adorably Irish, profane, and grateful.

[8:03] The cast of "The Book of Mormon" just finished the opening number, "Hello," and ended by introducing the host, Neil Patrick Harris, as a Mormon. Like last year, he's already made a joke about how the Tonys are traditionally for gay people. He's now doing an opening number, idealizing if life were more like a musical, featuring Patti LuPone and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (who is shooed off after being labeled a threat by NPH). I'm guessing this is the song Bobby Lopez ("Avenue Q," "The Book of Mormon") wrote for the ceremony.

[8:12] Paul Rudd (who will be on Broadway next fall in "Grace") is presenting Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a play, by analyzing the meaning of the word "featured." The award goes to a flustered Judith Light, from "Other Desert Cities."

[8:19] Nick Jonas introduced the cast of "Newsies," who performed an inspiring intro from "Once and for All," and then segued into "Seize the Day," a number with astounding (now Tony-winning!) choreography.

[8:21] During the commercial break, Norbert Leo Butz and Beth Leavel announce Best Sound Design of a Musical, which goes to Clive Goodwin for "Once."

[8:25] Neil Patrick Harris proposed movie/musical mashups. Amanda Seyfried, star of movie musicals ("Mamma Mia," the upcoming "Les Miserables") presented Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical. Michael McGrath, from "Nice Work If You Can Get It" wins, surprising everyone who predicted Michael Cerveris or one of the "Porgy and Bess" actors to win.

[8:29] Bernadette Peters introduces the cast of "Follies," who perform "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues," featuring Best Actor in a Leading Role nominee Danny Burstein.

[8:35] Ok, I'm just going to start calling them Norbert and Beth, because it looks like I'll be seeing quite a bit of them tonight. Darron L West wins Best Sound Design of a Play for "Peter and the Starcatcher."

[8:39] The cast of "Ghost" performs "I Had a Life," the Act I finale. John Larroquette (a winner for last year's "How to Succeed") presents Best Direction of a Musical to John Tiffany for "Once" and Best Direction of a Play to Mike Nichols for "Death of a Salesman," which is Nichols' sixth Tony win. He was all choked up over the show, but then again, who wasn't?

[8:50] Ben Vereen, a member of the original Broadway cast, presents the cast of Best Revival of a Musical nominee "Jesus Christ Superstar," featuring Josh Young performing the title number. Paloma Young wins Best Costume Design of a Play for "Peter and the Starcatcher." She's young, flustered, and adorable.

[9:00] Neil Patrick Harris upstaged Angela Lansbury swinging from the rafters (literally) as Spider-Man. Jessica Chastain presents Best Featured Actor in a Play to Christian Borle from "Peter and the Starcatcher." Matthew Morrison presented the cast of "Nice Work If You Can Get It," performing "Somone To Watch Over Me" and "Sweet and Lowdown."

[9:08] Best Costume Design of a Musical goes to Gregg Barnes for the lavish gowns and other costumes in "Follies."

[9:15] Burbling, NPH introduces James Marden, who, in kind, announces the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, which goes to Judy Kaye from "Nice Work." Kaye gets choked up remembering her father, who died a week ago. Ellen Barkin presents the year in plays, featuring clips from the nominated plays and segueing into the mermaid song from "Peter and the Starcatcher," which Neil Patrick Harris interrupts, then recent winner Christian Borle interrupts, threatening him with a knife and then starting a scene. That's followed by more clips, and then the hilarious James Corden getting in a fistfight with himself in a scene from "One Man, Two Guvnors." Again, more clips, leading into Tracy Bennett singing Judy Garland songs from "End of the Rainbow," which will be coming to the Ahmanson next season.

[9:23] Best Scenic Design of a Play goes to Donyale Werle for "Peter and the Starcatcher."

[9:28] NPH does a medley of all the winning scores ever, I'm pretty sure. It's frantic and endearing. Sheryl Crow (who just finished writing the score to the upcoming Broadway musical version of "Diner") presents Best Score to Alan Menken for "Newsies," in a move surprising absolutely no one. Despite his multiple Oscars, this is Menken's first Tony. The cast of "Porgy and Bess" performs the classic "Summertime" (with Audra McDonald singing it, though she only sings it for a hot second in the show), leading into "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin," then a dance number, and closing with two other classics, "It Ain't Necessarily So," and "I Loves You, Porgy." It looks like they're trying to showcase all of their acting nominees in the least amount of time.

[9:44] Tyler Perry presents Best Revival of a play to "Death of a Salesman," in another move that surprises absolutely no one. Producer Scott Rudin brings the cast and director on stage and is very grateful. Josh Groban presents the cast of "Once," who perform "Gold," featuring nominee Steve Kazee. The song is infectious and I hope it convinces people to go see the production (and I'm sure the producers hope so as well!). We get to see a shot of composers and stars of the movie Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who look very proud of their "Broadway Baby," to steal a phrase from another nominee this season.

[9:51] Best Lighting Design of a Musical goes to Natasha Katz for "Once" (who was nominated against herself).

[9:57] Jim Parsons presents the nominees for Best Play. The winner is "Clybourne Park."

[10:12] My laptop battery is entirely dead, so all updates are now coming from my phone. Thus, all formatting and spelling have gone out the window. Ricky Martin led the cast of "Evita" in a song, Jeff Croiter won Best Lighting Design of a Play for "Peter and the Starcatcher," "Godspell" performed "Light of the World," despite receiving no Tony nominations, and "Porgy and Bess" won Best Revival of a Musical. 

[10:21] Original Broadway cast member Harvey Fierstein presents a cruise ship production of "Hairspray."

[10:31] Hugh Jackman's wife presents him with a special Tony for his fundraising efforts for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and his general contributions to Broadway. He is grateful and Australian.

[10:35] Candice Bergen presents Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical to Steve Kazee from "Once," who, in his moving acceptance speech tearfully thanks his cast and mother, who died earlier this year. James Corden wins Best Actor in Leading Role in a Play for "One Man, Two Guvnors," a result surprising everyone, including Corden, who seems to have expected Philip Seymour Hoffman to win, along with the rest of the audience (the look on James Earl Jones' face is priceless). He is humbled to be in the company of the rest of the nominees. The cast of "Leap of Faith" performs the religious revival-style "Rise Up," which isn't one of the show's stronger numbers, and begs the question of why the show, which only ran for a week and a half, is even appearing on the broadcast. Probably for licensing/touring opportunities, but you'd think they'd be able to pick a better song to showcase! 

[10:50] Christopher Plummer presents Best Actress in Leading Role in a Play to Nina Arianda for "Venus in Fur." She endearingly freaks out, telling Plummer how he was her first crush. Arianda was considered by many to be the dark horse in a category full of "names" much older than she is, but she got fantastic reviews. Best Actress in Musical unsurpringly brings Audra McDonald from "Porgy and Bess" her fifth Tony and first Tony for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. She tells her daughter, Zoe, that while tonight was an important night, the day Zoe was born was a far more important day.

[11:01] A munching Trey Parker and Matt Stone, winners of Best Musical for last year's "Book of Mormon," present Best Musical to "Once," this year's little musical that could. 

[11:05] NPH closes out the show with with a song about the song he'd sing if he had the time to sing a song. 

In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, "that's all for now, folks!" and I will never again write an article from my phone. Don't worry, I'll edit it once I get home to my power cord!

[12:24] I am home, charging my laptop battery, the article is mostly edited, and all of you in LA are about halfway done with watching the tape delay of this year's ceremony. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and I can't wait for next year!

Reach Katie here; follow her on Twitter here.

For more 2012 Tony coverage, click here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.