TONY AWARDS - 6.7.2009 - DVD
The 63rd Annual Tony Awards, which recognized Broadway productions of the 2008-2009 season, were presented on June 7, 2009 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The ceremony was broadcast by CBS, with Neil Patrick Harris as host.
The cut-off date for eligibility for the awards was April 30, 2009. Nominations were announced on May 5, 2009 by Cynthia Nixon and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Of the musicals, Billy Elliot the Musical received fifteen nominations, being nominated in every category in which it is eligible, followed by Next to Normal with eleven. Both were nominated for Best Musical. Among the nominees for Best Revival of a Musical, Hair had the most nominations, with eight. Of the plays, the revivals Mary Stuart and The Norman Conquests tied for the most nominations, with seven each. All four stars of God of Carnage were nominated, as was the play itself.
The Isabelle Stevenson Award, a non-competitive award named after the late president of the American Theatre Wing, was presented for the first time. Its purpose is to recognize individuals from the theatre community who have volunteered time to one or more humanitarian, social service, or charitable organizations. The first recipient of this honor was Phyllis Newman. This was the first non-competitive category to be introduced since the Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre was established in 1990.
The broadcast won the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Programs. The telecast also was nominated in the category of Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Music or Nonfiction Programming.
Performances included scenes from nine Broadway musicals: Billy Elliot the Musical (with an appearance by Elton John); Guys and Dolls, with Tituss Burgess and company performing "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat"; Hair, with the company performing the title song and "Let the Sunshine In"; Next to Normal, with Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, and Aaron Tveit performing "You Don't Know/I Am The One"; Pal Joey, represented by Stockard Channing singing a few lines from "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" during the opening segment; Rock of Ages, with Constantine Maroulis and fellow cast members singing "Don't Stop Believin'"; Shrek the Musical, with the company performing "What's Up, Duloc" and "Freak Flag"; West Side Story; and 9 to 5, with Dolly Parton joining the cast to sing the title tune. Cast members from national touring companies of three musicals also appeared: The lead character from four Jersey Boys casts (Joseph Leo Bwarie (Toronto), Rick Faugno (Las Vegas), Courter Simmons (national tour) and Dominic Scaglione, Jr. (Chicago)) sang together with Jarrod Spector from the Broadway cast; Legally Blonde The Musical spotlighted Becky Gulsvig; and Michelle Dawson, Kittra Wynn Commer and Robin Tyler from the Reno, Nevada production of Mamma Mia! sang "Dancing Queen" with fellow cast members.
Performers from the nominated Best Plays category presented brief clips of those plays, which included God of Carnage, 33 Variations, Dividing the Estate and Reasons to be Pretty.
Liza Minnelli performed in the opening sequence, and rock singer Bret Michaels and his band Poison joined the cast of Rock of Ages during their segment in the opening number, performing its song Nothin' but a Good Time. While exiting the stage, Michaels was struck in the head by a descending set and knocked to the floor. He suffered a fractured nose and a split lip that required three stitches. He subsequently sued the event's organizers, claiming that the collision led to his 2010 brain hemorrhage. The suit was settled in May 2012 for an undisclosed amount.
Neil Patrick Harris ended the show with a pastiche of "Tonight" from West Side Story and "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls, with lyrics re-written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman that recapped the awards.
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