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Tony Update

June 13, 2011 - Phyllis Sigal
My last blog mentioned the Tony Award connections, and my favorites for this year ...

After Sunday's show, here's an update:

I was rooting for Mark Rylance, who was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, for "Jerusalem." I saw the show last month, and it and his performance were phenomenal.

I was quite pleased when his name was announced as the winner!

Mark Kennedy, the Associated Press drama writer, predicted that Joe Mantello would win for his performance in "The Normal Heart," but Kennedy thought that Rylance SHOULD win.

Rylance's acceptance speech was a bit out of the ordinary. However, it's what he did two years ago, when he won a Tony for his performance in "Boeing-Boeing." He recited a poem by poet Louis Jenkins. This time, he recited "Walking Through a Wall." In 2008, he recited "The Back Country."

I was expecting his poetic acceptance after reading an Associated Press article that we ran on last Friday's entertainment page. He was quoted as saying “No one else will ever do the poems that I do because they’re my thing. So it’s tempting to give them another wonderful poem. It won’t be a surprise but I don’t think that matters.”

If you really listen to the prose poem, I think it could apply to Rylance's craft as an actor.

The poem talks about different kinds of walls to walk through — the obstacles you encounter on the way to your goals? — and ends with this:

"The best approach to a wall is, first, two hands placed flat against the surface; it's a matter of concentration and just the right pressure. You will feel the dry, cool inner wall with your fingers, then there is a moment of total darkness before you step through on the other side."

Perhaps he feels that moment of total darkness before he steps out on stage each night.

I also was hoping Frances McDormand would take home a Tony. She graduated from Bethany College in 1979, with a theater degree.

McDormand won the Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for "Good People."

Many have been commenting on her outfit. Even today's (Monday) Associated Press article called attention to her attire.

"Frances McDormand, who showed up to the awards ceremony at the Beacon Theatre in a short denim jacket over her long striped dress, kept on the casual jacket as she accepted her best actress award for her portrayal of a South Boston, blue-collar woman in the David Lindsay-Abaire play 'Good People.'”

I also was hoping that "Anything Goes" would prevail. It was nominated for nine Tonys. Among those, Kathleen Marshall, a Pittsburgh native, was nominated for Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography, and the show was nominated for Best Revival of a Musical.

She won best choreography, while the show won best revival. Sutton Foster also won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical.

It was a great show ... full of jokes, thanks to host Neil Patrick Harris, lots of entertainment thanks to the scenes from the nominated shows, and lots of tears, thanks to the heartfelt acceptance speeches from many of the winners.

That's my favorite part of the Tonys every year — the emotion. Tony winners, in my opinion, above others (Grammys and Oscars) seem the most real, the most appreciative and the most surprised.

So, my congrats to all the nominees and to the winners. Thanks for the great evening during the Tony Awards, and for all those other great evenings (and afternoons) of entertainment on the stages of Broadway.

I'm already planning my trip back to Broadway. ... "The Book of Mormon," "Arcadia," "The Normal Heart," "Catch Me If You Can," "War Horse" ... I better start socking away more money in that vacation fund!


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