The 71st Annual Tony Awards was broadcast from Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Sunday night on CBS. The June 11th ceremony was charged with honoring excellence on Broadway and was hosted by former Tony winner actor Kevin Spacey.
About 45 minutes into the show, a #Resistance mention was made. Tony winner Cynthia Nixon – for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role – went there. After thanking her “God-sent wife,” among others, she said the play in which she’s appearing, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, is just as relevant today as it was when it was first written 80 years ago. She said there are those who “eat the earth and eat all the people on it.” She thanked all those who, in 2017, are refusing to “just stand and watch them do it.” Nixon is a liberal activist who was a big Hillary Clinton supporter and now a supporter of anti-Trump protest marches.
Cynthia Nixon: My thanks to the American theatre wing for this tremendous honor. Thanks also to Dan Sullivan whose birthday it is today, and Lynn meadow and the Manhattan theater club who have been bugging Laura Linney to do this play for years. Thanks especially to the great Laura Linney for-- Linney for thing outside the box and for thinking of me when she did it. I share this with the extraordinary cast, crew and staff at the freedman. I share this with my God-sent wife and our beloved children, Sam, Charlie and Max. It is a privilege to appear in Lillian Hellman's,play in this specific moment in history. 80 years ago she wrote there are people who eat the Earth, and eat all the people on it, and other people who just stand around and watch them do it. My love, my gratitude-- gratitude and undying respect go out to all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it. Thank you.
Not to be outdone, late night host, Stephen Colbert couldn’t help himself as he announced the winner of the Best Revival of a Musical. Taking swipes at President Trump, he mentioned that Trump’s run in Washington, D.C. “could close early.” The audience lapped it up. Natch.
Colbert: I'm Stephen Colbert, and I'm just want to take a moment to say, isn't Kevin Spacey doing a tremendous job this evening? Incredible. And it is my honor to be here presenting the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. And it's been a great year for revivals in general, especially that one they revived down in Washington D.C., it started off-Broadway in the '80s, way off Broadway, over on 5th Avenue. Huge production values, but a couple problems -- the main character is totally unbelievable, and the hair and makeup, yeesh. No, no. This D.C. production is supposed to have a four-year run, but the reviews have not been kind-- could close early, we don't know, best of luck to everyone involved.
Actor James Earl Jones received a Lifetime Achievement Award but this part of the evening was not televised. That was odd. Most televised award shows make a big deal out of such a presentation and a special part of the program is devoted to the person honored with the award. Spacey made the announcement after a commercial break. He noted that James Earl Jones is known as the voice of Darth Vader and the voice of CNN, too. “This is CNN, the most trusted name in fake news.” Lol!
Kevin Spacey did an impression of former President Bill Clinton which was rather entertaining. He even made a joke about Hillary’s email scandal.
Announcer: And now, ladies and gentlemen, the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.
Spacey: I love that "House of Cards." I do love me some good political theatre. Goodness knows, this season has been full of the drama of politics and we've already had some surprising winners. And I'm not even talking about the Tony Awards. I think I could have been a good actor. Is this a dagger I see before me, or is that just a cheese knife. When I get backstage I'm going to murder myself at that buffet table, I'm hungry as heck. Now we've had some exciting young performers this season, Ben Platt was named one of Time magazine's most 100 influential people, that's very impressive. I was on that- I was on that list a couple of times. But Ben, you know who you bumped off that list? My wife. Now, between you and me, you're a better singer, but after seeing your show, there's no doubt that Hillary is much better at creating fake email accounts than you! I just wanted to do a joke no- one thought I'd ever do. I just wanted a joke nobody ever thought I would that was fun! But I'm gonna get in trouble when I get home.
“Fake email accounts”? Yeah. Right.
Former Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, introduced a performance by the cast of Bandstand by talking about U.S. military veterans and those struggling to transition back into civilian life. The play is partnering up with Got Your Six, an organization helping veterans. As she walked to the microphone, the audience gave her an awkward, slow standing ovation. As she spoke, a quick camera shot of her husband, Joe, flashed on the screen. Her appearance seemed forced and a bit out of place.
All in all, this awards show was rather tame in comparison to recent shows where actors ranted about political opinions instead of graciously offering thanks for the award and getting off the stage. We can only hope that soon they will all receive the message – just shut up and act.