It's my favorite awards show. Actually it's the only one I really watch from beginning to end. (Even if I was nodding off as the 11 o'clock hour arrived. That had nothing to do with the show and everything to do with the fact that I'm up before 5 in the morning. You know I'm tired if I'm falling asleep while Hugh Jackman is on stage.) To me, it's THE show to watch for it exposes me (and hopefully others) to great theater. For some it may be their own glimpse into the window of theater. Hopefully it inspires others. It always entertains.
Even though I live relatively close to NYC, I rarely get to see a Broadway Show (or even an off Broadway one). I LOVE theater, but it's expensive. (Not complaining about the price here; shows are expensive to mount and the experience is worth every penny.) Finances the way they are around here, I don't even go to some of the excellent regional theater we have.
I know I can get inexpensive tickets, but I full admit that I am a theater snob. For me part of the experience is to be in the middle of the show. I want to see every nuance of the performance. I don't get that from the last row in the balcony. (Which is how I saw "Spamalot". It was an excellent show, but I really wanted to see more. I wanted to feel that I was a part of the whole thing and I just didn't get that from where I was sitting. Now, "Avenue Q" was a different story. We were very close to the stage and I came away with an experience that I will never forget.)
Because the Tony exposes so many to theater, there are a couple of things I wish that would return to the show (although realistically I know they never will).
The show used to feature vignettes or brief scenes from the best play nominees. I know musicals are what draw the crowd, but seeing a "slice" from a "straight play" gives insight into "the other side." It would also expose people to plays that they might not otherwise ever know.
The other is to bring back during actual air time the awards for some of the technical awards. Specifically I am thinking of light design, set design and costume design. There is artistry to all of these. It is an artistry that I don't know if many people appreciate, but perhaps if they could see what's behind the show (behind the scenes?), more would realize that it's not just about the actors on the stage. There is so much more to theater. So many hours and hard work goes into a show and imagine what it would be like without those technical aspects. I would love it if examples of the work could be better highlighted...think of all the budding lighting designers, set designers, etc. that could be out there.
I realize that neither will happen. Just as I realize that the purpose of having large name celebrities sing from upcoming shows (Sting, Jennifer Hudson) brings in a larger audience base. Which is not a bad thing. Again, the more people who watch (even if it is just to ogle Hugh Jackman); the more are exposed to the artistry of theater.
Which is why I watch year after year; to see a slice of Broadway that at this point in my life is a bit out of my financial reach. And when I do have the resources, I'll know what I want to see.
So thank you American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League for being a bit of theater into the lives of everyone who happens to tune in. I'll be watching for years to come. (Especially if Hugh Jackman is the host again!)