Here's What Happens When You Watch the Tonys and Carla Körbes' Goodbye at the Same Time
Since the Tonys started at
8 pm EST and the live stream at 9:30, there was zero decision making for the first hour and a half. Some highlights: Hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming started with a tongue-in-cheek number that poked fun at this year’s musicals, and themselves. On the Town‘s performance medley began with Tony Yazbeck charming Anna Wintour. Sam Gold won Best Direction of a Musical for Fun Home, though many thought An American In Paris was a big contender. (This early evening award was a good indication that Fun Home would make a good Tonys sweep.) But never fear: Wheeldon was a shoe-in for Best Choreography. And it was proven with a performance by Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope.
At this point the PNB live stream was supposed to begin. But of course, dance rarely starts on time. So I waited patiently while watching Chenoweth in a number from
On The Twentieth Century. For such a tiny person, she’s truly larger than life!
That’s about when I got distracted by the fabulous Chita Rivera singing a number from
The Visit at the Tonys. My attention returned to PNB when Körbes danced Jessica Lang’s The Calling. Much of this solo had Körbes facing upstage. All you had to look at were her port de bras, shoulders and spine. And from that view she was totally commanding.
The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude was next, a piece I’ve seen too many times to count. That, combined with the fact the Körbes wasn’t dancing in it, made me switch back to the Tonys, which had the cast of Finding Neverland performing. The mediocre musical wasn’t nominated for a single award, but has been a big box office seller. Nacho Duato’s Rassemblement was next on the PNB live stream. But at this point I was kind of flipping back and forth, feeling a little lost. Award shows can get long, and live streams are rarely entirely engaging.
While PNB took an intermission, Michael Cerveris won the Best Leading Actor award. (And gave a shout out to Robbie Fitzgerald, aka Robert Fairchild, who was also nominated.) Kelli O’Hara
finally and deservedly won Best Actress after being nominated six times. And unsurprisingly, Fun Home took best musical.
Jersey Boys closed the show, which didn’t really make sense because it’s been on Broadway for years now. But I don’t really know what the alternative would have been because the performances at the Tony Awards were, in all, underwhelming. That’s not because there weren’t plenty of good shows to see this year, but because very few of them could be boiled down into two minutes of telecast time. Wheeldon’s An American In Paris staging is too sophisticated, On the Town‘s witty charm too wonderfully divvied up among its six fantastic leads and Fun Home‘s themes too important. And though these didn’t work for the Tonys, that might say something about where musicals are headed. We’re moving back to intricate storytelling, and away from flash-in-the-pan song and dance.
Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Karel Cruz and Carla Körbes in Balanchine’s Diamonds. Photo © Angela Sterling, courtesy PNB.