It is Sunday, June 12. The Tony Awards air this evening. Nominees include revivals like Company, and new shows like A Strange Loop, Six, and Paradise Square. Ariana DeBose will host, fresh off the success of the film version of West Side Story.
For me, Tony Award shows can be variable. Some years you get amazing shows, like the 2016 celebration of life and some unforgettable performances. Or you get Kevin Spacey hosting, a few months before he’s accused of assaulting minors, and you wonder whose bright idea it was to get someone up who lacks charisma compared to James Corden or Neil Patrick Harris. 2017 was not a fun year for anyone, but still.
The only show that I actually know within the 2022 lineup is Company. I had the privilege of seeing it this year, a gender-flipped take on Stephen Sondheim’s vignette musical about friends in New York. There is probably a whole article about how there are different standards in a single cis-man versus a single cis-woman not settling down before they turn thirty, but I will save that for Medium. It would be too long for this blog. In any case, the show is a lot of fun, Patti LuPone should be made into the American equivalent of a dame,
I am optimistic that the performances will be great as I add the nominees’ soundtracks to my writing lineup today, however, that the show will be fun. Most of the shows seek to tell an alternative story to what the mainstream tells us, like about King Henry’s wives, or what it means to have a marginalized identity that society does not approve of no matter the time period. From the disappointed parents to the faceless ax-man that executed Anne Boleyn, many obstacles stand in the way of someone standing on their feet and affirming their narratives. No one will shut down them, believing they are just radical labels.
With that said, I will remember that Be More Chill didn’t get a chance to shine. You sometimes have to show the plays where teenagers face their inner conflict, and rise about their insecurities.