Last night represented a very interesting moment in my life.
At exactly 8 p.m., I decided to flip my television to CBS, and watch the 67th Tony Awards, an awards celebration that recognizes annual achievement on Broadway, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris for the third consecutive year.
Believe it or not, but I have actually never seen a Broadway play. That’s pretty astounding considering that I live within 20 miles of New York City, the theatre capital of the world. There’s really no good reason why I have never taken the time to see one. You’d think, that in 26 years of living, I’d have seen a Broadway show by accident at this point.
But it’s not something I would actually ever plan. I’d never call up my friends and say “Yo dudes, let’s go see the Lion King on Broadway later tonight!” That’s just not something that will ever happen. Plus, tickets are expensive as hell. I imagine that it costs at least $100 just to sit in the nosebleed section of a show.
So rather than spending my time or money on seeing a show, I watch the Tonys every year instead. In the three-hour show, you get mini performances of nearly every Broadway show that was popular in each given year. It’s all I need. I get to see the amazingly talented performers, and I don’t spend a dime.
That’s not what the interesting part of my night was, though. I have no shame whatsoever in admitting that I not only watched the Tonys, but that I was excited to watch the Tonys. And even that is still not the most interesting part.
What was interesting was that it didn’t occur to me until more than an hour after the show ended that I had totally forgotten to even flip the channel a single time to watch Game 2 of the NBA Finals. As a huge sports fan, I spent my Sunday night watching 100 percent of the Tonys, and 0 percent of one of the biggest games sports has to offer.
Upon this realization, I had to reassess things. I wasn’t too disappointed I missed the game — I honestly am indifferent regarding who wins — but it just felt like a significant moment in my life. I realized that, the following day, when people asked me if I saw the game last night, I would have to respond by telling that, no, I did not, and the reason for that was because I watched the Tonys instead.
Rather than watching the premiere athletes of our generation play against each other at an elite level on the world’s greatest stage, I watched people sing, dance and gallivant around on a stage.
And you know what? About 24 hours, later, I still have no regrets.
I could not have any more respect for Broadway actors and actresses. That certainly doesn’t mean that I lack respect for film actors, but, it’s feasible that people could bullshit their way into becoming a film actor. If you’re extremely good-looking, or if you have a famous mom or dad, you could be in a movie.
But unless you could sing or dance — really, really, really well — then you cannot be on Broadway.
Broadway actors could easily become television or even film actors if they tried hard enough. Some do. But most don’t. Because they prefer the stage. They don’t get even close to amount of recognition that movie stars get, but they are exponentially more talented, and they actively choose the profession that doesn’t get the most publicity. And for that, I respect them.
Come on, just watch this opening number by NPH last night, and tell me that anybody could do this.
That opening had everything. Mike Tyson. Magic tricks. A vicious swipe at Les Misérables. What more can you ask for?
It also amazes me how many Broadway performers are actually children. Obviously some roles call for child actors and actresses, so these directors and producers need to search far and wide to locate kids who can not only sing, but are mature enough to handle a live show. And they do.
Some of these kids are 7 or 8 years old, and they’re killing it on stage in front of thousands of people before they even learn how to multiply fractions. I’ve already learned and forgotten how to multiply fractions. It not only makes you feel old, but also useless and untalented.
So what if I missed LeBron James, Tim Duncan and company play basketball? Who cares if I chose to watch the Tony awards instead of Tony Parker? Those guys are talented in their own right, no doubt, but Tonys night is my one way of compensating for my lifelong lack of theatre attendance, and I can shove sports aside one time to accomplish that. I’m willing to hand in my man card for one night.
I’ll just pound straight shots of Jack Daniels tonight to make up for it.
And then chase it with cranberry juice.
I can’t win.