Neil Patrick Harris is an old pro when it comes to the Tony Awards, yet such familiarity could potentially breed contempt.
But on Sunday, as Harris took lead of the 2013 Tonys for the fourth time, the "How I Met Your Mother" actor took "only about three minutes to banish any worries" that he'd suffer from "Host Fatigue Syndrome," the New York Times praised.
His opening number went beyond expectations, as he simultaneously made fun of Shia LaBeouf - "I wouldn't be here if someone else hadn't passed on hosting, so special thanks to Shia LaBeouf for this opportunity," Harris joked about the actor's sudden departure from "Orphans" - and recruited Mike Tyson for a cameo:
While Harris' singing and dancing was sparkling, it didn't distract the audience from his line aimed at Tom Hooper's "Les Misérables": "Can I have my Tom Hooper 'Les Mis' close-up please? See, we don't need extreme close-ups to prove we're singing live. We sing live eight days a week. Check it!"
Cicely Tyson, Cyndi Lauper take Tonys
With their start, the Tonys "utterly embarrassed just about everything except maybe Jimmy Fallon's 'Born To Run' at the 2010 Emmys. It's funny, energetic, committed, and ultimately deeply and touchingly warm-hearted," said NPR. "Step it up, everybody else. The theater kids are making you look terrible."
They really did, especially during the segment in which the stars of three canceled NBC shows - Megan Hilty from the Broadway-inspired "Smash"; Andrew Rannells of "The New Normal"; and Laura Benanti of both "The Playboy Club" and "Go On" - joined Harris onstage to lament in jest the difficulties of trying to become a TV star after theater beginnings.
It was clever, but more importantly well-performed, and CNN.com commenters who tuned in agreed.
"Great show this year!" said NanookoftheNorth. "Neil was great, spontaneous and very likable. Opening number was an attention grabber and true, the best part was seeing Cicely Tyson up on that stage again [winning the best lead actress in a play Tony for "The Trip to Bountiful"] ... and the way she handled the 'time is up' thing...priceless."
Commenter Faddisphere agreed, proclaiming the Tonys as "by far the best awards show of them all. Imagine, a stage full of people that actually have talent! No lip synching and entertaining from start to finish."
Part of the night's notable entertainment was the ceremony's big winner, Cyndi Lauper, who took the stage to sing "True Colors" for the In Memoriam segment.
"The Oscars need to take note," said commenter Sarah. "This is how you put on an award show."
Toward the end of the opening performance, Harris slipped into a staccato rhythm resembling a rap, something he did in earnest as he closed out the show.
Although he teased that they didn't have time for a closing performance, he provided one anyway with help from Tony winner Audra McDonald to the beat of Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind."
Check out a partial list of winners below - the full list can be found at TonyAwards.com. What did you think of the show?
"The Assembled Parties"
"The Testament of Mary"
"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" - WINNER
"Bring It On: The Musical"
"A Christmas Story, The Musical"
"Kinky Boots" – WINNER
"Matilda The Musical"
Best Revival of a Play
"The Trip to Bountiful"
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" - WINNER
Best Revival of a Musical
"The Mystery of Edwin Drood"
"Pippin" - WINNER
"Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella"
Best Book of a Musical
"Matilda The Musical" - WINNER
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
"Hands on a Hardbody"
"Kinky Boots" - WINNER
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Tom Hanks, "Lucky Guy"
Nathan Lane, "The Nance"
Tracy Letts, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" - WINNER
David Hyde Pierce, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"
Tom Sturridge, "Orphans"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, "The Other Place"
Amy Morton, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Kristine Nielsen, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"
Holland Taylor, "Ann"
Cicely Tyson, "The Trip to Bountiful" - WINNER
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bertie Carvel, "Matilda The Musical"
Santino Fontana, "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella"
Rob McClure, "Chaplin"
Billy Porter, "Kinky Boots" - WINNER
Stark Sands, "Kinky Boots"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"
Carolee Carmello, "Scandalous"
Valisia LeKae, "Motown The Musical"
Patina Miller, "Pippin" - WINNER
Laura Osnes, "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny Burstein, "Golden Boy"
Richard Kind, "The Big Knife"
Billy Magnussen, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"
Tony Shalhoub, "Golden Boy"
Courtney B. Vance, "Lucky Guy" - WINNER
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Carrie Coon, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Shalita Grant, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"
Judith Ivey, "The Heiress"
Judith Light, "The Assembled Parties" - WINNER
Condola Rashad, "The Trip to Bountiful"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Charl Brown, "Motown The Musical"
Keith Carradine, "Hands on a Hardbody"
Will Chase, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"
Gabriel Ebert, "Matilda The Musical"
Terrence Mann, "Pippin"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, "Kinky Boots"
Victoria Clark, "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella"
Andrea Martin, "Pippin"
Keala Settle, "Hands on a Hardbody"
Lauren Ward, "Matilda The Musical"
This was not only the best awards show ever aired on television, but quite possibly the very best special variety program that has ever been produced for television. Expect to see Neil Patrick Harris et al. chalk up more Emmy Awards for it.
NPH just keeps getting better &better........I love watching this show every year.
All *due* credit to Neal Patrick Harris, just for example I felt he "killed" in the opening number – but it seems to me that this article makes it out like he was responsible for creating the entire thing – choosing to include Mike Tyson, make a joke about Shia LeBeof, etc. Clearly there were writers and a director, etc. who contributed heavily to creating this.
yep a tiny bit jealous
Up against the last episode of GoT and Mad Men it was a a no brainer. The Tony Awards are BORING.
I do not care how many award shows Neil Patrick Harris is hosting, if he is not picked to MC next year's Academy Awards, who ever they get will probably not be as good. Seth Marfarlane and Tina Fey have already said they do not want to do it. Either they Academy Awards asks NPH to do it, or they risk getting someone as bad as James Franco and/or Anne Hathaway. James Franco and Anne Hathaway can act, but, they sure can't host an awards show. They were so inept, that when Billy Crystal stepped out on stage, almost everyone in the theater demanded he take over hosting duties for the rest of the program. Neil Patrick Harris and the Tonys did not make One mistake during last night's Live broadcast. That's excellence at work. That's how the professionals do it.
wow look another fanboy
I missed the opening number last night, dammit.
Who is the beautiful gay bald man in the white tux jacket next to NPH?
I'd like to give him my phone number.
BORING. The Emmy's just weren't gay enough for my taste.
Whenever the camera panned the crowd, they would show straight people,
and that made me sad. Next year the network needs to ramp up the gay.
It was the Tony's, not the Emmys.
NPH hit it our of the park! The show was long but it kept me entertained!! I almost went to bed at 10:30 but glad I stayed awake until the end – LOVED the closing number!! NPH is truly a gifted performer!!!!!
The show was fabulous – NPH is the best host. He needs to do the Oscars!
I just love Neil Patrick Harris. I love him even more when I saw his "member" shift to the right during the opening number....so much so that all the cameras shot him from the waist up! His partner is a very "Lucky Guy"!!!
Loved the show!
if we are lucky justin will be in orbit forever
tony's are fun
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