At first I thought the problem with the opening number was that Neal Patrick Harris wasn't doing it—in case you've forgotten how good he is, scroll down—or that I didn't know this year's musicals very well. But the problem was also Kevin Spacey. The Whoopie Goldberg jokes about coming out of the closet were kinda sorta funny. But the New York Times called Spacey's performance in the above opening number "torturous."
The Times didn't even mention a few later Spacey jokes that didn't land well, including one about Hillary Clinton "creating fake email accounts."
Best new play went to Oslo, directed by Bartlett Sher, Seattle's former Intiman Theatre artistic director. "Bartlett Sher, you are an effing genius, man," playwright J.T. Rogers said during the acceptance speech. (Alas, Sher did not win in the directing category, but he has won before.)
Best revival went to Jitney by August Wilson, who lived in Seattle and wrote at Victrola and the Canterbury in his later years.
Best featured actress in a play went to Cynthia Nixon, who talked about Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes being "eerily prescient":
Best lead actress in a musical went to Bette Midler, who would not shut up—she talked right over the "get off the stage" music, until there was no more "get off the stage" music, then just kept right on going, saying things like: "I can't remember the last time I had so much smoke blown up my ass, but there is no more room, so thank you. This is the cap."
Best musical went to Dear Evan Hansen, a musical about anxiety disorder and coming of age in the internet era. It won six Tonys total, including best lead actor in a musical for Ben Platt, and best score. Here's what the cast performed from it:
According to the Tonys, "This may be the first musical in Broadway history whose subject matter is the influence of social media on contemporary life." I started listening to the cast recording last night, and coworkers are on notice that this is what I will start singing around the office as soon as I know the words better.
Ben Platt's acceptance speech:
Best direction of a musical went to Come From Away's Christopher Ashley. Come From Away played at Seattle Rep before going to Broadway.
The complete list of 2017 winners is here.
In other highlights, Jill Biden got a standing ovation just for walking onstage (she talked about veterans), and Kevin Kline gave a shout out to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, two organizations Trump wants to eliminate, and Stephen Colbert made an extended joke about Trump:
Here, for the record, is how to do an opening number—from 2013: