Billy Elliot Takes 10 Tonys


The Tony Awards producers did not take our suggestions, but the show still moved at a relatively brisk pace and had some nice moments, such as the acceptance of the Best Actor in a Musical Award by the three nice young men who alternate the lead in Billy Elliot; they were physically poised as you would expect dancers to be, but charmingly bashful about getting the words out. Alice Ripley (Best Actress, Musical, Next to Normal) gave such a strange speech about the fine art of the musical that we weren’t sure whether the whistling from the audience was in support or a cue to get on with it. Angela Lansbury (Best Featured Actress, Play, Blithe Spirit) showed that practice (this was her fifth Tony) makes perfect. Neil Patrick Harris was smooth and charming, and did well to efface himself early by announcing that the opening mega-number — in which Brett Michaels of Poison was dropped by a scrim (above) — “was the biggest and most expensive number in the history of the Tony Awards… and that is why I’m your host tonight,” dispelling any complaint that a mere TV person was hosting the show. (It certainly worked better than the 2006 round-robin.) The play snips worked better than usual, too, and the musical numbers were fine, with the scene from Billy Elliot really electric — appropriately so, as the Elton John remake of the 2000 movie about a working-class kid who wants to dance took 10 awards, including Best Musical. God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza won Best Play, and Hair and The Norman Conquests were the laureled revivals. Full list of winners here.