HOLLYWOOD—When it comes to the Tony Awards it tends to be a mixed bag for me. Sometimes they entertain, sometimes they don’t. I think the last time I recall actually watching the ceremony might have been a few years ago when “Hamilton” dominated the ceremony and Neil Patrick Harris took on hosting duties where he delivered an iconic and I mean iconic rap paying tribute to the musical and plays nominated that year.
Well, the Tony Awards were celebrating 75 years in 2022, and they had Oscar-winner Ariana DeBose take on hosting duties. DeBose did a solid job as a host. She kept the pacing moving, had a few solid and hilarious moments. Of course the big opening number involved a song and dance medley that had a mash-up of current and classic musicals, but I wish the show had paid a bit more focus on highlighting those classics that is the reason people enjoy Broadway so much.
She also had that song and dance number involving actor Andrew Garfield that was quite hilarious to say the least people. Even Garfield himself couldn’t help, but blush and play along. As for winners, “A Strange Loop” took home the prize for Best Musical, while Best Play went to “The Lehman Trilogy.” “A Strange Loop” had a commanding 11 nominations entering the ceremony, but only walked away with two awards for the night; the other being Best Book of Musical for Detroit’s Michael R. Jackson.
The musical “Company” won five Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Play, and Broadway legend Patti LuPone walked away with the Tony for Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical. “Take Me Out” won the Tony for Best Revival of a Play, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson beat out his co-star Jesse Williams for Best Featured Actor in a Play. The musical “MJ” won four awards in the night including Lead Actor for Myles Frost, who portrayed the iconic musician. Phylicia Rashad won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role for “Skeleton Crew,” while Joaquina Kalukango had two moments of the night.
First, she delivered perhaps the most iconic performance at the Tony Awards I have EVER SEEN, when she sang, yes you heard me sang, “Let it Burn.” She burned that stage and the house down with that performance. I was in awe watching her and to see the standing ovation she earned afterwards. Whew, the reaction from Oscar-nominee Cynthia Enrivo said what the audience and all the viewers had to be thinking.
She gave me chills and if Broadway had not been calling her for her performance in the musical “Paradise Square,” I am sure Hollywood is going to be calling her phone up in the coming days and weeks people. Kalukango topped off that phenomenal performance with a victory for Leading Actress in a Musical for her work in “Paradise Square.” She was emotional and delivered a solid acceptance speech, where I don’t think there was a dry eye in the audience.
Matt Doyle won the Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical. The 2022 ceremony may have been one of the most entertaining ceremonies for the Tony Awards I have seen in a long time. No one play or musical dominated, the wealth was shared across the board to all the plays and musicals nominated and that was fun to see. I never want to see one play or musical dominate all the categories because it becomes predictable and no one likes predictability people.