My picks of the best musical performances from Sunday night.
The Opening Number
There’s no need to say much about this one really. Neil Patrick Harris goes from parodying the pub in Once to dancing on stage with members of what must have been every single production from Broadway this year. The stage and the aisles were literally overflowing with dancers and singers. Mike Tyson popped up. NPH took a light pop at the amount of child actors involved and a heavier one at Tom Hooper’s excessive close ups in the Les Mis movie (“we don’t need close-ups to prove we’re singing live! We sing live 8 shows a week!”) This is 7 minutes of pure joy (plus a whole minute of clapping at the end while NPH obviously starts to grow tired).
Arthur Darvill & The Cast Of Once
Many who were watching CBS on Sunday night were angry that, of all the sections of the Tony Awards to cut, they only received a glimpse of Broadway’s cast of Once singing the passionate ‘When Your Mind’s Made Up’. Luckily, a fan from the balcony posted this video that, while low in visual quality, fulfils our need to hear Arthur Darvill’s surprisingly addictive and emotive singing voice- I loved him in Doctor Who and now I love him in this. This performance perfectly showed off the power of Once’s simplicity and although I wasn’t as impressed with The Girl’s singing voice (Joanna Christie) this showcases why Once has really blown up over the last few years.
I like Andrew Rannells even though I didn’t regularly watch The New Normal and I liked Megan Hilty’s show Smash so even though I didn’t recognise Laura Benanti and I didn’t think her long notes were very nice to listen to I love this number. From Andrew’s first sudden “I like to be on a TV show”s and NPH’s confusion expressions, to “suck it, Will Chase!”, to NPH saying “we can’t all have long-running hit TV shows like my own!”, to the final twist on ‘What I Did For Love’, this is just a genius idea and it clearly went over brilliantly with the crowd and their inevitable TV/theatre rivalry.
Motown: The Musical
In my eyes, this was probably the most pitch-perfect and infectious musical medley or showcase of the night. Several of the others had chosen songs that didn’t quite work individually or some singers let them down, but this medley of ‘Get Ready (Cause Here I Come)’, ‘Dancing In The Street’ and ‘I Want You Back’ is just wonderful fun.
Jane Lynch & The Cast Of Annie
I don’t know why I’m the only one who can see it but the vocals in the Matilda performance just weren’t great, from either children or adults. The girls of Annie pull it off in a wondrously understated way, however, and Jane Lynch almost steals the show in a refreshingly simple performance that revels in an uneasy vibe and two good songs instead of other medleys’ over the top style.
NPH raps and he is pretty much the coolest white guy ever. Audra McDonald’s perfectly complements him and when she sings the last words of each line of the rap it is just a perfect parody of those typical rap songs. The way this song combines simplicity and subtle jokes was a great and understated way to end the show.