70th annual Tony Awards ceremony was full of those
It is very clear that the 70th Annual Tony Awards is in a league of its own. The show, hosted this year by The Late Late Show host James Corden, had a sense of familiarity with abounding inspiration that touched the big stars in the theatre as well as all the theatre-heads watching at home. The show’s opening number depicts James Corden as the young, bright-eyed, hopeful kid who’s greatest joy is going to the theatre with his family. Corden narrates and sings: “I could be in that show, saying that line, playing that part, give me an hour I’ll know it by heart…that could be me and that could be a lot of fun!”
The opening number concludes with following line and the impactful reveal of the Tony-award nominees on stage: “To every future leading man making his debut, in his fifth grade class’ Peter Pan as pirate number two…to the theatre kids at any place with star dust in their eyes, of every color, class and race and shape and size. To the boys and girls, trans-genders too, tell every Broadway-would be, don’t wonder if this could be you, it absolutely could be!” This moment was very uplifting and represented the endless possibility for young theatre artists who want to dive into the pool of artistic craftsmanship for professional theatre.
I was quite moved by the Thomas Kaihl’s acceptance speech for Best Director of a Musical ( he was also nominated in 2008 for In the Heights): “I am the sum of so many things so many parts, my parents, my sisters, who say I inspired them but secretly they inspired me, my dear Angela, who is the one I keep trying to impress…I am here because so many people said ‘why not this’…these people who said ‘we trust you’. This cast, these designers, this thing is bigger than all of us. My job is to honor this gift that Lin gave us, try to honor the work that Andy put forth, where I was inspired by their humanity, which is perhaps the only thing greater than their talent, and Lin-oh dear Lin. I exist to try to build, to interpret to take what you have given and to bring honor to that. When I don’t have the words you do, when I don’t know where to go, the answer is always there, it’s always with the writer. So let’s continue to tell stories, what we have seen this season is that there are stories to be told and there are people who want to hear them. Keep telling the stories, I am so proud to be a part of this Broadway community and I am proud to work in the theatre and I thank you very much.” Kaihl’s words are the long-overdue reminder to the world of the necessity for theatre, especially in today’s day and age of technology. He described the pure essence and the reason that theatre exists, which is to tell stories, and hopefully provide an audience with a new-found awareness that can make this world a better place.
In order to be a theatre artist, one must be self-less, putting all of their energy and being into the task of serving the story they are given. With the tragedies we have seen this year, theatre is ever more prevalent. It is the uniting place that has no judgement, it is the pool of love that self-generates the more we put into it and uplifts people to better serve their community, to find their life’s purpose. Award winning actor, Composer and Lyricist of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, also spoke of love in his acceptance sonnet for Best Score of a Musical:
“My wife’s the reason anything gets done, she nudges me towards promise by degrees
She is a perfect symphony of one our son is her most beautiful reprise
We chase the melodies that seem to find us, until they are finished songs and start to play.
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised-not one day.
This show is proof that history remembers, we live through times when hate and fear seem stronger
We rise and fall and light from dying embers
Remembrances hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.
I sing Vannessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story. Now fill the world with music, love and pride.
-Thank you so much for this.”
Hamilton is a story of perseverance to triumph. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s words are the forecast of future theatre to come. When I first listened to the Hamilton soundtrack, I was quite amazed by the immediate relate-ability factor that music had, despite the fact that it was describing events that occurred over hundreds of years ago. The amount of heart and soul that Lin-Manuel Miranda put into writing the words for Hamilton is very evident and it comes through when you first listen to the Broadway soundtrack: you immediately feel like you are remembering a happy memory from childhood and you want to continue to lose yourself in the story.
Another memorable moment was Frank Langella’s insightful words upon accepting his Tony Award for Leading Actor in a Play for The Father:
“When I first came to school from New York in 1960 from school, I consulted an astrologer who told me my greatest success would come late in my career…there really is no late in an actor’s career, there is just the journey and there is just now. It is rather ironic that I should be honored with this award for playing a man who is losing his now, who is losing his reality…there are so many names I wrote down today to thank you, but I hope they will forgive me, if I bring in a dose of true reality, what happened today in Orlando. I found some words that will mean more to you than a litany of names. ‘When something bad happens, we have three choices. We let it define us. We let is destroy us. Or we let it strengthen us. Today in Orlando, we had a hideous dose of reality, and I urge you, Orlando, to be strong, because I am standing in a room full with the most generous human beings on earth and we will be with you every step of the way. Thank you.”
You don’t have to be an actor to take away the gift of this speech. All we have in life is the moment. We plan, yes. We work, yes. But it is in the moment of the work, as well as the moment out of work, we must find our own unique balance with the pulsing buzz that constantly surrounds us (whether it be external or in our professional-personal lives). All we are in control of is the moment, and we live each of our lives moment to moment, yet it is the appreciation and the potential joy of that moment that we are removed from, from the minimal chaos in daily life.
-second by second heart beat of life
Written by: Alexa Christina Politis