Left: CBS reporter Itay Hod; Right: Tony nominee Levi Kreis
The Antoinette Perry Awards, better known as the Tonys, are on CBS tonight at 8, following 60 Minutes. I will most certainly be watching, hoping Levi Kreis wins a Tony for his spectacular performance Million Dollar Quartet. But there are other reasons to watch the Tony Awards. For one thing, out and gorgeous news reporter Itay Hod will be reporting for the show for CBS. Also, you never know when history will be made. In 1982, for example, there was a performance so strong, so perfect, it had people turning up the volume on their television, amazed at display of emotion of one Jennifer Holliday, singing And I'm Telling You from Dreamgirls. Yep, she laid it down. And established the song as one of the 'must sing' tunes for any aspiring diva.
The following year, a different kind of history was made. When the amazing Torch Song Trilogy was named winner of the Tony for Best Play, Producer John Glines come up to accept the award. It marked the first time a gay man thanked his lover on national television. I knew John back then, and he was a wonderful man, and I am certainly grateful to him for taking this first step.
Over a decade later, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tony Awards in 1996, an amazing opening was planned. I mean, can you beat an opening with Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters and Nathan Lane? And the historic gallery of former Tony Winners beginning with Liza and Bernadette, that is amazing. Here is the beginning of the 1996 Tony Awards broadcast.
Later in the show, a show that started as a workshop was to have a performance, having been nominated for Best Musical. Rent won the Tony, and won many hearts with the amazing showing below, a glowing and brilliant showing of diversity, both of race and sexuality, broadcast for the nation to see.
From 1996 to 2007, there was another new musical that was impossible not to see. Spring Awakening took the world by storm that year, and rightfully so. It is a beautifully written musical, both touching and heart-wrenching. To showcase the musical, the cast did a mash-up of the songs from the show. Interesting, since two of the stars of the show, Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff have just been on our televisions delivering mash-ups in the cast of GLEE.
Who knows, maybe there will be more history made tonight.