By the 20 minute mark of the show, I knew I was watching something incredible. Neil Patrick Harris was proving to be the consummate showman, handling song, dance and comedy with a deft hand. His opening number, Not Just For Gays Anymore, should go down in history, and he did it so damn well. Give it a chance, and take a look.
It was not long before the first performance was given, by the cast of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Many were astonished the Broadway community refused to acknowledge the polished and powerful performance of Daniel Radcliffe, although when he & John Larroquette performed as part of the Brotherhood Of Men collective, I would say I forgot about Harry Potter and just registered a very talented young man!
In April of this year, a special concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Company hit the stage in New York with music my the New York Philharmonic and starring Neil Patrick Harris as Bobby, Craig Bierko as Peter, Stephen Colbert as Harry, Jon Cryer as David, Katie Finneran as Amy, Christina Hendricks as April, Aaron Lazar as Paul, Jill Paice as Susan, Martha Plimpton as Sarah, Anika Noni Rose as Marta, Jennifer Laura Thompson as Jenny, Jim Walton as Larry, Chryssie Whitehead as Kathy, and Patti LuPone as Joanne. It was filmed, and will go into limited release starting this week. The cast were together again at the Tony Awards, and performed Side By Side By Side.
I was also captivated by the brilliant use of puppetry in the Broadway production of War Horse. As someone who lives on a farm with horses, they had the mannerisms and movement down to a tee.
In yet another clever idea, NPH and Hugh Jackman had their own little Broadway Gypsy-style battle to see who was the better show host. Of course, my money sticks with NPH. But the real winner was the audience.
I was unsure what was going on when Paul Schaffer was out to speak of his own Broadway moment, but soon, as he began to play the opening bars of a song he wrote with Paul Jabara, the 1984 mega-hit, It's Raining Me, I knew it was time for a Priscilla, Queen of the Desert moment. However, special guest Martha Wash made it so very special!
I did wish I saw more of the cast of Priscilla, who got a bit lost in the "Weathergirl" shuffle, I fear. After all, the three leads, Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson and Nick Adams, are incredibly talented. That said, for me, those were the highlights of the show, most involving NPH. But it was an excellent show. OK, I was a bit put off that the technical and creative awards were tossed aside to make room for promotion of the anemic ballad from Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark and attempt to gain more attention for the 2010 Best Musical Tony winner, Memphis. At the end of the show, NPH proved to be versatile as could be, utilizing his impeccable sense of timing when he brought the show to a close with a rap written on the fly by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who shot to acclaim a few seasons ago for his work on The Heights.