WAYS TO 'FIX' THE TONY AWARDS

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OK, so nobody asked me. Like that's ever stopped me from expressing an opinion. But you know it and I know it. The Tony Awards are not the most compelling TV show on the early summer schedule. I have a few humble, modest suggestions. Please feel free to print this column, and even take credit for these ideas if need be.

  1. Have Elaine Stritch Host This Year's Show! -- I know they've already penned Hugh Jackman for the hosting duties. Perhaps Hugh could be convinced to do a number from the upcoming "Boy from Oz" musical instead. Just imagine how much fun it would be to have La Belle Elaine standing there at the mic, unfettered! Folks would tune in just to hear how many times CBS has to hit the "delete audio" button!
  1. A New Category - Best Replacement Performer! -- Shouldn't Neil Patrick Harris win SOME kind of award for his creepily awesome performance as the Emcee in Cabaret? Deborah Gibson was fantastic as Sally Bowles! And the list goes on - Reba McEntire in the recent "Annie Get Your Gun," Simone in "Aida." I mean, if revivals like "Oklahoma" can get nominated every time they're dragged out of the closet, why can't we bestow some kindness on the actors who jump in to replace your Nathan Lane's and Matthew Broderick's? Well?
  1. Do We REALLY Need A Snippet From Each Nominated Show? - I don't think so! I envision a melding of all the nominated shows into one big production number. Melissa Errico and Malcom Gets step onstage to perform the title number from "Amour." They put on "Frog" and "Toad" masks and sing the first few bars of "Getta Loada Toad" from "A Year With Frog and Toad" and hand off to the cast of that show to sing the rest of the first verse. Then Mark Linn-Baker sits down at a piano and hammers out a few bars of "Movin' Out," until he is confronted by Michael Cavenaugh who forces him from the piano stool and finishes the next 16 bars. He segues into a heartwarming interpretation of the reprise of "Good Morning Baltimore!" and the cast from Hairspray finishes the number with a rollicking rendition of "You Can't Stop the Beat." And there you go!
  1. Have Michael Riedel from the NY Post Present the Award for Best Actress in a Musical. - If Bernadette Peters wins, she can shove the Tony down Riedel's throat. Or wherever.

And on the subject of the 2003 Tony Awards...

I do hope you'll make plans to join me and several dozen of my closest friends for our LIVE, Nationally-Broadcast Tony Awards Party, Sunday June 8 starting at 7pm Eastern on XM Satellite Radio's "On Broadway" Channel.

Last year, I gathered with all the other media in the Rainbow Room across the street from Radio City Music Hall and shouted questions with all the other reporters on the scene. I suggested to anyone who would listen (DID anyone listen?) that if you can have a print room, a photo room, a TV room, then you should have a RADIO room as well, since there now exists a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week, commercial-free channel of show tunes on satellite radio. With more than a half-million subscribers, and on our way to more than a million by the end of 2003, XM Satellite Radio is finding vast acceptance in the hearts and minds of a nation hungry for show tunes!

Perhaps some day the folks who set these things up will realize that AMERICA is interested in the Tony Awards, and that "Broadway" is actually MUCH larger than the few square miles in midtown Manhattan that gets the immediate attention of the media handlers on The Great White Way.

At least, I hope so!

For more information about XM Satellite Radio, go to www.xmradio.com.

For more information about "On Broadway, XM-28" click http://onbroadway.xmradio.com.

Listen to Your Jovial Impresario, Broadway Bill Schmalfeldt, weekdays from 10a-2p Eastern on America's only LIVE, nationwide satellite radio show tune request show - "Demand Performance".

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"Broadway Bill" Schmalfeldt is the program director of XM Satellite Radio's On Broadway channel. A native of Clinton, Iowa, Bill began his broadcasting career in 1977. Since then, his career has taken him three-quarters of the way around the world, including a tour as a Navy broadcaster in Yokosuka, Japan and aboard the USS Midway.

Before coming to XM Satellite Radio, "The Jovial Impresario" was program director and morning talk show host at WGUF, Naples, FL. When not employed as a broadcaster, Bill also worked as a newspaper columnist and editor and as a long-haul truck driver. His hobbies include acting and singing in local theater venues. Visit onbroadway.xmradio.com for more info.


 
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