Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On Kevin Spacey-Hosted TONY AWARDS
Oscar, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey hosted THE 71st ANNUAL TONY® AWARDS, live from the historic Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Sunday, June 11 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. This was Spacey's first time hosting the Tonys. Click here for a full list of winners!
While early ratings numbers indicate that viewership took a steep fall from last year's HAMILTON-dominated event, critics are now offering their own assessments of last night's broadcast. Check out the reviews below:
Cynthia Littleton, Variety: The biggest shortcoming was host Kevin Spacey, who just didn't deliver the same kind of engaging effort as his recent predecessors. The contrast was especially sharp against last year's emcee, "Late Late Show" host James Corden, who so memorably rose to the occasion when faced with the daunting task of pulling it off less than 24 hours after the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times: Sunday night's broadcast of Broadway's annual celebration of itself had trouble figuring out what to do with Kevin Spacey, the evening's host, making use of him in ways that ranged from torturous (the opening number) to tolerable (he does pretty good Johnny Carson and Bill Clinton impressions). It fared far better when it was about the work being honored and the people who did it.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: Unsurprisingly, the host was at his best making a late entrance as his House of Cards alter ego, Frank Underwood, flanked by Robin Wright and Michael Kelly as Claire Underwood and Doug Stamper, respectively. While delaying the announcement of the night's final award seemed just plain cruel at that hour, cruelty is Underwood's style. Plus it allowed Spacey to comment on the ceremony's most epic acceptance speech by muttering, in-character, "I want to get the hell out of here before Bette Midler thanks anyone else."
Jeremy Gerard, Deadline: For the theater fans, there were a few surprises and even an upset or two in a mostly non-political, nearly old-fashioned show. Stephen Colbert got in some choice digs at the President, but things only got pleasantly anarchic when Bette Midler, accepting the award for best leading performance by an actress in a musical, told the orchestra she would not be drowned out despite the lateness of the hour.
Robert Lloyd, LA Times: As with all awards shows, three hours is a long time to sustain interest. There is a reason that Broadway plays do not generally last that long. An evening with so many scheduled high points, so many moments of focused energy, can have a cumulative enervating effect...And yet, I will be honest, I choke up regularly and reliably through the Tonys.
Alexis Soloski, The Guardian: The lacklustre opening montage, which also included winking jests about closets and beards, was confoundingly insiderish. All over the world, people far from 42nd Street reached for their remotes as yet another in-joke was uttered. But this number was one of Spacey's better moments. (Also quite good: his joke that as the nominated shows encompassed "divorce, economic depression, infidelity, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 9/11, suicide and greed, we are in for such a fun night tonight!")
Johnny Oleksinski, The New York Post: This time, however, the show had far less to work with: A confused Kevin Spacey and eight plays and musicals that Maribeth in Oshkosh, Wisconsin has never even heard of. Jimmy Fallon sure ain't howlin' about "Indecent."... But, despite an uphill climb, the Tonys weren't a total flop.
Watch Spacey's opening number for the 71 ANNUAL TONY AWARDS below:
This year marked the 71st anniversary of the TONY Awards, which were first held on April 6, 1947 at the Waldorf Astoria's Grand Ballroom. The ceremony is presented by Tony AwaRD Productions, which is a joint venture of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, which founded the Tonys. Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment will return as executive producers. Weiss will also serve as director for the 18th consecutive year.
Photo credit: John P. Filo/CBS