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How To Throw the Perfect Tony Watching Party

IN THE June 11 ISSUE

FROM THE 2011 Articles,
andArts & Entertainment,
andTheatre
SECTIONS

by Ashley Taylor

The Tony Awards are almost here and, personally, it’s my favorite awards show. Yes, many people don’t know or care about this show. But for my people, it’s Christmas in June.

The nice thing about the Tonys is the organizers realize that most of the people watching haven’t seen these shows. I mean, yes, we’re familiar with what’s opening on Broadway but unless you live in New York and have a nice amount of disposable income, you probably haven’t had a chance to swing by every new show. So the producers want to help you—lots of live performances, lots of opportunity for greatness, and LOTS of opportunity for things to go wrong.

Live theater meets live television, kids. Things are going to get exciting.

Ready to celebrate this epic night of Theater Goodness? Gather your posse and grab your tiny Fosse hat.

Invite people who know what’s going on

It helps if people at your party have some frame of reference for what’s going on. It’s not necessary, but if you try to be the one nerd saying, “Really, you guys!!! This is awesome!!!” to a room full of people who don’t know Wicked from The Wiz, you could be in for an awkward night.

That being said…

Invite people who DON’T know what’s going on

You have a few of these friends. The ones who sort of “get” theater but don’t obsess about it. Invite them. As long as you think they’ll enjoy it and won’t just sit there and roll their eyes about the tap dancing, bring them into the fold. They’ll bring a fresh perspective.

(For instance, it would have been nice to have someone who didn’t know theater there the night Catherine Zeta Jones sang, “Send in the Clowns” in 2010. Everyone at my party HATED it. Epically hated it. So it would have been nice to be able to ask someone, “Was that universally bad, or just for people who know way too much about Sondheim?”

Don’t Dress Up

This may be a controversial one, but remember: you’re going to be sitting for a good 3 hours. Wear something comfortable.

Have fun with the food

Potluck is always a good way to go, but see if people can be creative. Maybe do “Broadway-themed” snacks. If you’re really nerdy, say the food should match some of the nominated shows. So this year you could bring something very 60’s for Catch Me if you Can, shrimp cocktail for Anything Goes, or shortbread cookies for Scotsboro Boys. (That one might be a stretch. But no one will care if it’s yummy.)

Some things you just can’t control. Last year, for instance, the Tonys were sort of “ho-hum.” I mean, I’m sure it was a wonderful night for the winners, but as a viewer… meh. However, in 2009, it was an epic night of awesomeness. Which brings me to my last tip…

Keep a list of the best moments of the night, then re-create them in photos

For this idea, I have to give full credit to Scott Hancock. In 2009, Bret Michaels ran into a set piece. We probably watched it 20 times, laughing hysterically. (Yes, it turns out he was actually hurt but we didn’t know that at the time.) And then at the end, we took pictures of what his face must have looked like right before.

Bret Michaels face

2009 was also the year for awkward speeches. Three young boys won for Billy Elliot, and they all had no idea what to say. So that moment needed to be recreated.

Three Billys

And then Alice Ripley gave a speech that started inspirational, and ended just… crazy. Definitely that moment needed to be remembered. Complete with crazy eyes.

Ashley as Crazy Alice

Bottom line is have fun. Watch some incredible live performances and make some memories.

Now, go off and have a have a Happy Tony 2011!!!

And just for fun, here’s the group of us watching Bret Michaels collide with a set piece, over, and over again…

Check out a review of one of the Tony nominee’s War Horse, right here in KRL.

For a list of the other Tony Nominated shows and actors check out the KRL Tony Awards page. A revival of Born Yesterday is among those nominated and you can check out a review of a local production of the original play here at KRL as well. You still have a chance to see the show in Fresno as this weekend will be closing weekend.

On June 12, 2011 – Tony night – the fun begins even before the audience members take their seats. A live webcast begins at 6:00 p.m. at Tony Awards.com. Tune into CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT. For West Coast Fans: The telecast will be aired on time delay at 8:00 p.m. PT. KRL will be following the broadcast and Tweeting information throughout the evening so be sure and follow us @kingsriverlife.

Ashley Taylor is a TV news producer by day and actor by night. She started watching the Tony Awards in 1999 and hasn’t missed one since. She lives in the Tower District
with her husband Anthony and their dog Dixie.

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