In an effort to make the shows more approachable, they had them all sing songs that the audience might know as the opening of the show. But it didn't really work. There wasn't anything connecting it all together. Remember last year when all of the nominees sang "Let the Sunshine in" together and it was a really great Broadway moment? Right. There was no such moment this year.
I think the producers knew that the shows weren't as interesting as they were last year and that they needed something to get viewers to watch. What to do? Bring on Lea Michele. I get that Matthew Morrison also sang, but it was really all about Lea. It was almost like she told all of the other women singers to suck it because she was infinitely better than all of the other vocalists on the show.
Sean Hayes was funny and not overbearing, the dance performances from Come Fly Away and Promises Promises were really great, and out of the cast performances, the eventual big winner, Memphis, was the most entertaining. But here's the deal. I love theater and know more about it than someone who just goes to see a show when they're in New York on vacation, but I also understand the fact that shows can't survive on the theater geeks. You have to appeal to a wide audience to make it.
For instance. I saw Wicked last night. WIDE. AUDIENCE. Didn't win the Tony. Didn't need to. These shows that were on the Tonys don't have the appeal that I think they need to enjoy any sort of long-term success. That's why I feel that the Tonys were not a success because while people were awarded and we loved seeing how surprised Catherine Zeta Jones was when she won and how clueless Denzel Washington was when he won, the shows were forgettable. So while Memphis may have won this big prize, it stands to be seen whether or not it will make it to the fall.
I believe a show has to make you feel something in order to be considered a success and the shows last night didn't really make me feel anything. Perhaps next season will be more exciting.