Broadway TV News

The Opening Number & Other Highlights from Neil Patrick Harris’ Work As Host of the 2013 Tony Awards

This is a new tradition: the day after the Neil Patrick Harris-hosted Tony Awards airs everyone flocks online to either experience for the first time or revisit Harris’ best musical numbers from the show.  It’s not that the other performances are bad or the actual awards (winners/losers) discussion is boring; it’s that Harris is just that damn good.  The Simpsons once argued (in the “Krusty Gets Canceled” episode to be exact) that Johnny Carson was the greatest entertainer in the world.  Their evidence?  Carson tap dancing while playing an accordion while also balancing two people playing a board game of some sort atop his head.

Carson Simpsons Krusty Gets Cancelled

Well, now I am claiming Harris might be one of the greatest entertainers in the world.  My evidence?  Last night’s opening number.  Dude jumps through a literal hoop and performs multiple magic tricks (correction: illusions; give my apologies to GOB Bluth and Tony Wonder).

Harris – he’s got magic to do:

I think the look on the face of Debra Messing, who was in the audience and used for frequent cut-away reaction shots during the telecast for some reason, says it all:

Messing Gif Tonys 2013
Photo credit:

Harris has hosted the awards show 3 years in a row now, 4 times total since he took 2010 off but hosted in 2009 and 2011 up to the present.  Only Angele Landsbury, the original Mrs. Lovett, has hosted the show more times, although Harris is only one behind her at this point.  If me saying this makes it happen (because that’s how the world works, right?) please let Harris just host this thing for the forseeable future.

There was also a very funny bit involving three Broadway veterans who left the stage for now-canceled TV shows returning to re-pledge allegiance to Broadway (or are they?).  The actors in question are Andrew Rannells (RIP The New Normal), Megan Hilty (RIP Smash), and Laura Benanti (RIP Go On and The Playboy Club).  Of course, the presence of host Harris, he of the 8+ seasons of How I Met Your Mother, creates some fun conflict.  For any Go On fan (such as myself) who did not know Benanti had a Broadway background, she’s a multiple-time Tony Award nominee who has starred in big shows like The Sound of Music, Into the Woods, Nine, and Gypsy, to name a few.

Here the unemployed actors vent their frustration on Harris:

Of course, as is his tradition Harris concluded the show by rap/singing the names of all the award winners, the lyrics obviously having been hastily written throughout the show.

Here Harris is closing the show, joined by Audra MacDonald:

Obviously, actual Tony Awards were handed out, and on the musical end Kinky Boots, Mathilda, and Pippin were frequent winners whereas on the play side “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”  was a frequent winner.  You can view the full list of winners here and an analysis of what it all means here.

And, for the heck of it, here are all of the opening numbers from Harris’ previous times hosting the Tony Awards:

Harris’ Opening Number from 2009:

Harris’ Opening Number from 2011 (notice him just rolling with it when Brooke Shields butchers her part):

Harris’ Opening Number from 2012:

Incidentally, Doctor Who fans who’ve ever wondered if Rory (Arthur Darville) could sing should check out this clip from his performance with the cast of Once here.

Now, imagine me smiling just a little too widely and displaying my hands in front of me in a classic Bob Fosse jazz hands pose.  That’s how you know I am done.  If this were a theater you’d politely applaud.  What’s the equivalent of that on a website?  Leaving a comment.  Hint, hint.

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