BootLeg Betty

Liz Smith On The Tonys

Huffington Post
‘Kinky Boots’ wins big on Tony Night
June 11, 2013


“IT IS a hopeless endeavor to attract people to the theater unless they can first be brought to believe they’ll never get in.” — Charles Dickens

EVEN IF you didn’t see or didn’t like “Kinky Boots” the fabulous show that won best musical at the Tony Awards Sunday night, how could you not love Cyndi Lauper‘s emotional acceptance speech? Cyndi won her Tony for writing the music and lyrics to the show. (Harvey Fierstein did the book.) Lauper is such an original, and true to herself, always. Perhaps too original and too true to have made the music industry predictions of 1984 come to fruition — that Lauper was the real (if quirky) talent who’d be a superstar forever, and Madonna was just a trashy flash-in-the-pan, soon forgotten. Both rocketed to superstardom in ’84.

Well, as we know, Madonna went on and on — and is still going, certainly in terms of her concerts and general publicity. Cyndi’s never stopped working, but her flame burned a little lower. She simply would never conform. (In this way, she reminds me of the great Whoopi Goldberg.)

In any case, I loved Cyndi’s speech, I love “Kinky Boots” and, although I’m sorry my friend Tom Hanks didn’t win for Nora Ephron’s “Lucky Guy,” one could never say his awards shelf is bare. (I’m much more exercised by Bette Midler‘s exclusion from the nominations.)

I’m pleased for the wonderful actor Courtney B. Vance who did win an award for “Lucky Guy,” and thrilled that the brilliant Judith Light has now taken a second Tony, this time for her performance in “The Assembled Parties.” (I can’t say it enough; Judith is one of the nicest, most genuine people in the biz.)

And I want to give what will be considered an unusual shout-out to Tyler Perry. Say what you will about his soap opera-ish movies or his Madea character, but he regularly employs a revolving group of marvelous African-American actors, including Cicely Tyson. Perhaps Perry using her so much in film brought her to the attention of the producers of “The Trip to Bountiful,” which won her a Tony for lead actress? It was her first appearance on Broadway in 30 years.

As for the Tony telecast, it zipped along at a nice clip, and, again — let there never be any further conversation about who should host the Tonys. That job belongs to and is owned by Neil Patrick Harris.

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