By Meryl Gottlieb| email@example.com| @buzzlightmeryl
The Tony Awards aired June 9 at 8 p.m. on CBS
This year’s Tony Awards had its best ratings since 2009, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen.
Sunday’s show saw a 20 percent increase in viewership, pulling in an audience of 7.2 million. The telecast was beaten only by the second game of the NBA finals between San Antonio and Miami, which had 11.6 million viewers.
Last year’s award show only earned about 6 million viewers, down from the 2011 show which had an audience of 6.9 million.
Apparently the trick for garnering larger audience numbers is to be broadcasted from Radio City Music Hall — the show’s home in 2009 and 2013.
And this year’s broadcast certainly proved it worked. The show — and especially its host, Neil Patrick Harris — has earned praise from critics.
“It took Neil Patrick Harris only about three minutes to banish any worries that the fearsome Host Fatigue Syndrome would overtake him and the Tony Awards,” wrote Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times.
Harris’ awe-inspiring opening number was named the best performance of the night on Broadway.com’s poll. The four-time Tonys host literally jumped through hoops to make that happen.
As a major fan of the Broadway world, the Tonys are the one night a year I get to glimpse into the world I adore so much. Because this is the real world, I am not able to fly to New York at will and see the latest show. The Tonys lets me see the most talked about shows perform their best number for free. I do not look forward to any other award show more than I do for the Tonys.
Another wonderful musical moment came from the lament of Broadway actors whose attempts at the television world flopped. Megan Hilty of Smash, Andrew Rannells of The New Normal and Laura Benanti of Go On — all of which are recently cancelled NBC shows — joined Harris in a number titled “Television Sucks.” And it was incredibly hilarious. A few jokes about the cancellation of Smash were certainly expected. Instead of beating a dead horse, however, the show chose to do it Broadway-style and satirize with a song. What was even more biting was having them sing alongside Harris, who stars in the successful CBS series How I Met Your Mother.
Kinky Boots dominated the award show, winning Best Musical as well as five other awards, including Best Original Score by Cyndi Lauper and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Billy Porter.
Best Revival of a Musical went to Pippin, which also won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Patina Miller), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Andrea Martin) and Best Direction of a Musical (Diane Paulus).
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won Best Play while Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won Best Revival of a Play.
For a full list of winners and nominees click here.
And I would be remiss to go without mentioning the incredibly awesome moment when Audra McDonald stole the closing number — set to the tune of Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” — not with her voice but with an incredibly awesome mic drop.
What a way to say goodbye.