I, Broadway Lil, love the Tony Awards. I’m sure you do too, theatre geek that you are! It is the night when all that I love is celebrated and lauded to the fullest, and it is also the time when people who might never see a Broadway show otherwise, are able to experience the fabulousness that is live theatre.
If you are even a little bit like me, I am sure you have given many a practice Tony Awards speech in the bathroom mirror with no one but your guinea pig for an audience. Really, we have to face it: the Tony Awards are running running through our bloodstreams, fellow theatre geeks, and we cannot and will not escape them.
That being said, I never imagined that I, a teenaged theatre geek with a fake New York accent, would ever stand, fully black turtle-necked, on a stage, in a theatre, on the night of the Tony Awards, and lose.
My imagination is faulty.
Yesterday, as on the East Coast the Tony Awards were in full swing and Bette Midler was proving to us all that the music they play at the end of the acceptance speeches is in fact irrelevant (I love you, Bette) , I stood on a stage in a theatre (in a black turtle neck ), in front of tens of people, with a combination of joy, falafels, and terror inside of me and I realized that I, Broadway Lil, was On My Way.
To where, you ask? On My Way is something to be interpreted in whatever way you would like, but I like to finish it To The Tony Awards.
Let me explain things and stop this Build Up The Suspense Until People Leave And Go Watch CNN.
For a while now, I have been involved in a short musical competition called Show Search, which is an offshoot of The Foundation for New American Musicals. I, as many of you know, wrote a short musical, and I entered it in Show Search a couple months ago. My musical was chosen as one of three high school finalists and then I was paired up with a mentor to smoothen out the parts of my musical that needed smoothening out. It was all very exciting as I’m sure you can imagine! I actually found out I was a finalist right before I left for New York, so the past month has been very thrilling and suspenseful.
Rehearsals for the musicals started last Thursday and our director worked with professional actors on our shows and it was all very exciting, and I was able to meet the other finalists, all of whom I really liked a lot. Musical Theatre writers seem like they would be very common but they actually are not, especially ones who are my age, and so meeting all these young writers and being able to compare battle stories was really exciting (one of them had worked with a director who I’d also worked with and he made both of us cry) (it was hilarious in retrospect).
And then we had our performance. The short musicals ran back to back (mine was second) and the whole time I was sitting in the front row, watching each very different very exciting show, I couldn’t help thinking about how similar the whole thing was to the Tony Awards.
Well. I now return to the stage, the infamous stage from earlier, where I stood without my New York accent (which really is quite questionable and which I only pull out for very special occasions) (such as when I am ordering a slice of pizza or offering someone a mint) and gazed with drama out over the audience. As a side note, it’s really not possible to see anything in the audience when you’re on stage and the lights are in your eyes, so I recommend starting out dramatically and maybe crying just a tiny bit for effect. You can also wave to people to make it seem like you know more people than you do.
My fellow finalists and I were ushered onto the stage where we stood, shoulder to shoulder, staring into the lights, waiting for the winners to be announced. We couldn’t help feeling like we were really quite cool in that moment, and I think we sort of deserved it, that fleeting feeling of coolness, because, really, the only theatre geek that is, like, actually cool is Daveed Diggs and he’s a rapper. Theatre Geeks should take what they can get.
The judges deliberated for what felt like hours, but which was, in reality, like four minutes. They finally handed in their deliberation papers, and then, we all stood in sweat and silence and the names of the winners were spoken aloud.
I did not win. I didn’t win, and quite honestly, it was dreadful. I, Broadway Lil, lost the fake Tony Awards. How? On one hand, though, the girls who won deserved to win, and also, let’s not forget that Wicked, which has been running since 2003, never won the Tony, even though it was nominated. Guess who won the Tony? Avenue Q won the Tony. Just saying.
Well I went home. I went home and I drank a great deal of hot chocolate and I watched the real actual Tony Awards which were very much filled with incredibleness and which also can be summarized in two words, the two words, being, of course, Ben Platt.
I have to admit, there was some pain involved, there was in fact a lot of pain. Of course I wanted to win. But watching the Tonys reminded me again why I love, love musical theatre, and that in those trying times when you lose the fake Tonys, the sun will most probably come out tomorrow, at least if we’re going off the fact that a poor orphan is willing to bet her bottom dollar on it.
*If you want to rename it and instead say Happy Losing The Fake Tonys! that’s totally cool. I’m guessing a lot of people will do that because I am such an inspiration now.