The 67th Annual Tony Awards, held at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, was swimming with A-List stars — and from the moment they stepped foot on the red carpet to the final curtain call, they were having a blast. We should know, we were in the thick of it.
While viewers at home were transported to Broadway with 15 musical numbers and laughed along with Neil Patrick Harris' fantastic hosting, those of us on the red carpet and in the media room were privvy to a little extra bit of fun. Here's what the TV cameras didn't catch.
Mike Tyson, who enjoyed a stint on Broadway with a one-man show last year, amazed everyone with his cameo appearance in Harris' show-stopping (or show-starting, as the case may be) opening number. But before he hit the stage, we watched Tyson hug The Sopranos' Steven Van Zandt (who would later present an award with Tom Hanks) on the red carpet. Tyson looked dapper on stage, but outside in the 90-degree New York City heat, the fighter was sweating like he had just exited the boxing ring. Inside the theater, Tyson cozied up with Now You See Me star Jesse Eisenberg.
Broadway veteran Bernadette Peters cut a stunning figure in a green Donna Karan Atelier with a basketweave texture. What you didn't see was the assistant she had on hand to scoop up and properly arrange her gown's train between poses.
Cyndi Lauper was the well-deserving belle of the ball on Sunday night. Not only did she rake in six awards (her show, Kinky Boots, was nominated for 13), but she was incredibly gracious to her fans and her energy was boundless. On the carpet before the ceremony, Lauper made sure to wave to the legions of fans lining the street (Glee and Annie star Jane Lynch did the same). Following her win, she hammed it up for photographers in the press room.
On the red carpet, Scarlett Johansson greeted Sienna Miller (whose fiancé, Tom Sturridge, was nominated for his work in Orphans) with a kiss on the cheek. Backstage, Johansson was equally chummy with fellow presenter Alan Cumming. The two played patty-cake before presenting the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
On the carpet, Cumming made peace signs and crazy faces while posing for photographers.
Four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald (whom you may know from Private Practice) shared the spotlight — and a hug — with her daughter, Zoe.
Smash star Megan Hilty shared the stage with fellow Broadway actors-turned-TV-stars Laura Benanti (Go On) and Andrew Rannells (The New Normal) for a laugh-out-loud musical number that poked fun at their bad luck on screen (cliffnotes: their shows have all been canceled). Hilty's Smash co-stars Debra Messing and Will Chase — who notoriously had a real-life affair — were conspicuously cuddly.
Home audiences were lucky enough to see this tender moment between Annie star Sunny (who plays Sandy, the lovable stray canine) and host Neil Patrick Harris. But since it's just too cute for words, here it is again:
Reporting by Lauren Paylor
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The Crusades were a series of religious wars in which the Christians tried to reclaim Jerusalem from the Muslims who had conquered the Middle East in the 7th century. With the battle cry of "God wills it! " thousands of Europeans answered the call and were able to retake the fabled Holy City in the 11th century. Kingdom of Heaven begins in 1186 between the Second and Third Crusades. A fragile peace prevails mostly through the efforts of Jerusalem's enlightened Christian king Baldwin IV (Edward Norton) and the military restraint of the legendary Muslim leader Saladin (Ghassan Massoud). But it's difficult to maintain the peace. There are extremists within the Christian brigades--known as the Knights Templar--who want to wipe every Muslim off the face of the Earth. On top of that King Baldwin's health is failing. Once he's gone war is sure to follow. If ever there was a need for a hero this is the time. Enter the young French blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom) who is in deep despair over the loss of his family. He joins the Crusades after the father he never knew Godfrey (Liam Neeson) comes back from Jerusalem and convinces him it's a quest worth fighting for. As Godfrey passes his sword to his son he also passes on that sacred knightly oath: to protect the helpless safeguard the peace and work toward harmony between religions and cultures so that a kingdom of heaven can flourish on earth. No pressure or anything though.
Orlando Bloom carries his first major motion picture very well easily handling the chores of being such a gallant conscientious and morally upstanding knight. As Balian the Troy costar plays the gamut. He broods over his lost wife and child has father-son epiphanies upholds his knightly duties on a regular basis falls in love with a beautiful but troubled princess and finally bravely defends the Holy City from the encroaching Muslim army thus becoming a legend. Not bad for a day's work eh? There are even times especially toward the end when Balian is standing before the denizens of Jerusalem urging them to fight when you swear you can see a little of Bloom's The Lord of the Rings alter-elf Legolas creep in. The supporting cast also does an adequate job painting a picture of some trying times. Chief among them: Jeremy Irons as King Baldwin's right-hand man Tiberias; Marton Csokas (The Bourne Supremacy) as the evil leader of the Knights Templar; Massoud as the great warrior Saladin; and lovely Eva Green (The Dreamers) as Princess Sibylla King Baldwin's sister who captures our hero's heart but makes some bad choices with dire consequences.
Even if these sword-and-armor epics are all blending together you've got to give props to the directors who make them. These films are massive undertakings and Kingdom of
Heaven with the expert Ridley Scott at the helm is no exception. The Oscar-winning director of course has had his fair share of recreating history first with the classic Gladiator and then with the contemporary Black Hawk Down. But in recreating the Crusades Scott faces his toughest challenge to date and takes on the responsibility very seriously. He is painstakingly meticulous with details even as he is building a 12th-century Jerusalem or corralling 2 000 heavily costumed extras for the colossal climactic battle sequences. And it is always a good thing when a historical film can teach you something you may not have known like what the heck the Crusades were really all about. No Kingdom's biggest obstacle is timing. While it certainly has more substance than Alexander it is not nearly as intense and stirring as The Lord of the Rings trilogy or the granddaddy of them all Braveheart. Too many of its ilk has come before and the concept has unfortunately worn thin.
The tragic opera tells the story of a disfigured musical genius (Gerald Butler) who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera waging a reign of terror over its occupants [cue the organ music]. Think The Elephant Man meets The Hunchback of Notre Dame--except this particular "monster" has some serious sex appeal. I mean honestly his only "disfigurement" is some scarring on one side of his face which he covers with a rather classy mask. No big whoop. But I digress. When he falls desperately in love with the lovely ingénue Christine (Emmy Rossum) who has lived in the opera house for most of her life the Phantom devotes himself to molding the young soprano into a star exerting a strange sense of control over her as he nurtures her extraordinary talents. But when Christine falls for the dashing Raoul (Patrick Wilson) all hell breaks loose as the Phantom's growing jealousies threatens to tear everyone apart [OK now it's really time to cue the organ music].
Fans will no doubt be happy their favorite musical has finally made it to the big screen but the musical's original stars Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman have been replaced in the movie version by hot young actors. This is a very wise decision considering the film's rather longwinded nature. In other words even though the Phantom performers keep singing and singing and then sing some more at least they are appealing to watch (and they did do all their own singing). Butler (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) is particularly effective as the Phantom all brooding mysterious and far more intriguing a suitor than pretty boy Raoul played blandly by Wilson (HBO's Angels in America). With her alabaster skin and long luscious locks Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow) also does a nice job as Christine. But she is unfortunately limited to only a few range of emotions--either all doe-eyed and somber over her Phantom doe-eyed and gushy over Raoul or just plain doe-eyed. As for the supporting players Minnie Driver nearly steals the show as the Italian soprano diva La Carlotta. As the only breath of fresh air in the musty opera house you definitely crave more of her.
It's taken about 15 years to bring Webber's smash hit to the big screen. Apparently after winning every known theater award for Phantom the legendary producer-composer approached director Joel Schumacher in 1988 to do the movie after being impressed by Schumacher's work on The Lost Boys. Hmmm The Lost Boys to Phantom of the Opera--I'm still trying to tie that one together. Anyway Webber had to postpone production for personal reasons and then Schumacher was busy doing such films as Tigerland and Phone Booth. Finally the time was ripe to make Phantom coming on the heels of the musical movie boom started by Moulin Rouge and Chicago. Schumacher certainly incorporates all the right elements from the young and talented cast to the opulent sets and magnificent costumes. The problem is the material: Phantom really isn't all that compelling of a story. Sure the stage production was and still is a theatrical event especially as the Phantom moves on catwalks all over the theater and the impressive chandelier comes crashing down on the stage. But for the film adaptation there needs to be something more than just grand posturing set pieces and operatic music. Maybe a little more dialogue? A sex scene? Anything?