By: Paulanne Simmons
Two nights before the Tony Award presentation at Radio City Music Hall, Scott Siegel presided over Songs from Tony Award-Winning Scores at the Metropolitan Room, a few blocks downtown.
The evening began with a bit of Tony Award history:
The awards were established 70 years ago by the American Theatre Wing, and named after Antoinette Perry, an actress, director, producer and co-founder of the American Theatre Wing who had died the previous year. The event debuted in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria, where winners José Ferrer, Arthur Miller, Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Patricia Neal, Elia Kazan and Agnes de Mille were presented with a scroll and such mementos as a gold money clip (for the men) and a compact (for the women).
At that time awards were presented in only seven categories, although there were a number of special awards. My how times have changed!
The songs chosen for this evening seven decades later ranged from Kristin Dausch having good-natured fun with “Adelaide’s Lament” from the 1951 award winner Guys & Dolls to “You’ll Be Back” from last year’s Tony Award-winner, Hamilton, performed by Pedro Coppeti, sporting royal insignia.
The songs also highlighted Broadway in all its artistic diversity. They were cynical as in “The History of Wrong Guys,” from Kinky Boots, sung by Emily Iaquinta and they were hopeful as in “No One is Alone” from Into the Woods, sung by Emma Camp. They celebrated traditional romance with “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady sung Jeanine Bruen and not so traditional love with Chelsea Wheatley’s rendition of “Changing my Major to Joan” from Fun Home.
But perhaps the best part of the show was the cast, which consisted mostly of talented newcomers who augur a happy future for the Great White Way and many more Tonys to come.
The Metropolitan Room is located at 34 West 22 Street, http://metropolitanroom.com.