Tony Awards 2011: Neil Patrick Harris’s Rap Recap And The Top Three Musical Highlights

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In case you missed the Tony Awards last night on CBS, Neil Patrick Harris closed out the show with a recap rap as the credits rolled, providing a brief summary of the night and concluding by acknowledging the unnamed chorus performers and entreating viewers to go see Broadway shows. But if that’s not enough for you, here are the top three musical highlights:

“You know,” Chris Rock quipped before awarding the Tony for Best Musical to The Book of Mormon, “If you would have told me two years ago that I would miss the best basketball game ever to hang out with Nathan Lane I would have said, ‘You’re crazy.’” At first glance, The Book of Mormon‘s nine Tonys (out of fourteen total nominations) might seem just as implausible, but the show’s creators certainly had the pedigrees. South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had shown their love of, and aptitude for, the musical form with their films Cannibal: The Musical and South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, and Robert Lopez had already co-created Avenue Q. (When that show won the 2004 Tony for Best Musical, it was a surprise.) Any remaining doubt was quashed when Andrew Rannells performed the satirical “I Believe,” a song about doubt and (Mormon) faith that contains the line “I believe that in 1978 God changed his mind about black people.”

The specter of Mad Men loomed over a number of the musical numbers, including Norbert Leo Butz‘s performance from Catch Me If You Can and Christina Hendricks among the cast of Company. “Brotherhood of Man” felt the most indebted, because of its era, its men’s-club satire, and, let’s not forget, because Daniel Radcliffe‘s character was costumed like Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner‘s son dresses. This number also features John Larroquette, who would win a Tony later in the show.

Maybe it’s the Cole Porter fans in us, but we also were big fans of the Anything Goes closing number. Sutton Foster led the Tony-winning revival production of the show’s title number to close out the show, and it didn’t feel out of place among the film adaptations and later-era revivals that otherwise dominated the show (not that those are a bad thing).

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