I first got into the Tony Awards in 2012. I have vivid memories of that telecast and how mesmerised I was by Neil Patrick Harris. I knew that he could sing as I had become slightly obsessed with his ‘Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit’ musical number in How I Met Your Mother.
However, I was not prepared for how amazing his ability to host an award show would be. He has got such a great stage presence and every host from then on has paled in comparison. Perhaps it’s because as they say, you never forget your first!
So this post is dedicated to Neil, here are my five main reasons why I sincerely miss him as host of the Tony Awards.
1. He’s a true triple threat
Neil Patrick Harris should definitely not stick to his situational comedies, Hugh Jackman. In all the shows Neil has hosted, he has never failed to deliver a big opening number on his beautiful shoulders, despite how challenging the music, choreography or even magic tricks (yes magic tricks) might be. I have no idea how he was able to fit in enough rehearsals during his busy schedule at the time. Out of all his performance numbers, I’ve singled out this one in particular as I think this Show Down with Hugh Jackman is just so brilliant. The suave, the style, the synchronised dance moves! I’ve watched it a countless number of times now and it never gets old.
2. He’s the hero that all Broadway fans need and deserve
In watching Neil, you get the sense that he really does admire and respect the magic of the theatre. There aren’t that many celebrities who champion this industry with the amount of enthusiasm that he does. Another one of my favourite moments of his starts at about 5:53 -6:21 during his Tom-Hooper Les Mis Close Up moment. If I’m not careful, it can have me welling up. I only learnt later that it was written by the very talented Lin Manuel Miranda which doesn’t come as that much of a surprise. Lin later went on to win a well-deserved Emmy for his role in writing this song with Tom Kitt.
3. Just goes with it when things go wrong
The Tonys can be stressful and tense for lots of the nominees (and admittedly for audience members too) as they eagerly await who will win the coveted award. So what is needed in a good host is someone who can bring humour to lighten the mood and release that tension if only slightly. One of my favourite moments of his is in the ‘Not Just for Gays’ opening number. Neil goes out into the audience and celebrities would join in and sing two scripted lines. Brooke Shields flubbed up her bit and for any other host that may have just thrown them off completely. But Neil took it in his stride and used the joke as he went on. It could have very easily gone pear shaped but it became one of my favourite funny Tony moments. How many people can pull that off so brilliantly?
- Did I forget to mention he’s pretty hilarious?
This moment between Neil Patrick Harris and other Broadway performers who haven’t had much luck in LA is so creative, funny and I completely adore it. (I’m also pretty pleased about how many references to great musical theatre songs I got the first-time round).
- Oh and the guy can rap! Really well.
Lin Manuel Miranda and Tommy Kail were responsible for writing a closing number rap to the Tonys in 2011 and it was written live as the ceremony happened. They both watched intently behind the scenes, scribbling away and testing the material out with Neil during his limited breaks. The pressure to deliver it must have been crazy high but Neil has this surprisingly good verbal dexterity which makes his final performance a joy to watch.
I know he’s hosted it about four times now, but I’d welcome his return any year.