Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tony vs. Tony

Ever since Sunday night everyone has been enthralled with Tony. For most of the world that Tony is Tony Soprano. The world is upset over the fact that their television dared them to think. How dare HBO? People like there stories all wrapped up and spoon fed to them. They want to see that Jerry and his friends went to Jail on Seinfeld or that everyone left Korea and went home on MASH. They do not want existential thought provoking entertainment. This is clearly seen by the American culture as it is today. If the public did want thought provoking and exciting entertainment then Sunday night the other Tony ( Antionette Perry) would have drawn in television viewers. So when David Chase decided to let the audience interpret the ending of ‘The Sopranos’ by cutting to black in the middle of a dinner scene, America retaliated. Some people enjoyed the fact that we would never know the fate of Tony Soprano.

Most viewers were up in arms about the ending. Some were quoted as saying that they had wasted ten years of their life. Others thought their cable went out. The finale has been psycho analyzed over and over again for possible ending and it has brought out two possibilities. One, Tony (and possibly his entire family) gets killed. This theory had been fueled by a past episode in which Tony is discussing death and mentions that when you die everything goes to black. The other theory is that Tony Continues to enjoy his dinner at the diner with his family and that nothing happens. I don’t know what happened, nor do I care. I was focused on the other Tony. The Tony in which ‘Sopranos’ viewers would never watch for fear they would have to think to hard about plot. For those ‘Sopranos’ viewers I recommend any Mamet Play to feed their appetite for cursing and the ‘Lieutenant of Inishmore’ for violence. Other than that the theater is not for them. I did not watch the Sopranos finale. I have watched the “news” though and from the amount of coverage feel that I have watched it.

I was, on the other hand, at the Tony awards Sunday night. I returned again this year as a seat filler. I was lucky and got a seat in the third row and never left the entire night. It was beyond amazing. The people I encountered and the things I saw renewed my faith in the American Theater. When Ben Vereen and Bebe Neuwirth are dancing together in the aisle about three feet away from you, you watch. I’m glad the writing on this years award show was poor because I don’t think I could have dealt with listening to Harvey Firestein’s laugh two rows behind me the entire night. It was entertaining once, that’s it. John Gallgher from the Tony winning Spring Awakening could not have been nicer, neither could Felicity Huffman. The musical numbers were amazing and the night as a whole was a dream. I really felt like it wasn’t happening that this was an elaborate dream or at some point Ashton Kutcher was going to jump out and tell me that I had just been punk’d. During commercial breaks I would stand up and just gaze out into the auditorium and the sea of legends. There’s Tommy Tune sitting near Barbara Cook who is seated close to Patti Lupone who is an aisle over from Kevin Spacey and Angela Lansbury. The crown jewels were Celeste Holm and John Kander. Holm was celebrating her 90th birthday, while Kander was being honored for his work on Curtains, minus his partner, the late Fred Ebb. The night was amazing. In this world of short attention spans, where endings like ‘The Sopranos’ anger the American public, it is still nice to see that the theater still has a place in society and a nine hour Tom Stoppard play can win best play without people complaining about how long it is.

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