There was a time when I could honestly say there were at least two television programs each year that I would not miss. One was the live telecast of the Oscars. The other, the tape delayed broadcast of the Tony's.
These days I still catch the Oscars, though sometimes not in their entirety as it's just simpler to scan through commercials and even some of the acceptance speeches. The Tony's, sadly, haven't fared as well with me.
This isn't because I hold one in higher esteem. It's just I have so little connection to theater anymore. And now that I think about it, that's really too bad. I used to love the theater. I still do in fact.
When I was going to college I fell in with the "theater crowd." After all, for a time I thought I'd try to make my mark on the world as an actor, and it was this crowd who welcomed me with open arms as I studied that craft.
Of course in my mind, my future in acting was focused solely on movies, others thought in terms of movies and television, but it was the "theater crowd" that thought of acting only as it related to stage.
So devoted were they to stage acting, that I recall one member of our small group saving money each year to travel (during the summer) to New York to spend his entire time in theater after theater on Broadway. The following year he would save with even more determination, and would then spend a couple of summer weeks in London's West End. He would return from each trip with the low down on plays that hadn't even hit our radar. Oh, and I should mention he was probably one of the more talented singer/actors I had ever come to know.
While my friends pretended to ignore my pleas that acting for film deserved just as much respect as acting for stage, they made a great point of teaching me so many aspects of the theater. Stories and lessons that I hold dear, even to this day.
During that time in my life there wasn't a play, musical or revival that would have been nominated of which I would not be keenly aware. And it was very exciting to sit with friends and cheer for those we hoped would win, and lament for those who didn't.
After our own productions we would head to Sardi's West; a small diner in the southern most part of our city that had neither Sardi nor West in it's name.
But that diner stayed open late, catering to actors and crew alike, and only some time later would I realize that is why the diner had been so dubbed. In honor of it's patron back east.
So last night I missed the Tony awards. And for the first time in some years I had good reason to watch. My dear friend L has a dear friend who was nominated. And while I have never met this person, he did pen a lovely note to me which accompanied a present L had given to me at Christmas.
And while his show didn't win in all categories in which it was nominated, it did win one award which took its recipient completely by surprise.
So this long rambling post really is both a place to congratulate the winners, and to lament the fact that I hadn't realized until yesterday, just how much I missed both watching stage productions, and acting in them. So to all the winners last night, a hearty congratulations.
And while I have passed by Sardi's a few times in my travels to New York, I have yet to enter. I just don't know if the real thing will ever be able to compare with our little corner of theater heaven, in a city so far away from New York, but filled with dedicated and talented actors and technicians whose love for the stage couldn't be any less than those on the Great White Way.