When your editor asks if you want to go to the Tony Awards, there's no stalling, no second-guessing, and no calendar checks. Whatever could have been on your agenda is nixed in exchange for an evening on the Great White Way. Top it off with VIP service, the golden hands of Nexxus creative director Kevin Mancuso, and orchestra seating at one of the most anticipated award shows of the year season, and the results are #showstopping. After nailing my mani-pedi at SoHo's LaliLali Salon, finding the perfect (last-minute) gown at New York's main attraction (Macy's, of course!), and curbing those carbs, June 9 had finally arrived.
After whipping up breakfast, it's time to pull out my laptop and do a final Tony Awards digest—you've got to know the Kinky Boots from the Pippin's, plus all the Lucky Guy's in between.
Times Square, here I come! My car arrived and cruised down the West Side Highway to midtown's Crowne Plaza where pre-Tony's prep would take place.
Forty-six floors above Broadway, I claimed my seat in front of Mancuso and company as they readied to tame my tresses with voluminous waves. “It's always combining products [so] that you can create a texture that works for you and holds and sustains your style the longest,” he advised for my full day ahead. “There's structure with softness and a lot of spontaneity in the look. Even if you put in some form, you definitely want something happening with it that gives you a ‘touched‘ look.” Mancuso's cocktail of choice included the Youth Renewal™ Plump & Lift Blow Dry Spray and Frizz Defy hair spray—and a repository of paddle brushes.
It's face time! On hand was makeup artist Mia Silverio who gave my look more height with winged eyeliner and a luminous glow.
Just a few blocks away, the Nexxus team was in place to give Broadway devotees a chance to win a seat at the 67th annual Tony Awards. All corners of Duffy Square were buzzing for the night ahead with a step-and-repeat for VIP hopefuls, an outdoors viewing party for Broadway fans, and a stage for a few rounds of karaoke. With hair and makeup down, I ventured to the gathering where Nexxus’ show-stopping victor, Julie Christianson, was announced. The stars certainly aligned for the Milwaukee native who was one of the contest's few (and true) theater buffs. In fact, she met her date for the evening while both were in line for rush tickets to a Broadway show last year. Oh, how divine!
Time to slip into my black-tie attire and will myself to spend the rest of the evening in 6-inch heels. After a few final touches from Mancuso and Silvero, it was off to Radio City Music Hall.
But not before stopping by Simon Doonan's Nexxus display across the street at Duane Reade. The colorful creative was tasked with using Nexxus hair products for a dazzling display to coincide with the 2013 Tony Awards. “I thought it would be fun to do a window installation for a drugstore,” Doonan told the New York Times. “I’m very responsive to things with an unconventional twist.”
It's showtime! After walking the same red carpet as Patina Miller, Condola Rashad, and Alan Cumming, it was time to take a seat—orchestra seats at that! I was summoned to chair 305 in Aisle C and felt close enough to run up on stage à la Lil' Mama circa 2009 at the MTV Video Music Awards... but of course, I'd never do that. The lights dimmed and Neil Patrick Harris appeared on stage as The Guy from 2012's best musical, Once. Can we talk about his live vocals, please? And those acrobatic stunts worthy of a Pippin cameo? And that Mike Tyson appearance—face tattoo in full glory, people. Motown members, four Matilda’s, and the year's best musical stars hit the stage for an eight-minute mashup that put all other opening numbers to shame. “Bigger” was better, indeed.
From a “Revolting” performance from Matilda the Musical to a Mufasa moment on center stage, I was enthralled. I'd never seen an entire Tonys broadcast from start to finish, let alone in person. But judging from the amount of talent that descended upon the theater's stage, I knew I'd been missing out on the magic of live performance. Then, there was Cindy Lauper. With a regal, red mohawk that no one could pull off quite like her, Lauper accepted her first Tony—to a standing ovation—for penning original music for six-time winner Kinky Boots. “I want to thank Broadway for welcoming me,” the “True Colors” singer said. “I've never been a stranger to hard work, but your hard work inspires me.”
And the award for most touching win of the night goes to...Billy Porter. The Kinky Boots lead (and first-time nominee) reminisced on his journey to truth at 11 years old when he watched Jennifer Holliday and the cast of Dreamgirls perform at the 1982. He went on to thank “the best sister that a brother could ever have” and his mother, whose “unconditional love is template that the world could benefit from employing,” before lauding the Kinky Boots cast and crew for their support. *Tear*
’Twas the mic drop heard ’round the world. Audra McDonald joined Harris on stage for a curtain close that would have made Jay-Z and Alicia Keys proud. The show did return to an “Empire State of Mind” after all.
Party at The Plaza? Don't mind if I do. The celebrated Fifth Avenue hotel greeted Tony guests, winners, and VIPs for a late-night soiree that included tasty bites, open bars, sweet treats, photo booth fun, and a live band that kept the dance floor crowded. I danced...
...until the clock struck 2:00 a.m. and the band sent us on our way with an electric rendition of “We Are Young.” Such fun.