Also accepting congratulations at the party was someone who never appeared onstage: the Tony-winning composer, actor, lyricist and rapper Lin-Manuel Miranda, who co-wrote with Tom Kitt the terrific opening number performed by host Harris. Miranda, who wrote and starred in “In the Heights,” also wrote the rap number that Harris performed with Audra McDonald at the end of the show, with lyrics that referred to events that had happened only minutes earlier — a trick used by Seth MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth in their musical closing of this year’s Academy Awards.
But that may have been the only similarity to the Oscars. Harris showed no sign of wear on his fourth go as Tony host, earning as many laughs as ever with routines like a running reference to boxer Mike Tyson, or a number about theater actors (like him) who move on to glory and wealth on TV shows — some of which then get canceled.
Harris opened the show as the Irish “Guy” in the musical “Once,” holding a guitar in a pub and singing soulfully, but then quickly jumped into a flashy production number that showcased performers from almost a dozen musicals. Among other things, Harris jumped through a hoop, a la “Pippin,” vanished from a box and somehow appeared at the back of the theater, and promised a “truly legendary show” before glitter guns went off.
Legendary or not, it certainly made its audience very happy; by the end of the number, the entire Radio City Music Hall crowd was on its feet.
AP Drama Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report.