1) More Broadway & Less Hollywood: last year we had the huge controversy of "Hollywood" taking over the Tonys with Scarlett Johannson & Catherine Zeta-Jones winning two of the big awards and Green Day getting more airtime than any of the nominated performers. This year we struck a healthy balance with TV& film stars like Ellen Barkin & John Laroquette winning two of the featured play acting categories while bona fide musical theatre stars Sutton Foster & Norbert Leo Butz won Best Leading Actress & Actor in a musical respectively.
3) Opening Number: This year's NPH number "the Tonys aren't for gays anymore" was catchy and sassy and beat the pants off of last year's "Broadway/Pop" medley with the awkward blending of Memphis, Come Fly Away, and Fela, though last year had Sherie Rene Scott and her Menonettes which were sorely missed on this year's telecast. However, nothing will beat 2009 in my mind where we saw Elton John, Liza, Dolly Parton, and the cast of HAIR all on stage at the same time.
4) Performances: Anything Goes, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Catch Me If You Can all gave show stopping performances that made me happily forget the memories of Memphis, Fela, and Come Fly Away on last year's broadcast. We also avoided the sound glitches that were so very evident the past two years.
5) The Speeches: I was thrilled to see so many people cry this year as they accepted their awards. This is the theatre and I want emotion darn it! Ellen Barkin started it off and though she contained her emotion during her speech, she burst into tears when she made her exit. Nikki M. James was absolutely hysterical in her surprise win and though we could barely understand what she said, we loved her anyway. Norbert Leo Butz was so genuine and surprised as he accepted his award and dedicated it to his family: his ex-Wicked wife, his father whom he based his character on, and his sister who tragically took her own life last year. The surprise of the night for me was when Sutton Foster went to a crazy place and emoted hysterically, not about her boyfriend or her family, but about her dresser!! Apparently he is the best artist in the world and he's taking his talents to Cape Cod. Loves it! She also thanked her childhood dance and music teachers which is the first thing I'll do when I win my first (or second) Tony!