The Art of Airing Art, or Setting My Career Back On Fire

This past Sunday the 67th annual Tony Awards were broadcast on CBS with a supersized opening number, penned by lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda and composer Thomas Kitt and performed by host Neil Patrick Harris and a host of this Broadway season’s incredible performers.

I’ve been a Broadway fan for most of my life–the advent of the VCR and the DVR recorder made my life much easier, as my dance recitals always found themselves scheduled on Tony Sunday. It always fascinates me to watch the performances on the show from a dancer’s standpoint, and gives me a preview of some of the shows I might get the opportunity to see as they tour the country. I never pursued my professional dance dreams for various reasons, so the Tony Awards are my little vicarious shot at the big stage.

However, thanks to LMM, I got my first peek into what it takes to actually present this larger-than-life spectacle to the rest of the viewing public–those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to secure a ticket to see it live and up close. This is what it looks like to pull off two minutes of breakneck-speed television….

Wow. (My first reaction was a nearly as long drop of the F-bomb, but I’m trying to keep it PG in here.) I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know I could combine my current career dream and my ultimate career dream, but watching it in action is just breathtaking. Having worked on local large-scale productions as a camera operator, a floor director, a sound tech, a video operator (different from the camera op in that they control the picture quality) and a technical director, I know all too well that the final product that hits the airwaves is very much a team effort. But major, MAJOR props have to be given to director Glenn Weiss here. Once he got to the rapid-fire round of just calling camera numbers and snapping his fingers–I couldn’t see those shots fast enough as a VIEWER. I will admit to questioning a couple of choices in my first viewings of this number, such as some shots of the performers in the aisles while Neil was singing something significant…though to be fair, those were tricky calls that didn’t stray too far from the narrative. Watching this clip makes me understand, respect and appreciate the way Mr. Weiss was able to quickly call for all of the shots that were visually stunning and lyrically connected at the same time.

Outside of dancing, THIS is what I’ve always wanted to do. As fast-paced and nerve-wracking as it is, there’s a certain rush you get from driving that metaphoric runaway train and managing to get a decent ride out of it. I’ve got to make some radical moves to get into Mr. Weiss’s orbit…if not his chair.

I wonder if he’s looking for interns…..


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