June 10, 2019

Tony Awards Review – Broadway 2019: So Brave, So Bold, So Boring!

By Pat Reeder

(“Huckabee” writer and resident pop culture guru)


Friends have called me the only straight man in Texas who watches the Tony Awards, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the overnight ratings reflect that. In fact, I am a fan of live theater, my wife has appeared in a number of musicals, and I’m considered something of a history/trivia expert on Broadway and vaudeville.  Laura and I were even voters in the top Dallas theater awards for a while.  All this preface is just to confirm that I’m not a stereotypical “Flyover Country” redneck carping about the freaky world of Broadway when I say to the NYC theater community represented by the Tony Awards: “For the love of Mike, will you tone down the wokeness, already?!  It’s like you’re virtue-signaling from a lighthouse!”

I’d say that the endless pounding of the inclusion/diversity bell is starting to feel like the Chinese water torture, except I’d probably get complaints that it was offensive to the Chinese. The Broadway theater community must be like that old New Yorker cover showing nothing to the west of the Hudson River, because if anyone there ever visited the rest of America, they’d realize that they’re still giving themselves medals for fighting a battle they won a long time ago.  On some level, they must know this: in one sketch, host James Corden expressed surprise at bumping into last year’s host Sara Bareilles in the men’s bathroom, and she scoffed, “It’s 2019, get over it.”  If only she’d said that to everyone else in the joint.

In Tony world, it is perpetually pre-civil rights/pre-Stonewall Riots AmeriKKKa, and they are incredibly brave for hiring a woman or casting a black or disabled actor against type, or mounting a play about gays or transsexuals.  News flash: these days, you suffer worse recriminations for declining to cater a gay wedding than for having one. 

One of this year’s musicals, “The Prom,” is actually about four Broadway actors heading to the Midwest to save the day after intolerant school officials cancel the prom rather than let a girl bring her lesbian date.  In real-life 2019 America, complaining about a lesbian couple at the prom would get you thrown out of school and doxed on Twitter.  You’d also be expelled for complaining if the lesbian couple came into the boy’s bathroom while you were standing at the urinal.

The crowd at the Tony Awards erupted in approving cheers at the end of a musical number from “The Prom” when the lesbian high school couple kissed on national TV. Take that, homophobic Middle American viewing audience!  Except the “intolerant” Americans they thought they were enlightening replied with a collective yawn.  FYI: “Glee,” a show filled with gay high schoolers doing musical numbers, debuted on TV ten years ago and ran for six years.   

We also get lots of shows meant to open our eyes to the fact that drag queens are here, they’re queer, so get used to it!  Well, we are used to it. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is in its 11th season on TV.  One of this year’s nominated musicals about a guy in a dress, “Tootsie,” is based on a hit movie from 1982. We’ve had 37 years to get used to that.

A little research reveals that the famous wisecrack about homosexuality, “The love that dares not speak its name has become the love that will not shut up,” is attributed to several people, all of whom have been dead since the mid-1990s.  Maybe living in a world of perpetual drama induces you like to think of yourself as part of a brave band of heroes standing up to some huge, powerful enemy when the truth is most of those people don’t even think of you at all except to get annoyed when you constantly shove your sexual proclivities in their faces as they’re just trying to go about their own lives. 

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By the same token, a “diversity”-cast retooling of “Oklahoma” won for Best Revival and was hailed as revolutionary.  I saw a racially-diverse production of “Oklahoma” by a suburban Dallas theater company at least ten years ago. Tip for future producers: casting a black Jud Fry and a white Curly and Laurie gives the show a really uncomfortable undertone. 

The stale, smug group-think is so oppressive that the people involved don’t even recognize their own prejudices.  For instance, one Tony winner got big applause for declaring that we must make Broadway “less male, less cis, and less white!”  Congratulations on using your big moment on national TV to promote sexism, racism and heterophobia (I seem to recall him being white and male, but I didn’t notice him passing his award on to a Haitian lesbian.)  “Inclusion” would be calling for hiring more women, minorities or LGBTQ+ people, not calling for hiring fewer people just because they’re straight, white or male.  That’s called “bigotry.”  If he did that out in unenlightened Flyover Country, he’d be slapped with an EEOC lawsuit. 

There were countless examples of this kind of reverse bigotry dressed up as tolerance and inclusion.  Personally, I don’t care what the color, sexual orientation, disability status, etc. is of anyone in a show.  All I expect is some entertainment for my ticket dollar.  One way to do that would be to engage us with fresh, timely stories.  Instead, we get the same tired self-empowerment tropes rehashed over and over, because to them, “diversity” is skin-deep. 

The real diversity that gives rise to interesting stories is intellectual diversity: the clash of opposing ideas.  But they have no interest in learning about or honestly presenting the ideas or life situations of anyone outside their insular world.  I know a great writer for TV and theater with whom I won’t even discuss politics because he’s made it clear that he will cut out anyone who might defend Trump – a weird stance for someone whose job is creating believable characters of various viewpoints. William F. Buckley put it best when he said, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” (Again, to illustrate how long that’s been true, Buckley has been dead since 2008.)

You really want to shock us with some radical diversity?  Try presenting a play that has even one character who is an intelligent, sympathetic, non-monstrous Trump voter.  Or how about a story about a kind, decent Christian who’s targeted for his beliefs by a leftist Twitter mob?  That would show me that you value real diversity of thought and that you actually know what year it is. 

On a side note: there was surprisingly little Trump-bashing (aside from Bryan Cranston’s speech – he defended the media against “demagoguery” as he picked up a prize for playing Howard Beale in “Network,” a TV news man who at first rants his own crazy opinions, then spouts the beliefs of his corporate masters.  Sound like any real news anchors you know?)

Still, there was an overall theme that we are living through dark, scary times that only the healing power of diversity-embracing theater can help us to survive.  Yet they also mentioned that in the past year, Broadway has set records for both ticket sales and box office receipts.  Sounds as if things must be going pretty well if that many Americans have money again and feel upbeat enough to spend it on expensive entertainment.  Mighty peaceful and prosperous apocalypse we’re suffering through. Wonder who might be to thank for that?  

There’s an old truism: The first thing to get dull is the cutting edge.  Sorry, Broadway, you’re not “shocking” or enlightening us with this strident, predictable, repetitive and self-righteous wokeness passing as cutting-edge theater.  You’re just boring us. 

I like to end on a positive note, so I’ll just say that I’m glad Elaine May won and that the play that bashes the Constitution lost. 



In his review today of the Tony Awards (or the “Woke Olympics”), “Huckabee” writer Pat Reeder quotes William F. Buckley’s famous quip, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”  Well, here’s a perfect example:

I wonder how many reporters who assumed all auto workers would turn on Trump over his use of a tariff threat against Mexico ever imagined the narrative-smashing possibility that some auto workers understood what Trump was doing and why, and actually appreciated him for doing it.


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In what was taken as a back-handed slap at socialist media darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently said that in some districts in New York, a glass of water with a (D) after its name could get elected. 

In that case, one has to wonder why AOC would be so afraid of a debate invitation from a Republican capitalist challenger for her seat that she reportedly turned into running water?



If you want to send a civilization back to the Stone Age, you don't have to bomb them.  You just have to talk them into adopting socialism.



For years, liberals in politics and the media have ridiculed the idea that terrorists might exploit our wide open Southern border to enter America.  We now have chilling proof that that's as dumb as thinking you can leave your back door open 24/7 and burglars will never figure it out.

Wake-up call: Some "dreamers" who come here via Central America are dreaming of causing as much chaos and carnage as possible.


Well, this is an interesting development: the leftwing Daily Beast claims that President Trump is “right as rain” in wanting to bust up the big tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, a position even some on the far left such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren agree with.

Via their monopolistic power and business practices, these tech titans have ticked off the left by allegedly promoting income inequality and a “gig” economy, and the right by censoring and silencing conservative voices. 

How ironic will it be if the right and left join forces to trust-bust these companies and there’s nobody to defend them because it turns out that Facebook doesn’t have any real friends?



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Comments 1-11 of 11

  • Ann Bouchard

    06/12/2019 06:48 AM

    You know in Massachusetts they are trying to get a bully law passed and established for the workplace. Virtually the bullies are everywhere here actually. They are in the neighborhoods, schools, families, workplace, churches, public places, hospitals. There is no escape. They've been trying 10 years or so to get that bully law in place but, the polititions will not sign. Some of those polititions are bullies themselves or they are related to the ones who are bullies. For, example when Romney was Gov. He nixed a program for schools, which would have distributed handouts to teachers in high schools on how to handle bullies. It would have cost only 10,000 dollars. A couple of months later a young girl killed herself because she was brutally bullied in high school. She was a beautiful girl. I have personal experience with this myself. It is the talented, most competent individuals with the most to offer that are bullied mercilessly. It gets to the point where the bullied are threatened physically with gang rape and being murdered. The bullied is made to look like something is wrong with them, but it is the bully that there is something wrong with.
    Seriously there is something wrong with society big time today. The problem has increased a thousand fold.

  • richard van bueren

    06/11/2019 11:53 PM

    love the article by pat reeder..well done

  • Jerry Korba

    06/11/2019 08:32 AM

    As for the Tony No idea what they are if you were to ask me I either forgot no reason to care I live in the midwest my cares are different sports smoked and grilled food Family Friends and my God outdoor living did I mention food grilled or smoked? I do not look forward to guys walking into the bathroom where females, my granddaughters are using probably would become unpleasant. Mental illness needs to be addressed why we shut down the mental institutions is beyond me open them back up and fill them up buy abandoned buildings use the money the socialist have for free healthcare and free education ask Crazy Bernie to get it funded oh wait that would take away most of his voting block!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Socialists pretend you didn't see this you will find yourselves under doctors care....................MORONS

  • Paula Conley

    06/11/2019 12:51 AM


  • Anne Amato

    06/10/2019 10:55 PM

    Wow! Governor, you really "nailed" it all in this column. All this "diversity & inclusion" stuff is way over the top...and SOOOOO boring! a glass artist who works mostly with transparent colored glass, and one who loves the color spectrum.....I really and truly RESENT the co-opting of the "rainbow" as the symbol of the LGBTQXYZ community. The rainbow....belongs to ALL of us!
    Do not even feel that I can use anything resembling the rainbow color lineup in my artwork anymore...

    In a previous column you mentioned the Governor of CA wanting to have funds to provide free medical care for illegal immigrants. It would annually amount to about $1 million. news for that guy....has he never heard of "free clinics"? Nearly every mid-size town has at least one in my state...and...yeah...they are free....and medical people DONATE their time!
    But...that should not surprise it looks as though he also has not heard of portable public toilets! (Good grief....we have these all over the place in rural HS ballparks, comstruction sites....wherever they are required..... and some even have running portable water for cleanup purposes included.
    Obviously this man does not get outside isn't "rocket science"!

    Not to mention....(well, ok, I am going to) the specific EXCLUSION of those illegals over 65? know....I worked all my life (42 years for just ONE of the companies) and when a person nears retirement age, they get a paper from Social Security detailing the monies taken from our paychecks during our lifetime. (Unless they changed this, it does not show the monies paid out all those years by the employer and employee for Medicare.)
    Ran an amortization schedule on my SS contributions, added a minimal 1% annual interest fee....and....IF my monies had been handled that way...and was MINE, I would have retired with $1.3 million....which would have provided me with approximately $50,000./year for 24 years....and more as the balance would have also still accrued the 1% interest.

    But....that is not how it works, is it?
    And...LEST PEOPLE FORGET.....those of us ON Social Security generally PAY for any Medicare plan(s) we select....and that comes out of our Social Security payment as well. And since Medicare is such a great plan (not), most of us carry an additional private medical insurance plan for which we pay each month out of pocket. So.....

    Comgress needs to get its hands out of the Social Security funds....quit creating new welfare programs from those funds....or..using those funds for non-related purposes (Vietnam comes to mind).....perhaps even "privatize" both Social Security and Medicare, (with a guaranteed baseline) and create a different type of funding for those programs that are unrelated.

    Am so tired of hearing Social Security referred to as an "entitlement" like that is a dirty word....we ARE entitled! When enacted, it was passed as a "guaranteed retirement program". And Medicare? Well...sigh....

  • Deborah McCallum

    06/10/2019 10:50 PM

    This is in regard to the California plan to provide free healthcare for all, citizens & illegal immigrants. There is a nationwide documented physician shortage, especially in primary care. Candidate Biden says more clinics are needed everywhere to care for any/all needing medical care. Where will physicians come from to take care of folks? Please remind readers and others of the acute shortage of all states and across the Country. Emergency departments are already overcrowded as a source of primary care.

  • Ardena DeSpain

    06/10/2019 10:44 PM

    Those who never learned critical thinking or history will never be convinced that they don’t know what is right for everyone else and how everyone else should think. They literally “can’t see the forest for the trees.” We can only pray that there are enough sensible, determined patriotic voters who are worried enough about our country’s direction, to work to save and right our country. So far “we the people” have managed to learn from our wrongs and progress over the generations, but at the same time maintain our Republic. Personally, I am a fan of calling a Convention of States for Term Limits under Article V of the Constitution to solve the problem of the Politicians. We also need to find a way to limit the power of the bureaucrats. It would be a tragedy to disappoint Benjamin Franklin since he said “we have given you a Republic, if you can keep it.” God Bless America

  • Carl Smith

    06/10/2019 10:27 PM

    I guess you need to receive a medal for 'HAVING' to cover the Back Patting of the entertainers? of the world? I'll stick with the HEROS that give these morons the FREEDOM to think they are something. I was taught to always Respect my Elders but it's getting tougher every day. I was in my teens before I figured out Memorial Day was NOT a celebration of my birth and that was before the date was moved from the 31st to allow another 3 day weekend for Beer and Brats?

  • Stephen Russell

    06/10/2019 09:07 PM

    Busting Tech Giants: how many Dems will line up to fight up Big tech IE Warren etc et al.
    Gee wonder why they wont Regulate, bust up Tech.

  • Maggie Faltskog

    06/10/2019 08:52 PM

    Well isn't this a slap in our face! This is OUR wall and on private property and the feds opened it and locked it open without a warrant using complaints from the ACLU! Now the drugs and illegals can come pouring thru again. Something is not right here!

  • Freddy Holcomb

    06/10/2019 08:52 PM

    We hear of the billions that is spent regarding illegals---which is a staggering amount. But,I've never seen what the average cost per illegal might be. I think if that individual number was published , it might be more than most folks make--especially the retired---& see that their free medical insurance is better than most folks can buy. It might make folks take a hard look and when compared to their state in life see absolutely that America cannot afford the benefits provided to illegals & make that decision easier to make regarding A WALL.