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Unsolicited tips for NPH on how to make the Tonys awesome

We couldn’t be happier that Neil Patrick Harris will be hosting this year’s Tony Awards for a third time. While we know the show is in excellent hands, we couldn’t help putting in our two cents to ensure the night is an even greater success last year.

Neil Patrick Harris

Great big news from the Great White Way: Neil Patrick Harris will be back this year to host the Tony Awards. This will be his third go at the gig, thanks especially to a phenomenal hosting job last year. With Neil hosting again after last year’s enormous success, hopes are high that this unanimously loved star will draw the crowds that the Tony Awards deserve.

The Tonys have indeed been struggling to find a wide audience. At just under 7 million viewers last year, the show that celebrates great achievements on Broadway can barely keep up with the audience numbers of other awards show giants like the Academy Awards. However, now that it seems like NPH is carving himself a comfy nook in Tony-land, it might just be that Tony will start climbing the ratings mountain with the blind determination of a Broadway baby pounding 42nd Street.

But for the Tony Awards to really make its mark, Neil might just have to top his performance from last year, difficult as that may be. After all, that opening number, in which he sang about why Broadway “is not just for gays anymore,” brought the house down before the show even really began. We’re not doubting for one second the fact that Neil will be the perfect host once again; we’re just saying that expectations and excitement are running extra high, and we hope he steps up his game accordingly. He wouldn’t want to sabotage what’s looking like a potential post as the Tony Awards’ Billy Crystal.

Just in case he was wondering, here are a few things we’d like to see NPH do at the Tonys this year, which we think would make for a really entertaining show:

A Jesus-off

Two of the most popular shows on Broadway right now are the revivals of Jesus Christ Superstar (featuring the practically all-Canadian cast straight from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival) and Godspell. Both shows feature incredible music, but more important, they both revolve around Jesus. What we would like to see is a battle to the crucifixion between these two shows’ leading men. NPH, the man in charge, would play the referee-slash-God as he oversees some significant rocking out from each Jesus. Finally, the Jesuses’ individual songs would unite in a climactic mashed-up medley of celestial harmony. Cameos from characters in other faith-focused Broadway shows, such as Sister Act and The Book of Mormon, would make this duel a truly religious experience.

A Billy Crystal-style opening number

As hard as it may potentially be for Neil Patrick Harris to improve upon the opening he gave us last year, we thought we might offer a suggestion: Consider taking a page out of the book of everyone’s favourite go-to Oscar host, Billy Crystal. Billy’s trademark is inserting himself into clips of Oscar-nominated movies as part of his opening bit. Wouldn’t it be great if, during the Tonys’ opening number, NPH did a live montage in which he was a part of each show nominated? This would mean lightning-quick changes and a lot of running around for Neil, but the thought of him trying to keep up with the endless pirouettes of the chorus of Newsies, followed by a failed attempt to blend in with the cast of Porgy and Bess, all the while singing an opening number, fills us with glee. If they can pull it off over in Tony-land, we’d love to see us some of that.

A musical TV section

With the popularity of such TV shows as Glee and now Smash, we think there might be room on the Tonys for a little musical-on-the-TV recognition segment. What we are picturing is this: NPH comes out at one point in character as Barney Stinson, being all bro-ish and talking about how TV is just one big musical now. Suddenly, what he’s saying becomes a song, which catches him totally off guard. Just then, he is joined by his How I Met Your Mother cast, all of them singing. Soon after they are joined by the casts of 30 Rock, Modern Family and Mad Men, all singing about how musical television has become mainstream. And then finally the back curtain lifts to reveal the casts of Glee and Smash, ready to take the number home, with GCB‘s Kristin Chenoweth riffing on top. If that doesn’t rake in ratings, we don’t know what will.

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