Tony! Toni! Tone! (and Drammy, too)

By Bob Hicks

Well, it’s celebration season again — and not just because the Puddletown rains are threatening to finally go away (although they’ll surely come another day).

workingdrammy_003No, we’re talking about theater awards season. The Tony Awards, Broadway’s commerce-driven annual extravaganza, are Sunday night. And on Monday night at the Crystal Ballroom, Portland’s far more laid-back and generally convivial version, the Drammy Awards, celebrates the past year’s best on stage. As the R&B hitmakers Tony! Tony! Tone! so memorably put it:

It feels good, yeah

It feels good

Ooohh it feels good

It sure feels good to me.

Maybe not so good to un-nominated shows and the non-winners in the Tony races, where a win or a loss can make or break a show and a well-placed victory can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars, both in the continuing Broadway run and the eventual national tours. Patrick Healy has a good handicapping in Friday morning’s New York Times; read it here. One guess: In the best-musical category, there’ll be a Most Happy Fela! Yes, the ceremony will be on TV. As they say, check your local listings.

Unlike the Tonys, the Drammys don’t announce any finalists: You show up for the party and wait for the winners — often a handful in each category — to be announced. Because almost all of the shows under consideration have already closed, the commercial pressure’s off and it’s more of a celebratory group hug. A couple of years ago Mr. Scatter was awarded a Drammy basically because he’d hung around a long time (like Peter Sellers, he was honored for Being There) and it felt like … well, check those triple-Tony lyrics above.

This is a good party, and it’s free, if you don’t count the drinks. Shmoozing starts at 6 and the ceremony at 7; the suave and funny Michael O’Connell will be master of ceremonies. The Crystal Ballroom is at 1332 West Burnside Street, just a jog away from the Best Big Bookstore in the Known Universe. See you there.