It is always a danger when someone hosts an awards show for a fourth time, but Neil Patrick Harris seems to revel in it and the critics showered him with cheers for his hosting duties during Sunday night's Tony Awards telecast on CBS.
Associated Press drama writer Mark Kennedy named Harris in three of his top five moments of the Tony Awards telecast
. He bowed to Harris for his high-octane opening number where even Mike Tyson showed up to dance.
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He recognized Harris again for joining "Smash" star Megan Hilty, "Go On" star Laura Benanti and former "The Book of Mormon" star Andrew Rannells to skewer theater stars who seek fame and fortune on TV. Kennedy praised Harris once more for the closing number, teaming up with five-time Tony winner Audra McDonald to rework Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind."
"Harris rules again," Kennedy said.
New York Times critic Neil Genzlinger said Harris' opening number left the viewing and live audience wondering what could possibly follow it.
"It took Neil Patrick Harris only about three minutes
to banish any worries that the fearsome Host Fatigue Syndrome would overtake him and the Tony Awards on Sunday night," Genzlinger said. "Instead he set the bar so high with his introductory flourish that fears of another familiar Tony malady haunted the rest of the CBS broadcast: the dreaded How Do We Top the Opening Number Disease."
Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty called for Harris to be a permanent host, saying he is one of the best advocates for Broadway.
"If anything could restore faith in the American theater it was Sunday's exuberant Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall," McNulty said. "Beginning with an opening number by the impish showman and incomparable Tony host Neil Patrick Harris
(please, CBS, make him sign a lifetime contract!), the telecast found ways of selling Broadway's wares to America while honoring the Great White Way's stubbornly eccentric soul."
Ashley Burns, of Uproxx.com, said she has an answer for other awards shows trying to find suitable host – just let Harris do all of them, from the Oscars and Emmys to the Golden Globes.
"Harris has been absolutely wonderful in his previous hosting gigs
at the Tony Awards and that’s why it’s ridiculous that he hasn’t been offered a giant bag full of gold to host every awards show," she said. "Seriously, would anyone be against that?
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