Neil Patrick Harris was invited to host the 2009 Tony Awards partly because of his Saturday Night Live sketch from January called “Save Broadway.” Standing before a variety of recognizable musical theater characters, the Phantom of the Opera calls a meeting to order. “As you all know,” he says, “Broadway is in trouble.” This sentiment was the undercurrent of the entire awards show “Broadway is in trouble, Broadway is in trouble….”

Alice Ripley, accepting this year’s award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, said, “Musical theater is a fine art, so it needs constant adjusting and constant tuning.” It was as if she were simultaneously celebrating Broadway and admitting that the Phantom of the Opera might be right: the Broadway musical is in trouble. One only has to witness the ever-expanding “Revivals” category at the Tonys and the so-called new musicals of recent years… More…