I wasn’t the only one boarding the wardrobe struggle bus on Sunday evening. As I stepped off the curb at Amsterdam Avenue and 74th Street, a curious accessory lay in the gutter. Some poor individual had lost their black cummerbund. Could it belong to someone enroute to prom night? Doubtful. Clearly this accessory was Tony Awards bound. For a moment I paused, wondering whether to retrieve it. What does a good Samaritan do with a wayward cummerbund; could there possibly be a Black Tie Lost and Found?
Teetering in my ankle-strapped low-to-the-ground black heels, I stepped over the abandoned sash taking pity on the individual suffering from wardrobe malfunction. As the light turned green, I crossed the street looking back over my shoulder, feeling the slightest bit guilty.
Scanning the parade of Tony-goers inching their way along the red carpet connecting Broadway to the Beacon Theatre, it was impossible to identify Mr. Missing Cummerbund. He would undoubtedly realize his fate once he had taken his seat and unbuttoned his satin-lapel jacket. I was spending way too much time thinking about this. Channeling my inner Idina Menzel, I decided it was time to let it go.
As always, there is a show-within-a-show before the performance actually begins. Leggy attendees in skyscraper heels and open-toed gold sandals paused to snap selfies before entering the theatre. It was a windy night, powerful gusts wreaking havoc on architecturally precarious hairdos and in a few isolated yet hilarious cases, man buns.
Released from the confines of a bandana, my curls bobbed in the breeze, deliriously happy to be out and about. I crossed paths with another individual unfazed by the wind; Julian Fellowes suffered nary a single hair out of place.
The Beacon Theatre was packed as tightly as a cellophane sleeve of double-stuffed Oreo cookies. Crossing the mirrored lobby, I realized that I too, needed a slight wardrobe adjustment.
There ought to be a law against tiny loops of fabric affixed inside most party dresses. Dress manufacturers feel that ‘hanger helpers’ or ‘garment straps’ are critical for facilitating safe garment hanging. But for some of us, those annoying fabric loops refuse to stay sequestered inside the dress, insisting on lounging about in public. Less noticeable than a contrary 1980s shoulder pad, yet equally annoying, my ‘hanger helpers’ insisted on wiggling their way into the spotlight. (In hindsight, I probably should have cut them off before leaving the house, but like the tag attached to the mattress, I was concerned there was some sort of penalty involved.)
Attempting to make my way towards the ladies lounge to address the issue, I narrowly escaped lassoing a Swarovski bedazzled evening bag with one of the defiant straps. Maybe this was retribution for my callous indifference towards the gutter cummerbund. I followed Mr. Fellowes down the stairs praying I wouldn’t catch my toe in the process.
Over the course of four hours, Broadway performers offered plenty of toe tapping and soaring choruses. And yes, the musical about the first Secretary of the Treasury took center stage on more than 10 (but fewer than 12) occasions. James Corden served as ringmaster for an awards show choked with the somber horror of a national tragedy. The evening felt more about compassion and less about winning, less arrogance, more humble pie. This was reflected in every acceptance speech as the focus turned from me to we. There was a sense that everyone in the room was part of a larger ensemble, part of the Broadway community. It was a privilege to be a member of the audience.