Performer of the Week: Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris Tony AwardsA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Neil Patrick Harris

THE SHOW | Tony Awards

THE AIRDATE | June 9, 2013

As host of Broadway’s biggest night, Neil Patrick Harris took our breath away without ever losing his.

From the moment the show started, we knew we were in for a treat, but we never could have imagined the impeccably delivered and stamina-testing opening number that was to follow. He jumped through a hoop. He climbed a giant statuette. He did it all. Never pausing for more than a few seconds, Harris sang and danced his heart out (at one point while being hoisted by Bring It On cheerleaders!) with so much dynamic enthusiasm and power that it radiated out from the screen — and left us gasping for him.

Neil Patrick Harris Tony AwardsAs if that wasn’t enough, he performed a magic trick, sprinting from the stage to the back of theater in seconds — we’re still trying to figure that one out — and even imbued heartfelt emotion into a verse reaching out to all the theater-loving kids out there. (When he said, “We were that kid,” you knew he meant it.)

And it only got better from there. A clever bit about Broadway vets from recently canceled TV shows, featuring Megan Hilty (Smash), Andrew Rannells (The New Normal) and Laura Benanti (Go On), delighted, and as both a performer and a producer, multihyphenate Harris deserves some credit for that.

Then, for the crème de la crème, the host delivered a wrap-up rap about the night’s big winners and moments with help from Broadway star Audra McDonald. It’s become something of a tradition for Harris to close out the show with Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights) and Tommy Kail’s on-the-fly written words, but he still impresses every time he does so.

What performance knocked your socks off this week?

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  1. kirads09 says:

    Sorry. My vote would be Jeffrey Donovan as Director and Actor in last Thursday’s episode. Burn Notice’s 100th – “Forget Me Not” Incredible work and performance.

    • wordsmith says:

      He definitely at least deserved runner-up for that. That episode was heart-breaking.

    • Will says:

      I still find a live performance that involved expertly timed comedy, dancing, singing, and even a perfectly executed circus stunt to be far more impressive. Though I tend to find great comedy much more impressive and harder to pull off than drama.

  2. annehedonia says:

    I have to concur with your nod to @actuallyNPH. I had to watch the part twice to see _ yeah, he actually jumped thru a hoop! The guy’s a Renaissance Man of entertainment.

  3. Wonder if NPH can do it again when he host the Primetime Emmy Awards come September on CBS.

  4. CA says:

    NPH has become the consummate entertainer….no one note wonder here…but a true performer in all sense of the word.

  5. ksrob says:

    I think Neil Patrick Harris may be one of the few entertainers who could bring back the variety show format like the CAROL BURNETT SHOW. He sings, he dances, he does comedy and he is charming!

  6. c0rinne says:

    NPH was amazing. He should win an award for that performance alone.

  7. Jared says:


  8. Ryan T says:

    And just in time for a busy weekend for NPH for sure: his 40th bday and Father’s Day! Can’t wait to see what he does next after HIMYM wraps.

  9. Barbara C says:

    he just blew me away with his talent. I was so glad that I DVR it. I have watched some of the segments again a few times over!! Way to go Neil !!

  10. Carol says:

    PNH was good! It would be nice if he would acknowledge that Gay Blackstone was the first person to give him a hosting gig, on The World Magic Awards many years ago. Since then, he seems to be the host everyone wants for their show. Seems like he may have forgotten!!

  11. Chaz Brown says:

    I am not a “show tune” type if guy and, truth be told, I only caught the opening on youtube because I heard that Mike Tyson made an appearence. Also, I ha e to be honest, I am not a NPH fan and have only seen his program (either) less than five times. But, honestly, I have watched the opening number more times than I care to make public. This gu was,GREAT!

  12. Will says:

    Absolutely! But no mention of my favorite part–his doggie make-out session? ;)

    Ok, I’m partially kidding, but not fully, because it was a moment that really showed he is willing to just go all-out for the sake of entertainment and nailing a bit. It was a moment that felt improvised, but whether or not was both funny and sweet.

  13. The Beach says:

    His performance made me smile!

  14. K says:

    So being racist pays off after all

  15. Ralph Hartman says:

    Even though nobody watches it Danielle Harris deserves a Honorable Mention for playing a exaggerated version of herself on Holliston.

  16. Gale says:

    I agree – NPH was outstanding. The only things that didn’t work for him were the repeated Mike Tyson jokes. They weren’t funny.

  17. Jerri says:

    NPH deserves performer of the year for the opening performance number alone!

  18. JAO says:

    NPH hosting makes me smile … I never enjoyed the Tony’s as much before. He is a-mazing!

  19. Leila! says:

    NPH is the performer of the decade. I honestly hate the Emmy selection process, but am totally looking forward to (hopefully several) musical numbers.