Tonys Latest: Stars arrive eager about Broadway’s return
The Latest on the Tony Awards (all times local):
8: 20 p.m.
Alex Timbers has won the trophy for best direction of a musical for “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”
It is Timbers’ first Tony. The show is about the goings-on in a turn-of-the-century Parisian nightclub, updated with tunes like “Single Ladies” and “Firework” alongside the big hit “Lady Marmalade.”
Timbers has been nominated twice before, for directing “Peter and the Starcatcher” in 2012 and directing and writing “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” He has been a production consultant on David Byrne’s “American Utopia,” directed “Rocky” and “The Pee-wee Herman Show” and is directing “Beetlejuice” for the second time next spring. He won a Lucille Lortel Award to have directed the Off-Broadway production “Here Lies Love.” Later, he was directing the show at London’s National Theatre. Other notable off-Broadway credits include the “Love’s Labour’s Lost” in Central Park and the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2016 revival of “The Robber Bridegroom.”
For the Tony, he beat Phyllida Lloyd of “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” and Diane Paulus of “Jagged Little Pill.”
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8: 15 p.m.
Stephen Daldry now has a trio of Tony Awards for directing.
He won Sunday for helming “The Inheritance,” playwright Matthew Lopez’s two-part, seven-hour epic that uses “Howards End” as a starting point for a play that looks at gay life in the early 21st century.
Daldry was previously honored for “Billy Elliot: The Musical”, and “An Inspector Calls.” He was also a nominee for 2015 for the film “Skylight” as well as directing Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience”.
Daldry directs and executive produces the Netflix series “The Crown” and was creative executive producer of the opening and closing ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
For the Tony, he beat David Cromer from “The Sound Inside,” Kenny Leon from “A Soldier’s Play,” Jamie Lloyd and “Betrayal” and Robert O’Hara with “Slave Play.”
7: 20 p.m.
Lauren Patten has edged out her co-stars from “Jagged Little Pill” to win the award for best featured actress in a musical.
The show plumbs Alanis Morissette’s 1995 breakthrough album to tell a fictional story of a family spiraling out of control. Patten plays teenage lesbian Jo in the show and gets to belt out the song “You Oughta Know.”
After opening in New York, “Jagged Little Pill” producers have apologized to fans for changing Jo from gender-nonconforming to cisgender female after the show moved from Boston to Broadway.
Patten grew up in Downers Grove in Illinois and began performing in community theater and commercials at the age of 4. Patten, who was previously on Broadway in “Fun Home,” is a regular role on CBS’ crime drama “Blue Bloods.”
She won the Tony over Kathryn Gallagher, Celia Rose Gooding, and Robyn Hurder, both from “Jagged Little Pill.” The Musical” and Myra Lucretia Taylor of “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical.”
7: 18 p.m.
Broadway favorite Danny Burstein has won his first Tony Award after seven nominations.
The actor who played the influential nightclub host Harold Zidler, in “Moulin Rouge” won best actor in a feature role in a musical.
He said that he shared the award in common with his fellow nominees, and thanked his son. “I love being an actor on Broadway.”
He also thanked his son for sharing the award with him and thanked the Broadway community. “I love being an actor on Broadway.”
Broadway audiences have cheered Burstein for his soulful showmanship in such musicals as “South Pacific,” “Golden Boy,” “Follies,” “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Cabaret” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”
He made his Broadway debut in 1992 in “A Little Hotel on the Side” and went on to star in dramas like “The Seagull” to musical comedies like “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”
Shortly after the Broadway shutdown in March 2020, he was hospitalized with a near-fatal case of COVID-19. And in that December, his wife of 20 years, Broadway leading lady Rebecca Luker, died from ALS.
7: 15 p.m.
Theater veteran Lois Smith has won her first Tony for “The Inheritance.”
She won for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play. Smith previously earned nominations for “The Grapes of Wrath” in 1990 and “Buried Child” in 1996.
In The Inheritance, Smith plays a prominent role but doesn’t get on stage until the end of the show’s seven-hour run time. Matthew Lopez’s epic uses “Howards End” as a starting point for a play that looks at gay life in the early 21st century.
Smith has acted in such movies as “East of Eden,” “Five Easy Pieces” and “Lady Bird.” TV audiences will recognize her from appearances on “Route 66,” “ER” or “True Blood.” She made her Broadway debut in 1952 in “Time Out for Ginger.”
Other films credits include “Black Widow,” “Falling Down,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Twister,” “How to Make an American Quilt,” “Dead Man Walking,” “Minority Report,” “Marjorie Prime” and “Ladybird.”
7: 10 p.m.
David Alan Grier has won his first Tony for “A Soldier’s Play.”
Grier played a stern Army sergeant in Charles Fuller’s play, set on an Army base in Louisiana during World War II. An all-Black investigator was called to investigate the murder of the black sergeant in an all-Black company. He thanked Kenny Leon, his director. “And to my other nominees: Tough bananas, I won.”
One of Grier’s earliest roles was in a small part in the off-Broadway debut of “A Soldier’s Play” when he was in his 20s. He revisited the work when it was turned into a 1984 movie. It is Grier’s third chance at the apple. He won the Tony for the best performance of an actor playing a prominent role in a play.
Grier studied Acting at Yale. He has had a successful career on stage (“Dreamgirls”) as well as on TV (“In Living Color” (DAG) and in film (“Jumanji”) during the pandemic-delayed Tony Awards. He previously earned Tony nominations for “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” “The First” and “Race.”
For the Tony, Grier beat Ato Blankson-Wood and James Cusati-Moyer from “Slave Play” and John Benjamin Hickey and Paul Hilton of “The Inheritance.”
7: 05 p.m.
The pandemic-delayed Tony Awards kicked off Sunday with an energetic performance of “You Can’t Stop The Beat” from the original Broadway cast of “Hairspray!”
The optimistic number was performed for masked and appreciative audience at a packed Winter Garden Theatre. Audra McDonald received a standing ovation. “You can’t stop it. She said, “The heart of New York City!”
She described it as less than a prom, more like a homecoming, and said that it was amazing to see half of everyone’s faces. She said Broadway had been knocked out by COVID-19 for 560 nights. She also expressed hope for more equitable Broadway.
David Alan Grier was the night’s first winner, taking home the featured actor in a play Tony for “A Soldier’s Play.”
6: 35 p.m.
The red carpet for the Tony Awards is underway and stars are praising the return of live theater.
Talking Heads frontman David Byrne says that he has been going to theaters as a spectator since he was a child and it’s an “amazing feeling.”
” The audiences are thrilled, Byrne said. It’s really exciting. It’s really exciting.”
Leslie Odom Jr., who became a household name playing Aaron Burr in the original “Hamilton” run, is hosting a special tribute to Broadway that’s airing on CBS Sunday night. He believes that audiences will be more open to theater and its performers now that they have returned.
” “I believe we’re going back with a new sense gratitude,” Odom states.
“Jagged Little Pill” goes into the Tony Awards telecast on the defensive, dogged by two controversies.
A former cast member, Nora Schell, a Black nonbinary actor who made their Broadway debut in the chorus in 2019, posted a statement this week on social media describing repeated instances early in the run of the show in which they were “intimidated, coerced, and forced by multiple higher ups to put off critical and necessary surgery to remove growths from my vagina that were making me anemic.”
“Jagged Little Pill” producers — saying they are “deeply troubled” by the claims — have hired an independent investigator and the union Actors Equity Association said Sunday it was also commissioning “a thorough, independent investigation” of the show’s workplace.
Another controversy was that the producers of “Jagged Little Pill” changed a character from cisgender to gender-nonconforming after it moved from Boston to Broadway.
The Oscars, Grammys, Emmys and Golden Globes have all held their ceremonies during the pandemic. It’s now time for the Tony Awards to celebrate an art form that desperately needs a boost: live theater. Sunday’s show was extended from the usual three hours to four hours. Audra McDonald handed out Tonys for two hours, while Leslie Odom Jr. hosted a “Broadway’s Back!” celebration that included the presentation of the top three trophies: best play revival, best musical, and best musical.
The sobering musical “Jagged Little Pill,” which plumbs Alanis Morissette’s 1995 breakthrough album to tell a story of an American family spiraling out of control, goes into the night with a leading 15 Tony nominations.
Nipping on its heels is “Moulin Rouge!,” a jukebox adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s hyperactive 2001 movie about the goings-on in a turn-of-the-century Parisian nightclub that has 14 nods.
“Slave play” Jeremy O. Harris’ groundbreaking, bracing work, which mixes race, sex and class, was nominated for a dozen awards, making it the most-nominated Tony play.