It was the first Tony Award in 27 months. It followed the longest Broadway closure in history. It has already arrived during a pandemic that killed 687,000 Americans, and because the theater industry, like many other sectors of society, is wrestling with an intensifying demand for racial equality.
The Tony Awards ceremony on Sunday night is different from what it used to be, with a mix of prizes and performances, but now it’s a spectator as the impoverished industry and lasting art form are about to recover. It has a mission to pull back.
The biggest award of the ceremony is the best musical, “Moulin Rouge! Musical” is a gorgeous stage adaptation of the 2001 Baz Luhrmann movie about the love triangle of Paris at the end of the century. The musical, packed with modern pop songs, dominated the musical category and won 10 awards.
The Best Play Award was given to the two-part drama “The Inheritance,” written by Matthew Lopez and inspired by “Howard’s End,” about two generations of gay men in New York City. The victory was upset. “The Inheritance” has received various reviews in the United States at best, and many observers expected Jeremy O. Harris’s “Slave Play” to win the award. Lopez, whose father is from Puerto Rico, said he was the first Latino to win the Tony Award for Best Theater. This is a pride, but at the same time suggests that the industry needs to be better.
“We make up 19% of the US population and about 2% of the playwrights who have performed on Broadway in the last decade,” says López. “This needs to be changed.”
From the beginning, it reminded me of the extraordinary difficulties faced by theater artists. Broadway veteran Danny Burstein, who had a life-threatening Covid-19 attack and lost his wife Rebecca Luker to a neurodegenerative disease, won her first Tony. This is the seventh time he has been nominated for playing an active role as a cabaret Impresario in “Moulin Rouge!”. “Musical”, a show where at least 25 office workers got sick.
In his speech, he thanked the Broadway community for their support. “Whether you just sent a note, love, prayer, or bagel, you were there for us,” he said. “It meant the world to us, and that’s something I’ll never forget. I love being a Broadway actor.”
The ceremony was held at the Broadway Winter Garden Theater. With a capacity of 1,500, the Radio City Music Hall, where previous events have been held frequently, can accommodate far less than 6,000. Participants were subject to the same restrictions as Broadway show patrons. Evidence of vaccination had to be proven and he was asked to wear a mask covering his mouth and nose.
The bifurcated four-hour show demoted most of the awards to the first half of the entire business. It was only available on the Paramount + streaming service. This allowed the latter half to be aired on CBS, hosted by Leslie Odom Jr., and emphasized artistry over awards as a parade of musical stars such as Josh Groban, Ben Platt, Anika Noni Rose and Darren Criss. .. It reminds spectators and potential ticket buyers of the fun of watching a play.
Early in the streaming part of the show, the appeal to nostalgia began. Marissa Jaret Winokul and Matthew Morrison kicked off with graduates of the original cast of “Hairspray,” a song about the uncontrollableness of the musical in 2002. beat. “And in case someone misses the message, Audra McDonald, who won the Tony Awards six times, the organizer of the award ceremony, said,” I can’t stop the beat on Broadway, the heart of New York City. ” I did.
“We’re a little late, but we’re here,” McDonald added. And she urged the industry to be more diverse, saying: But hope we are finally ready to commit to changes that bring more awareness, action and accountability in order to make our theater industry more comprehensive and impartial to all. I am. Broadway is back — and it should be better.
An early emotional highlight was Jennifer Holiday, whose 1982 Tony Awards from “Dreamgirls” to “and I’m telling you I won’t go” was described as the best Tony performance ever. Came again when he returned to sing a song. The audience stood up in the middle of the song and stayed there through her last, wrinkled, aerial scream.
The 74th Tony Awards have a long way to go, celebrating a series of plays and musicals for the 2019-2020 season when the pandemic was cut off, which ended abruptly when Broadway was forced to close on March 12, 2020. ..
Only 18 shows were considered eligible to compete for the award, which is about half the normal number, and only 15 were nominated.
Candidates selected by 41 theater experts who saw all the shows in question were announced last October. In March, 778 producers, performers and other industry players voted electronically. The ballot was kept by the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP, but has managed to keep it secret ever since.
The long-term delay ceremony, originally scheduled for June 2020, will eventually maximize the chances of a ceremony motivating viewers to buy tickets after a long period of insecurity. It was scheduled at the same time as the Broadway reopened. It’s impossible. Broadway reopening plans boost case roads in the summer, adding new uncertainty to the question of when tourism, which accounts for about two-thirds of Broadway spectators, will return to pre-pandemic levels. Complicated by.
However, Broadway, which has 41 theaters, already has 15 shows, and more shows every week.
In the show back, there are all three candidates for the best musical. “Moulin Rouge!” The performance started on Friday. “Tina Turner Musical” is a biographical musical about Tina Turner’s life and career, returning on October 8th. And the modern family drama “Jagged Little Pill”, inspired by Alanis Morissette’s album, is back on October 21st.
All three musicals have won several victories.
“Tina” star Adrian Warren won her incredible performance as the title character. Warren, one of the founders of the Anti-Racism Broadway Advocacy Alliance, will retire at the end of October. She also prompted the industry to change. “The world is crying for us to change,” she said.
“Jagd” won the most notable actress, Lauren Patten, who impressed the audience with Diablo Cody’s best book and Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” stunning production. Patten’s performance has been the subject of some controversy, as some fans recognized the character as non-binary in pre-Broadway productions and were dissatisfied with how the role evolved. The show’s producer said the character “is on a vast journey of gender without known results.” In her acceptance speech, Patten thanked “my transgender and non-binary friends and colleagues for engaging me in difficult conversations and participating in dialogues about my personality.”
Among the awards received by Moulin Rouge were the director’s first Tony Alex Timbers and the costume designer Catherine Zuber’s eighth record-breaking award. The show’s protagonist, Aaron Tveit, won for the first time in an unusual way. He was the only candidate in this category, but to win he needed support from 60% of the people who voted in this category. He wept when he thanked the nominees and voters.
“Let’s continue to strive to tell stories that represent many people, not a few, for many people, not a few, by many people, not a few.” “Because our behavior changes …