It took a whole village to bring Broadway back. Even people checking vax cards at the door.
That was the affirming message of the 75th annual Tony Awards, as the main awards were spread across several productions and host Ariana DeBose paid tribute to all of Broadway’s unsung cast – including swingers and stunt doubles. who helped ‘A Strange Loop’ win the Tony for Best Musical. , “Company” won the Tony for Best Musical Cover, TK for Best Play, and “Take Me Out” for Best Cover of a Play.
This year’s 75th annual Tony Awards, a return to something closer to early summer normalcy after three years of COVID-induced chaos, was held at Radio City Music Hall in Midtown Manhattan on Sunday. and hosted by the genial, assertive DeBose, whose heavy-dancing opening number featured a slew of classic Broadway musical numbers with original lyrics, even merging “La Vie Boheme” with “Climb Every Mountain.”
In a show that steered clear of dangerously old-fashioned satire, DeBose’s opening number took on a generous tone, one that once worked for the Tonys, focusing on the history of acceptance speeches and the Broadway’s unique position as the place of so many dreams, both filled and still confined to the pillows.
“For many of you, it’s been a roller coaster ride,” DeBose said of the troubled season celebrated by the awards. “Companies reunited after two years apart.”
At various points during a show determined to teach America that acting is a team sport, she and others have shouted at everyone from stage managers to musicians to stunt doubles.
Again, there was a fitting reminder that the industry (and the Tonys) still need classic stars as Billy Crystal ran all over Radio City Music Hall, performing a Yiddish call-and-response number under wild applause. All that and Laurence Fishburne doing a Daffy Duck impersonation.
The main show’s first big number featured Hugh Jackman, sporting a close-up worthy stubble, leading “76 Trombones” as the musical’s musicians filled Radio City Music Hall. Jackman, still the showman, found time to wink at the camera.
Big names took home top awards: Patti LuPone won her third Tony for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical and Jesse Tyler Ferguson won the Tony for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for his work in “Take Me Out”.
LuPone blew a metaphorical kiss to “all the COVID safety folks,” in honor of a hardworking task force long stationed outside Broadway theaters across the city, checking the vaccination cards of terrified patrons at the idea of missing the curtain. They’re confined to history now, but they got tickets to the Tonys and made their mark in a weird year. Theater owners, however, are renowned for their optimism.
On the red carpet before the show, James L. Nederlander insisted that “people are happy to be back on Broadway. The restaurants are full. Hotels are filling up. »
Two of Michael Jackson’s children, Paris and Prince, presented the stage for “MJ the Musical,” an attraction licensed by the King of Pop’s estate and featuring Myles Frost. This clip was shot in the show’s own theater, not live in Radio City.
Christopher Wheeldon, whose choreography succeeded in both honoring Jackson and doing its own thing, won the Tony for best choreography. The direction of Tonys was entrusted to Sam Mendes for the kaleidoscopic drama “The Lehman Trilogy” and to Marianne Elliott for the revival of “Company” by Stephen Sondheim.
The number of British accents thanking the podium nominees was surprisingly high this year and mostly unexpected, especially in a year when so many shows struggled to complete their travel plans.
“Six The Musical,” the show that made divorced, beheaded, and triumphant Tudor wives cool, had a banging debut for the 75th Annual Tony Awards on Sunday night, snagging best original score for the extremely pop-pastiche work. successful Broadway newcomers Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. The show, which opened in London and made its US debut at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, also won the Tony for Best Costume Design. Next, Gabriella Slade was asked if she was planning a clothing line because of the popularity of her glamorous work with teens. “I don’t need it,” she said, nodding at the show’s rise as a cult phenomenon, “so many people are doing it themselves.”
Tony’s first hour was spent mostly on design and technology awards, spread across several productions. Montana Levi Blanco won Best Costume Design for a Play for his remarkable collection of designs for “The Skin of Our Teeth.” Blanco dedicated her award to “Mexican-American single mothers”.
The first-hour opening number on Paramount Plus, written by Darren Criss and Julianne Hough, also celebrated Broadway’s resilience: A Fraction of the Wage.
A special Tony for Angela Lansbury was, alas, confined to streaming. At 96, he could be forgiven for not appearing in person, though New York’s gay men’s choir paid special tribute to a Broadway icon who saw and thrived in good times and bad. .