(UPDATED with new pics and links to video.)
The 2011 Tony Awards for excellence in Broadway theater were handed out tonight and two shows dominated the proceedings as expected, though not in record-setting fashion. War Horse ran away with 5 awards in the play categories and The Book of Mormon prayed its way to 9 prizes on the musical side of the aisle. A lack of acting wins (except one for Mormon‘s Nikki James) and some spoilers in the tech categories kept them from the rarified 12 wins by The Producers.
Get a full list of winners after the jump but first, here are my “I really should go to bed now but I’m hoping Neil Patrick Harris drops by” immediate reactions to the show:
Biggest Winner: Neil Patrick Harris, proving he’s a masterful host and a kick-butt music theater performer by singing and dancing his way through not 1 but 3.5 numbers (the whip smart “Not Just for Gays” opening, my fantasy come true host-off with Hugh Jackman, an all-star song from Company and the the rap/poetry slam over the credits for a half point). He should head out tomorrow and find some curtains to match the Emmy he’ll be winning next year.
Best Triple Threat: Anything Goes star Sutton Foster displaying Olympic endurance as she made performing the title song look easy (and then showing her comedy chops by getting wonderfully weepie and delightfully passive-aggressive over the imminent departure of her longtime dresser). Runner-Up: Brooke Shields trying to remember her lyrics in the opening number, tripping over her words in her award presentation and finally, as she justifiably threw up her hands in dismay, getting bleeped for swearing on live TV.
Biggest Bump to Ticket Sales: Daniel Radcliffe and the cast of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying laying down the gauntlet right out of the gate with a rousing and forceful “Brotherhood of Man”. With some of the blockbusters choosing more subdued musical selections, this underdog revival (and unnominated star) showed everyone how to get that box office ringing.
Best Sports: Bono and the Edge eating humble pie and smiling through 30 seconds of Spider Man jokes, then graciously saying that the people in every Broadway show create “a procession of miracles.” You got to love the Irish.
Biggest Surprise: a clearly shocked Nikki James, winning Best Featured Actress for The Book of Mormon (then startling and amusing the audience by telling a story about bumble bees). Runner-up: the usually contentious Larry Kramer giving a sweet and delicate thanks after his play won Best Revival.
Best Line of the Night: Robin Williams looking out at the crowd of theater folk and quipping, “The only beard in here is on my face.” Runner-Up: Chris Rock, presenting Best Musical and commenting on the lack of suspense by saying, “It’s like taking a hooker to dinner. You know you’re going to get laid.” (The joke ever so slightly helped us get past the fact that he was visibly unhappy every time he was shown in the audience, clearly upset to be missing an NBA game.)
Best Choice by the Nominated Shows: All Praise Joseph Smith! Instead of following the recent trend of performing odd and deflating medleys, most of the nominated musicals gave us single, show-stopping songs. That’s what sells a show, not some weird, live version of a movie trailer. Runner-up: The Best Play nominees simply described their shows instead of performing unsettling, out-of-context excerpts that, in years past, have made great actors look like they were at a high school Speech and Debate tournament.
Best Performance by an Inanimate Object: puppet Joey, the titular War Horse, neighing, nuzzling and showing more life than most human awards show presenters (even Hugh Jackman was visibly astonished in the audience). Runner-Up: Whoopi Goldberg’s The Flying Nun joins a mariachi band hat.
Number of Televised Thanks to Gay Partners: A shockingly low for the Tony’s 2. I blame the Mormon people.
And the official winners are:
“The Book of Mormon”
Best Revival of a Musical
Best Revival of a Play
“The Normal Heart”
Best Lead Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, “Anything Goes”
Best Lead Actor in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, “Catch Me If You Can”
Best Lead Actress in a Play
Frances McDormand, “Good People”
Best Lead Actor in a Play
Mark Rylance, “Jerusalem”
Best Feature Actress in a Musical
Nikki M. James, “The Book of Mormon”
Best Featured Actor in a Musical
John Larroquette, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”
Best Featured Actress in a Play
Ellen Barkin, “The Normal Heart”
Best Featured Actor in a Play
John Benjamin Hickey, “The Normal Heart”
Best Direction of a Musical
Nicholaw & Parker, “The Book of Mormon”
Best Direction of a Play
Elliott & Morris, “War Horse”
Best Original Score (Music/Lyrics) for Theater
Parker, Lopez & Stone, “The Book of Mormon”
Best Book of a Musical
Parker, Lopez & Stone, “The Book of Mormon”
Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus, “The Book of Mormon”
Kathleen Marshall, “Anything Goes”
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Brian Ronan, “The Book of Mormon”
Best Sound Design of a Play
Christopher Shutt, “War Horse”
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Chappel & Gardiner, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”
Best Costume Design of a Play
Desmond Heeley, “The Importance of Being Earnest”
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Scott Pask, “The Book of Mormon”
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Rae Smith, “War Horse”
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Brian MacDevitt, “The Book of Mormon”
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, “War Horse”