The Broadway cast of ‘A Strange Loop,’ photo by Marc J. Franklin
The 75th annual Tony Awards spread the love across multiple shows this Sunday, denying any production a full sweep. A few of those winners were real shockers – and of course, there were notable snubs along the way. Here’s a rundown of the highlights, the surprises, and what to expect in the aftermath!
- A Strange Loop triumphed in the end and was crowned Best Musical. The show’s prospects looked shaky just for a moment, as MJ walked away with numerous technical awards, along with Best Leading Actor in a Musical for its young star Myles Frost. But ultimately, the night still belonged to Michael R. Jackson, who also received a Tony for Best Book of a Musical.
- Joaquina Kalukango’s stirring, powerful performance of “Let It Burn,” her character’s scorching 11 o’clock number from the new musical Paradise Square, earned a rousing standing ovation. Kalukango received the struggling show’s sole Tony win of the night, for Best Leading Actress in a Musical – but that performance, and her affecting acceptance speech, might be enough to boost the show’s fortunes.
- Billy Crystal performed some “Yiddish scatting,” charging into the audience and enlisting Samuel L. Jackson and Lin Manuel Miranda, among others, to assist. It wasn’t really Yiddish so much as nonsense noises, of course, but the whole thing was undeniably hilarious.
- The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus honored Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Angela Lansbury, singing “Mame” under the musical direction of Patrick Vaccariello. Hopefully their moving rendition brought some comfort to LGBTQ+ viewers afraid or unable to be their authentic selves, and let them know they are not alone.
Snubs and Surprises
- Off-Broadway stalwart Deirdre O’Connell scored a surprise win for Best Leading Actress in a Play, beating out Mary-Louise Parker among others. O’Connell won for the stirring and experimental Dana H., which closed quickly on Broadway but earned the actress rave reviews. In her speech, O’Connell urged young theatermakers to keep “making weird art.”
- Simon Russell Beale triumphed as Best Leading Actor in a Play for The Lehman Trilogy, despite being nominated alongside his two co-stars, Adrian Lester and Adam Golden. Beale is a legend on the London stage but had never won a Tony Award, which might have helped prevent vote-splitting among the three.
- POTUS went home without any statues, losing in the Best Featured Actress and Best Scenic Design catagories. The raucous political comedy has gradually been building up an audience on Broadway, with grosses increasing each wee, so the losses may not spell an immediate closing.
- Masks were not required in the orchestra for the Tony ceremony, though a negative test was needed. The following day, Music Man star Hugh Jackman tested positive, leading to some anxieties about the week to come. The Broadway League most recently extended its mask policy for all theatergoers through June, though its president, Charlotte St. Martin, said Friday that face coverings could become optional for Broadway’s 41 theaters starting July 1 if COVID numbers hold at their current rates or, better yet, trend lower.
- Hangmen and American Buffalo went home empty-handed, though both are limited runs which may stumble through their remaining weeks. Girl from the North Country had just one win, but was already closing this Sunday. And Music Man also won nothing, but grosses should be undimmed thanks to Jackman and Foster’s star power.