If the last 72 years of Tony Awards ceremonies have taught us anything, it’s that nothing is a guarantee when it comes to predicting the winners. The 2018 celebration had a few surprises in store. Here are five unexpected winners from this year's ceremony:
Laurie Metcalf winning two years in a row
In what was a very competitive category, Laurie Metcalf took home her second consecutive Tony Award, winning Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for her performance in Edward Albee's Three Tall Women. The actor, who won the Tony Award last year for her leading performance in Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, has been nominated for five Tony Awards in the last decade, winning twice.
Ari'el Stachel winning for his performance in The Band’s Visit (his Broadway debut)
In 2016, Playbill interviewed Ari’el Stachel as part of our Outside the Theatre series; he was then a recent graduate, peddling the streets of the theatre district from one audition to another. Yet to book his role in the world premiere of The Band’s Visit at Atlantic Theater Company Off-Broadway, Stachel could not have predicted that less than two years later he’d be taking the role of Egyptian heartthrob Haled in the Itamar Moses-David Yazbek musical to Broadway and winning the Tony Award. An emotional Stachel told the crowd at Radio City how important the show, which itself took home the most Tony Awards of the evening (ten), was for representation of Middle Eastern stories and people.
Itamar Moses winning for the book of The Band’s Visit, also the playwright’s Broadway debut
In another competitive category, the book of The Band’s Visit was up against shows with established brand identities, Frozen, SpongeBob Squarepants, and Mean Girls, but the Tony went to playwright Itamar Moses, who was making his Broadway debut with the critically acclaimed new musical. "[This experience] hasn’t taught me how to manufacture something for Broadway," Moses told the audience at Radio City. "It’s just taught me to let every piece be what it wants to be and leave it up to the fates. It doesn’t escape [me] how lucky we’ve been."
Once on This Island winning Best Revival of a Musical
It was category of just three nominees, but Once on This Island (which is currently playing in one of Broadway’s smallest houses, Circle in the Square) was up against two major productions: the Lincoln Center Theater revival of My Fair Lady and the Scott Rudin revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel. “This is not how I expected this night to go. This is a business where you hear no a lot—to Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens who said yes,” producer Ken Davenport said during his acceptance speech. “To Paul Liben who said yes when we brought 1000 pounds of sand, two goats, and a chicken into this theatre. To all the people out there who dream about doing what I do and what everyone else in this room does. Do not stop asking your question, you can get your yes.”
Tony Shalhoub winning for his performance in The Band’s Visit
This year’s Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category was packed with talented leading men, but it was Tony Shalhoub (an actor previously nominated for three Tony Awards for his performances in straight plays) who took home the Tony for his portrayal of emotionally wrought Tewfiq in The Band's Visit. A veteran of the stage and screen, the win marked his first Tony Award.
Follow all the action from the 2018 Tony Awards press room here.