Playbill.com Tony Blog: The Tony Awards Press Room

Tony Awards   Playbill.com Tony Blog: The Tony Awards Press Room Playbill.com senior editor Andrew Gans is now blogging live from Radio City Music Hall and giving a first-hand account of all the goings-on in the Tony Awards press room.
Tony winner Christine Ebersole meets the press.
Tony winner Christine Ebersole meets the press. Photo by David Gewirtzman

11:42 PM Well, the evening seems to be at an end. Now, it's time to go home, walk the dog and watch the show on TV! Thanks to all who have been reading. See 'ya at the 2008 Tonys.

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11:34 PM Christine Ebersole has just arrived, and she was the first actor of the evening to be asked the age-old awards question, "Who are you wearing?" "I'm wearing William Ivey Long's creation," the now two-time Tony Award winner said, adding that Long was also Tony-honored this evening for his Grey Gardens costumes.

When asked about the recently announced London production of Gardens, Ebserole said, "We don't have a time table right now, but that's our hope — to take it to London. I think they'd have a good time with it over there!" And, the question all Grey Gardens fans have been wondering. How long will Ebersole stay with the show? "I really don't know. It depends on how long the audience is going to come to see it. I know my contract runs out in October. It is a very difficult role to do eight times a week, and it really takes a toll, particularly on my voice. So we'll see. I don't really know the answer to that."

**** 11:25 PM An emotional David Hyde Pierce is now in the press room. "This meant more to me than I realized," said the actor who just won a Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance in Curtains. "I guess it's because it's the theatre," he answered when asked why the award is so important to him.

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11:20 PM "American Idol" winner Fantasia has arrived in the press room. The young singing actress has received raves for her performance as Celie in The Color Purple, and she said the experience "has been been a blessing. It's been good, [and] it's been tough."

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11:14 PM The happiest producers of the evening have now joined the press folk: the Spring Awakening producers. When asked whether there are other productions planned of the Tony-winning Best Musical, the producers said, "Yes, we do. There's going to be a road company. It's already taking form now. I think we already have 72 weeks booked, and then there's going to be productions in England, in Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Japan, Korea, Israel, Australia. We're getting inquiries from all over the world." The producers said Germany and Austria are particularly excited over the prospect of presenting the musical, which is not too surprising since the work is based on the Frank Wedekind drama of the same name.

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11:00 PM Best Leading Actress in a Play Tony winner Julie White has just been ushered into the press room. White said she still can't believe she won. "I didn't go to acting school," she said, "[but] I have been working in the theatre for 25 years. Over that time you learn by doing and you learn by watching wonderful people, and you learn by making dreadful, embarrassing mistakes! . . . I literally made my debut 20 years ago in Lucky Stiff — a musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. I sang the dog song." White gave a little sample and said she might consider performing in a musical again.

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10:56 PM Spring Awakening has won the Best Musical Tony Award. It took eight Tonys this evening.

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10:50 PM Christine Ebersole has won the Tony Award for her brilliant work in Grey Gardens. This is Ebersole's second Tony and one of a slew of awards she has picked up for her dual roles in the musical that began Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. "I'm over the hill in the role of a lifetime. This is so encouraging," Ebersole said in her acceptance speech.

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10:46 PM Brava, Fantasia. . . And, David Hyde Pierce has just won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his work in Curtains. Hyde Pierce is one of the bigger surprises of the evening: Broadway veteran Raúl Esparza had seemed to many the front-runner for his powerful performance in Company.

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10:40 PM Tom Stoppard and the producers of Coast of Utopia have arrived. Stoppard said a production of Utopia is currently in the works in Russia. "I'm going to Moscow in three weeks," Stoppard said. "It's been in rehearsal for about 18 months — in Russian of course. The last I heard it's going to open in October, but don't rely on that because two of the[actresses] are pregnant! There is some interest in a French production as well."

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10:34 PM Wow. Thought the Spring Awakening number was quite exciting. But can you not say "breast" on television?

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10:27 PM: Coast of Utopia has won the Best Play Tony Award. It has now won more Tony Awards (7) than any other nonmusical play in Tony history.

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10:16 PM: More producers: the producers of the Tony-winning Best Revival of a Play, Journey's End. A question that many have been wondering — "Why did you choose to close today?" — was asked. "The reason we chose to close today," a Journey's End producers said, "was there are two people in this room — Stark Sands and Hugh Dancy — and Boyd Gaines [who is not here] all begin new jobs tomorrow. We thought it was wrong to keep the show running a week or two and cost these people jobs."

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10:13 PM Frank Langella has won the Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his performance in Frost/Nixon. Had he not won, it would have been the biggest upset in a Tony race in a long time.

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10:11 PM The first group of producers has arrived in the press room: the producers of the Tony-winning Revival of a Musical, Company. Although the show has not been selling that well in the past few months, they said they will run it "as long as they can." Hopefully the Tony will help the box office.

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9:59 PM And the winner is . . . Julie White. White has won the Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Play. That category seemed the most difficult to choose with a field that also included Angela Lansbury, Vanessa Redgrave, Swoosie Kurtz and Eve Best. "You Tony voters, what a bunch of wacky, crazy kids!" an excited White said.

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9:57 PM Company has won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical, and "The Sopranos" is just about to end on HBO. Welcome back, HBO viewers.

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9:49 PM Jay Johnson, who won the Best Special Theatrical Event Tony, was the first winner called upon to perform for the press room. He displayed his ventriloquist skills and let his Tony Award speak for itself for a few moments. Johnson also noted that both his show, The Two and Only, and Spring Awakening both originated Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theatre Company.

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9:46 PM Journey's End, which just closed today, has won the Tony for Best Revival of a Play.

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9:43 PM "Isn't it pretty?" new Tony winner Michael Mayer said, displaying his Tony Award to the press room. He said he's also working on a new musical of The Flamingo Kid.

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9:32 PM Billy Crudup is now in the press room. When asked whether it was a difficult choice to accept a stage role with his successful movie career, the actor said, "It's never been difficult to make a decision to do a play I want to do. I've been really lucky in my career to have extraordinary opportunities on film and onstage."

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9:30 PM Spring Awakening's Michael Mayer has just won the Tony for Best Director of a Musical. The musical has now nabbed seven Tony Awards.

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9:22 PM Tony Award-winning director Jack O'Brien has just arrived. "I would never have imagined that the community would have embraced something like [The Coast of Utopia], but they did." He also added, "I don't think it's three plays. I think it's one gargantuan play."

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9:15 PM Jay Johnson's The Two and Only has won the Best Special Theatrical Event Tony.

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9:14 PM Coast of Utopia, with six Tony Awards, now has tied History Boys and the original Death of a Salesman for the most Tonys ever won by a play.

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9:13 PM "Yay!!!" That was Ehle's response when told her Utopia director, Jack O'Brien, won the Tony for Best Director of a Play. "I'm so happy he won," she added. "It was not very suspenseful, but it's wonderful." As for her own future projects, she said, "I just planted about 70 zinnias, and I'm going to watch them grow."

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9:09 PM A very glamorous Jennifer Ehle — Tony winner for Best Featured Actress in a Play — was just escorted onto the small stage of the press room. About the show's limited run ending, Ehle says, "I haven't been sad the way I thought I would. I thought I'd be devastated. We e-mail obsessively. There's never been a cast that's stayed in touch so much."

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9:01 PM Bill T. Jones has just entered the press room. The Tony-winning choreographer spoke about his contemporaries from the downtown dance scene: "There's an invisible wall. Few of us go through . . . [but] there's a lot of people with a lot of talent, great storytellers. . . Now we just have to find the right property [for them]. [There is much talent] in the downtown dance scene."

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8:56 PM Jennifer Ehle just won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Coast of Utopia now has won five Tony Awards, and Spring Awakening has taken six prizes.

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8:52 PM Well, Spring Awakening's Bill T. Jones certainly wins the award for Best Stage Entrance — jumping up on the stage to get his Tony for Best Choreography.

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8:51 PM Best Featured Actress in a Musical winner Mary Louise Wilson has just arrived. When asked how she feels about winning, Wilson says, "I'm relieved. I didn't want to lose. I'm thrilled for the show, and I'm thrilled for myself, and I'm also thrilled for my family and my friends because they're just going to be going nuts!"

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8:45 PM Spring's Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater were just ushered into the room. Sheik said he's upset because his mom came tonight, and he forgot to thank her. (On the mom note, I tried to call mine during the commercial break — as I usually do at home — and cell phones don't seem to work here. So, hi Mom.)

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8:42 PM They keep bringing the winners during the musical numbers. Thanks goodness for Tivo.

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8:39 PM Grey Gardens' Mary Louise Wilson has won the first musical acting award — for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Her great response: "Woooooooooooooo!"

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8:37 PM Spring Awakening has just won the Best Original Score Award. Pop composer Duncan Sheik, who shares the award with Steven Sater, expressed what many of us have known for a long time: "Musical theatre rocks!"

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8:22 PM John Gallagher, Jr. just entered the press room to a round of applause. The 22-year-old actor said that a friend of Spring librettist and lyricist Steven Sater's asked him after a performance, "Do you know your playing [Steven]? [As a teen Sater was] this ball of energy [and also] really emotional. We call each other the two Moritzes." When asked how much hairspray he's used in the show thus far, he joked, "So much that I think the EPA is after us." Gallagher, Jr. also said that his contract runs through November, but it's possible he could extend.

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8:21 PM Steven Sater just won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Spring Awakening (okay, I'm starting to do better in our office pool again).

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8:17 PM An announcement was just made in the press room that Coast of Utopia has already won four Tony Awards. Should it win two more, it will tie The History Boys and the original 1949 production of Death of a Salesman for the most Tonys ever won by a nonmusical. Since Coast is favored to win Best Play and Best Director of a Play, it seems likely that it will tie those shows. It could win a seventh, since both Martha Plimpton and Jennifer Ehle are both nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Play. . . Hmmm, no winners brought to the press room yet. I guess we won't get to speak with the design winners.

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8:13 PM Spring Awakening's John Gallagher, Jr. has won the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. What a nice emotional speech, and a good idea not to wear the spiky hair.

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8:09 PM And the first acting award goes to Billy Crudup for The Coast of Utopia for Best Featured Actor in a Play . . . By the way, check out the Playbill.com front page. We've posted lots of photos of actors and other artists arriving to Radio City Music Hall.

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8:06 PM C'mon people. Stand up for Angela Lansbury!

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8 PM The awards have begun. Exciting! I'm listening via an infrared hearing device.

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7:57 PM While we're waiting for the first winner to come to the press room, I should introduce the men I'm sharing the Playbill.com table with. On my left is David Gewirtzman, Special Projects; and on my right is Greg Kalafatas, Photo Editor. Say hello, gentlemen. "Hello."

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7:48 PM The final design award was just announced. Bob Crowley won Best Scenic Design of a Musical for the new Disney musical Mary Poppins. Crowley picked up two Tonys this evening (he also won for Scenic Design of Utopia). . . And, now just 10 minutes until the CBS broadcast begins!

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7:47 PM A woman in the press room just announced the design winners thus far. There were a few loud "yays" after the various winners' names were announced. Sweet.

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7:46 PM And another Tony for Utopia: Bob Crowley and Scott Pask have won the Best Scenic Design of a Play Tony. That means Utopia has swept all the Play design awards.

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7:41 PM And, now Spring and Coast of Utopia both have two Tonys: Utopia's Catherine Zuber just won the Tony for Best Costume Design of a Play. . . And, Grey Gardens just picked up its first award: William Ivey Long for Best Costume Design of a Musical (and there goes my perfect score on our office competition).

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7:38 PM Best Lighting Design of a Musical winner is Spring Awakening's Kevin Adams. Spring is already on a roll (and I'm three for three)...

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7:34 PM Best Lighting Design of a Play winner is Brian MacDevitt, Kenneth Posner and Natasha Katz for The Coast of Utopia. (I'm two for two, though I'm sure this won't last long.)

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7:32 PM Just got word from my colleagues who are watching the live feed that the winner in the first competitive awards category was announced. Spring Awakening's Duncan Sheik won the Tony for Best Orchestrations. (So far so good. I guessed that one right in our office competition.)

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7:30 PM The room is getting more crowded, although there quite a few tables empty. Maybe some press don't arrive until the CBS telecast begins at 8 PM.

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7:27 PM Who knew they'd have food? There's quite a nice buffet set up in the next room. I wonder how many times one can return before getting crossed off next year's list.

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7:15 PM I had a few minutes earlier to check out what other press is in the room this evening. Here's a sampling of the various other press outlets: CBS Radio, Clear Channel KOSX, BET, Entertainment Weekly, German Gala, Bloomberg News, OK! Weekly, Paper Magazine, People, MTV, Bergen County Newspaper, NY Times, AP Radio, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Atlanta Journal, Amsterdam News, Spectrum Radio, Star Ledger, Associated Press, New York Magazine, USA Today, Reuters, Variety, Gottlieb, Salon.com, Seattle Gay News, WOR-AM, HD News, My News 9, Broadway.com, Theatermania, Broadwayworld, US Weekly, Star Magazine, In Touch, Lifetimetv.com, Life & Style, CBS Mobile, Inside Edition, Star Daily/CHUM TV, Theatre Talk and, yes, even Dan's Paper has a table.

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7:07 PM To set the scene a bit, the press room features five rows of tables, with about 30 tables in all. At the front of the room is a small stage with three microphones and the CBS Tony Awards banner hanging at the back. There are two television monitors at the front of the room, so the press can watch the ceremony, and there are two other TVs set up for the back of the room.

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6:58 PM ET Hello, theatre lovers. Welcome to the 2007 Playbill.com Tony Awards blog and the Tony press room, which is located on the 64th floor of Rockefeller Plaza. I have to admit it's a bit strange not to be watching the Tony Awards in my apartment with a group of friends, my hyper-but-lovable dachshund Gilligan (and a few pizzas). With the exception of the 1991 awards (when I was a fresh-out-of-college seat filler) or the 2003 awards (where I actually watched from the Radio City Music Hall audience), I haven't missed a Tony telecast since I started watching as a kid in the mid-seventies.

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