That's the first bit of Tony Awards-related good news to relay. It may not seem like much, but typically a Tony Awards ceremony is followed by the folding of those shows that walked away losers. Not this year. The Lieutenant of Inishmore, which went 0 for 5 in the Tony nominations, is standing firm. And The Wedding Singer, which couldn't cop an award in five tries, not only didn't close, but saw a Monday box office bump three times the usual daily total in the wake of the June 11 Tony program, due to a well-received, televised performance of its opening number.
Box office numbers were up throughout the West 40s. Jersey Boys, which took home the Best Musical honor, collected a cool half mil June 11-12. History Boys, the Best Play winner, hit $200,000 in sales by the end of Monday—considered huge for a non-musical. The Drowsy Chaperone, which claimed the Best Book and Best Score laurels, raked in even more: $700,000. And poor The Color Purple, which only won a single Tony, for Best Actress in a Musical LaChanze—well, don't feel too bad for the show. Sales were double the usual on Monday.
So much box office traffic. Why? One of the reasons may have been the Tony broadcast's ratings, which were, unaccountably, up by 20 percent, despite all predictions to the contrary. According to a CBS press release, the show averaged a 5.3 rating/9 share, a marked increased from the 2005 telecast, which averaged a 4.5 rating/8 share. The change represented an additional 1.29 million viewers, with 7.79 million people having watched this year's awards program. This was the best showing for the ever-in-ratings-freefall broadcast since Rosie O'Donnell days.
As for the show itself, it included a few surprises. The Pajama Game won for Best Revival of a Musical over favorite Sweeney Todd (which, nonetheless, garnered two trophies), perhaps improving the show's chances of returning in the fall. The aforementioned LaChanze surged past frontrunner Patti LuPone of Sweeney. And Christian Hoff of Jersey Boys, not the predicted Jim Dale of Threepenny Opera, was given the Best Featured Actor in a Musical Tony. Last but not least, the top winner of the evening was—gasp!—a play: The History Boys with six wins. Given that straight plays have considerably fewer categories in which to compete, this almost never happens. The Drowsy Chaperone won the most of any musical: five.
Finally, the awards were also good for international relations. Between The History Boys, Sweeney Todd and Faith Healer, a total of nine British artists won Tony Awards. And, because of The Drowsy Chaperone, the Canadians made out well, too. Who needs the UN? ***
Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's new alternative rock take on Frank Wedekind's 1891 coming-of-age teen tragedy Spring Awakening got a handful of respectful reviews after its June 15 opening by Atlantic Theater Company Off-Broadway. The Associated Press called it "thoroughly compelling." Will a tight cast, muscular direction by Michael Mayer and an evocative score lead the show to a commercial future? Stay tuned.