The just-closed production of Journey's End and Company were named Best Revivals. Julie White and Frank Langella were named Best Actress and Best Actor in a Play, respectively. Christine Ebersole and David Hyde Pierce won for playing leading roles in the musicals Grey Gardens and Curtains.
The 61st Annual Tony Awards, celebrating excellence in Broadway theatre, were presented between 7-11 PM June 10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. To view the Playbill.com blog sharing tales from backstage at Radio City Music Hall, click here.
Jack O'Brien was considered a sure-thing to win Best Direction of a Play for his work on the nine-hour, three part The Coast of Utopia at Lincoln Center. He won the award handily, and in his acceptance speech urged viewers to dismiss the idea that American theatre isn't vivacious: LCT's nine-month process proves it's alive and well.
The revival of R.C. Sherriff's Journey's End, about British soldiers awaiting their fate in a World War I foxhole, won the Tony for Best Revival of a Play. Its final performance was a few hours earlier Sunday at the Belasco; the show struggled for audiences despite being one of the best-reviewed plays of the 2006-07 New York theatre season. It lost its investment, but producer Bill Haber suggested that the play's message that war is not a useful answer was worth it. Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Company, reinvented by director John Doyle so that the cast also doubled as the on-stage orchestra, was named Best Revival of a Musical. Producers mentioned nominee Doyle and orchestrator Mary-Mitchell Campbell as vital to the production's success.
David Hyde Pierce, a theatre actor widely known for his work in TV's "Frasier," was named Best Actor in a Musical for playing a charming gumshoe in Curtains.
Christine Ebersole was named Best Actress in a Musical for playing two characters in Grey Gardens: Middle-aged socialite Edith Bouvier Beale in Act One and her addled daughter, Edie, in Act Two. Mary Louise Wilson was named Best Featured Actress in a Musical for playing the decrepit Big Edie Beale in Grey Gardens. She appears only in Act Two of the musical about the eccentric socialites Edie and Edith Beale, the respective cousin and aunt of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Both Wilson and Ebersole were lauded for their uncanny impersonations of the real-life ladies, whose downfall was explored in the 1975 documentary film "Grey Gardens." Since its Off-Broadway bow in early 2006, critics pointed out that both actresses weren't just aping the late women, they were inhabiting them.
Texas-reared actress Julie White is the sole Tony winner from Douglas Carter Beane's American comedy The Little Dog Laughed, about a gay film actor whose voracious agent (played by White) wants to keep him in the closet. White admitted she never expected to be on a list with fellow nominees Vanessa Redgrave, Angela Lansbury, Swoosie Kurtz and Eve Best — unless, she added, it was on a reservation list at New York theatre haunt Angus McIndoe.
Frank Langella's praised performance as a post-presidency Richard M. Nixon in Frost/Nixon won him the Tony for Leading Actor in a Play.
Jay Johnson: The Two and Only!, the solo play about the art of ventriloquism, was named Special Theatrical Event. A national tour of the show starring Johnson commences this fall.
Many considered Spring Awakening to be a masterstroke of direction — a punchy, theatrical, in-your-face physical evocation of teen angst that felt like the merging of a heated, socially-conscious soap opera and a rock concert. Tony voters agreed and gave Michael Mayer the Tony for Best Direction of a Musical.
Duncan Sheik wrote the alt-rock score of Spring Awakening, so who better to orchestrate it? His navigation of the throbbing bass, hostile guitar and heart-pounding percussion won him the Best Orchestrations Tony, the first award presented June 10. Steven Sater won in the category of Best Book of a Musical for Spring Awakening, based on Frank Wedekind's 1891 expressionist play about troubled teens kept in ignorance by adults.
Kevin Adams won for Best Lighting Design of a Musical, for helping create the emotionally murky world of Spring Awakening. For what is only his second Broadway job (following Rabbit Hole), John Gallagher Jr., who plays the desperate young student Moritz in Spring Awakening, won the Best Featured Actor (Musical) Tony.
The rockin', frank Spring Awakening won the Tony for Best Score (music by Duncan Sheik and lyrics by Steve Sater). The show has been called groundbreaking for its presentational, inscrutable exploration of secrets held in the hearts of its teen characters. Suicide, sexual abuse, abortion, shame, sexual ignorance and desire are all addressed in the show.
Bill T. Jones' sensual, ritualistic musical staging for Spring Awakening seduced Tony voters. The dance-world star won in the category of Best Choreography.
William Ivey Long's costumes showing 1941 American high society and its downward spiral by the 1970s, at least as represented in Grey Gardens, won him the Tony for Best Costume Design of a Musical.
The lighting team of The Coast of Utopia (Natasha Katz, Brian MacDevitt and Kenneth Posner) won for their luminous work in the Lincoln Center Theater staging of Tom Stoppard's ambitious three-play cycle at the Vivian Beaumont. Designers Bob Crowley and Scott Pask won for their scenic design of the mammoth LCT mounting. Crowley also won the Tony for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for Mary Poppins.
Catherine Zuber won the Tony for Best Costume Design of a Play for the sprawling Coast of Utopia, set in Russia and England in the 19th century. Jennifer Ehle, who played three characters in Stoppard's tale of pre-Revolutionary Russian intellectuals, won in the category of Best Featured Actress in a Play.
Dozens of stars presented awards at the annual ceremony. From 8-11 PM ET, CBS-TV broadcast the ceremony.
The nominees and winners of the 61st Annual Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards follow. Winners are listed in boldface, with an asterisk.
Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Musical
Laura Bell Bundy, Legally Blonde The Musical
*Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens
Audra McDonald, 110 in the Shade
Debra Monk, Curtains
Donna Murphy, LoveMusik
*The Coast of Utopia
The Little Dog Laughed
Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Play
Boyd Gaines, Journey's End
*Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Brían F. O'Byrne, The Coast of Utopia
Christopher Plummer, Inherit the Wind
Liev Schreiber, Talk Radio
Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Play
Eve Best, A Moon for the Misbegotten
Swoosie Kurtz, Heartbreak House
Angela Lansbury, Deuce
Vanessa Redgrave, The Year of Magical Thinking
*Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed
Best Revival of a Musical
The Apple Tree
A Chorus Line
110 in the Shade
Best Revival of a Play
Inherit the Wind
Best Special Theatrical Event
*Jay Johnson: The Two and Only
Kiki & Herb Alive on Broadway
Best Direction of a Play
Michael Grandage, Frost/Nixon
David Grindley, Journey's End
*Jack O'Brien, The Coast of Utopia
Melly Still, Coram Boy
Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Musical
Charlotte d'Amboise, A Chorus Line
Rebecca Luker, Mary Poppins
Orfeh, Legally Blonde The Musical
*Mary Louise Wilson, Grey Gardens
Karen Ziemba, Curtains
Legally Blonde The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Music: Duncan Sheik
Lyrics: Steven Sater
Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me
Christian Borle, Legally Blonde The Musical
John Cullum, 110 in the Shade
*John Gallagher, Jr., Spring Awakening
David Pittu, LoveMusik
Best Scenic Design of a Play
*Bob Crowley & Scott Pask, The Coast of Utopia
Jonathan Fensom, Journey's End
David Gallo, Radio Golf
Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy
Best Costume Design of a Play
Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy
Jane Greenwood, Heartbreak House
Santo Loquasto, Inherit the Wind
*Catherine Zuber, The Coast of Utopia
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, Coram Boy
Brian MacDevitt, Inherit the Wind
*Brian MacDevitt, Kenneth Posner, and Natasha Katz, The Coast of Utopia
Jason Taylor, Journey's End
Bruce Coughlin, Grey Gardens
*Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening
Jonathan Tunick, LoveMusik
Jonathan Tunick, 110 in the Shade
Regional Theatre Tony Award
*Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA (announced earlier this spring)
Tony Awards Tally
Spring Awakening: 8
Coast of Utopia: 7
Grey Gardens: 3
Mary Poppins: 1
Jay Johnson: The Two and Only: 1
Journey's End: 1
Little Dog Laughed: 1
The Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards are "bestowed annually on theatre professionals for distinguished achievement."
For more information visit www.TonyAwards.com.