Tonys: Press Room Live Blog

Tony Awards   Tonys: Press Room Live Blog
 
Playbill.com editor in chief Adam Hetrick and features editor Ruthie Fierberg live-blogged the night’s biggest moments, including winners, reactions and breaking news from the Tony Awards press room.
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12:29 PM: That’s a wrap from the press room. Thanks for following!

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12:17 AM: Daveed Diggs in the press room. When asked by Playbill.com about being part of a milestone moment (the first time in decades that all four awards in musical acting categories have gone to actors of color) Diggs said, “The way that this season feels… It’s all very new to me. I don’t have a lot to compare this Broadway experience to. I’ve never even really worked in New York before, but I know what I felt growing up, I felt like there was no place for me, and that’s part of the reason I wasn’t here. But looking around, and seeing that it’s so inclusive ... There’s so much diversity on Broadway right now, and I’m very proud to be a part of it. It makes me so happy to see so many kids running around—theatre kids nerding out over these shows—because thy can find themselves in that.”

12:04 AM: Renée Elise Goldsberry in the press room. “When I first went to an audition for this show and ever since then I had a constant prayer in my hear that I would just hold on to this job,” she said. As to performing her role in London or another production of Hamilton, Goldsberry says, “I would love to.” There has been no official statement about casting for upcoming productions.

11:43 PM: Leslie Odom, Jr. in the press room. Odom talked about the importance of the show going on, in light of the Orlando attacks, because “that gives people hope.“

11:34 PM: Lin-Manuel Miranda in the press room. He says that he will be leaving the Broadway production some time this summer.

11:28 PM: Hamilton producers in the press room. “I’m filled with joy at the most extraordinary year one could have in the theatre. To start in July and end here in June is more ... than any of us could have ever dreamed for,” said producer Jeffrey Seller. “We believe in the artist,” he said. When asked by Playbill.com what it was that Seller recognized in Lin-Manuel Miranda years ago, with the birth of In the Heights, Seller responded, “When I heard Jonathan Larson present for the first time “Light My Candle” in Rent, I had never heard a sound in the theatre like that before, and when Lin… performed the opening number from In the Heights, I never heard a sound like that before… I am always looking to surprise my ears.”

11:15 PM: To mark their victory, Hamilton performs the closing number.

11:12 PM: Hamilton wins Best Musical. This is the show’s 11th award. Though it did not break the record, it did win the most prizes of the night. Producer Jeffrey Seller accepts the award. “Hamilton presents the best values, the best impulses that make our nation a Beacon to the world,” said Seller.

11:11 PM: Barbra Streisand walks onstage to a standing ovation. She presents the awards for Best Musical.

11:04 PM: Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald, currently on Broadway in Shuffle Along..., presents the Tony for Best Performance of a Leading Actress in a Musical to Cynthia Erivo for The Color Purple. This marks Erivo’s Broadway debut and first win. “To every single person in my cast you are magnificent,” she said. “Thank you American Theatre Wing for making a London girl very very happy.” All four awards ing musical acting categories have gone to black actors (Daveed Diggs, Leslie Odom, Jr, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Cynthia Erivo).

11:00 PM: Four-time Tony host (and Tony winner) Neil Patrick Harris presents Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical to Leslie Odom, Jr. for Hamilton. This marks the show’s tenth award of the night. Odom beat out his co-star, Miranda, in this category. “You’ve given us a new vision of what is possible,” he said to Miranda. Odom thanked his “cabinet” in the company of Hamilton.

10:53 PM: Ten-time Tony nominee Chita Rivera introduces this year’s In Memoriam.

10:51 PM: Uzo Aduba and Sean Hayes present the award for Best Revival of a Musical to The Color Purple. Oprah Winfrey stands onstage hugging Cynthia Erivo.

10:49 PM: Bebe Neuwirth celebrates the 20th anniversary of Chicago on Broadway, the longest-running American musical of all time.

10:42 PM: Tony nominees Sara Bareilles and Jessie Mueller lead the cast of Waitress in their Tony performance.

10:37 PM: Keri Russell introduces the performance of Tony-nominated Waitress. Russell played the lead, Jenna, in the film that inspired the musical.

10:32 PM: Claire Danes presents the award for Best Play to The Humans. Written by Stephen Karam, the play was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama earlier this year. The show marks Karam’s Broadway debut. This marks The Humans’ fourth award of the night.

10:30 PM: “More than 27 million theatre fans attended shows across the nation,” announced actor Christian Borle, who will be seen in this fall’s Falsettos.

10:22 PM: Hamilton performs a musket-free medley of tunes from the record-making production. The press room stands still.

10:20 PM: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama deliver a video message about Hamilton. Recording artist Common introduces the performance from the cast of Hamilton.

10:14 PM: Diane Lane presents the nominees for Best Revival of a Play. The Tony goes to Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge. Earlier this evening, Ivo van Hove won Best Direction of a Play for this production.

10:12 PM: Tony winner Frank Langella in the press room on his acceptance speech. “Around 5:30 or 6 I tore up the original speech. I just thought it should be some reference to real life, as important as this is.”

10:10 PM: In the press room, Andrew Lloyd Webber continued on to say regarding the Orlando attacks, “No child was ever born to hate. ... What we have to do as an arts community—and Broadway has always been ahead and the only way to take on these appalling acts is to take it on through music and theatre.”

10:08 PM: Andrew Lloyd Webber in the press room talking about his new initiative with the American Theatre Wing. “The first performance of any of my shows I had was at a college ... Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 1970. School of Rock is all about kids learning music and the empowering forms of music. ... We really need to get kids into music.”

10:02 PM: Oscar winner Marlee Matlin introduces the performance for Spring Awakening.

9:59 PM: Frank Langella wins his fourth Tony. “There really is no late in an actor’s career there is just now.”
In light of the Orland tragedy, Langella said, “When something bad happens we have three choices: We let it define us, we let it destroy us, or we let it strengthen us. ... I urge you Orlando to be strong because I'm standing in a room with the most generous human beings on earth, and we will be with you every step of the way.”

9:53 PM: Jessica Lange enters the press room. When asked about using her voice in such contrasting ways she answered, “When I want to illuminate Mary’s age I go to that deep darker sound. I use that head voice when she’s going back in time to convent days and stuff like that. This is such a huge play and there’s so much dialogue and unless I could use a big range that I could go back and forth with it would get tedious.” She brought her daughter and grandddaughter with her to the Awards. As for her relationship with Ryan Murphy, Lange thanks him for this production. “I happened to mention to him that Mary Tyrone ... remained the greatest part I ever had and my favorite role. ... The next thing I knew he had secured the rights and we brought it to the Roundabout....
Of everything I’ve done Mary Tyrone remains the nearest and dearest to me.”

9:49 PM: Best Choreography goes to Andy Blankenbuehler for Hamilton. He thanks the “cabinet” of the creative team.

9:44 PM: Emilio Estefan introduces the cast of On Your Feet! joking that “we all have papers.” Gloria Estefan joined the cast of her bio-musical onstage at the Beacon.

9:41 PM: Nathan Lane presents the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play to Jessica Lange for her performance in Long Day’s Journey Into Night. This is her first nomination and first win!

9:39 PM: Five-time Tony host Angela Lansbury and two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones announce a new initiative from the American Theatre Wing, named the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative for students to pursue theatre training.

9:38 PM: Much like the houses at the Jacobs Theatre, Erivo earns a standing ovation from the house at the Beacon Theatre.

9:33 PM: Oprah Winfrey presents the performance of The Color Puuuuuurple, nominated for Best Revival of a Musical.

9:26 PM: Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori present the award for Best Book of Musical to Lin-Manuel Miranda for Hamilton. This is the show’s eighth award of the night. Miranda alludes to the fact that his characterization of Alexander Hamilton included traits of his father, Luis Miranda.

9:22 PM Ivo van Hove enters the press room. “I treat every play as if it were written yesterday,” says the Tony winner.

9:17 PM: The Humans wins its third award of the night with Reed Birney’s statue for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play.

9:11 PM: Hamilton continues its sweep, taking its seventh award, with Alex Lacaimore taking the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations.

9:02 PM: Hamilton wins its sixth award so far, taking Best Direction for Thomas Kail.

9:00 PM: Ivo van Hove wins his first Tony Award for his Broadway debut with his stark and dangerous staging of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge.

8:51 PM: Andrew Lloyd Webber revealed to Playbill on the Red Carpet that Sunset Boulevard may return to Broadway with Glenn Close. A semi-staged version was recently staged in London at the English National Opera. Read the story here.

8:46 PM: Hamilton scores big, literally, with Lin-Manuel Miranda earning the Tony Award for Best Original Score. This is Miranda's second Tony for Best Score, having previously won for In the Heights in 2008.

8:43 PM: Rapper Daveed Diggs, a Broadway first-timer, won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for his dual roles as the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton is now up to four awards.

8:32 PM: Shout out to a pregnant and radiant Audra McDonald who is singing and dancing up a storm during the Shuffle Along number. She’ll take a leave of absence beginning July 24.

8:28 PM: Renee Elise Goldsberry wins her first Tony Award for her show-stopping performance as Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton. This is the show’s third Tony Award win of the night.

8:22 PM: That’s an impressive way to send us off to our first commercial break: all of this year’s Tony-nominees for Best Score jamming on “Tomorrow” from Annie. This is the first of the #Ham4Ham-style performances of the night that we will get to see prior to and following commercial breaks.

8:14 PM: Jayne Houdyshell wins her first Tony Award for her role in Stephen Karam’s family drama The Humans, which is nominated for Best Play tonight. Houdyshell was previously nominated for her work in the 2011 revival of Follies and the Lisa Kron play Well.

8:05 PM: Tonight’s original opening number, “That Could Be Me/This Could Be You,” was created by host James Corden and Finding Neverland songwriter Gary Barlowe. The wide-ranging number referenced a staggering number of musicals at break-neck speed including Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Sound of Music, The Music Man, Funny Girl, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Annie, Cats, A Chorus Line, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, Dreamgirls, Gypsy and 42nd Street.

8:00 PM: Prior to the official start of the ceremony, Tony host James Corden took a moment to address the mass shooting in Orlando, FL, this morning that targeted a gay nightclub. “All around the world, people are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando this morning. On behalf of the whole theatre community and every person in this room, our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity. All we can say is you are not on your own. You’re tragedy is our tragedy. Theatre is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved. Hate will never win. Together we have to make sure of that. Tonight’s show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards,” he said.

7:53 PM: Though Hamilton is nominated for 16 awards, the most it could win is 13 (due to competition within categories). However, with David Rockwell of She Loves Me winning for Best Scenic Design of a Musical (being out David Korins of Hamilton), the show will not break the record tonight. The Producers holds the current record for wins with 12, which Hamilton can still tie.

7:51 PM: Hamilton wins its second award of the night, with veteran designer Howell Binkley winning for Best Lighting Design of a Musical.

7:48 PM: Natasha Katz wins the Tony Award for Lighting Design of a Play for Long Day’s Journey Into the Night. This marks Katz's sixth Tony win.

7:46 PM: David Rockwell has won the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for She Loves Me. "It has been a joyful lovefest for our She Loves Me family. The most wonderous part has been working side-by-side with Broadway legend Sheldon Harnick," he said.

7:45 PM: Best Scenic design of a play goes to David Zinn for The Humans.

7:44 PM: Hamilton takes its first award of the night. Paul Tazewell has won the Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Musical. In his speech he thanked his mother who taught him how to sew.

7:42 PM: Clint Ramos has won the the Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Play for Eclipsed.

7:33 PM: The new musical adaptation of A Bronx Tale, which premiered at the Paper Mill Playhouse earlier this year, will arrive at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre Dec. 1, according to Mark S. Hoebee and Todd Schmidt. They said that the news was recently revealed by the show’s creator Chazz Palminteri. Hoebee also said that they are hoping to collaborate on a musical project with Deaf West Theatre.

7:26 PM: Fiddler on the Roof and She Loves Me lyricist Sheldon Harnick received a standing ovation when he took the stage to accept the Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre Award. “If I didn’t deserve it, this would be embarrassing.” He went on to say that he shared his award with his collaborators, first and foremost among them, composer Jerry Bock.

7:19 PM: Recipients of previously announced Tony Awards and honors are currently accepting their awards at the Beacon. They follow:

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Sheldon Harnick
Marshall W. Mason

Special Tony Award
National Endowment for the Arts
Miles Wilkin

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Paper Mill Playhouse
Millburn, NJ

Isabelle Stevenson Award
Brian Stokes Mitchell

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Seth Gelblum
Joan Lader
Sally Ann Parsons

7:06 PM: Tony winners Nikki M. James and Christian Borle are offering some do’s and don’ts to the crowd inside the Beacon Theatre. Among the night’s most important tips: nominees have 90 seconds from the time their name is called to make it to the stage and deliver their acceptance speech.

7 PM: Many of you will note that many of tonight’s Tony nominees and attendees are wearing a ribbon to show solidarity with those affected by the mass shooting in Florida. Earlier today the Tony Awards announced that tonight’s ceremony would be dedicated to the victims of the tragedy.

6:45 PM: Hi everyone, thanks for joining us for the 70th Annual Tony Awards. Some facts and figures about the season as we get started.

Just a few quick facts as we get into the awards. Tonight, two musicals lead the pack with the most nominations, Hamilton with 16 (a record!) and Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, which follows with 10.

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