Playbill.com Tony Blog: The Tony Awards Press Room

By Adam Hetrick
12 Jun 2011

Robert Lopez
Robert Lopez
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Playbill.com staff writer Adam Hetrick is blogging live to give readers a first-hand account of all the goings-on in the Tony Awards press room.

11:47 PM. Well, "tomorrow is a latter day" and I've gotta be back in the office! So, I'm packing up and heading home. Thanks for reading everyone and happy 2011 Tony Awards.

11:30 PM. Book of Mormon creators and creative team members said a film of the Tony-winning musical wasn't a major priority for them. They revealed talks are underway for a London bow and Tonys will certainly help. They also got a good laugh when asked about their research and they said they used "Google, Wikipedia and LDS online."

11:29 PM. Book of Mormon co-author, co-director and producer Trey Parker tied with Josh Logan from South Pacific for the most Tony Awards won by one individual in one night, with four Tonys.



11:12 PM. Norbert Leo Butz revealed to the press that he's padded for the role of Hanratty. His acceptance speech also officially named book writer Brian Yorkey (a Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner for Next to Normal), who had long been rumored to have been a book doctor on Catch Me If You Can. The musical has a book by Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally. Butz also put out a "thank you" to Tom Hanks, who originated the role of Hanratty on film and actually named the character for the film, according to Butz. He said Hanks is a big supporter of the musical.

11:06 PM. Don't go away just yet. We have lots of Tony Award winners still coming into the press room. 

11:05 PM. "I feel kind of sad when I win things to be honest with you," Mark Rylance told the press. He credits Louis Jenkins as the same poet who writes all of his speeches. He famously used his poem "Back Country" when he won the Tony for Boeing-Boeing.

11:00 PM. The Book of Mormon is the 2011 Tony Award winner for Best Musical.

Norbert Leo Butz
photo by Joan Marcus

10:57 PM. Norbert Leo Butz earns his second Best Leading Actor in a Musical Tony Award for playing FBI Fraud Agent Carl Hanratty in Catch Me If You Can.

10:55 PM. Mark Rylance, who gave an earth-shaking performance  as Johnny "Rooster" Byron in Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, nabs his second Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play. PS – his speech was "Walking Through Walls," by American poet Louis Jenkins. 

10:45 PM. Roundabout Theatre Company artistic director Todd Haimes told the press that Anything Goes will extend its Broadway run past January 2012 and will also launch a tour in fall 2012. He also said the Roundabout was "surprised" to learn of the City Center Encores! revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along (which had long been rumored to be revived by Roundabout with James Lapine attached as director) but that they would welcome the Encores! production into their season. "If it goes well, we'd love to do it. It would be cool to have a Sondheim [musical] in the Sondheim Theatre."

10:39 PM. Almost a decade after winning for Thoroughly Modern Millie, Sutton Foster wins her second Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical Tony Award for Anything Goes.

Frances McDormand
photo by Joan Marcus

10:36 PM. Frances McDormand earns the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Good People.

10:35 PM. War Horse is galloping away with the Tony Awards tonight. Paule Constable has won the Tony Award for Best Lighting. The production has now earned  five of tonight's Tonys.

10:29 PM. Playbill.com's photo gallery of the Tony Award winners tonight thanks to our photographer Joseph Marzullo.

10:26 PM. The Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Anything Goes taps its way to a 2011 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

10:22 PM. The Normal Heart producer Daryl Roth told the press, "It happened the kind of way things are meant to be," describing the Broadway production as "beshert." She also said she expected Kramer's play will get its long-awaited film debut. "I believe it will," she said. "I think that his production has helped put it in the forefront again. It will be made and it should be made."

10:15 PM. The Book of Mormon now has 8 Tony Awards. Brian MacDevitt takes the 2011 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Musical.

10:04 PM. The London import War Horse is the 2011 Tony Award winner for Best Play.

10:01 PM. The Book of Mormon scenic designer Scott Pask has been awarded his third Tony Award. Check out his designs (along with those of Tony-nominated Mormon scenic designer Ann Roth) in a special Playbill.com feature.

9:51 PM. Congratulations, Larry Kramer. It may have taken more than 25 years, but The Normal Heart earns the Tony for Best Revival of a Play. What an amazing speech by Larry and producer Daryl Roth.

9:36 PM. The Book of Mormon is enjoying a strong Tony Awards night. "South Park" Emmy winners Matt Stone and Trey Parker can now add a Tony to their mantle. Along with Bobby Lopez, they just won the 2011 Tony for Best Book of a Musical. Book of Mormon now has six Tony Awards.

John Larroquette
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

9:35 PM. John Larroquette told the press that he and Daniel Radcliffe are contracted with How to Succeed... through January 2012. He described How to Succeed as a "great way to lose your virginity," as a Broadway newcomer.

9:32 PM. Priscilla costume designers Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner credited their work to "money and hallucinogenics," receiving many laughs in the press room. They also said that they used glue guns and duct tape to make their costumes for the original film, but have now been given the budget to take their initial ideas and expand them and "blow them into the universe," describing them as costumes on "steroirds," or "girl-oids." Gardiner also famously wore a dress made out of gold American Express cards, but is in chic black this evening. Chappel teased that she was initially planning a dress made out of Metrocards.

9:31 PM. Rae Smith has won the Tony Award for Best Scenic design for War Horse.

9:24 PM. Nikki James has entered the press room. When asked about what it's like to be singled out and take the Tony Award in such a male-dominated musical like Book of Mormon, she responded, "It's a boy's club! Even the way the dressing rooms play out. I'm on the boy's side, so I hear a lot of belching. It's funny, Trey and Matt don't even usually write a lot of girls into their work, 'South Park' is about a lot of boys. So, it's been really fun."

9:20 PM. How to Succeed in Business... star John Larroquette, who is making his Broadway debut this season, earned the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

9:12 PM. Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, who earned a 1995 Academy Award for the film "The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert," are having déjà vu. They just won the 2011 Tony Award for designing costumes for Broadway's Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

9:07 PM. Well, now all of America has an idea of what New Yorkers have been screaming for at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre and The Book of Mormon.

9:06 PM. More photos from Tony Awards Red Carpet arrivals here!

9:02 PM. War Horse co-directors Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris told the press that they did not completely import the play wholesale from London, and that they re-explored and reinvented scenes and sequences for Broadway.

Nikki M. James
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

8:59 PM. Nikki M. James just earned her first Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for The Book of Mormon.

8:56 PM. Costume designer Desmond Heeley has earned the 2011 Tony Award for The Importance of Being Earnest. He also won the Tony Award in 1968 for sets and costumes for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

8:50 PM. John Benjamin Hickey spoke of his work in The Normal Heart to the press. "It has taken an emotional toll, but it probably won't manifest until July 11. I've been on a really great work high. In many ways the play is about adrenaline. It's about time. The emotional cost of it feeds us."

8:44 PM. Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, the co-directors of the overwhelming production of War Horse, earn the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play. 

8:42 PM. The Book of Mormon's co-directing team Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker have won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical, making that four Tonys for Mormon so far tonight.

8:39 PM. The Lincoln Center Theater production of War Horse just earned its first competitive Tony Award of the evening for Best Sound Design (Christopher Shutt).

8:32 PM. In case you're all wondering, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman did not write this year's original Tony Awards numbers for Neil Patrick Harris, according to the Catch Me If You Can composer's Facebook page. 

8:28 PM. John Benjamin Hickey has earned the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role for The Normal Heart. The production has now earned two Tonys.

8:27 PM. We have Tony Awards Red Carpet arrival photos live. Check 'em out!

8:23 PM. Ellen Barkin told the press that The Normal Heart has been "a once in a career opportunity. I don't want it to happen again. We are so proud to be shouting out this message that needs to be heard 30 years later."

8:21 PM. The Book of Mormon's Brian Ronan nabs the Tony Award for Best Sound Design.

8:15 PM. Handspring Puppet Company's Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, who received a Special Tony Award for their incredible work on War Horse, told the press room that, "Joey started out as a large cardboard horse. It took about 18 months from cardboard model to opening night." They also gave the Broadway cast a nice nod, adding that the physical commitment from the actors was "a little bit stronger here."

8:09 PM. Ellen Barkin, who is making her Broadway debut in Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, wins her first Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play. What a speech.

Neil Patrick Harris
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

8:01 PM: Neil Patrick Harris just kicked off the Tonys and in case you were wondering, "The Tonys are not just for gays anymore!"

7:54 PM. The Book of Mormon says "Hello!" to its second Tony Award of the evening for Best Original Score, written by Avenue Q Tony winner Robert Lopez, and "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

7:53 PM. Kathleen Marshall has earned the Tony Award for Best Choreography for Anything Goes. She is also nominated in the Best Direction of a Musical category.

7:52 PM. The Book of Mormon took the first Tony Award of the evening for Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus).

7:23 PM. David Esbjornson, who directed the Broadway revival of Driving Miss Daisy just revealed that the production will play a 12-week London run starring original revival cast members Vanessa Redgrave (a 2011 Tony nominee), James Earl Jones and Boyd Gaines.

7:16 PM. Original Weather Girl, Martha Wash, whose hit song "It's Raining Men" opens the Broadway musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert, will introduce the song during the Tony performance tonight along with Paul Shaffer (of "Late Show With David Letterman" fame), who co-wrote the song.

Samuel L. Jackson

7:10 PM. An update for those of you not watching the live red carpet feed. When asked if Halle Berry would be able to join him in the Broadway production of The Mountaintop this fall, Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson told NY1, "We're still seeing people. She's doing a movie." Berry previously withdrew from the production due to personal issues, but many hoped she might be able to fit Broadway into her schedule.

7:02 PM. Happy Tony Awards night, everyone! I'll be bringing you all of the updates from the first row in the Tony Awards press room. Keep checking back for updates on all the news and fun throughout the night.

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We will are also posting to Facebook and Twitter throughout the night. Red carpet photos, snapshots of the Tony winners and breaking news stories are being posted all evening long on Playbill.com.

The 2011 Tony Awards are presented at The Beacon Theatre; Neil Patrick Harris hosts. CBS-TV will begin broadcasting the event live at 8 PM. A pre-telecast ceremony begins after 7 PM.

For more information visit TonyAwards.