Broadway Live! Playbill.com's 2014 Tony Awards Press Room Blog

By Adam Hetrick
08 Jun 2014

The Tony Award
The Tony Award

Playbill.com editor in chief Adam Hetrick live-blogged from the Tony Awards press room. Read his first-hand account of winners' reactions and breaking news from the press room during the 68th annual ceremony.

Starting with red-carpet arrival photos to backstage interviews, winner reactions, social media watch and commentary on the night's biggest trends, speeches, upsets, surprises and those show-stopping musical numbers that only the Tony Awards can provide – Playbill.com has complete coverage of the Tony night!

12:14 AM. Thanks to all our readers and fellow theatre lovers who joined us tonight! We're heading out on the town to toast the winners. Check Playbill.com tomorrow for updates on the Tony parties, awards trends and more!

12:12 AM. Our photo gallery of all the winners as they arrive in the Tony Awards press room. 



12:10 AM.  Neil Patrick Harris' first Broadway musical was Les Miz. "It sort of overtook me," he said. "When you see something like that for the first time, you realize that's what it can be. When there's a musical element and it's done right, you can speak about your emotions more freely."

12:08 AM. Hedwig Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris is the last winner to enter the press room. When asked if he was ever worried about getting sick after having to kiss a stranger in the audience each night at Hedwig, he replied, "Not mono… But Liz Caplan, who is my voice coach and vocal supervisor, she has handfuls of pills that I'm supposed to be taking…" He also revealed that he had blood work prior to the start of the show to see which vitamins he was deficient in so that he could be preemptive in taking care of his body. He also does extensive physical therapy to maintain his physical health after walking in heels each night. Read more about voice teacher Caplan in Playbill.com's Booking It feature. 

11:56 PM. The writers and producers of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder are in the press room. They've revealed plans for a London run of the Tony-winning musical, which was in development for 11 years prior to its Broadway arrival. "We definitely intend to bring the show to London," the team said, while noting that a specific timeline was not currently in place.  "We have a producing partner who is working with us already. It will definitely happen."

John Cameron Mitchell and Michael Mayer
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

11:53 PM. Original Hedwig star John Cameron Mitchell told Playbill.com that he is at work on the Hedwig sequel, but a timeline is not in place. "We're not sure [on a timeline] yet because it's much weirder than the first one was, so it won't be on Broadway now. [Laughs.] But it's all about the second half of your life… [It's about thinking], 'I don't have any time left,' so it’s about the second half of our life. I probably will star in it."

11:45 PM. Carole King was asked if she learned anything about her songs seeing them performed in the context of a character-driven musical. "I've learned a lot of new things about myself," she said. "To see it with such clarity. Jessie found all of this on her own, and what she portrays is so true. It's so true for me, and we said that we gave each other a gift. It's a gift to see myself for the woman I was then… and like myself."

11:41 PM. Tony winner Jessie Mueller and Carole King have arrived together in the press room. Mueller was asked if producers will bring Beautiful to London and if she'd reprise her performance. "They've looked into it, but I can't confirm anything," she said. "If they'd like me to do it, I'd happily hop over the pond for a while.

11:30 PM. So how did our readers fare in this year's Tony predictions? See who they picked to win here. 

11:09 PM. Theatre fans - don't go anywhere! Our Tony Awards coverage continues! The winners are still arriving in the press room.

11:07 PM. Tonight's final Tony tally: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (4), Hedwig (4), Raisin in the Sun (3), Beautiful (2), All The Way (2), Bridges of Madison County (2), Twelfth Night (2), Lady Day (2), The Glass Menagerie (1), Act One (1), Rocky (1), Aladdin (1), After Midnight (1).

11:02 PM. The Tony Award for Best Musical goes to A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, the most-nominated production of Tony Awards season. 

10:57. Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson is performing a new song from the Broadway-aimed musical Finding Neverland, which will premiere this summer at the American Repertory Theater (also the birthplace of Tony-winning Pippin, Porgy and Bess and All The Way). You can bet that if Hudson is getting coveted Tony Awards air time, a Broadway bow for Neverland is in the very near future.

10:55 PM. Who inspired Jessie Mueller and Lena Hall's road to Broadway? Read about it here.

Carole King and Jessie Mueller
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

10:53 PM. Jessie Mueller has won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her performance as Carole King in Beautiful. Mueller also spoke with Playbill.com about the work it takes to get to the Tony Awards in our feature: What Didn't Kill Them Made Them Stars: Tony Nominees Turn Rejection Into Tony Success.

10:49 PM. The Tony Awards orchestra is being conducted by Patrick Vaccariello, who you can also see conducting the sexy cast of Cabaret's actor-musicians every night.

10:46 PM. Audra McDonald has entered the press room. Looking back at the African American actresses who came before her, she reflected, "I don't have to deal with the racism and the misogyny like Lena Horne, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday. Because of the fights they fought, I am able to be here." She also spoke about the work it took to find Billie Holiday's voice for Lady Day. "It was about six months into studying Billie… Her speaking voice was very much like my grandmother's," she said, joking that she used to impersonate her grandmother in front of her. "That's how I found my way in."

10:44 PM. Here's your current Tony tally: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (3), Hedwig (3), Raisin in the Sun (3), Bridges of Madison County (2), Twelfth Night (2), Lady Day (2), Act One (1), Rocky (1), Beautiful (1), Aladdin (1), After Midnight (1).

10:38 PM. Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which premiered Off-Broadway in 1998 starring writer John Cameron Mitchell, has won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

10:33 PM. We're nearing the end of the night! Only three Tony Awards are left to be awarded. 

10:30 PM. Carole King, who had shied away from seeing Beautiful for months – despite giving the creative team her blessing - finally saw the production in April and surprised the cast with a post-performance on-stage appearance. Tonight she did the same for the audience at the Tony Awards.

Lena Hall
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

10:28 PM. Tony Award winner Lena Hall is in the press room and recalled seeing the original production of Hedwig Off-Broadway. "I saw it at the Jane Street in 1999. It was like a religious experience," she said.

10:25 PM. Tony Award winners Neil Patrick Harris and James Monroe Iglehart both thanked Broadway go-to vocal coach Liz Caplan during their acceptance speeches tonight. Caplan was part of Playbill.com's Booking It! feature. Read about the tips she gave to Tony-winning stars.

10:22 PM. Front-runner Neil Patrick Harris wins his first Tony Award for his performance in the John Cameron Mitchell-Steven Trask musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

10:11 PM. Bryan Cranston has entered the press room to applause. He referenced the Tony telecast featuring "For Good" from Wicked and joked, "Look what you're missing." When asked if he would consider reprising his performance as LBJ in Schenkkan's All The Way follow up play, The Great Society, he replied, "I would never say never. But, it almost feels like when you just had a baby and people say,'You gonna have another one?'"

10:07 PM. A Tony Award 54 years in the making. A Raisin in the Sun has won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Lorraine Hansberry's landmark drama was Tony-nominated in 1960, but lost to William Gibson's The Miracle Worker.

10 PM. Gent's Guide Tony-winning costume designer Linda Cho told the press room that the chartreuse dress she is wearing is her 2007 wedding gown repurposed. "Mama didn't wear white!"

9:59 PM. Lighting designer Natasha Katz has won her fourth Tony Award this evening for The Glass Menagerie. She also designed lighting for Aladdin this season.

9:56 PM. Hedwig takes its second Tony Award of the night. Kevin Adams has won for Best Lighting Design of a Musical. This is his fourth Tony Award, having won previously for Spring Awakening, The 39 Steps and American Idiot.

9:52 PM. Aladdin Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart is in the press room. He said he and his wife will head to McDonald's after the Tony Awards tonight to "keep it real." Later on they'll go home and "kick it with our cats." Among the Disney roles he'd also like to play would be Baloo in Disney's stage adaptation of The Jungle Book, but the role is already cast. (The musical previously played Chicago's Goodman Theatre and Boston's Huntington Theatre Company).

Bryan Cranston
Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

9:48 PM. Robert Schenkkan's LBJ drama All The Way has won the Tony Award for Best Play. This is the fourth production in two years to be developed at the American Repertory Theater and go on to Tony-winning runs. It joins Once (workshopped at A.R.T.), as well as the revivals of Porgy and Bess and Pippin, which premiered there. The A.R.T. production of The Glass Menagerie is also Tony-nominated for Best Revival of a Play this evening.

9:46 PM. U.K.-born actress Sophie Okonedo has entered the press room. When asked about director Kenny Leon, she said, "He believed I could come here and make this leap to being an American from the South side of Chicago." She said that Leon didn't want any "tricks" in the production, that he wanted something simple and true.

9:35 PM. If you're keeping track at home. Here's the evening's current Tony tally: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (3), Bridges of Madison County (2), Raisin in the Sun (2), Twelfth Night (2), Lady Day (2), Act One (1), Rocky (1), Beautiful (1), Hedwig (1), Aladdin (1), After Midnight (1), All The Way (1).

9:29 PM. Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston, who makes his Broadway debut this season, has won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for portraying Lyndon B. Johnson in All The Way.

9:24 PM. Audra McDonald makes Tony Awards history with her sixth Tony Award, winning for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. This is the only Tony acting category in which McDonald had not won.

9:19 PM. Gent's Guide takes home its third Tony Award of the evening for Best Costume Design of a Musical winner Linda Cho.

9:17 PM. Best Costume of Design of a Play is awarded to Jenny Tiramani for Twelfth Night.

9:15 PM. Jason Robert Brown is in the press room. He said "unofficially" that his new musical Honeymoon in Vegas will happen on Broadway in the fall, depending on theatre availability.

9:12 PM. Kenny Leon revealed that they are in talks to imagine August Wilson's ten-play American Century Cycle as a film project. He also said that Wilson's Jitney should be staged on Broadway, and that he also hoped to see a revival of Two Trains Running. Leon also mentioned "bucket list" projects include working with Hugh Jackman, Helen Mirren, Katie Holmes and even Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, Raisin star LaTanya Richardson Jackson, in a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Sophie Okonedo
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

9:09 PM. Sophie Okonedo, who is making her Broadway debut with A Raisin in the Sun, has won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play. Her win was announced while Raisin director Kenny Leon was on stage in the press room. Leon erupted into cheers of "Yes! Yes! Yes!" and stopped answering press questions so that he could watch Okonedo's acceptance speech.

9:06 PM. Warren Carlyle, who also choreographed the Tony Awards tonight, won the Tony for Best Choreography for his dazzling work on the Jazz Age revue After Midnight. Read: Booking It! Tony Nominee Warren Carlyle on Audition Mishaps, Showing Off Your Skill Sets, Where to Take Class and More.

9 PM. James Monroe Iglehart, who plays the Genie in Disney's Aladdin, has won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical.

8:57 PM. As Brown notedBridges of Madison County is the only musical nominated for the Best Original Score Tony Award that will not be performed at the ceremony tonight. It's worth noting that Rocky's performance didn't feature any singing, while the presentation of the Roundabout Revival of Cabaret does not include the production's only two Tony Award nominees, Linda Emond and Danny Burstein.

8:52 PM. Best Original Score has been a much-discussed category this season. Jason Robert Brown just won his third Tony Award for The Bridges of Madison County, which was only a handful of musicals to arrive on Broadway this season with an original score. This is the second Tony Award for Bridges tonight, Brown having already won for Best Orchestrations. 

8:48 PM. Kenny Leon has won the Tony Award for Best Direction for the revival of A Raisin in the Sun, which stars Denzel Washington. This is Leon's first Tony Award. He also directed the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun, which starred Sean Combs (P. Diddy).

8:45 PM. Darko Tresnjak has won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. This is the second Tony Award Gent's Guide has nabbed this evening. Tresnjak is also at work on the new Ahrens and Flaherty stage musical adaptation of their animated musical "Anastasia."

8:39 PM. With eight honors presented so far, all of the Tony Awards tonight have gone to separate productions. No show has yet to pull ahead as the evening's leader.

8:35 PM. A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, which is the most-nominated musical this Tony season, has won its first award. Robert L. Freedman has won for Best Book of a Musical.

Mark Rylance
Photo by Joan Marcus

8:32 PM. Twelfth Night Tony winner Mark Rylance has entered the press room. When asked why he didn't deliver another poem, he quipped, "I thought you might be expecting it." Rylance also stated, "We would very much like to come back to the Belasco with some more Shakespeare. We've been talking about that."

8:25 PM. Lena Hall, who made her Broadway debut as a youngster in Cats (back in 1999!), has won the Tony Award for playing Yitzhak in the Broadway premiere of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Hall also spoke with Playbill.com about the work it takes to get to the Tony Awards in our feature: What Didn't Kill Them Made Them Stars: Tony Nominees Turn Rejection Into Tony Success.

8:20 PM. Playbill.com interviewed this year's Tony Award nominees, including Jessie Mueller, Sutton Foster, Ramin Karimloo and Jefferson Mays, to ask who were the people who inspired their careers. Read it here.

8:13 PM. Mark Rylance has won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play. This is Rylance's third Tony Award. He takes tonight's honor for his performance as Olivia in the all-male production of Twelfth Night. This is the first time Rylance has made a Tony speech and not used the poetry of Louis Jenkins.

8:06 PM. Audiences are getting their first look at one of the shows nominated for Best Musical, After Midnight, which conjures Duke Ellington's years at the Cotton Club.

8:05 PM. For those who didn't know, Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will be joining the Broadway cast of After Midnight this summer. Natalie Cole is also among the stars announced to headline the production for a limited engagement.

8 PM. All of Broadway is getting some love in the opening sequence! The Tony Awards this year are choreographed by 2014 After Midnight Tony Award nominee Warren Carlyle, who is up for Best Choreography and Best Direction of a Musical. 

7:49 PM. Bridges of Madison County composer Jason Robert Brown has won the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for the now-closed Broadway production based on the romantic Robert James Waller novel. This is Brown's second Tony Award, having won for Best Original Score for Parade in 1999. Brown's score to Bridges is also nominated this evening.

7:47 PM. Beowulf Boritt has won the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play for Act One.

7:45 PM. Christopher Barreca has won the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for Rocky. Audiences will get a taste of his work, which includes a boxing ring that moves from the stage into the audience of the Winter Garden Theatre, later this evening.

7:43 PM. Steve Canyon Kennedy has won the Tony Award for Best Sound Design of a Play for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill.

7:40 PM. Brian Ronan has won the evening's first competitive Tony Award for Best Sound Design of a Musical, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

7:36 PM. Isabelle Stevenson Award recipient Rosie O'Donnell is center stage accepting her honor. She said that when she found out she was being honored, she asked, "Did it look like a real Tony?" (It does!) O'Donnell joked that in ten years when guests came to her home, she would tell them that she won for "Best Featured actress in a musical. Where the hell've you been?" She later named Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth and Patti LuPone and joked, "Those bitches didn't win!" O'Donnell also spoke about the impact Broadway had on her life as a youngster: "Hollywood was vague and an illusion, but Broadway was real and tangible." She also stated that there's nothing like the feeling of sitting in a theatre with "a waxy Playbill in my hand."

7:32 PM. Veteran costume designer Jane Greenwood is accepting her Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. She said that five of this evening's Tony Award nominees are her former students at Yale University. A 15-time Tony Award nominee, Greenwood has never won in a competitive category.

7:26 PM. After a change in Tony rulings last year, Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre is the first organization to win the Regional Theatre Tony Award. Artistic director James Houghton and executive director Erika Mallin have taken to the stage to accept the Tony. The honor was announced April 28.

7:24 PM. The Creative Arts Tony Awards are currently being presented. Several honors were announced earlier this season. 

7:23 PM. Tony Award winners Billy Porter and Karen Ziemba are sharing tips and rules with the audience at Radio City. #TonyTrivia: You have 90 seconds from the time your name is called to hustle to the stage and give your speech.

Charlotte St. Martin

7:16 PM. Broadway League executive director Charlotte St. Martin told the audience at Radio City that tonight's Tony Awards ceremony will have more musical performances than any other Tony telecast in history.

7:01 PM. Attention Fanzels! If/Then star Idina Menzel revealed to NY1 that she will sing the eleven o'clock show-stopper "Always Starting Over" on the Tony telecast this evening.

7 PM. All of Broadway has gone rainbow this month as part of #PlaybillPride. Check out all of the Playbill covers here.

6:54 PM. In addition to Tony Awards season, June is very special to Playbill. This year we are proud to launch our first-ever Playbill Pride issue, celebrating the life and work of the LGBT community on and off stage. We'd like to give a shout out to our friends (and Tony voter!) Dennis Norton and Patrick Bannister, who were married in Pennsylvania yesterday and kept their tuxes on to attend the Tony Awards tonight as part of their wedding celebration. Congrats guys! Read about #PlaybillPride here.

6:46 PM. For our thirsty friends at home: If you'd like to toast the winners, we asked our friends at 54 Below to create some specialty cocktails inspired by the Tony Award-nominated productions. All the recipes here!

6:42 PM. Theatre fans! You can vote at home and keep track of all the winners with our Tony Awards ballot. Download it here.

6:40 PM. Tony Awards glamour! Hugh Jackman and more! Check out our Red Carpet arrival shots from photographer Joseph Marzullo.

6:30 PM. Happy Tony Awards everyone! We're back in the press room to give you a first-hand account of the awards ceremony and all of the back stage excitement. We expect that the first Tony Award (which will be presented prior to the live telecast) will take place around 7:30 PM. While we are waiting for Tony host Hugh Jackman to get the evening started, this year we're also excited to partner with Stage17.tv to offer exclusive Red Carpet live-stream from the Tony Awards. Check it out here.

The 2014 Tony Awards will be broadcast on CBS beginning at 8 PM ET.

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Photo by Matthew Blank