Playbill.com Tony Blog: The Tony Awards Press Room

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
13 Jun 2010

The Tony Awards Press Room
The Tony Awards Press Room
David Gewirtzman
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.

11:46 PM. Thanks for reading everyone and happy Tony Awards night! As Ben Stone says in Follies, "What we need is a drink." I'm thinking a champagne toast is in order, how about you?

11:37 PM. The producers and writers of Memphis have arrived in the press room. Producers Randy Adams and Sue Frost said the Best Musical Tony Award win was "surreal." "Every night our cast delivers it and brings it," DiPietro said of the musical. Frost also reveals that they have quite a lot of bookings for the tour of Memphis, which launches in the fall of 2011 and is already booked for two years. And the Tony press room closes with a "Hockadoo!"

11:31 PM. Douglas Hodge is here. He says of Broadway that there's "a generosity here that's unparalleled, not just in the audiences but in the theatre community." He says he's been asked to stay on with La Cage. He's scheduled through September, but will now likely stay longer. He has also written a musical titled Meantime that he'd like to stay in America and develop. He penned the music.

11:26 PM. Boo. We're told Catherine Zeta-Jones will not be coming to the press room.



11:19 PM. La Cage producers Sonia Friedman and David Babani are now in the room. Babani said that their intent was to "strip away a lot of the showbiz that the original and revival did so brilliantly. We found the heart of this piece." Friedman also shot down rumors of Kelsey Grammer stepping into the role of Albin. She is hopeful Hodge, who just won the Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award tonight for his performance in that role, will stay on with the Broadway production.

11:12 PM. A little personal update from the press room. This is the first time in probably 20 years that I haven't really watched the Tony Awards. The press room is a pretty busy place and when award winners are brought in the room, the sound on the monitors goes off. So, it looks like I'll have to find a friend who DVR'd the ceremony to catch up on the performances and full speeches.

11:03 PM. Red playwright John Logan and producer Arielle Tepper Madover (who is also wearing red) are now in the press room. Logan also said that he feels Red works better in America (a sentiment Eddie Redmayne expressed earlier). Madover said that there are no current plans in place for another Donmar transfer for next season, but that they typically happen fast. If there is one message for audiences to take from his play, Logan said: "Art is significant. It means something."

11:02 PM. OK folks, don't sign off just yet. We still have plenty of award winners coming to the press room. Stay tuned for more Tony night tidbits!

11:00 PM. And a big "Hockadoo!" to Memphis. The original rock musical earns the Tony Award for Best Musical.

10:59 PM. OK we're down to the wire. Catherine Zeta-Jones takes Best Actress in a Musical and Douglas Hodge earns Best Actor in a Musical.

10:53 PM. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are speaking with the press. They said their chemistry was natural and that it helped that they were not singled out as leads. "It's music, so it takes a whole band," Washington said of working with the cast. Davis said of late playwright August Wilson: "It's so fitting that as soon as he finished the tenth play of the cycle, that he passed. You couldn't orchestrate it better. It's like that's what he was anointed to do."

10:48 PM. Fela! Tony winner Bill T. Jones reveals more about possible plans to take the musical to Lagos, Nigeria: "The National Theatre is very supportive of it," he said of the invitation to take the show there. He said his upcoming stage projects include adaptations of the films "Black Orpheus," "Superfly" the musical, as well as "Monsoon Wedding."

10:41 PM. Giving a shout out to fellow Boston Conservatory alums Chad Kimball, Nick Adams and Alysha Umphress, who are performing at the Tonys tonight in Memphis, La Cage and American Idiot, respectively. Rock on kids.

10:37 PM. The Tony Award for Best Revival goes to La Cage aux Folles. The original production took Best Musical and the 2005 revival also earned Best Revival of a Musical.

10:29 PM. "Glee" and Spring Awakening star Lea Michele canoodling with buddy Jonathan Groff during "Don't Rain On My Parade" and channeling Barbra Streisand too. No small feat.

10:21 PM. John Logan's acclaimed drama Red has won the Tony Award for Best Play. Interesting to note that earlier this spring the work lost the Olivier Award to an American play (Katori Hall's The Mountaintop).

10:19 PM. August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Fences takes the Tony Award for Best Revival.

10:13 PM. A big round of applause in the press room for late AP theatre critic and theatre lover Michael Kuchwara during the Tony Awards' "In Memoriam."

10:09 PM. Bill T. Jones takes his second Tony Award for his choreography to Fela! He also took the prize for Spring Awakening in 2007.

10:03 PM. Levi Kreis, who plays Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet, said that he's been workshopping the musical since 2004. He originated the role in Chicago and now earned a Tony for recreating his work on Broadway.

9:52 PM. David Hyde Pierce hinted that he might be involved in the 2011 revival of How to Succeed in Business starring Daniel Radcliffe. He's participated in earlier readings of the musical that will be directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford (Promises, Promises).

9:40 PM. Fences stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis both earned Tony Awards tonight for their work in August Wilson's play.

9:41 PM. Tony winner Katie Finneran credits watching the Tony Awards for her first inspiration to get into show business. "I was 5 and I knew that I liked Julie Andrews." She also explained how she spends her down time during Promises, Promises... thanks to her dressing room bathroom which is connected to the actual theatre. "I can actually go into my toilet, open the trap door and I'm in the house. I just open a curtain and can watch the show from my toilet. I call it 'The view from the loo.' She also just performed Marge MacDougal's signature screech owl hoot from the show.

9:29 PM. Eddie Redmayne has entered the press room. He said that American, especially New York audiences, get the references faster than British audiences, revealing, "The play has speeded up. We took four minutes off it since it's come here." He was unable to attend the Olivier Awards (due to a London performance of Red) and said that the Tony Awards are his first awards ceremony. He is also at work on a painting that his character Ken is painting in the play. It is inspired by Rothko's actual assistant Dan Rice and he expects to finish it when the Broadway run ends.

9:20 PM. Red director Michael Grandage (who will also stage the 2012 Broadway revival of Evita), said that casting Argentinean actress Elena Roger in the title role of Evita (which is scheduled to come to Broadway in 2012), "gave us an authenticity that we were able to take much further. We will really develop the production, work with Andrew Lloyd Webber even more on the music and bring open a 'newer' version."

9:08 PM. Terry Johnson, the director of La Cage, explains his inspiration for the intimate take on the Jerry Herman musical, saying that, "The size of the room we started in was about the size of the footprint you see [on stage]. That's the joy of the Chocolate Factory. You have to find the quintessence of what you're doing because that's all you can afford. You look at it harder, you make tougher decisions and you don't use anything that doesn't have to be there."

9:04 PM. Katie Finneran is awarded her second Tony for her performance in Promises, Promises. What a great speech. Wow, an engagement, lunch with Angela Lansbury and Kristin Chenoweth's eyelashes. Now, that's a good night.

8:48 PM. The acclaimed and intimate revival of La Cage aux Folles, imported from London's Menier Chocolate Factory, just took its first Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical (Terry Johnson).

8:46 PM. Red helmer Michael Grandage has just won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play. Red has now won five Tony Awards out of its seven nominations.

8:40 PM. Scenic designer Christine Jones is now in the press room and says that the American Idiot set incorporates found posters from the internet, the street and even posters representing bands that the cast members perform in.

8:32 PM. Best Featured Actor in a Play goes to Eddie Redmayne for Red. He also took the Olivier Award for his work in the play at the Donmar Warehouse.

8:30 PM. Here's a look at the Tony Awards arrival photos from our photog Joseph Marzullo. Check them out here.

8:17 PM. The Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play goes to Scarlett Johansson. A View from the Bridge was her Broadway debut.

8:14 PM. Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth take a jab at the now infamous Newsweek article. You gotta love it.

8:10 PM. The Tony-winning Memphis team including DiPietro, Bryan and co-orchestrator Waters just arrived in the press room. Bryan said Memphis is an original, or "what we call a future revival." DiPietro added that director Christopher Ashley took the musical "to a new level." DiPietro and Bryan are also at work on a new musical Chasing the Song. You can read Playbill's story about that here.

7:55 PM. Make sure to follow us on Twitter too. We're posting snapshots from the press room.

7:44 PM. Catherine Zuber has arrived in the press room. She said that input from the cast aided in her creations for The Royal Family.

7:42 PM. Fela! takes Best Sound Design of a Musical (Robert Kaplowitz). The musical now has two Tonys under its belt.

7:39 PM. Adam Cork nabs another Tony for his sound design on Red. He was competing against himself in the category for his sound design for Enron.

7:37 PM. American Idiot gets its second Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Christine Jones). This is her first win. Jones just called AI director Michael Mayer the "Jesus and Judy" of Broadway.

7:35 PM. Red wins its second Tony for Best Scenic Design of a Play (Christopher Oram). The play uses some incredible Mark Rothko recreations and a pretty spectacular "priming scene."

7:34 PM. The Green Day rock musical American Idiot won Best Lighting Design of a Musical for Kevin Adams. The musical is nominated for three awards tonight.

7:32 PM. Red also nabs its first Tony Award tonight for Best Lighting Design of a Play (Adam Cork).

7:31 PM. Fela! earns its first Tony Award of the night: Best Costume design of a Musical (Marina Draghici). "Yeah, Yeah!"

7:29 PM. Costume designer Catherine Zuber just took the Tony for her work on the revival of The Royal Family. This is her fifth Tony.

7:27 PM. Memphis is taking the Tony lead tonight. The rock musical just took Best Book of a Musical (Joe DiPietro).

7:24 PM. Memphis just nabbed its second Tony Award for Best Original Score (Music: David Bryan Lyrics: Joe DiPietro, David Bryan). I bet we'll be hearing a lot of "hockadoo!" tonight.

7:22 PM. Memphis earns the first Tony Award of the night for Best Orchestrations (Daryl Waters & David Bryan).

7:17 PM. One of my favorites, Marian Seldes, receiving her Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement - a much deserved standing ovation. My favorite NYC experience is seeing her on the subway (always in lavender). This grand lady of the theatre is speechless and exited the stage without a word!

7:11 PM. Tony Award winners Karen Olivo and Greg Jbara just introduced the Regional Theatre Tony Award to the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Olivo, on crutches after an on-stage injury during West Side Story joked, "This is what happens when you don't take a note from Arthur Laurents."

7:04 PM. Playbill Magazine editor Blake Ross (looking great in Zac Posen, I might add) is interviewing stars on the red carpet with the crew from New York 1.

6:51 PM. A few reports from the red carpet... Tony nominee and "Glee" star Matthew Morrison says that he is hoping to return for the PBS live broadcast of South Pacific. Lea Michele is set to sing "Don't Rain On My Parade" from Funny Girl tonight and Morrison will perform "All I Need Is the Girl" from Gypsy. Cheers to Jule Styne.

6:43 PM. Hi, theatre fans! We're all set up in the press room and gearing up for the first awards. The rain isn't keeping fans away. People are lined up outside Radio City Music to catch a glimpse of all the starry arrivals.

*

The 64th Annual Tony Awards are presented at Radio City Music Hall; Sean Hayes hosts. CBS-TV will begin broadcasting the event live at 8 PM.

For more information visit TonyAwards