If the last 73 years of Tony Awards ceremonies have taught us anything, it’s that nothing is a guarantee when it comes to predicting the winners. The 2019 celebration had a few surprises in store. Here are five (somewhat) unexpected winners from this year's ceremony:
Mart Crowley Winning for The Boys in the Band
A competitive category with no clear favorite, this year’s Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play went to Mart Crowley’s early gay play, The Boys in the Band. Per a new ruling from The Tony Awards Administration Committee announced earlier this year, living writers of shows new to Broadway, but considered revivals, are now included as part of the nomination—and an emotional Crowley took to the stage at Radio City to accept the trophy. “I want to thank the nine brave men who didn’t listen to their agents when they told them their careers would be over for doing this play,” Crowley told the audience, referencing the play's first production Off-Broadway in 1968. Octogenarian Crowley is the oldest playwright to win the award. The other nominees for Best Revival of a Play were Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, Lanford Wilson’s Burn This, Torch Song by Harvey Fierstein, and The Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonergan.
Bertie Carvel Winning for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Ink
Not a complete surprise, since he did win an Olivier Award for his work in the London production of Ink, but Bertie Carvel's Tony win in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play was less of a sure thing than some other categories, as he was nominated in a field that included four other powerful performances: Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band; Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird; Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This; and Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller's All My Sons. Carvel won for his work as Rupert Murdoch in the Broadway production of James Graham's play Ink, where he stars opposite fellow Olivier Award winner Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary, Frankenstein) as the rogue editor of The Sun, Larry Lamb.
Sergio Trujillo Winning for His Choreography of Ain't Too Proud
With over 12 Broadway credits to his name, and already a Tony Award nominee for his choreography of On Your Feet!, it’s no surprise that Trujillo was primed to win this year for his work on Ain't Too Proud–The Life and Times of The Temptations. Still, it was a competitive category considering Warren Carlyle's large-scale dance numbers in Kiss Me, Kate, Camille A. Brown’s powerful choreography in Choir Boy, Denis Jones’ work on Tootsie, and David Neumann’s dazzling choreography in Hadestown, the most nominated show of the season. In his emotional acceptance speech, Trujillo recalled moving to New York 30 years prior as an illegal immigrant. “I stand here as proof, for all those Dreamers, that the American dream is still alive. You just have to keep on fighting,” said the 2019 Tony Award winner. “Change will come.” Watch his full speech here.
A Double Win for Designer Rob Howell
It's an incredible feat to earn a Tony nomination and an even bigger accomplishment to win the coveted award. To be nominated for two Tony Awards in one season is an even rarer accomplishment, and winning both of those awards puts designer Rob Howell in a very select group of artists. Howell, who previously won a Tony for his scenic design for Matilda, won 2019 Tony Awards for Best Costume Design of a Play and Best Scenic Design of a Play for The Ferryman, which was named the season's Best Play. Holding a Tony in both his left and right hand, Howell joked, "I feel strangely balanced," adding, "When we all said yes to this, the play wasn't finished. There were 20 minutes missing from the very end. We all knew it was an amazing play already, and everyone signed up… because everybody had so much faith in what Jez [Butterworth] had already written."
Rachel Hauck Winning for Her Scenic Design of Hadestown
With a myriad of downtown and Off-Broadway credits to her name, Rachel Hauck made her Broadway debut in 2017 with Latin History for Morons, followed by back-to-back shows in 2019: Hadestown and What the Constitution Means to Me. This year saw her in a category up against designers with several Broadway shows under their belts and four existing Tony Award nominations combined between them. “At this incredible time I could not be more proud to be part of a musical that preaches the power of love and hope and the power of community, and standing together,” Hauck said in her acceptance speech. Watch Hauck’s full speech here. Also nominated for scenic design of a musical were Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini (Ain’t Too Proud), Peter England (King Kong), Laura Jellinek (Oklahoma!), and David Korins (Beetlejuice).