With a little bit of sleep and plenty of coffee, Playbill looks into some trends and tallies from the 2018 Tony Awards. Below are five key observations from the breakdown of winners.
1. You Never Forget Your First
This year’s Tony Awards were big for first-time winners, with 14 artists receiving their first spinning, shiny medallion, including Tony Shalhoub (Leading Actor in a Musical for The Band’s Visit), Glenda Jackson (Leading Actress in a Play for Three Tall Women), and Andrew Garfield (Leading Actor in a Play for Angels in America). Of those 14, nine were also first-time nominees, including Lindsay Mendez (Featured Actress in a Musical for Carousel) and David Cromer (Direction of a Musical for The Band’s Visit). Six won while making their Broadway debut, including Justin Peck (Best Choreography for Carousel), and Ari’el Stachel (Featured Actor in a Musical for The Band’s Visit).
2. Tony-Winning Roles
Three of the eight performance categories went to actors playing roles that have won actors Tonys in earlier productions. Nathan Lane, a winner for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance as Roy Cohn in Angels in America, follows in the footsteps of original Broadway Roy Cohn Ron Liebman, who won in the leading category for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches in 1993. Lane’s co-star Garfield won for his work as Prior Walter; the original Prior, Stephen Spinella, won Best Featured Actor in a Play for Millennium Approaches in 1993 and Best Leading Actor in a Play for Perestroika the following season.
Mendez’s win for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel also follows one for Audra McDonald (then Audra Ann McDonald) in the same category in 1994—McDonald’s first win of a now six career Tonys. Mendez talked about the role’s Tony track record in the press room shortly after accepting her award. “[Rodgers and Hammerstein] set [Carrie] up so well for success,” Mendez shared. “Out of the gate you’re following Julie and Billy and all of a sudden there’s Carrie and she has this huge song.”
As for the Audra connection, Mendez has tried to keep the six-time Tony winner out of mind while crafting her own take on the role. “I never watched Audra’s version because I could not compare myself to the queen. I would just not do that job.”
3. Back-to-Back Wins
Laurie Metcalf won her second Tony Award last night for her performance in Three Tall Women. The award made Metcalf a back-to-back Tony winner, having taken home Best Leading Actress in a Play for A Doll’s House, Part 2 in 2017.
The last performer to have back-to-back Tony wins was Judith Light, who won Best Featured Actress in a Play in 2012 (Other Desert Cities) and 2013 (The Assembled Parties). Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire both won second consecutive Tonys last year (for Bandstand and Dear Evan Hansen, respectively) after winning for Hamilton in 2016.
4. EGOT Watch
Last night’s ceremony brought several artists closer to EGOT status, with two now only missing one accolade. Three Tall Women winner Jackson won Oscars in 1970 and 1973 (for Women in Love and A Touch of Class, respectively), and two Emmys in 1972 (for Elizabeth R). Jackson is a Grammy award away from her EGOT, begging the question of when her R&B album will drop.
Bruce Springsteen, a 2018 Special Tony Award recipient, has no fewer than 20 Grammy Awards, plus an Oscar (for “Streets of Philadelphia,” written for the 1993 film Philadelphia), making the music artist an Emmy away from his EGOT. Perhaps Springsteen on Broadway could be filmed for TV?
5. Brooms: Good for Flying and Sweeping
Long story short: It was a good night if you’re a wizard or play in an Egyptian police band. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and The Band’s Visit were close to sweeping the play and musical categories, earning six and ten wins, respectively. In addition to Best Play, Harry Potter dominated the technical categories and earned John Tiffany Best Direction of a Play. Meanwhile, The Band’s Visit took home the top prize of the night, plus both Best Book and Original Score, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Orchestrations, two technical awards, and wins for three of its performers.
By contrast, last year’s Best Play and Best Musical winners—Oslo and Dear Evan Hansen—saw Best Direction go to a competitor: Rebecca Taichman for Indecent and Christopher Ashley for Come From Away. In the past ten years, three other musicals won Best Musical, Score, Book, and Direction: Hamilton, Fun Home, and The Book of Mormon.