Somewhat against expectations, the introspective, challenging Jeanine Tesori-Lisa Kron musical, which was inspired by the work of a lesbian cartoonist and born Off-Broadway, took home the prize for Best Musical, beating out more traditional shows like An American in Paris. It also won four other Tonys, the most of any musical at the 69th Annual Tony Awards. Two of those were for Kron and Tesori. That, perhaps, was the most noteworthy thing about Sunday’s awards: Those two women constitute the first all-female writing team to win a Tony Award for a musical's score. It only took seven decades for that to happen.
The show — which centers on the difficult relationship between a closeted father and his daughter, who is only just beginning to understand that she, too, is gay — had been surprising some by selling out Circle on the Square from week to week. It will probably continued to do so. The show raked in nearly $600,000 at the box office the day it won its Tony Awards.
Kelli O'Hara, the Susan Lucci of the musical theatre world, finally won her first Tony Award, after six nominations, for her performance as Anna Leonowens in The King and I, which was also named Best Revival of a Musical.
David Hare’s Skylight took Best Revival of a Play. Amazingly, this was the first-ever Tony Award for the veteran Hare, who has written dozens of plays and seen many of them go to Broadway. As expected, Helen Mirren can now fill the one empty space in her trophy cabinet. She was named winner of the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for The Audience. She is the first actress to win both an Oscar and a Tony for playing the same character (in two different works): Queen Elizabeth II.
Did a lot of people watch all of the above goings-on? A better question would be: Was there, as usual, an important basketball game on the other channel? Yes there was! As so the broadcast, as has become a pattern in recent years, took a slide. It drew a preliminary rating of 5.1/8 in metered market ratings, 8 percent lower than last year. The Tony Awards were watched by 7.05 million viewers, according to preliminary reports by Deadline Hollywood, down from 7.3 million in 2014 and 7.24 million in 2013, but better than the 6.01 million of 2012.
The first show to announce it would close in the wake of the Tonys was Gigi, the new Broadway adaptation of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s movie musical. It will play its final performance June 21 at the Neil Simon Theatre. The production, which began previews March 19 and opened officially April 8, will have played 20 previews and 86 performances.
Soon after, The Visit, the new Kander and Ebb musical that stars Chita Rivera, declared it would end its run June 14. The musical took 15 years to get to Broadway, but lasted only a few months once there.
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Broadway has seen some surprisingly adventurous artists visit its theatres in recent years, such as playwrights Will Eno and Robert Askins, not to mention the team behind Fun Home. But they can all count themselves as safe, pedestrian choices now that it’s been revealed that Broadway has found room for the debut of Belgian director Ivo van Hove.
Up till this point, the largest New York theatre willing to take on the daredevil director has been Off-Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop. There, he has polarized critics and audiences with his unorthodox treatment of classics such as A Streetcar Named Desire and Hedda Gabler, finding ways to pour food on actors and actors into bathtubs.
But this fall, van Hove will have the stately Lyceum all to himself. There he will re-stage his acclaimed London production of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, which was named Best Revival at the 2015 Olivier Awards. Producers Scott Rudin and Lincoln Center Theater will bring in the Young Vic. The cast of Miller’s dark and passionate classic drama set on the Brooklyn waterfront will be headed by Mark Strong (as Eddie Carbone), Nicola Walker (as Eddie’s wife Beatrice), Phoebe Fox (as his niece Catherine), Emun Elliott (as Marco) and Michael Gould (as Alfieri).