As the action of Broadway's biggest night unfolds on the Radio City Music Hall stage June 10, the excitement continues nearby in the Tony Awards press room. Playbill Managing News Editor Ryan McPhee and Senior Features Editor Ruthie Fierberg are on hand to capture reactions from the winners, share breaking news updates, and more throughout the night. Stay in the loop with the live blog below.
12:02 AM: That's a wrap on the 2018 Tony Awards! Keep an eye out for more coverage from Playbill, including recaps and further commentary.
11:47 PM: "It’s a really unusual moment to have people interested in how I’m feeling about things or what’s happening," a bewildered Katrina Lenk says after her Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical win for The Band's Visit. "It’s bizarre and weird and wonderful. I’m so interested in the fact that you guys are interested." Of her upcoming new co-star Gabai, Lenk says, "I’ve been a fan of his work for a while. I got to meet him in Israel in the summer when I was there. It’s thrilling to think about it, and I’m so looking forward to getting to work with him; he’s an incredible actor."
11:42 PM: The Band's Visit producer Orin Wolf celebrates his Best Musical win by making a special announcement: Sasson Gabai, who played the role of Tewfiq in the 2007 film of the same name, will reprise his performance in the musical beginning June 26. Get the full story here.
10:35 PM: "If you’re anything like me, I imagine you have a lot of questions: What happened? How did it happen?" Shalhoub opens with upon entering the press room after his Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical win for The Band's Visit. "Musicals were never my forte—never in my wheelhouse. I was that kid in grammar school whenever there was choral singing...I just mouthed the words. I come from a large family, and many of them have beautiful singing voices, and I was not one of them. So I had to be coerced into being courageous enough to attempt this and risk failing." He credits his wife, Brooke Adams, for making that leap.
11:10 PM: Admitting that their win for Best Revival of a Musical was a bit of a surprise, Once On This Island producer Ken Davenport tells the press, "We were very honest with ourselves that this was a bit of David and Goliath situation. I think it’s a real credit to the voters. And it's credit to Michael Arden; this is entirely his vision from top to bottom."
11:05 PM: After Angels in America won Best Revival of a Play, playwright Tony Kushner, director Marianne Elliott, and the producing team spoke to the press room. "The theme of the show is about devastation and communities in terrible pain," Kushner says not only of his work, but of the ceremony as a whole. "Parkland kids, The Band's Visit, Angels...it’s a prominent thing. I believe in the power of the democratic idea and I think it’s going to survive this dreadful light." Of how the current political climate might affect his upcoming pieces, the playwright added, "I’m working on a play—there’s no Trump-like character. I think the worst thing you can do [to him] is not give him any time onstage. I have an idea, and then it morphed into another idea. I’m very slow. There’s no possibility with keeping up with this news cycle."
10:58 PM: Fresh off of wins for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, director John Tiffany, playwright Jack Thorne, and producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender entered the press room in succession. "She’s almost become the face of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for us," Tiffany says of the production's Hermione, Noma Dumezweni, "and I couldn't be prouder. We’ve got to do this in the world. We have to make clear anyone can be the hero or heroine in any story." Speaking to the magnitude of responsibility that comes with bringing Harry Potter to the stage, Friedman says, "If this had failed, we would have ruined the memories of a whole generation. We didn’t [initially] realize the responsibility we had to the fans. It was too big to know how high we could have fallen. For now, this eighth story means everything."
10:25 PM: After winning Best Original Score, The Band's Visit composer David Yazbek takes the stage in the press room. But before answering any questions, he silently watches Katrina Lenk's performance of "Omar Sharif" from a monitor. "The first time I ever heard her voice, it was amazing," he says. "I’d never heard anything like it—especially on a Broadway stage. It felt like the perfect melding of a song and a singer. She’s a songwriter, and it almost felt like she had written it for herself. Whenever she sings anything, it raises it up."
10:10 PM: Glenda Jackson enters the press room after winning Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Edward Albee's Three Tall Women. She ponders the late playwright, saying, "I’d like to know what he thought of our production. He gives very detailed instructions," before adding with a slight smile, "I crossed them all out."
9:25 PM: "[This experience] hasn’t taught me how to manufacture something for Broadway," Itamar Moses says after winning Best Book for The Band's Visit, his Broadway debut. "It’s just taught me to let every piece be what it wants to be and leave it up to the fates. It doesn’t escape [me] how lucky we’ve been."
9:14 PM: Expanding upon her acceptance speech, Lindsay Mendez spoke to the press room about her decision to keep her name and not follow advice to change it to Lindsay Matthews. "Just because you’re a minority doesn’t mean you’re only meant to play roles that are a minority," she says. "I thought I would grow up being in Evita and West Side Story. Don’t put yourself in a box. Open yourself up to different possibilities and somebody’s going to say yes to you." Of the roles she's like to take on some day? Flora in Flora the Red Menace and Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress.
9:00 PM: After winning Best Scenic Design of a Play for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Christine Jones spoke to the press room about creating the magical world not just on stage, but also throughout the halls of the Lyric Theatre. "Because we had already created the production in London, we had that under our belt. We brought that to New York, and from there, we did try to infuse the theatre with original elements from the design. It was a once in a lifetime experience…to build a new home that will hopefully be there for many years to come...it was a 360-degree task that was truly unique."
8:55 PM: Costume designer Catherine Zuber greets the press after winning her seventh Tony Award. "I really enjoyed designing Eliza’s ballgown from a design point of view," she says when asked about her favorites designs for the Lincoln Center Theater revival of My Fair Lady, "but I really enjoyed doing the cockney costumes as a whole. They have so much personality."
8:48 PM: Justin Peck references the "daunting" task of following in the footsteps of Agnes De Mille after winning Best Choreography for Carousel. "She really was a trailblazer for dance on Broadway—dance in general—and she’s someone I’ve admired and studied equally. It’s the first time I’ve done something that she’s choreographed prior to myself." The New York City Ballet resident choreographer also teases the possibility of working on more musical theatre: "I’d be interested in doing a new The Music Man in terms of revivals, but I would like to focus on creating something new with a strong dance basis to it. I think that there needs to be more of that in theatre, and I’d like to try."
8:40 PM: Jamshied Sharifi enters the press room after his Best Orchestrations win for The Band's Visit. On the subject of working with actor-musicians to help create the sound of the show, he says, "We were mostly driven by music; Dean Sharenow, our music supervisor, was really great at finding people who had some understanding of music and improvisation skill and could conceivably look the part. As far as their integration on stage, that’s [director David] Cromer and how good he is...to me it’s amazing because they weren’t picked as actors; they were picked for their musical abilities, and David managed to make their [involvement] seamless."
8:27 PM: Angels in America's Andrew Garfield heads into the press room after accepting the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play. "I've lived a very privileged life...in terms of I haven’t had any health scares. I haven’t had to deal with my own mortality. It’s working me further and further towards the fragility and fleetingness of this existence," he says of being a part of Tony Kushner's two-part epic. "All of the universal truths that this play holds have been swirling around in my psyche, in my body, in my soul."
8:00 PM: And we're live! Co-hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban kick off the ceremony on dueling pianos, singing an ode to all those who...won't win tonight; "Because both of us have been in your shoes," the two Tony nominees sing.
7:52 PM: Katrina Lindsay wins the first competitive award of the night in Best Costume Design of a Play for her work on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Keep track of the winners of the night here.
7:43 PM: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Chita Rivera both receive standing ovations as they accept the Lifetime Achievement Tony Awards.
7:38 PM: John Leguizamo accepts his Special Tony Award, noting that Bruce Springsteen will also accept the same award later in the ceremony: "He was born to run, but I grew up in Queens, so I had to run. And I ran all the way to Broadway, yo." He also calls upon the audience to never forget those lost in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
7:36 PM: Nick Scandalios of the Nederlander Organization accepts the Isabelle Stevenson Award for his dedication to LGBTQ advocacy. "I dare say there is no other industry that is what we are: a big family," he says. He tells his two young children, "You are the bravest and most beautiful children anyone could ask for." To his late husband Ric, he says, "I will always be the other half of you," referencing the Sara Bareilles song "I Choose You."
7:26 PM: Melody Herzfeld of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School accepts the 2018 Excellence in Theatre Education Award. After receiving a standing ovation, she said, "All the goodness and tragedy that has brought me to this point will always be embraced." She recalled the tragic events that happened at her school on February 14, "where all these lessons in my life and in their short lives would be called upon to be set into action. Letting the stronger be our collective voice and supporting the rest that needed time. We all have a common energy. We all want the same thing...to be heard. To hit our mark. To tell our truth. To make a difference and to be loyally respected. We teach this every day in every arts class. Imagine if arts were classes that were considered core."
7:20 PM: As previously announced, this year's Regional Theatre Tony Award goes to the New York City-based La MaMa E.T.C. Accepting the award and $25,000 grant are Artistic Director Mia Yoo and Board President Frank Carucci. Their speech included the company's traditional bell ringing, as founder Ellen Stewart would do before each production, as well as a performance of Elizabeth Swados' "La MaMa Cantata."
7:14 PM: Tony winner Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon kick off the Creative Arts Awards, urging all those in the audience to feel free to take a selfie—at least until the 8 PM broadcast starts.
7:05 PM: Broadway League President and Chairman Charlotte St. Martin and Thomas Schumacher and American Theatre Wing President and Chairman Heather Hitchens and David Henry Hwang take the Radio City Music Hall stage (to the Candide overture) to deliver opening remarks.
6:56 PM: The four shows up for Best Musical (The Band’s Visit, Frozen, Mean Girls, and SpongeBob SquarePants) also comprise the Best Book category and are each nominated for Best Original Score. Rounding out the latter category is Adrian Sutton, who wrote new music for the revival of Angels in America.
6:43 PM: Of the 130 Tony-nominated artists this year, 59 are first-time nominees, and 34 of them made their Broadway debuts this season. Among the first-time nominees are 15 songwriters nominated as part of the all-star composing team of SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as all four writers nominated for Best Book of a Musical: The Band’s Visit’s Itamar Moses, Frozen’s Jennifer Lee, Mean Girls’ Tina Fey, and SpongeBob SquarePants’ Kyle Jarrow.
6:30 PM: Welcome! As we settle into the press room, let's review this year's nominations. SpongeBob SquarePants and Mean Girls lead the pack with 12 nominations each, with Angels in America closely behind. With 11 nods, the revival made history as the most-nominated play in Tony Awards history.