All that money and they couldn’t get the sound right. Again.
Sean Hayes (Promises, Promises) proved to be an entertaining, affable host, donning a range of crazy costumes for laughs and showing off impressive piano playing skills. He and Promises co-star Kristin Chenoweth covered the Newsweek homophobia controversy straight off the bat with a deliberately sexy smooch.
Kristin proved herself a good sport again later on, pretending to give her acceptance speech for Best Actress and fainting when Sean told her that he was nominated but she was not. Fellow good sports were Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane (Morticia and Gomez in The Addams Family) who presented Best Actor and Actress, the very categories in which they were ignored. “The Tonys, or as we call it at my house, ‘Passover’ ” Lane quipped.
Viewers who tuned in after missing the first couple of minutes may have believed the awards had been replaced by a rock concert. An opening medley of popular songs in current Broadway shows ended with an extended medley from Green Day performing songs from the current Broadway smash based on their album American Idiot. Fortunately none of them were felled by scenery.
Production numbers were plentiful, especially from home-viewer-friendly jukebox musicals. Tony winner Levi Kreis led a rousing medley from Million Dollar Quartet, one of the most likely shows of the night to play in Australia in the not too distant future. Twyla Tharp’s choreography looked amazing in a selection from Come Fly With Me, an all dance show based on the songs of Frank Sinatra. The cast of American Idiot performed their title number.
Douglas Hodge demonstrated why he won Best Actor in an understated rendition ‘The Best Of Times is Now’ from Tony winning Best Revival La Cage Aux Folles. Incidentally, the ever-popular La Cage won Best Musical when it opened and Best Revival in 2005. Catherine Zeta Jones, on the other hand, made her Best Actress win inexplicable with a shaky, passionless rendition of ‘Send in the Clowns’ from the otherwise ignored revival of A Little Night Music. Both of these productions originated at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory.
Somewhat randomly, a pair of Jule Styne songs were performed by two of the stars from Glee who began on Broadway. Matthew Morrison (Footloose, Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific) entertained with ‘All I Need is the Girl’ from Gypsy and Lea Michelle (Ragtime, Spring Awakening) belted ‘Don’t Rain on my Parade’ from Funny Girl. Or perhaps Lea was actually auditioning?
Heavyweight newcomers Memphis and Fela! duked it out for top honours, with Best Musical ultimately going to Memphis, by far the more commercial and traditional of the two.
Red, a transfer from London Donmar Warehouse, and a revival of August Wilson’s Fences shared the majority of the awards for plays.
Along with Catherine Zeta Jones, who appeared somewhat insane during her acceptance speech, other Hollywood luminaries appearing on the Great White Way fared well. Denzel Washington won Best Actor for Fences and Scarlett Johansson won Best Featured Actress for the revival of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge.
Overall some of the magic seemed to be missing this year, especially in the category of keenly anticipated production numbers that can be watched again and again.
The full list of winners is below.
Nominees and recipients of the 64th Annual Tony Awards, given out 7-11 PM June 13 at Radio City Music Hall, follow, with recipients marked in bold and with an asterisk. (source: Playbill.com)
Million Dollar Quartet
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Kelsey Grammer, La Cage aux Folles
Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises
*Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Chad Kimball, Memphis
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela!
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Finian’s Rainbow
Montego Glover, Memphis
Christiane Noll, Ragtime
Sherie Rene Scott, Everyday Rapture
*Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music
Best Revival of a Musical
*La Cage aux Folles
A Little Night Music
In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play Author: Sarah Ruhl
Next Fall Author: Geoffrey Nauffts
*Red Author: John Logan
Time Stands Still Author: Donald Margulies
Best Revival of a Play
Lend Me a Tenor
7 The Royal Family
A View From the Bridge
Rob Ashford, Promises, Promises
*Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Lynne Page, La Cage aux Folles
Twyla Tharp, Come Fly Away
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Jude Law, Hamlet
Alfred Molina, Red
Liev Schreiber, A View from the Bridge
Christopher Walken, A Behanding in Spokane
*Denzel Washington, Fences
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
*Viola Davis, Fences
Valerie Harper, Looped
Linda Lavin, Collected Stories
Laura Linney, Time Stands Still
Jan Maxwell, The Royal Family
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Kevin Chamberlin, The Addams Family
Robin De Jesús, La Cage aux Folles
Christopher Fitzgerald, Finian’s Rainbow
*Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet
Bobby Steggert, Ragtime
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Barbara Cook, Sondheim on Sondheim
*Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises
Angela Lansbury, A Little Night Music
Karine Plantadit, Come Fly Away
Lillias White, Fela!
Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Memphis
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Ragtime
*Terry Johnson, La Cage aux Folles
Bill T. Jones, Fela!
Best Direction of a Play
*Michael Grandage, Red
Sheryl Kaller, Next Fall
Kenny Leon, Fences
Gregory Mosher, A View from the Bridge
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
David Alan Grier, Race
Stephen McKinley Henderson, Fences
Jon Michael Hill, Superior Donuts
Stephen Kunken, Enron
*Eddie Redmayne, Red
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Maria Dizzia, In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play
Rosemary Harris, The Royal Family
Jessica Hecht, A View from the Bridge
*Scarlett Johansson, A View from the Bridge
Jan Maxwell, Lend Me a Tenor
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Jonathan Deans, La Cage aux Folles
*Robert Kaplowitz, Fela!
Dan Moses Schreier and Gareth Owen, A Little Night Music
Dan Moses Schreier, Sondheim on Sondheim
Best Sound Design of a Play
Acme Sound Partners, Fences
Adam Cork, Enron
*Adam Cork, Red
Scott Lehrer, A View from the Bridge
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Marina Draghici, Fela!
*Christine Jones, American Idiot
Derek McLane, Ragtime
Tim Shortall, La Cage aux Folles
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
*Kevin Adams, American Idiot
Donald Holder, Ragtime
Nick Richings, La Cage aux Folles
Robert Wierzel, Fela!
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Hamlet
*Neil Austin, Red
Mark Henderson, Enron
Brian MacDevitt, Fences
Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty, The Royal Family
Alexander Dodge, Present Laughter
Santo Loquasto, Fences
*Christopher Oram, Red
Best Costume Design of a Musical
*Marina Draghici, Fela!
Paul Tazewell, Memphis
Matthew Wright, La Cage aux Folles
Best Costume Design of a Play
Martin Pakledinaz, Lend Me a Tenor
Constanza Romero, Fences
David Zinn, In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play
*Catherine Zuber, The Royal Family
Best Book of a Musical
Everyday Rapture Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott
Fela! Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones
*Memphis Joe DiPietro
Million Dollar Quartet Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
The Addams Family Music & Lyrics: Andrew Lippa Enron Music: Adam Cork Lyrics: Lucy Prebble
Fences Music: Branford Marsalis
*Memphis Music: David Bryan Lyrics: Joe DiPietro, David Bryan
Jason Carr, La Cage aux Folles
Aaron Johnson, Fela!
Jonathan Tunick, Promises, Promises
*Daryl Waters & David Bryan, Memphis
The 2010 Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre were presented to playwright and director Alan Ayckbourn, and Tony Award-winning actress Marian Seldes.
The recipient of the Isabelle Stevenson Award is Tony Award winner David Hyde Pierce. The Isabelle Stevenson Award recognizes an individual from the theatre community "who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations, regardless of whether such organizations relate to the theatre.
This year’s Tony Honors are presented to The Alliance of Resident Theatres New York, B.H. Barry and BC/EFA executive director Tom Viola.
The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT, is the recipient of the 2010 Tony Award for Regional Theatre.
Photos: Simon Parris