The Tony Award nominations include, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” came out on top with 12 nominations, including Best Musical, Best Original Score for Dave Malloy, and Best Direction of a Musical for Rachel Chavkin, as well as nods for its two leads: Josh Groban and Denée Benton (both in their Broadway debuts).
Next, the woman whose LPs (look it up) I spent hours listening to in college: the great Bette Midler’s “Hello, Dolly!” earned 10 nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical and all four performance categories: Midler for Lead Actress, David Hyde Pierce for Lead Actor, Kate Baldwin for Featured Actress, and Gavin Creel for Featured Actor. I mean, was there any doubt!?
No doubt, at least in my mind, that this is the best Tony Award show opening number ever. Even Broadway pros are looking around with their mouths hanging open in astonishment (look for Debra Messing’s swiveling head). It’s not just the look, it’s the clever lyrics and jokes that bring the spectacle to a higher level.
But what else would you expect from the guys who wrote the specialty song “Bigger” — Tony Award winners Tom Kitt and the pre-“Hamilton” genius Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Just goes to show you. Winning a Tony Award doesn’t mean it will save your show. But that’s Broadway … You can make killing (“Hamilton”), but you can’t make a living (most everything else).
Broadway veterans guess that 20 percent to 25 percent of shows eventually recoup, according to Bloomberg News, but that means 80 to 75 percent lose money. Not such great odds so it’s no surprise that theater lovers make up the vast majority if investors.
In case you fell asleep last night, here are the winners of the 70th annual Tony Awards. And, no, “Hamilton” the most nominated show ever for Tonys did not break the record after all. “Hamilton” won 11 Tonys — one less than a record 12 won by “The Producers” in 2001.
But, we must note, that all four awards for performances in musicals went to black actors. Match that, Hollywood!
Play: “The Humans”
Musical Revival: “The Color Purple”
Play Revival: “A View From the Bridge”
Actor, play: Frank Langella, “The Father”
Actress, play: Jessica Lange, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”
Actor, musical: Leslie Odom Jr., “Hamilton”
Actress, musical: Cynthia Erivo, “The Color Purple”
Book, musical: “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda
Original Score: “Hamilton,” music and lyrics, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Featured actor, play: Reed Birney, “The Humans”
Featured actress, play: Jayne Houdyshell, “The Humans”
Featured actor, musical: Daveed Diggs, “Hamilton”
Featured actress, musical: Renée Elise Goldsberry, “Hamilton”
Scenic design, play: David Zinn, “The Humans”
Scenic design, musical: David Rockwell, “She Loves Me”
Costume design, play: Clint Ramos, “Eclipsed”
Costume design, musical: Paul Tazewell, “Hamilton”
Lighting design, play: Natasha Katz, “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”
Paper Mill Playhouse, which in the past few years has sent several shows to Broadway including “A Bronx Tale” and “The Bandstand”planned for next season, has won the 2016 Best Regional Theatre Tony Award , it was announced today.
The Oscars never had to deal with this one. If a “black” film gets nominated for Best Picture, it’s an event. With the Tony Awards administration committee’s decision that “Shuffle Along” is a new musical (not a revival) it now competes with the hit “Hamilton” resulting in two “black” shows battling for best new musical of the season.
That’s my prediction, anyway: Hamilton,” which features an all-black cast save one character (a white King George III — the oppressive monarch) will be seeking votes again the all-black “Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed,” which is its complete title.
Audra McDonald who, as Nathan Lane has said wins a Tony Award every time she leaves her apartment — debuts 9 tonight (EST) on HBO recreating her — of course — Tony Award-winning Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for “Lady Day at the Emerson’s Bar and Grill.”
It’s not the best of plays with music. Set in a small Philadelphia jazz club at the end of Billie Holiday’s career (nicknamed “Lady Day” by her friend and music partner Lester Young), and four months before her death, she rambles about her ups and downs — mostly downs. But this is essentially a tour de force performance by one of Broadway’s greatest performers and for those who couldn’t get to Broadway to see it, HBO has preserved it by reuniting McDonald and her Lady Day Broadway director Lonny Price for the event.
The Broadway performance earned McDonald her sixth Tony Award, more performance wins than any other actor. She is the only person to win all four acting categories.
The program will repeat and is on demand. For more details, click here.
Usually a Broadway show that wins only one Tony Award, or just got nominated for one Tony, emphasizes the positive. Not “Something Rotten.” It ran a full-page ad in the NYTimes proclaiming itself a “Loser,” after taking home only 1 of the 10 awards for which it was nominated.
An excellent article recently published in the NYTimes explores the producers chutzpah. Reporter Michael Paulson writes, ” ‘The “Rotten!’ ad was devised the day after the Tony Awards, when the show’s dejected marketing team gathered at the offices of its advertising agency, SpotCo, to figure out what to do next.”
After all, the irony of the whole thing is “Something Rotten” is about two struggling playwrights who are desperate to best their chief rival — Will Shakespeare — and the only Tony the show got was for Christian Borle, who plays Shakespeare.
So the producers of the show that was nominated for “Best Musical” decided to point out what great company they were in including other “losers” that didn’t take home the Best Musical award, such as “West Side Story,” “Grease,” “Mama Mia!” and “Wicked.”
“You’re always hoping that you’re going to win, but if you don’t, you have to think about how to position your show,” Kevin McCollum, the lead producer of “Rotten!” told the NY Times. “Very few shows have the confidence to go with the headline ‘Loser!,’ but it illustrates that we’re confident enough to acknowledge our loss and celebrate those that came before us.”