On the 68th annual Tony Awards, history was made, hopping was had and no one show ran away with all of the awards.
The first seven awards were handed out to seven different shows, demonstrating how the mob mentality that often plagues voters was absent this year. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Hedwig and the Angry Inch led the nominee pool with 10 and eight nominations respectively, but both only went home with four each. And four was the highest number of awards any one show received on the Sunday evening broadcast.
Even if they didn’t take home bucket loads of spinning medallions, Gentleman’s Guide and Hedwig both took home the top mark in their respective categories of Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical, neither a surprise.
All the Way won Best Play while its leading man Bryan Cranston won a Tony for his role as LBJ. He dominated the Emmys for so long that it’s fitting Cranston would succeed on his first try at a Tony. A Raisin in the Sun won three awards including Best Revival of a Play.
Audra McDonald made history as she won her sixth Tony Award, the most won by any performer ever, for her role as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. Even on her sixth time, she managed to warm hearts everywhere with her tearful acceptance speech. Points deducted only because there wasn’t a mic drop.
Everyone everywhere jumped for joy when Neil Patrick Harris won his first Tony for his role as Hedwig and sat in awe as he charmed everyone’s pants off during his speech. Is there anything that beautiful, wonderful man can’t do?
Some may be shocked at Idina Menzel’s loss to Beautiful’s Jessie Mueller, but her nomination seemed more like a popularity vote anyway. However, I at least expected the other big names, Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara, to win. Regardless, any one of those ladies would have deservedly won.
Best musical number of the night: Neil Patrick Harris’ rockin’ performance of “Sugar Daddy.” He licked Samuel L. Jackson’s glasses, gave Sting a lap dance and kissed his husband David Burtka. It was perfection.
Idina Menzel was originally in first place until NPH took the stage. Her emotional belting of “Always Starting Over” was show stopping. This is why she is so revered and adored.
Carole King sang with Jessie Mueller, who won the Tony for her portrayal of King, during the Beautiful number. Just sheer vocal talent to blow you away right there.
James Monroe Iglehart demonstrated why he deserved the Tony with his performance of “Friend Like Me,” and Gentleman’s Guide impressed all with its fast and funny number “I’ve Decided to Marry You,” which included an impressive use of doors.
Host Hugh Jackman serenaded all of the nominated ladies. He did the running man with Tony winner Jessie Mueller, sat on Idina Menzel’s lap and kissed Kelli O’Hara; my heart, be still.
To celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary, the current leads of Wicked sang “For Good” and made everyone cry harder than they did during The Fault in Our Stars.
The aforementioned speeches by NPH and McDonald and also speeches by Lena Hall, Jessie Mueller and Joey Parnes, lead producer of Gentleman’s Guide.
During the 2011 Tony Awards, Hugh Jackman song-battled then host Neil Patrick Harris, saying “any show you can host, I can host better.” Unfortunately, that wasn’t so for the 2014 broadcast. Jackman, a now four-time Tonys host, paled in comparison to the liveliness and sheer entertainment NPH brought to last year’s award show. Jackman didn’t really feel like a host; he just popped in to entice people with his charisma — and even that can only go so far.
It’s ludicrous to think anything could top the 2013 Tonys opening, but Jackman and Co. didn’t even try. Instead they did an all too niche nod to Bobby Van, and Jackman hopped his way through the first five minutes of the broadcast. Very hard to believe that captured the attention of a mainstream audience member even if the physicality was impressive.
It seems Jackman only delivered the lower moments of the show. Along with T.I. and LL Cool J, Jackman rapped to The Music Man’s “Rock Island.” Granted the lyrics have a rap-esque flow, but this is musical theater. Don’t do that to our classics.
Clint Eastwood. Enough said.
Rocky did a poor, poor job of enticing people for it showed too much stage fighting and too little singing or originality. No one needs to see a more dance-like version of the Rocky versus Apollo fight; this is the exact reason I’m not that interested in seeing this musical adaptation.
Though most of the musical numbers were of course the broadcast’s best moments, some of them should not have happened at all. Several shows that weren’t even nominated performed (Cabaret, Bullets Over Broadway, Rocky) and some aren’t even on Broadway this season (Finding Neverland, Last Ship). Take these out, and instead do an actual opening number.
Full List of Winners:
Best Musical: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Best Play: All the Way
Best Revival of a Musical: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Revival of a Play: A Raisin in the Sun
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Jessie Mueller, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical: James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical: Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play: Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play: Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Best Book of a Musical: Robert L. Freedman, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Best Score (Music and Lyrics): Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Best Director of a Musical: Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Best Director of a Play: Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
Best Choreography: Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Best Orchestrations: Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
Best Scenic Design of a Musical: Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Best Scenic Design of a Play: Beowulf Boritt, Act One
Best Costume Design of a Musical: Linda Cho, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Best Costume Design of a Play: Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night
Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Lighting Design of a Play: Natasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie
Best Sound Design of a Musical: Brian Ronan, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Best Sound Design of a Play: Steve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill