There was a lot of television to choose from last night: a beauty pageant, a big battle on Game of Thrones, and even, I’m told, some basketball game. But if you’re like me, you enjoyed a liter of white wine and the Tony Awards, the annual celebration of a relatively minor industry within New York that is broadcast on national television to millions who will likely never see any of the shows featured or even know who most of the people in attendance actually are. But, on the plus side, Broadway for once looked a lot less whitewashed than usual!
There were few surprises in terms of winners: Bryan Cranston came one step closer to an EGOT, picking up an award for his role as Lyndon Baines Johnson in All That Way. Jessie Mueller earned a deserved Tony for her portrayal of Carole King in Beautiful. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder won Best Musical, while Hedwig and the Angry Inch nabbed Best Revival of a Musical — a big change from its roots as a solo performance piece at the legendary queer dance party Squeezebox.
Most refreshing were all of the diverse actors and performers on stage, both in musical numbers and as winners: Sophie Okonedo won for A Raisin in the Sun (which also won Best Revival of a Play and Best Director for Kenny Leon), James Monroe Iglehart broke out into a praise shout after accepting his award for playing the Genie in Aladdin, and Audra McDonald won her sixth Tony, which is incredibly impressive considering that she’s only 43 years old. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of the most interesting moments.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YRAHf19hO8]
Neil Patrick Harris took a break from hosting this year to star in (and win his first Tony for) Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which meant that Hugh Jackman got to bounce around Radio City Musical Hall for a few hours, reminding us all that Wolverine can sing and dance with varying degrees of success. Perhaps one of the night’s stranger moments was the very long opening number, throughout which Jackman literally hopped around the theater, interacting with cast members from various Broadway shows backstage. Sure, OK.