TONY! TONY! TONY! Just Live-Blogging it is Reward Enough!

Tonight are the Tony Awards!  Woo-hoo!  The Second Gay High Holy Day!  (Well, let’s face it, the Oscars are indisputably the #1 Gay High Holy Day, Gay Christmas!  But the Tonys are a close second, right?  Gay New Year!  Day of A-Tony-ment!)  Join me here for the fun starting around 8pm Eastern Standard Time, or come by later for the recap!


Tonight’s hosts are our favorite diminutive diva dynamo Kristin Chenoweth and our favorite prolific pansexual Pan Alan Cumming.  Both are previous Tony winners.  Kristen won for her performance as Sally in the revival of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” (the producers liked her so much they created the role of Sally for her in the Peanuts musical that originally hadn’t included that character), was nominated again for playing Glinda in “Wicked”, and is nominated again tonight for her performance in the musical revival “On the Twentieth Century” (which I am desperate to see.  If only I had the budget to see every show on Broadway I wish to at any price…)  Alan Cumming previously won a Tony Award for his take on the M.C. in the revival of “Cabaret”, successfully creating his own legendary performance of the role, quite an achievement considering the very long shadow cast by Joel Grey’s performance.  Alan Cumming returned to the role in last year’s revival of the revival of “Cabaret”.  By all accounts his dressing room was party central for the best and brightest of Broadway after every show.

Tony Hosts

At the bottom of this post is a list of all the Tony nominees.  I will update it with the wins as quickly in real time as I can from my command center on the couch in front of my television.  Which means I may be slow on the uptake regarding those less sexy awards (according to CBS) given out before the live telecast (actually I will end up posting those stats long before the telecast finally announces what happened three commercial breaks earlier, so there!  😉  ).

An American in ParisMy biggest focus when it comes to the Tonys would be the new musicals, of course.  I am a composer of musicals, so naturally the state of original musicals with new scores on Broadway is of particular interest to me.  This year appears to be a good one, at least statistically.  By my count there were ten eligible musicals vying for the Best New Musical slots, with eight of them boasting original scores, which is a lot more than I remember there being in previous years for a long time.  There were years in the past where there were hardly enough shows to choose from in either category (remember the annus horribilus 1995 when only 2 musicals were nominated, and only one had an original score…?).

Fun HomeThis year’s four Best Musical nominees could hardy be more different in character and tone.  You have the elegant Gershwin dance musical “An American in Paris”, the poignant family drama “Fun Home”, the over-the-top musical spoof “Something Rotten” and the dark revenge romance “The Visit”.  All four are also nominated for Best Book of a Musical.  All three nominees with original scores are also nominated in the Best Score category.  Taking the fourth Best Score slot is “The Last Ship”, which is a testament to how well respected Sting’s score must be, since this show sadly closed in January and Tony nominators usually (but not always) will favor shows still running over shows that have closed in Something Rottennearly all categories and there were four other scores to choose from, three from shows still open when nominations were cast.  In fact eight of the 10 new musicals were still running the day nominations were announced (“Doctor Zhivago” closed soon after).  The two that had closed, “The Last Ship” and “Honeymoon in Vegas” had been well-respected and even raved about by critics, and yet they unhappily couldn’t attract enough audience support to keep going.  I saw both shows and feel they deserved longer runs.

The VisitI have managed to see three of the four Best Musical nominees before the Tony telecast, which is extremely unusual for me, since, as I have already mentioned, I don’t really have the budget to see everything I would wish to see on Broadway, and especially not immediately.  But I am lucky this year to have seen “Fun Home” when it played last year Off-Broadway at the Public, and to have managed to procure discounted tickets for both “Something Rotten” and “The Visit” in previews, while they were still relatively unknown quantities.  Not so with “An American in Paris”, which I would love to see, but who knows where or when I will be able to afford to now, it’s such a hot ticket.  (And maybe I shouldn’t quote Rodgers and Hart’s “Where or When” when referencing a Gershwin musical…)

Alright.  I’ll be back before 8pm EST to “be your host, und sage Willkommen, bien venue, welcome to the 2015 Tony Awards telecast!”

7:55 – Five minutes to showtime! OK.  Got my chips (with hint of lime), got my chunky medium salsa, got my hard cider.  So bring it on Tonys!  Looking forward to the big opening.  Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman have spoiled me with years of greatly entertaining openings.  I have high hopes for Alan and Kristin!

8pm – And we’re off!

Kristin is in a mini-skirted suit, and Alan is in puce shorts.

K: Tonight is so big it’s begging to be handled by both a man and a woman.

A: I can relate.

So can I.

And after a few minutes of cute banter and comic singing, K and A cede the big opening number to Something Rotten’s “It’s a Musical”, the middle of act one big number which  received a 2 minute standing ovation when I saw the show in previews.  Usually standing ovations are reserved for the end, not the middle of act one.

8:14pm  Helen Mirren wins Best Actress in a Play.  She’s now won a Tony for playing Elzabeth II, an Oscar for playing Elizabeth II and an Emmy for playing Elizabeth I.  Now can someone hire her to record a spoken word performance as Elzabeth I or II so she can make it a clean sweep Elizabethan EGOT?

The Tony website announces that Fun Home has won best score!

8:19 Alan models giving an overlong thank you speech and being tap danced off the stage by a quartet of chorus boys.

Richard McCabe wins the deeply competitive 6-man-deep Featured Actor in Play category.  “No one has even heard of the Prime Minister I play in the show” (which is The Audience).

And now: The King and I! – Kelli O’Hara is always so resplendently good.  This is her 6th nomination.  Will she finally win tonight?

The first two acting awards go to The Audience.  If it also wins costumes (could happen) it’ll be a win for each nom.
And the Tony Website announces that Curious Dog and American in Paris take the Lighting awards.

8:35 – Alan makes the third in a serious of pansexual jokes.  I approve.  Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale can’t get through their presenter text, something about Alan and Kristin is cracking them up.

Christian Borle wins his second Tony Award for his performance as an egomaniacal Elvis/Shakespeare in Something Rotten.

Annaleigh Ashford “acted” surprised to be even nominated.  But she’s honestly verklemmt to win for “doing the worst dancing that ever was on Broadway”.  She was great in “You Can’t Take it With You” as well as in her previously nominated turn in “Kinky Boots”.  She’s great in “Masters of Sex” too!

And now “On the Town”.  This revival is excellent! excellent! excellent!  The show never looked or sounded so good!  God, the music is so glorious, it makes me cry.

And K and A sing us out into commercial.  So their strategy is rather than do a massive opening number on their own, they will do mini comic musical numbers sprinkled throughout the telecast.  It is cute, effective, and makes me want to stick around and see what they will do next (Alan in the big hoop skirt and bonnet and Kristin in a bald cap coming out from under his dress like a Mini-Me-King of Siam earlier was very funny.)

Meanwhile Sam Gold won Directing for Fun Home (two wins so far for Fun Home) and I basically missed out on Gigi while I am trying to fix the look of my posting.

The Tony Website reveals An American in Paris won for Orchestrations.

Fun Home wins for Book as well as Score.  First all female writing team to win Score, by the way, in Tony history.  Two years ago Cyndi Lauper was the first solo woman to win for score.

Joel and Jennifer Grey introduce Fun Home, because they know something about a being the daughter of a gay man.

Oh my God, the camera absolutely loves that 11 year old girl’s face.  So naturally expressive!

9:10pm – Kristin shows up in a full body ET costume.  Alan: “Kristin I said FUN Home…”

And Curious Incident wins for its breathtaking direction!

Next up An American in Paris.  Ah, ‘SWonderful.  I always think of my Mom when that song plays, I’ve heard her sing it so often…. And the website tells us An American in Paris won for choreography.

Ruthie Ann Miles wins for Featured Actress in a musical and her first words are: “Please Recycle!” (She’s using her phone rather than paper to read her speech.)  People thought one of the three Fun Home ladies/girls would take this, but I guess vote splitting there allowed the King and I’s First Wife to win this.  And here come the tap-dancing chorus boys to dance her off?  No, we just hear them, but it made for a comic facial reaction from Ruthie.

On the Twentieth Century rolls in next.  Kristin is killing it, naturally, but I am struck how obvious it is that this score was originally written for Madeline Kahn.  I can hear clear echoes of her in Chenoweth’s singing – not something I think I would think if she was singing anything else.

And the website posts that scenic design go to An American in Paris and Curious Dog respectively.

9:41pm .  Sting.  Sporting a big bushy red beard.

Brian Cranston presenting Best Play, already?  I saw three of these, Curious—, Hand to God and Disgraced.  All very good, rich, unique experiences in their own way.  Does it count that I saw the PBS Miniseries version of the fourth, Wolf Hall?  No?

And Curious takes it!

9:49pm: Time for The Visit and “the incomparable Chita Rivera”!

Ah, the special recognizable sound of a Kander and Ebb song.  Sweet and sour in elegant balance.

Via the Tony website, while the commercials play on TV:  Wolf Hall and The King and I win for costume.

Best Revival of a play: Skylight.  Scott Rudin accepts the award.  And thanks the cast.  This is David Hare’s first play to win a Tony.

And now the multiple nominee “Finding Neverland”.  Well, as K and A quipped earlier, who needs critical or Tony recognition when you are raking in $1 000 000 weekly in the box office…?

Joe Maganiello – one of the sexiest, hunkiest men alive, talking to Darren Chris, one of the cutest, charmingest men alive. (I know charmingest is not a word).

Best Revival of a musical goes to….The King and I.

10:18pm – It Shoulda Been You, introduced by director David Hyde Pierce, husband of the book writer / lyricist Brian Hargrove.   True tidbit: Brian Hargrove was my tax preparer at the Actor’s Equity tax volunteer service VITA three years ago.  Little did I know….

Alan Cumming suddenly has a band-aid on his forehead.  Some back-stage mishap?

Lead Actor in a Play: Alex Sharp.  Straight outa Julliard.  Deserving.  But I admit I was rooting for Stephan Boyer, whose double performance of one boy and his demonic hand puppet at odds with another was amazing to witness.

In Memoriam.  Josh Groban sings “You Will Never Walk Alone”.  And he is joined by a chorus of everybody who has performed tonight with the various shows.  They rise en masse from below on an elevated platform behind him.

And its La Bernadette!  handing Best Actor in a musical to… Michael Cerveris, for Fun Home, his second Tony.  He gives a very heartfelt, moving speech.

Neil Patrick Harris makes fun of his Oscar Lock Box fiasco…. then gives the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical to …. drumroll please (not on TV, just my imagination) …. Kelli O’Hara, finally the bride and not the bridesmaid on her 6th try!

And now Kristin is acting all pissed off, warning Kelli to better keep her door locked tonight… funny…

Only Best Musical left…. will it be Fun Home or An American in Paris?  Both have won several awards tonight, but Fun Home has won director, score, book and actor.  So my guess is Fun Home will take the big one too.  Well let’s see.  Larry David and Jason Alexander will announce just as soon as they finish cracking up the audience.

And it’s FUN HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fun Home (5 Tonys) and Curious Incident (5 Tonys) and The King and I (4 Tonys) are clearly the big winners tonight.  With additional multiple winners An American in Paris (4 Tonys, all handed out during commercial breaks…) and The Audience (2 Tonys) also having much to smile about.

And Jersey Boys takes us out with a celebratory rendition of “Oh What a Night”.

TONY NOMINEES 2015 – winners in boldface

Best Play

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Author: Simon Stephens

Disgraced – Author: Ayad Akhtar

Hand to God – Author: Robert Askins

Wolf Hall Parts One & Two – Co-Authors: Hilary Mantel and Mike Poulton

Best Musical

An American in Paris

Fun Home

Something Rotten!

The Visit

Best Revival of a Play

The Elephant Man


This Is Our Youth

You Can’t Take It with You

Best Revival of a Musical

The King and I

On the Town

On the Twentieth Century

Best Book of a Musical

An American in Paris – Craig Lucas

Fun Home – Lisa Kron

Something Rotten! – Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell

The Visit – Terrence McNally

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Fun Home – Music: Jeanine Tesori  – Lyrics: Lisa Kron

The Last Ship – Music & Lyrics: Sting

Something Rotten! – Music & Lyrics: Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick

The Visit – Music: John Kander  – Lyrics: Fred Ebb

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Steven Boyer, Hand to God
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Ben Miles, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Bill Nighy, Skylight
Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Geneva Carr, Hand to God
Helen Mirren, The Audience
Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Ruth Wilson, Constellations

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Ken Watanabe, The King and I
Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Beth Malone, Fun Home
Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
Chita Rivera, The Visit

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Matthew Beard, Skylight
K. Todd Freeman, Airline Highway
Richard McCabe, The Audience
Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man
Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It with You
Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man
Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Sarah Stiles, Hand to God
Julie White, Airline Highway

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century
Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!
Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris
Max von Essen, An American in Paris

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Victoria Clark, Gigi
Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I
Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Bob Crowley, Skylight
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It with You

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris
David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century
Michael Yeargan, The King and I
David Zinn, Fun Home

Best Costume Design of a Play

Bob Crowley, The Audience
Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It with You
Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
David Zinn, Airline Highway

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century
Catherine Zuber, The King and I

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Paule Constable and David Plater, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Natasha Katz, Skylight
Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Donald Holder, The King and I
Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
Ben Stanton, Fun Home
Japhy Weideman, The Visit

Best Direction of a Play

Stephen Daldry, Skylight
Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It with You
Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God

Best Direction of a Musical

Sam Gold, Fun Home
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
John Rando, On the Town
Bartlett Sher, The King and I
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Best Choreography

Joshua Bergasse, On the Town
Christopher Gattelli, The King and I
Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Best Orchestrations

Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, An American in Paris
John Clancy, Fun Home
Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!
Rob Mathes, The Last Ship

* * *

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

Tommy Tune

Special Tony Award

John Cameron Mitchell

Regional Theatre Tony Award

Cleveland Play House, Cleveland, Ohio

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Stephen Schwartz

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre

Arnold Abramson Adrian Bryan-Brown Gene O’Donovan

* * *

About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 40 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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