HISTORY-MAKING MUSICAL ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY DOESN’T SET TONY RECORD BUT DOES DOMINATE THE 70TH ANNUAL CEREMONY FROM START TO FINISH.
HAMILTON, TO NO ONE’S SURPRISE, did make the most of its shot at Sunday night’s Tony awards, winning 11 of the 16 categories in which it was nominated.
With a 12th, the history-making musical about America’s Founding Fathers would have tied The Producers, the all-time Tony winner with 12. That was a tough task. Four of its remaining nominations came with multiple nods in two categories; the show was shut out just once, when Cynthia Erivo won leading actress/musical for The Color Purple, besting Phillipa Soo, who plays Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Eliza.
Nationwide interest in Hamilton — it’s won a Pulitzer and has been featured in print publications and TV newsmagazines for months — helped power CBS’ 2016 Tony telecast to its highest viewership in 15 years. Early reports put viewership up 33 percent from last year, according to ProgrammingInsider.com, which tracks all TV ratings on a daily basis. The Tonys won all six half-hour time slots.
Among plays, Stephen Karam’s drama The Humans, about an American family spinning apart, won four Tony Awards, including best play.
For the first time in Broadway history, all four musical performance categories were won by African-American actors: Cyntha Erivo (Celie) of The Color Purple for leading actress; Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr) of Hamilton for leading actor; Daveed Diggs (Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson) of Hamilton for featured actor; and Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler) of Hamilton for featured actress.
Broadway in Atlanta has already announced that Hamilton will play the Fox Theatre late in the 2017/18 season. The other best-musical nominees are good candidates to visit in the next several seasons as well:
Bright Star, the Steve Martin-Edie Brickell fact-based folk musical about love and redemption in the American South in the 1920s and ’40s.
- Waitress, based on the 2007 feature film, with a score by pop-rock singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles.
- School of Rock, based on the 2003 Jack Black movie, with a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a book by Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”).
- Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, which in any non-Hamilton year would likely have been the big winner. George C. Wolfe’s retelling of black theater history had 10 nominations but won zero Tonys. On the downside, it has a huge cast, which likely would be reduced for any national tour.
Now begins the death watch, as nominated plays and musicals that went home empty-handed post closing notices. There have already been reports that Martin and Brickell had put their own money into Bright Star to keep it running through Tony night. Waitress (five nominations, no wins) and, sadly, Shuffle Along, may also be in danger as well as best revival nominee Fiddler on the Roof.
The CBS telecast, anchored by James Corden (“The Late Late Show With James Corden”), steamed steadily forward with stem-to-stern performances from the musical nominees, plenty of jabs at Donald Trump and several sobering reminders of the mass shootings early Sunday in Orlando, Fla.
“Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved,” Corden, a 2012 Tony winner for One Man, Two Guvnors, said as the show began. “Hate will never win, together we have to make sure of that.”
Among other highlights:
- The Hamilton cast opening the show with a rap celebrating Corden; doing its big “Yorktown” number in the third hour; and closing the show with cast members in party finery singing the pop-driven song “The Schuyler Sisters.”
- A quick political spoof with Book of Mormon Tony winner Andrew Rannells in a Trump wig promoting the new musical The Book of Moron, and Glenn Close as Hillary Clinton in an A Chorus Line sendup — “A Clinton Line” — singing, “I really need this job.”
- A funny tribute to the number of nominees who “got their start” on “Law & Order,” a healthy list topped by leading actor/musical nominee Danny Burstein (Fiddler on the Roof), who’s appeared in six separate roles.
- Jessica Lange’s win — and deeply felt thank you — for leading actress/play in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night.
- Leslie Odom Jr.’s surprise win as leading actor/musical for his work as Aaron Burr in Hamilton, besting the show’s creator and title character Lin-Manuel Miranda (who nonetheless took home two Tonys and already has a Pulitzer).
The full list of winners:
- Eclipsed by Danai Gurira
- The Father by Florian Zeller
- The Humans by Stephen Karam, in which a modern family faces a crisis. Cast members Jayne Houdyshell and Reed Birney also won.
- King Charles III by Mike Bartlett
- Bright Star
- School of Rock — The Musical
- Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Best revival / play
- Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
- Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge
- Long Day’s Journey Into Night
- Noises Off
Best revival /musical
- The Color Purple
- Fiddler on the Roof
- She Loves Me
- Spring Awakening
Best book / musical
- Bright Star. Steve Martin
- Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda
- School of Rock — The Musical. Julian Fellowes
- Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. George C. Wolfe
Best original score
- Bright Star. Music by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell; lyrics by Edie Brickell
- Hamilton. Music + lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
- School of Rock. Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; lyrics by Glenn Slater
- Waitress. Music + lyrics by Sara Bareilles
Leading actor / play
- Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
- Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
- Frank Langella, The Father
- Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
- Mark Strong, Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge
Leading actress / play
- Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
- Laurie Metcalf, Misery
- Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed
- Sophie Okonedo, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
- Michelle Williams, Blackbird
Leading actor / musical
- Alex Brightman, School of Rock
- Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
- Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
- Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
- Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton
Leading actress / musical
- Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
- Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
- Cynthia Erivo (as Celie), The Color Purple
- Jessie Mueller, Waitress
- Phillipa Soo (as Hamilton’s wife, Eliza), Hamilton
Featured actor / play
- Reed Birney, The Humans
- Bill Camp, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
- David Furr, Noises Off
- Richard Goulding, King Charles III
- Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Featured actress / play
- Pascale Armand, Eclipsed
- Megan Hilty, Noises Off
- Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
- Andrea Martin, Noises Off
- Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed
Featured actor / musical
- Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
- Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
- Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress
- Jonathan Groff, Hamilton
- Christopher Jackson, Hamilton
Featured actress / musical
- Danielle Brooks, as Sofia, in her Broadway debut, in The Color Purple
- Renée Elise Goldsberry, as Angelica Schuyler, Hamilton’s muse and sister-in-law, in Hamilton
- Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
- Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
- Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Scenic design / play
- Beowulf Boritt, Thérèse Raquin
- Christopher Oram, Hughie.
- Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge
- David Zinn, The Humans
Scenic design / musical
- Es Devlin & Finn Ross, American Psycho
- David Korins, Hamilton
- Santo Loquasto, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
- David Rockwell, She Loves Me
Costume design / play
- Jane Greenwood, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
- Michael Krass, Noises Off
- Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
- Tom Scutt, King Charles III
Costume design / musical
- Gregg Barnes, Tuck Everlasting
- Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me
- Ann Roth, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
- Paul Tazewell, Hamilton
Lighting design / play
- Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
- Justin Townsend, The Humans
- Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
- Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
Lighting design / musical
- Howell Binkley, Hamilton
- Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
- Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening
- Justin Townsend, American Psycho
Direction / play
- Rupert Goold, King Charles III
- Jonathan Kent, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
- Joe Mantello, The Humans
- Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed
- Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge
Direction / musical
- Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
- John Doyle, The Color Purple
- Scott Ellis, She Loves Me
- Thomas Kail, Hamilton
- George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
- Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
- Savion Glover, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
- Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof
- Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea
- Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan
- August Eriksmoen, Bright Star
- Larry Hochman, She Loves Me
- Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
- Daryl Waters, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Special Tony awards
- Sheldon Harnick, primarily a lyricist, with 30 Broadway shows to his credit, including Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, The Apple Tree, Cyrano, The Rothschilds, Tenderloin and Fiorello!
- Marshall W. Mason, primarily a producer, involved with such shows as Master Class, The Seagull, Prelude to a Kiss, Fifth of July and Talley’s Folly.
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS AWARD
- Miles Wilkin, a producer involved with such productions as Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed; Tuck Everlasting; Bright Star; The Humans; The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess; Hands on a Hardbody; War Horse; and many others.
REGIONAL THEATER TONY AWARD
- Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., a professional regional theater with Broadway standards and talent.
ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD
- Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Tony-winning actor. Given in recognition of “a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations.”
EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATER
- Seth Gelblum, an entertainment lawyer.
- Joan Lader, a specialist in vocal training and rehabilitation.
- Sally Ann Parsons, co-founder of New York City’s premiere costume shop.
Tony wins by production
- Hamilton — 11 (16 nominations)
- The Humans —4 (6 nominations)
- Long Day’s Journey Into Night — 2 (7)
- Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge — 2 (5)
- The Color Purple — 2 (4)
- Eclipsed — 1 (6)
- The Father — 1 (2)
- She Loves Me — 1 (8)