Monday, June 13, 2016

2016 Tony Award Winner Recap

Cast of "Hamilton" at the 2016 Tony Awards
The cast of Hamilton at the 70th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
THEATRE
With the terrible mass shooting that took place at a gay nightclub only hours earlier, host James Corden began last night’s 70th Annual Tony Awards special with a somber and yet hopeful message that it the mantra of the stage: “The show must go on.”
"All around the world, people are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando this morning. On behalf of the whole theater community and every person in this room, our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity," said Corden. "All we can say is that you are not on your own right now, your tragedy is our tragedy. Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality, and gender is equal, is embraced, and is loved. Hate will never win. Together, we have to make sure of that. Tonight's show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards."
As for the award show itself, there were few surprises. Nominated for a slew of awards, Hamilton was expected to win by a landslide and it did with 11 awards. Before any of the night’s awards were handed out, Corden stated that the show wouldn’t be all about Hamilton – that there would be commercial breaks too.


However, despite the hoopla for the amazingly popular historical rap musical, CBS did a good job of providing a wide range of showstopper numbers for many other musical productions. And while it would have been easy to give too much attention to the recent shooting, the award show never veered too far off the road of its’ original purpose. With that said, I do have a few gripes about this year’s Tony Awards.

As with other years, the Tony Awards are pretty inclusive. Except for the traveling Broadway shows, most Americans will never see an actual Broadway production. So, providing some of the best performances of the current shows on stage is most welcome. However, musical theatre is just part of the Tony awards. Many awards go to dramatic theatre plays as well, but the TV audience knows very little about what these plays are all about except for the brief descriptions given. Wouldn’t it be great if CBS would show five minute scenes from the nominated plays as well? I would have rather seen that than watching different show casts running outside to sing quick numbers for other Broadway shows. (Although seeing Andrew Lloyd Webber playing the tambourine next to Steve Martin playing the banjo was pretty great.)

This year’s Tony Awards also seemed to be more of a promo for Cordon’s late night TV show than Broadway itself. I like Cordon and the first number showing a younger version of himself visiting the theatre with his parents and fantasizing about being on the stage himself was fine, but there were too many “Look at me!” moments. Yes, James, you’re great, but this special is not about you. Late in the telecast CBS chose to re-air a bit Cordon used on his show earlier this week with some of this year’s nominees singing in a car. It was a long stunt with little payoff since many have already seen it.

Here’s a complete list of the winners at the 2016 Tony Awards:
  • Best Play: The Humans
  • Best Musical: Hamiliton
  • Best Revival of a Play: Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
  • Best Revival of a Musical: The Color Purple
  • Best Book of a Musical: Hamilton
  • Best Original Score: Hamilton
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Frank Langella, The Father
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Reed Birney, The Humans
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: RenĂ©e Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
  • Best Scenic Design of a Play: David Zinn, The Humans
  • Best Scenic Design of a Musical: David Rockwell, She Loves Me
  • Best Costume Design of a Play: Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
  • Best Costume Design of a Musical: Paul Tazewell, Hamilton
  • Best Lighting Design of a Play: Natasha Katz, Long Day's Journey Into Night
  • Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Howell Binkley, Hamilton
  • Best Direction of a Play: Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge
  • Best Direction of a Musical: Thomas Kail, Hamilton
  • Best Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
  • Best Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
  • Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: Sheldon Harnick and Marshall W. Mason

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