Tony Recap - The Book of What Now?

We've had just over 72 hours to bask in the afterglow of the theater nerd's equivalent of Christmahanakwanzika, and Hillary and I are still radiating with excitement from the night's festivities! If you tuned in to our second annual live blog, it was hopefully quite obvious that we were pretty happy with the results of this year's awards, in which The Book of Mormon came away with 9 total Antoinette Perry statues. Below is the complete list of winners, thanks to, and beyond that are some conclusive ramblings about the night, summarized in the form of a few awards of our own.

Best Play: War Horse

Best Revival of a Play: The Normal Heart

Best Musical: The Book of Mormon

Best Revival of a Musical: Anything Goes

Best Book of a Musical: The Book of Mormon (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone)

Best Original Score: The Book of Mormon (Music & Lyrics - Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone)

Best Performance by an Leading Actor in a Play: Mark Rylance, Jerusalem

Best Performance by an Leading Actress in a Play: Frances McDormand, Good People

Best Performance by an Leading Actor in a Musical: Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can

Best Performance by an Featured Actor in a Play: John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart

Best Performance by an Leading Actress in a Musical: Sutton Foster, Anything Goes

Best Performance by an Featured Actress in a Play: Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart

Best Performance by an Featured Actor in a Musical: John Larroquette, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Performance by an Featured Actress in a Musical: Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon

Best Direction of a Play: Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, War Horse

Best Direction of a Musical: Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon

Best Choreography: Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes

Best Orchestrations: Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus, The Book of Mormon

Best Scenic Design of a Play: Rae Smith, War Horse

Best Scenic Design of a Musical: Scott Pask, The Book of Mormon

Best Costume Design of a Musical: Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Best Costume Design of a Play: Desmond Heeley, The Importance of Being Earnest

Best Lighting Design of a Play: Paule Constable, War Horse

Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Brian MacDevitt, The Book of Mormon

Best Sound Design of a Play: Christopher Shutt, War Horse

Best Sound Design of a Musical: Brian Ronan, The Book of Mormon

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: Athol Fugard; Phillip J. Smith

Regional Theatre Tony Award: Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago, Ill.)

Isabelle Stevenson Award: Eve Ensler

Special Tony Award: Handspring Puppet Company, for their work on War Horse

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre: William Berloni; The Drama Book Shop; Sharon Jensen and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts


Best Recurring Host: The only thing we love more than Broadway people themselves are celebrities from other mediums who love Broadway just as much as we do! Neil Patrick Harris did a fabulous job entertaining us for three hours, partially thanks to the genius writers behind his script (see: Lin Manuel Miranda and Tommy Kail, the talents responsible for the telecast's closing number) but also thanks to the general awesomeness of his self. We especially appreciated that various jabs at Spider-Man, Glee, and Moammar Kadafi were appropriately spread out. We also appreciated his "dueling hosts" medley with Hugh Jackman. A lot.

Most Overdone Performance That We Could Care Less About: The cast of How to Succeed has performed "Brotherhood of Man" on The Today Show, the David Letterman Show, The View, and now the Tony Awards. BUT WE COULD CARE LESS! The number showcases Rob Ashford's incredible choreography, the fact that Daniel Radcliffe can really dance, and leaves a smile on our face every time.

Most Adorable Person Ever: Clearly this category is swept by Sutton Foster!! We just love her, okay. She looked stunning. She clearly understands the excitement of what it means to be on Broadway. In her acceptance speech, she thanked all of her teachers (Miss Cindy, Miss Diane, Miss Julianna, etc.) and then burst into tears while thanking her dresser of 9 years. And she's now been nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Musical FIVE TIMES (winning two of those times), leaving her in third place behind Chita Rivera (7 nominations) and Bernadette Peters (6 nominations). And she's not even 40 yet.

Biggest Inevitable Disappointment of the Night: Poor Scottsboro Boys. Although it was THRILLING to see the cast reunited onstage to perform a medley of "Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey" and "Commencing in Chattanooga," we were rooting for them to win in at least one of the 12 categories in which they were nominated. Many have said that the nominations themselves were adequate recognition, considering that the show has been closed for nearly five months, and a tour of the production is in the works.

Best Acceptance Speech: If we're going for emotions here, I'd have to give this one to Nikiki M. James, who was quite clearly enthused and emotional to receive recognition for her work. But if we're going more towards the entertainment side, Mark Rylance wins everything, forever and ever and ever. Lest you thought he was simply rambling on about nothing as he mused about walking through walls constructed of different mediums, the source of his words was the poem "Walking Through Walls" by Louis Jenkins. (He rang in his 2008 Best Actor win for Boeing Boeing with an excerpt from the same poet's "The Back Country.") While some may think this tradition to be pompous or just plain confusing, we admire Mr. Rylance for his giant presence, words of wisdom, and willingness to be different.

Biggest "WHAT THE HELL?!" Moment: Okay, Tony Producers. We know three hours once a year isn't nearly enough time to showcase all that Broadway has to offer, and that a large percentage of potential viewers won't stick around for awards presented to people who aren't named Denzel Washington or Catherine Zeta Jones (no offense, just saying). But to cut nearly ALL of the creative awards away, handing them out instead at an untelevised ceremony and only showing voiced-over clips on the live telecast?? (The untelevised ceremony was co-hosted by Katie Finneran and Laura Benanti - reason enough for it to be shown to a wider audience!) We were offended on behalf of all the fine, talented folks who work in sound, scenic and lighting design, not to mention writers, orchestrations and choreography. Their hard and detailed work makes the Broadway world go 'round, and they don't deserve to be shut out of the spotlight.

Best "Strut Your Stuff" Fashion Moments (And By Best, We Mean Strangest): The only category to result in a tie, we have to give mention to both Whoopi Goldberg for her hat...robe....ensemble, and Frances McDormand for her jean jacket. (Isn't black-tie dress code to even get INTO the Tony ceremony?) We forgive them both, obviously, because they're each wildly talented, but felt that both could have used some (better) fashion advice on Sunday night.

Best Sound Design of the Tonys in Recent Years:
The sound design team behind this year's awards ceremony! Well done, guys - the performances sounded spectacular, and besides that weird pan-from-the-ceiling moment in the middle of "Don't Break The Rules," the telecast flowed well and sounded seamless. You were also super on-top of all those priceless BLEEP moments, too.

Most Pleasant Surprise of the Evening:
It's not that we thought he couldn't win, or that he didn't deserve to win. But when you're in a category with two cutie pies from The Biggest Broadway Hit Since The Producers, a critically acclaimed actor from the one of the season's most short-lived, critically acclaimed musicals, and an Aussie who originated his role in several different productions before coming with the show to the Broad Way, well...the road to victory seems pretty crowded! To put things lightly, we're still grinning widely for Norbert Leo Butz taking home this year's Best Actor in a Musical statue. Prior to Sunday night, Mr. Butz was widely vocal in accepting his nomination on behalf of the entire company of Catch Me, and his humble, grateful classiness continued after winning the award with a tear-inducing curtain call speech in which he took a few moments to thank some people he forgot in his speech. Could we possibly admire you any more, Mr. Butz? I think not. The most sincere congratulations goes out to you.

And some Cool Random Facts to conclude this post:
Admittedly, we only managed to see the winning productions in a paltry 6 of 26 categories prior to the Tonys this year. Contributing largely to that is the fact that we have yet to see The Book of Mormon (which we're hopefully planning to change shortly!) or War Horse, which ran away with five wins. But in the acting categories, we did well, seeing 5 of 8 winners prior to watching them receive their much-deserved awards (Rylance, Hickey, Barkin, Larroquette and Butz).

Overall, this year's ceremony was a raging success in our eyes. We'd love to know what you thought!


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