Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s 74th Annual Tony Awards were actually last year’s Tony Awards, which was postponed since Broadway went dark. So the productions that were honored last night were from the 2019-2020 season. The Tony nominations were announced way back in October 2020, only one person was nominated in the category of Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical: Aaron Tveit, for Moulin Rouge!. If you’ve never gambled on showbiz-based odds in your life, last night was the night to call Las Vegas and dump your life savings in the Leading Actor race, because shock of all shocks, Aaron won in his category. But there were some pleasant surprises as well. For example, it’s Tony-Winner David Alan Grier now.
The nominees and subsequent winners for the 74th Tonys might feel a little stale to Broadway enthusiasts, but what can you do? Broadway literally just re-opened. The most current nominees would be Best Skeleton Custodial Staff in an Empty Theater Trying to Prevent it from Being Overrun By Rats. Those people deserve recognition, but they just weren’t going to get it with a Tony. But here’s what happened instead. The show, which was hosted by theater legend Audra McDonald and opened with a number from Hairspray (because why not), was split into two parts. The Tony Awards, and a special hosted by Leslie Odom Jr. called Broadway’s Back.
— CBS (@CBS) September 27, 2021
Aaron Tveit wasn’t a lock for a Tony – he still had to get 60% of the voting committee’s votes. He clearly achieved that, because he won and accepted his award looking like the long-lost Gibb brother who became an attorney instead of a Bee Gees. And he gave a shout-out to all of Broadway for making dreams come true. via People magazine:
“We are so privileged,” Tveit said through tears at the conclusion of his speech. “We are so privileged to get to do this, to be on Broadway, to have a life in the theater, to distract, to tell the stories that represent the many and not the few, by the many and not the few, for the many and not the few. Because what we do changes people’s lives. It changes people’s minds. It changes people’s hearts. We can change the world with this, let’s not forget that. This means more to me than I can ever say. Thank you very much.”
This was the first time in Tony history that only one person was nominated in a single category and competed against themselves.
Other winners include, as mentioned above, David Alan Grier, who has successfully single-handedly created the In Living Color to Tony winner pipeline. He won Best Performance for a Featured Actor in a Play, for A Soldier’s Play. Other notable winners include Mary-Louise Parker for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, Andrew Burnap for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, while Dan’s Assistant Martha from Fatal Attraction (aka Lois Smith) took home Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play. At 90, Lois became the oldest performer to win a Tony. Adrienne Warren, who played Tina Turner in the musical Tina, nabbed Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. And Diablo Cody is halfway to an EGOT, because joining her Oscar is the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, for Jagged Little Pill.
The rest of the winners fall into two groups. Is the nomination for a musical? It probably went to Moulin Rouge!. Is it a play? Okay great, throw that award over to someone from The Inheritance. They swept this year’s Tony Awards, and Moulin Rouge! took home the most wins, with 10 wins. So it was a good year to be involved in the stage remake of a 2001 jukebox movie musical. Enjoy it! Because soon enough, Patti LuPone will show up in a revival of something, and that will sweep that year’s awards.
But here’s a selection of some of the winners from last night (the full winner’s list can be seen here).
Best Revival of a Play
A Soldier’s Play
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Adrienne Warren, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge!
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge!
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Lois Smith, The Inheritance
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play
Best Direction of a Musical
Best Direction of a Play
Best Book of a Musical
Jagged Little Pill
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
A Christmas Carol
Pic: Paramount Plus