The victory of a smaller, more non-standard musical against more commercial offerings continues a recent trend.
NEW YORK – “A Strange Loop”, a disrespectful, sexually sincere work about blackness and eccentricity, won the best new musical crown at the Tony Awards ceremony on Sunday, when voters celebrated the most racial season on Broadway by choosing a black voice that pushes .
The dramatic winner of the 2020 R. R. Jackson Pulitzer Prize is a theatrical meta-journey – a melodic show about a black gay man who writes a show about a black gay man. Jackson also won the nomination for best book, but many other “Tony” evenings were distributed over several performances.
The victory of a smaller, more non-standard musical over more commercial offerings continues a recent trend, such as when the intimate musical “The Band’s Visit” beat the major branded musicals “Frozen”, “Mean Girls” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” in 2018 or when “Hadestown” beat “Tootsie”, “Beetlejuice” and “Ain’t Too Proud” a year later.
“A Strange Loop” won “MJ,” a bio-musical from the King of Pop’s biggest hits, for top prize, though another Jackson musical won four Tony Awards, including Best Choreography. Miles Frost received the award for best leading male role in a musical for the role of Michael Jackson, becoming the youngest solo winner in this category. “Mom, I succeeded!” he said.
“MJ” is 22-year-old Frost’s debut on Broadway, when he plays Jackson with a high, whispering voice, a flirtatiousness similar to Lady Diana, and a fierce application of Jackson’s iconic dance and singing styles. “Heal the world,” Frost said from the stage, directing Jackson.
Joaquin Kalukanga won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her work in Paradise Square, a show about Irish immigrants and black Americans who fought for survival in New York during the Civil War. Earlier in the evening, she blew up a house, performing a stunning performance of the musical “Let It Burn.”
The revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” with gender reassignment sparked Broadway’s commitment to the deceased famous composer, receiving five statuettes, including one for Best Musical Revival.
The “campaign” is a study of one man’s conflicting feelings about attachment, traditionally the focus of the 35-year-old bachelor. This time it had a girl and several couples exchanged floors.
Mariana Elliott went down in Tony’s history, becoming the only woman to receive three Tony Awards for directing, the last for “The Company”. She thanked Sondheim for allowing her to put the woman “in front and in the center”. She dedicated her award to all those who are fighting for theaters to be open.
Patti LuPon received the award for Best Actress in a Musical for her work in the revival, thanking COVID-19 security staff in her speech. Matt Doyle won the best male role in the musical “Company”.
Lehmann’s Trilogy, which spans 150 years and lasts three and a half hours, tells the story of one family during the 2008 financial meltdown. She was crowned Best New Play, and Sam Mendes won Best Play Directing, praising the season for his “uncluttered work”. One of his three stars, Simon Russell Bill, won the nomination for Best Actor in a Performance and thanked the audience for coming to see a trio of British actors tell a New York story.
Deidre O’Connell won Best Actress in a Play for her work in Dana H., about a real woman kidnapped by a former convict and a white supremacist. O’Connell never speaks, instead syncing his lips with the edited record of the survivor. On Sunday, O’Connell urged the crowd to ignore safe options and “make amazing art”.
“Take Me Out” won for best revival of the play, and “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson received “Tony” for best male role in a play for his work in it. “Mom, Dad, thank you for allowing me to move to New York when I was 17,” said Ferguson, who also thanked his backup and husband.
Host Ariana Deboz began her part of the show in a shiny white jumpsuit and wide-brimmed hat, dancing and singing to the song “This Is Your Round of Applause”, which mixed fragments of favorite musical theaters such as “Chicago”, “The Wizard”, “Evita” , “Rent,” “Hair,” “Cabaret,” “Hairspray,” and “West Side Story,” a remake of the film for which she recently won an Oscar.
Still panting, greeting the audience, she told the crowd that it was season: “Broadway has returned its groove.”
Philisia Rashad became the best female female role in the play “Skeleton Crew”. Dominique Mariso’s play is about the insecurity of workers at a car stamping plant in Detroit. “It is wonderful to present humanity in its entirety,” Rashad said.
The stellar revival of the classic show “Music” with Hugh Jackman and Satan Foster has gone empty-handed, despite six nominations and box office receipts, regularly raising more than $ 3 million a week.
The season was marked by the embrace of seven black playwrights, from contemporary writers such as Dominic Mariso, Keenan Scott II and Antoinette Nwandu, to underrated historical playwrights such as Alice Childress and Ntozake Shange. Deboz said Broadway was more representative.
Deboz noted black voices and talents on stage, and noted that two Broadway theaters were renamed in honor of black icons James Earl Jones and Lena Horn, saying the Great White Way has now become a nickname “unlike leadership. ”
DeBoz also welcomed the heroic efforts of backups, swings and the expectation that the show would continue during the pandemic peaks, noting that she and many other Tony nominees were once unannounced backups and swings. After the cast of “Six” performed, Deboz noted that one was filling in at the last minute.
Exempt from technical awards, the main telecast was less insane, more airy. Deboz was a confident, cheerful, and versatile host who wandered the chairs, sat on Andrew Garfield’s lap, danced with Sam Rockwell, and encouraged Lawrence Fishburne to make an imitation of Duffy Duck. She ended the show with a set of musical nominees, at one point making “MJ” part of Dylan’s show: “You’ve Been Hit by / A Rolling Stone”.
Some of the highlights of the show included the massive cast of “Musical Man”, which filled the massive stage of Radio City “Seventy-Six Trombones”, as well as Prince Jackson and Paris Jackson, who presented a show about his father before the actors “MJ” danced to the energetic “Smooth Criminal”.
Billy Crystal taught the crowd “Yiddish to roll down”, and the original line-up of the 2007 musical “Spring Awakening”, which won Tony – including Leo Michelle and Jonathan Groff – reunited to perform.
Numerous speeches thanked the audience for bravely stepping up COVID-19 to come watch the show, and Marsha Gay Harden welcomed the 150 security staff invited as guests at Tonys.
Earlier, Darren Chris and Juliana Huff embarked on a four-hour award, handing out mostly design awards. Chris opened the telecast with the original song “Set the Stage” as he and Huff danced vigorously up the stairs, on linen boxes and on sliding chairs to mark the artists who keep the theater alive.
The first award of the evening – for best music – went to “Six: The Musical” with music and lyrics by Toby Marlowe and Lucy Moss. Marlowe became the first non-binary lyricist to receive the Tony Award. The award for best costume for a musical also went to “Six: Musical”.
The season – with 34 new productions – represents a complete return to the cinema after nearly two years of shutdown due to the pandemic. At the last Tonys nine months ago the winners were determined with only 18 plays and musicals that met the requirements, and many competition categories were exhausted.
Sondheim, a cult composer who died in late 2021, was honored in a special segment by Bernadette Peters, who sang her song “Children Will Listen”. Angela Lansbury, who was honored in Tony’s life, was not present, so her colleague from the movie “Sweeney Todd” Len Cariou accepted on her behalf.