Sometimes the veterans win, and simply being a movie star isn’t enough. That was the message sent out by Tony voters on Sunday night, and it was nice to see. Case in point: Tom Hanks has been a lovable and, until recently, bankable movie star for three decades. And just a few hours ago he was the favorite to secure the Tony for Best Actor in a Play for making a monster hit out of the late Nora Ephron’s “Lucky Guy”. The big bucks weren’t enough, however. Tracy Letts, a celebrated performer and playwright(the wonderful Pulitzer, Tony and Drama Desk-winner, “August: Osage County” from 2008)took home the Actor prize for Pam MacKinnon’s critically lauded revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”(also, MacKinnon nabbed Best Direction of a Play, and the show itself, Best Revival of a Play). Don’t worry though, Ephron fans…”Lucky Guy” did not come up empty. Courtney B. Vance, who I first watched on Broadway back in 1988(months before the film release of Tom Hanks blockbuster “Big”, btw)in the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Fences”, grabbed Best Featured Actor in a Play for his first Tony ever. And the award for Best Lighting Design of a Play went to “Lucky Guy’s” Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer.
And I was quite vocal just a few weeks ago about my partisan desire to see 64 year-old New Jersey native Christopher Durang finally take home a Tony for his work. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” only grabbed one medallion, but it was the big one—Best Play. And what a night for 59 year-old 80’s icon, Cyndi Lauper! Her Tony win for Best Original Score was part of the huge SIX award night for the musical “Kinky Boots”…including the top prize in the musical category. Other big winners include Best Musical Revival “Pippin”, which garnered four total. And 79 year-old Cicely Tyson grabs Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for “The Trip to Bountiful”. Traditionally a night that gives a nice summer boost to the industry—congratulations to all the victors and the runners-up!