Well, as forecast in the preview post on Sunday, the night was mostly about “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”, Neil Patrick Harris in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and Audra McDonald’s record breaker. Also, as was apparent before the show, the only clear frontrunner among my field-of-four, was “All the Way” and its marvelous star, Bryan Cranston. It was a great night for a number of shows, while some superb productions went home empty-handed. Expect an array of closing notices soon, which is a real shame amongst a field where flash often outweighs substance. But not always.
Congratulations to “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”, the Best Musical winner that garnered 4 total awards. It was the “little show that could”, riding strong reviews and enthusiastic word-of-mouth to victory over Disney’s mega-budgeted “Aladdin”, and the highly touted musical review, “After Midnight”.
Bravo, to the now-legendary Audra McDonald, who at only 43 years of age, has become the winningest actor in Broadway history. Audra’s sixth performing Tony comes with her work in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill”, in which she vanquished(among others)the stupendous Cherry Jones from “The Glass Menagerie”. “Lady Day…” also grabbed the Tony for Best Sound Design of a Play(Steven Canyon Kennedy). Btw, I’m proud to have seen Ms. McDonald in her 2nd Tony-winning role back in 1996’s “Master Class”. Audra’s sixth win usurps the previous record of five held by both Angela Lansbury and the late Julie Harris.
You’ve come a long way, Doogie and Hedwig. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” was almost everybody’s choice for Best Musical Revival, and its miraculous star Neil Patrick Harris was considered a no-brainer for the Best Performance by a Leading Actor honor. “Hedwig” was created by John Cameron Mitchell for the off-Broadway stage in 1998, and he also headlined in the wonderful 2001 film version. I watched Michael Cerveris play Hedwig in 1999 in New York, and then Matt McGrath in 2000. It’s a fantastic show, and the music is infectious. I’m certain that Mr. Harris knocks it out of the park, after watching his performance on the Tony broadcast Sunday night. “Hedwig” grabbed four awards total, including one for Lena Hall for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical.
Bryan Cranston indeed went “All the Way” as LBJ. To very little surprise, Mr. Cranston was elected Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, while “All the Way” was anointed Best Play of the year. It also turned out to be my personal big winner of the evening. Despite 7 nominations, the lauded revival of “The Glass Menagerie” garnered just one Tony for Best Lighting Design of a Play(Natasha Katz). And the awesome “Violet” and the stylized “Machinal”, both came up empty-handed, despite 4 noms apiece for each show. However, I’m pleased to offer a hearty ovation to all of the night’s victors and contenders. Overall, Broadway’s biggest night was a rousing success!