Monday, June 11, 2007



Perhaps the biggest surprise in this year's Tonys was the lack of surprises. As expected, Spring Awakening fully blossomed by nabbing 8 Tonys, including for Best Musical, while The Coast Of Utopia easily coasted to nirvana with a record seven major awards for a play, including for Best Play.

I'm beyond euphoric that the lovely Christine Ebersole won for Grey Gardens, and I'm pretty thrilled that her co-star Mary Louise Wilson won the award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. But I'm also ecstatic that the young John Gallagher, Jr. received an honor for his amazing performance in Spring Awakening.

While I pooh-poohed the idea that Julie White from The Little Dog Laughed would win the Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Play, she did turn in a stellar, star-making performance worthy of recognition. And while I personally was rooting for Raúl Esparza to be honored for his virtuoso performance in Company, I can't think of a better alternative this year than the graceful David Hyde Pierce in Curtains.

The 2006-07 Tony nominees and winners include:

Best Play
The Coast of Utopia (Tom Stoppard, author)
Frost/Nixon (Peter Morgan)
The Little Dog Laughed (Douglas Carter Beane, author)
Radio Golf (August Wilson, author)

Best Musical
Grey Gardens
Mary Poppins
Spring Awakening

Best Book of a Musical
Curtains - Rupert Holmes & Peter Stone
Grey Gardens - Doug Wright
Legally Blonde The Musical - Heather Hach
Spring Awakening - Steven Sater

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Curtains - Music: John Kander; Lyrics: Fred Ebb, John Kander & Rupert Holmes
Grey Gardens - Music: Scott Frankel; Lyrics: Michael Korie
Legally Blonde The Musical - Music & Lyrics: Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Spring Awakening - Music: Duncan Sheik; Lyrics: Steven Sater

Best Revival of a Play
Inherit the Wind
Journey's End
Talk Radio

Best Revival of a Musical
The Apple Tree
A Chorus Line
110 in the Shade

Best Special Theatrical Event
Jay Johnson: The Two and Only!
Kiki & Herb Alive on Broadway

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Boyd Gaines, Journey's End
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Brían F. O'Byrne, The Coast of Utopia
Christopher Plummer, Inherit the Wind
Liev Schreiber, Talk Radio

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Eve Best, A Moon for the Misbegotten
Swoosie Kurtz, Heartbreak House
Angela Lansbury, Deuce
Vanessa Redgrave, The Year of Magical Thinking
Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, LoveMusik
Raúl Esparza, Company
Jonathan Groff, Spring Awakening
Gavin Lee, Mary Poppins
David Hyde Pierce, Curtains

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Laura Bell Bundy, Legally Blonde The Musical
Christine Ebersole, Grey Gardens
Audra McDonald, 110 in the Shade
Debra Monk, Curtains
Donna Murphy, LoveMusik

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Anthony Chisholm, Radio Golf
Billy Crudup, The Coast of Utopia
Ethan Hawke, The Coast of Utopia
John Earl Jelks, Radio Golf
Stark Sands, Journey's End

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Jennifer Ehle, The Coast of Utopia
Xanthe Elbrick, Coram Boy
Dana Ivey, Butley
Jan Maxwell, Coram Boy
Martha Plimpton, The Coast of Utopia

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me
Christian Borle, Legally Blonde The Musical
John Cullum, 110 in the Shade
John Gallagher, Jr., Spring Awakening
David Pittu, LoveMusik

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Charlotte d'Amboise, A Chorus Line
Rebecca Luker, Mary Poppins
Orfeh, Legally Blonde The Musical
Mary Louise Wilson, Grey Gardens
Karen Ziemba, Curtains

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Bob Crowley & Scott Pask, The Coast of Utopia
Jonathan Fensom, Journey's End
David Gallo, Radio Golf
Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins
Christine Jones, Spring Awakening
Anna Louizos, High Fidelity
Allen Moyer, Grey Gardens

Best Costume Design of a Play
Ti Green and Melly Still, Coram Boy
Jane Greenwood, Heartbreak House
Santo Loquasto, Inherit the Wind
Catherine Zuber, The Coast of Utopia

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Legally Blonde The Musical
Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins
Susan Hilferty, Spring Awakening
William Ivey Long, Grey Gardens

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, Coram Boy
Brian MacDevitt, Inherit the Wind
Brian MacDevitt, Kenneth Posner and Natasha Katz, The Coast of Utopia
Jason Taylor, Journey's End

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, Spring Awakening
Christopher Akerlind, 110 in the Shade
Howard Harrison, Mary Poppins
Peter Kaczorowski, Grey Gardens

Best Direction of a Play
Michael Grandage, Frost/Nixon
David Grindley, Journey's End
Jack O'Brien, The Coast of Utopia
Melly Still, Coram Boy

Best Direction of a Musical
John Doyle, Company
Scott Ellis, Curtains
Michael Greif, Grey Gardens
Michael Mayer, Spring Awakening

Best Choreography
Rob Ashford, Curtains
Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear, Mary Poppins
Bill T. Jones, Spring Awakening
Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde The Musical

Best Orchestrations
Bruce Coughlin, Grey Gardens
Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening
Jonathan Tunick, LoveMusik
Jonathan Tunick, 110 in the Shade

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Alliance Theatre (Atlanta, GA)

Since I was quite literally in the air during the entirety of the Tony Awards (I flew from Beijing to Tokyo, where I'm currently writing this story), I have no idea how well the performances of highlighted shows were received (thankfully, one good friend and reader from Providence promised she'd Tivo the proceedings for me!), but here's hoping that many first-time Tony viewers were inspired enough to make their first pilgrimage to Broadway to see why this art form is so enduring.

Congratulations to all the winners!

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 11 June, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, it's so much more fun to watch the Tonys when you've been to or are planning to go to the shows! Obvously, I felt much more connected to the ceremony this time.

Naturally, I'm thrilled about David Hyde Pierce's win! What a great performer and what a truly gracious man. You could hear it in his voice what an emotional moment it was for him when he came on stage to accept the Tony.

I know some people are saying that his performance wasn't as emotionally deep as Raul Esparza's, that the award may simply have been the voters' way of honoring Kander and Ebb.

But I don't think you can dismiss David Hyde Pierce's performance just because Curtains is a "lighter" show than Company. Comedy requires a lot of skill, and David Hyde Pierce makes it look effortless. Plus, I think he's a pretty good song-and-dance man!

I was disappointed that Eve Best didn't win for her brilliant job in A Moon for the Misbegotten, but wow, that Julie White is funny! I'd definitely like to see her next work on Broadway.

I think Frank Langella gave one of the best acceptance speeches of the night. I don't think he actually thanked anyone by name. He just talked about nature of success. It was very refreshing.

I thought Fantasia was pretty stunning. Her performance really made me very excited about going to see The Color Purple next month. I have a feeling it's going to be a very emotional experience.

I have to admit, in years past, I hardly ever watched the Tonys, or maybe I just watched part of the show. I guess that's the problem for the Tonys. I can imagine the curious TV viewer wondering "What exactly is The Coast of Utopia and why should I care?" It's easier, obviously, to entice people with a big, splashy musical number.

I do hope watching the Tonys makes people want to go to New York, or check out their local theater company or see a show when it comes on tour.

It's funny, though, I was thinking, now that I've seen Curtains, how would I feel about seeing it on tour? I think I'd still enjoy it, but nothing can ever replace seeing it on Broadway, with its original cast, in the second row of the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, then getting to meet the entire cast afterward at the stage door and get my picture taken with David Hyde Pierce! That was such a thrilling, unique, unforgettable experience.

At 11 June, 2007, Blogger Sarah B. Roberts said...

Loved the show this year - the opening number was just fabulous!

I'm still shocked that David Hyde Pierce won! Not that he's not deserving (I won't see Curtains until Wednesday) but I just found Raul's performance in Company to be so deep, beautiful and utterly triumphant.

I couldn't but pull for Angela - what a return that would have been for her but Julie is absolutely and honestly delightful and I can't help but be excited for her.

At 11 June, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther - I agree that comedy isn't necessarily as easy as it looks. I do believe that David Hyde Pierce delivered a wonderful performance. Yes, I was cheering for Esparza, but as I said, if it had to go to someone else, I'm glad it went to Pierce. And to think you had a chance to meet him on your first visit to Broadway! WOW!

At 11 June, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Sarah - I think you'll enjoy David Hyde Pierce in Curtains. He's a delight and offers a surprising performance, complete with dancing (thanks to the underappreciated Rob Ashford's brilliant choreography).

At 11 June, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might get tomatoes and eggs thrown at me, and get booed out of the house, but...

I just don't get "Curtains." I saw it with the original Broadway cast, and I just don't get why Everybody Loves DH-P. I know it is a Kander and Ebb show, and the music is pretty good, but I was yawning halfway through the first act. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for a big BROADWAY WOW that just seemed to never come up.

As for DH-P...I mean, he did well, and sang ok, and managed to do some dancing. But nothing about his performance seemed to say, "Finally...Broadway has a true Leading Man."

What am I missing?

And please don't hold my praise for "Legally Blonde" against me... : )

At 11 June, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

E - What I liked best was Curtains' big huge valentine to Broadway. I thought David Hyde Pierce was provided such a departure from other roles (OK, he still is a fuss-budget, but it enhances his charm as the detective-cum-stage wannabe). I think the music and story are much better and more complex than they're credited as being.

At 12 June, 2007, Blogger Mondschein said...

What I found missing in the show was a real tribute to Fred Ebb. He got pulled into the "died this year" segment and a couple of singular references here and there - didn't seem like enough for me given his contributions to theatre during his lifetime.

As for DHP vs. RE, I agree that Raul's Bobby was a significantly superior performance - even though I didn't think "Being Alive" worked very well on TV that night. For that matter, I didn't think "Revolutionary Costume" worked well, either. David was, while an acceptable alternative to win, just not as deserving, IMHO.

Thrilled for Julie White! It was a tour-de-force performance and well-deserving of the Tony. I, too, can't wait to see what will bring her back to Broadway. And, hopefully sooner than later.

I saw in the NYTimes that viewership was down by 1 million from last year's broadcast. Wonder when the League is going to figure out they need to expand eligibility outside NYC if they want to stay relevant to the rest of the country?

At 12 June, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Mondschein - Since Fred Ebb passed away September 11, 2004, I believe a tribute probably came during the 2005 Tony Awards, didn't it?

On the weak numbers for the telecast (see my latest posting), it was a tough television evening given both the final episode of "The Sopranos" and the NBA Finals. Of course, TV ratings never capture those who have Tivo'd another show.

I'm happy for both Julie White and David Hyde Pierce, but the former has now gone Hollywood with her role as Leslie in the new ABC television show "Cavemen," based on the popular, yet numbing Geico commercials.

I agree with you on the latter - Esparza as Bobby was far superior, yet Pierce's performance cannot be easily dismissed.


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