‘Hadestown’ Triumphs at 2019 Tony Awards


“Hadestown,” a pulsing, poetic up to date riff on an historic Greek fantasy, received the Tony Award for greatest new musical Sunday evening, triumphing over movie diversifications, a musical comedy and a jukebox present.

The win, coming at a time when Broadway is having fun with a long-running field workplace increase, marks the sixth 12 months in a row that Tony voters have chosen an ingenious present nurtured by nonprofits over extra business fare.

“Hadestown,” dreamed up by a Vermont singer-songwriter who as a baby grew to become fascinated by the doomed love story of Orpheus and Eurydice, is at as soon as tragic and hopeful, suggesting that the very act of storytelling is usually a salve for unhappiness.

Fueled by a seven-piece onstage band, the blues-and-folk-styled present is about in a jazz membership that morphs into an oil drum, and alludes to local weather change, labor strife and, not directly, immigration. The present’s most resonant music, written earlier than Donald J. Trump grew to become president, is known as “Why We Build the Wall.”

“I wish I wasn’t the only woman directing a musical on Broadway this season,” she said, before calling for greater gender and racial diversity among theater artists and critics.

“This is not a pipeline issue,” she added. “It is a failure of imagination by a field whose job is to imagine the way the world could be.”

“Hadestown” picked up eight awards in all, including for scenic design by Rachel Hauck; orchestrations by Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose; lighting design by Bradley King; and sound design by Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz.

The show is shaping up to be a hit, despite a lack of name recognition and a very crowded theatrical marketplace. Since opening in April it has been selling well, and word-of-mouth appears strong.

The other musicals did not go home empty-handed: Santino Fontana, the virtuosic star of “Tootsie,” won as best actor in a musical, and the show’s book writer, Robert Horn, won in his category. “Ain’t Too Proud” picked up an award for Sergio Trujillo’s electrifying choreography.

The night belonged to “Ferryman,” which considers Ireland’s Troubles as refracted through a boisterous household that includes adults and children, plus a baby, a goose and a rabbit. Sam Mendes won as the play’s director, and Rob Howell won two prizes, for its costume and scenic design.

The also-rans will be fine — both “Mockingbird” and “Constitution” are planning tours, and “Mockingbird” is settling in for an extended run on Broadway.

One of the night’s emotional highlights: Ali Stroker becoming the first wheelchair user to win a Tony. Ms. Stroker, 31, lost the use of her legs in a car accident at age two; now she is featured as Ado Annie, the lusty young woman who “cain’t say no” in a revival of “Oklahoma!”

“This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena,” Ms. Stroker said. “You are.”

Bryan Cranston, a favorite among Broadway audiences, won his second Tony for the stage adaptation of the film “Network.” Mr. Cranston, 63, starred as Howard Beale, the “mad as hell” anchorman in the classic satire of television news.

“Finally a straight old white man gets a break!” he said, before dedicating his award “to all the real journalists around the world, both in the print media and broadcast media, who actually are in the line of fire with their support of truth.”

“The media is not the enemy of the people,” he said. “Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”

Stephanie J. Block, a Broadway fan favorite, won her first Tony as one of three women portraying different stages of Cher’s life in “The Cher Show.” The victory is a triumph for Ms. Block, who famously lost out on the lead role in “Wicked” years ago, and who had been nominated twice previously.

She thanked not only God, but also “the goddess Cher.”

Bob Mackie, who designed Cher’s attention-demanding looks for decades, also won, for the show’s costumes.

Celia Keenan-Bolger was named best featured actress in a play for portraying Scout, the daughter of Atticus Finch. in Aaron Sorkin’s new stage adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Ms. Keenan-Bolger is 41, and playing Scout both as a young woman and as a child; in her acceptance speech, she praised the novelist Harper Lee “for making the greatest literary heroine of all time.”

And Bertie Carvel won as best featured actor in a play for his portrayal of a young Rupert Murdoch in “Ink,” a British drama about an early chapter in the media titan’s tabloid career.

As the telecast began, Mr. Corden exhorted viewers — who, ironically, were mostly watching on television — to think about getting off their couches and going to see a show. He cracked joke after joke about the challenges facing Broadway — high ticket prices, low artist salaries (at least when compared to television) — but celebrated the joys, and the spectacle, of “actual people in an actual space.”

At one point he showed his father taking a phone call in the audience and describing his whereabouts as “some theater thing James is doing.” Later he joined last year’s hosts, Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles, for a spoof version of “Michael in the Bathroom” — a popular song from the cult Broadway musical “Be More Chill” — the trio joking in a Radio City restroom about their insecurity over the broadcast’s ratings.

And then, saying theater would be more popular if its stars feuded with one another as they do in pop music, he pretended to try to get stage stars to air their grievances with one another, but they mostly just expressed their mutual fandom.

The industry’s annual lifetime achievement awards went to Rosemary Harris — a veteran stage actress, now featured on Broadway in a revival of “My Fair Lady,” who played Aunt May in three Spider-Man films; to the playwright Terrence McNally, whose “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” is now running on Broadway; and to the musician Harold Wheeler, best known for his years as musical director of “Dancing With the Stars.”

Among the other honors:

  • Madeline Michel, the theater director at Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Va., received the Excellence in Theater Education Award. Ms. Michel’s program used drama to explore racial inequality after violence followed a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

  • The actress Judith Light, a two-time Tony winner, won the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award, which recognizes volunteerism, in honor of her work on H.I.V./AIDS issues and her support for gay rights.

  • Marin Mazzie, a beloved stage actress who died of ovarian cancer last year, received a posthumous special Tony Award in recognition of her advocacy for women’s health.

  • Jason Michael Webb, a composer and musical director, won a special Tony Award for his arrangements of the gospel songs and hymns sung in the play “Choir Boy.” The cast of that play, which closed in March, will reunite to perform at the award ceremony.

  • The annual Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theater were given to the choir Broadway Inspirational Voices; to Peter Entin, retired vice president of theater operations for the Shubert Organization; to Joseph Blakely Forbes, the founder and president of Scenic Art Studios, Inc.; and to the Theater District’s firehouse, FDNY Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9.

  • And the annual regional theater Tony Award went to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, a nonprofit founded in 1970 that is one of the nation’s few major regional theaters located in suburbia.

The Tony Awards, named for the actress and philanthropist Antoinette Perry, are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing.

The recipients are chosen by 831 Tony voters, many of whom work in the theater industry and have a financial connection to one or more nominated shows. To be eligible, the shows must have opened by April 25 in one of the 41 Broadway theaters located in and around midtown Manhattan.

Winners will get an eight-inch high statuette featuring a circular silver medallion with the masks of comedy and tragedy on one side and information about the winner on the other.

The awards ceremony takes place at a time when Broadway is booming. Attendance is at record levels — 14,768,254 seats filled during the season that just ended — and so is the total box office, which was just over $1.8 billion.



Source link Nytimes.com

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