Highlights From the 71st Annual Tony Awards

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The New York Film Academy was especially excited to watch the Tony Awards this year, as our Musical Theatre Program has welcomed many members of the Broadway community as instructors, guest speakers, and featured artists in our original movie musicals, from our Artistic Director Kristy Cates to visiting Master Class lecturer Jonathan Groff. For industry insiders and theatre lovers everywhere, the 71st Annual Tony Awards on Sunday was the theatre event of the season. The New York Film Academy provided live social media coverage on Twitter, while the live CBS broadcast of the Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall gave nearly 6 million home viewers a glimpse into an evening full of Broadway royalty, moving speeches, and much-anticipated performances.

In case you missed it, here are some highlights from the 71st Annual Tony Awards:

Best Musical

After much anticipation, audience favorite “Dear Evan Hansen” swept the Tony’s this season, taking home awards in not one, not two, but six categories — including the coveted spot for Best New Musical. The groundbreaking musical is a true original, featuring a small cast and orchestra and offering some innovative tie-ins to social media.

Best Actor in a Musical

Dear Evan Hansen” also gave us one of the evening’s brightest new stars, when leading actor Ben Platt snagged the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical. Platt received a rousing standing ovation from the live audience and the orchestra at the Tony’s, and used his moment in the spotlight to spread some inspiration.

As quoted in the New York Times, Ben offered encouragement to fellow theatre kids: “To all young people watching at home, don’t waste any time trying to be like anybody but yourself, because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.”

Best Actress in a Musical

“Dear Evan Hansen” was not the only star of the evening. The Radio City Music Hall audience also swept to its feet to recognize and celebrate beloved industry icon Bette Midler, as she won the the Best Actress in a Musical award for her portrayal of Dolly Levi in the revival of “Hello, Dolly!” 

Best Play

While musicals and musical performances punctuated the evening, the Tony’s also celebrate legitimate Broadway performers and plays. This year, the category for Best Play (non-musical) was especially competitive, but in the end the award went to “Oslo,” which dramatizes the 1993 Middle East peace accords.

Best Actress in a Play

Laurie Metcalf had been nominated for a Tony Award four times before her emotionally-charged win on Sunday, when she took home the category for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Nora in “A Doll’s House, Part 2.”

Most-buzzed Acceptance Speech

Cynthia Nixon took the stage to accept an award for Best Featured Actress in a play for “The Little Foxes,” the Lillian Helman classic which was also nominated in the Best Revival of a Play category. During her acceptance speech, Nixon caused major internet buzz for quoting the playwright to make a political statement: ““Sixty years ago, [Hellman] wrote, ‘There are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it and other people who just stand around and watch them do it.’ My love, gratitude and undying respect go out to all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it.”

 

Surprise Stars

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, rocked Radio City during Jill’s moment on stage. Mrs. Biden made a brief appearance during the ceremony to promote Got Your Six, a campaign benefitting military veterans. And Variety reports that the crowd’s enthusiasm for the political superstars cased selfie-seekers to create traffic jams at the after-party as they clamored for a pic with the Bidens.

Lifetime Achievement Award

James Earl Jones received recognition for a full and incredible career on the stage, taking home the  2017 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theater. The superstar, who has portrayed roles from Darth Vader in “Star Wars” to Othello on Broadway, graciously thanked the New York City Police Department during his moment on stage for their work keeping the Broadway community safe.

Here is the full list of this year’s Tony Award winners, as reported by The Tony Awards website:

BEST PLAY

“Oslo”

BEST MUSICAL

“Dear Evan Hansen”

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY

August Wilson’s “Jitney

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

“Hello, Dolly!”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Kevin Kline for “Present Laughter”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A PLAY

Laurie Metcalf for “A Doll’s House, Part 2”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Ben Platt for “Dear Evan Hansen”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Bette Midler for “Hello, Dolly!”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Michael Aronov for “Oslo”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Cynthia Nixon for Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Gavin Creel for “Hello, Dolly!”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Rachel Bay Jones for “Dear Evan Hansen”

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Steven Levenson for “Dear Evan Hansen”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (MUSIC AND/OR LYRICS) WRITTEN FOR THE THEATRE

“Dear Evan Hansen” Music & Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

Nigel Hook for “The Play That Goes Wrong”

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Mimi Lien for “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

Jane Greenwood for Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Santo Loquasto for “Hello, Dolly!”

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY

Christopher Akerlind for “Indecent”

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Bradley King for “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Rebecca Taichman for “Indecent”

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Christopher Ashley for “Come From Away”

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Andy Blankenbuehler for “Bandstand”

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

Alex Lacamoire for “Dear Evan Hansen”

SPECIAL TONY AWARD® FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE

James Earl Jones

REGIONAL THEATRE TONY AWARD

Dallas Theater Center

ISABELLE STEVENSON TONY AWARD

Baayork Lee

SPECIAL TONY AWARD

Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin

TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE

Nina Lannan and Alan Wasser

 

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