To this end, last night's ceremony was all about showmanship. Luckily, Hugh Jackman - in his fourth time hosting - proved himself a reliable old pro, showing off his song-and-dance skills. Here are some thoughts I had on the ceremony:
- Jackman was a fine host, but his recurring singing bits after most commercial breaks felt less and less exciting as the night went on. That being said, his performance with the cast of After Midnight was fun (even if I'm still uncertain as to what that show is?), and singing the Lead Actress nominees was inspired.
- Oh, and he did a rap rendition of "Rock Island" from The Music Man with LL Cool J and T.I., and it was…okay. It should have been really embarrassing, but everyone involved was so totally committed that it actually worked.
- Related note: outside of NCIS: Los Angeles, does LL Cool J appear in public anymore outside of awards ceremonies?
- Of the musicals that were showcased during the ceremony, Hedwig and the Angry Inch looks fantastic, Aladdin and A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder are probably ridiculously fun, Les Miserables is Les Miserables (meaning, great), Beautiful - The Carole King Musical looks fine, I don't know what to think about Violet, and Rocky the Musical is…a musical, I guess? I mean, the boxing ring was impressive, but I feel like that didn't really give us an idea of what the entire show was like. Also, there was a number from Bullets Over Broadway, but I have absolutely no recollection of it.
- Other great moments: the acceptance speeches of James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin) and Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill), Matt Bomer and Zachary Quinto in matching glasses (#TrueDetectiveSeason2), Idina Menzel's number from If/Then and only one "Adele Dazeem" joke!
- Other odd things: Clint Eastwood's presentation of the directing Tonys, the decision to not air the "in memoriam" segment during the telecast.
- Off topic - I'm not thrilled by what I'm seeing of Eastwood's film version of Jersey Boys. I'm sure the music and acting will be fine, but his usual desaturated color palette looks totally out-of-place for this story. It just looks bleak.
- Overall, A Gentleman's Guide for Love & Murder and Hedwig and the Angry Inch led all shows with four Tonys apiece, while A Raisin in the Sun led all plays with three. The American Theatre Wing spread the love more this year than last, with seven musicals and six plays winning at least one Tony this year. Last year, only four musicals and six plays won at least one Tony.
All the Way, Robert Schenkken
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL
A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder; book by Robert L. Freedman
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Bridges of Madison County; music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
A Raisin in the Sun
BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Jason Robert Brown, The Bridges of Madison County
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
Beowulf Boritt, Act One
BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Christopher Barreca, Rocky the Musical
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night
BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Linda Cho, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
Natasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Brian Ronan, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
SPECIAL TONY AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE
Jane Greenwood (Costume Designer)
REGIONAL THEATRE AWARD
Signature Theatre (New York, NY)
ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD
TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE
Joseph P. Benincasa (President/CEO of The Actors Fund)
Joan Marcus (Photographer)
Charlotte Wilcox (General Manager)