BACKSTAGE AT THE TONYS
I know, I know…
This wasn’t supposed to be about fashion. But y’all know me, right…?
Glamorous is as glamorous does…to the nth degree.
Here are some photos for you, in order of appearance…
The designers streamed backstage first, fresh from their wins announced during the pre pre telecast CREATIVE ARTS awards.
A large chunk of those design kudos went to creatives from BILLY ELLIOT, including the honor of BOOK OF A MUSICAL , which went to original writer of the screenplay LEE HALL.
“I was in the bathtub, thinking about my childhood,” LEE HALL commented, describing how the idea first came to him.
“I saw a boy in a tutu walking down a back lane and I sort of chased him and found out it was Billy Elliot.”
He added that yes, they are indeed thinking of making BILLY back into another movie – this time, a musical version based on the stage incarnation.
“We’re thinking about it quite seriously. But we’d have to think long and hard about how to do it.”
ROGER ROBINSON, the thesp who snagged the TONY FOR FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY for JOE TURNER’S COME & GONE, savored performing the show for President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
And he was particularly struck by the fact the Commander In Chief was sitting in the Belasco Theater, given that venue’s history.
“It’s the only theatre in New York that has a separate entrance for the balcony and that’s because the balcony used to be reserved for black people. So back then, the president of the United States could not have sat in that orchestra.”
BROADWAY legend ANGELA LANSBURY walked away with her fifth TONY for her FEATURED ACTRESS PLAY performance in the revival of BLITHE SPIRIT.
She’s all ready got a crowded mantle, but don’t worry – she’ll find a place for number five.
“It’s going to be great on this little shelf I have, because I needed the fifth to fill it out,” she joked.
Her other four TONYS have been for starring roles, but winning for a supporting part is no less of a thrill.
“It doesn’t make any difference. It’s still silver. It’s still got my name on it!”
When asked when she’d be back on the boards to try for TONY #6, she acknowledged it was a possibility. “But don’t count on it,” she laughed.
However, there is a lot of Broadway talent she’d like to share the stage with some time.
“I’d love to work with James Gandolfini,” she said, in the tones of a besotted admirer. “That’d be very nice.”
LIZA MINNELLI said she really was as unprepared as she seemed for her win for special theatrical event, which she picked up for LIZA’S AT THE PALACE.
A lot of people thought that she was the favourite given her iconic status. But she’s still not used to being billed as a cultural treasure.
“I don’t understand it. To me I’m just a gypsy. Every time people say something like that, I’m startled and thrilled and grateful…and all that jazz,” she added, with a wink to CHICAGO, the musical by her long term collaborators KANDER & EBB.
“Me? An icon? A gay icon? I love it!”
Broadway vet GREGORY JBARA, who plays the father of the title character in BILLY ELLIOT, brought his wife up on stage with him when he won for featured actor in a musical.
“I brought her up because I wanted to acknowledge the fact that she’s spent the last year basically alone, raising our kids in L.A., which is where I live,” he said backstage.
He added that he enjoyed doing a show in which a major role — that of young BILLY — is played by a rotating trio of actors.
“You’re on your toes. You’re not allowed to let things get rote. I think that’s a bit of a privilege for an actor.”
So where’s he going to put his new trinket?
“That’s a good question,” he said, looking over towards his wife. “I have to ask the boss.”
ALICE RIPLEY, the frontrunner and winner for ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL, plays a tempestuous woman grappling with bipolar disorder in NEXT TO NORMAL.
But that character, DIANA, isn’t much different from the woman who made the fiery acceptance speech on the stage of RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL.
“That passion is in Diana,” she said. “But it comes out twisted.”
The performer added she mostly drew on her own experience to play the part.
“I do have a Diana inside me. My husband is very patient.”
MARCIA GAY HARDEN, clutching her TONY for ACTRESS IN A PLAY for GOD OF CARNAGE, noted there were similarities between the role for which she won the TONY and the one for which she won the OSCAR in POLLACK.
“I’ve played women who fight with their husbands a lot…and I’ve been rewarded for it!” she exclaimed. “I’ll have to remind my husband of that the next time we get in a fight.”
YASMINA REZA, the French scribe of BEST PLAY WINNER GOD OF CARNAGE, pointed out that her play turned out much funnier on Broadway than when she directed her own script in Paris.
“It was very dark, very violent…and not as funny. It was much more cruel.”
This is her second TONY, following her first trophy for ART.
“I don’t know why, but the Tony for me is the very best award. It’s the only award, frankly. Nothing compares, because it is Broadway. It’s like a phantasme.”