THE 2011 TONY AWARDS
FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Just to lead off this post with some beautiful people decked out in sartorial splendour…
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS & DAVID BURTKA
KELSEY GRAMMER & KATYE WALSH
CATHERINE ZETA JONES
This year’s TONY AWARDS honoured THE NORMAL HEART for its passionate look at the AIDS crisis. It also bestowed TONYS on WAR HORSE, a play that showed the horror of the battlefield.
But the night’s biggest prize went to a musical that mocked both.
THE BOOK OF MORMON took home nine TONYS on Sunday — including the prize for BEST MUSICAL — propelled by a so offensive it’s funny look at two naive missionaries who arrive in Uganda and find misery, gun toting warlords, villages infected with HIV and people considering having sex with babies as a cure.
It is as mischievous as LARRY KRAMER’S THE NORMAL HEART is a deeply felt polemic and WAR HORSE is charmingly simplistic. The fact that Broadway had room for all three views in the same season says something wonderful about theatre in New York.
WAR HORSE — a World War I tale about horses told with puppets and actors — won five TONYS, including BEST PLAY. The revival of THE NORMAL HEART and ANYTHING GOES each went home with a trifecta.
TREY PARKER and MATT STONE, creators of the EMMY AWARD winning SOUTH PARK, found a kindred soul in ROBERT LOPEZ, who cowrote the TONY winning AVENUE Q. All three found themselves with a haul of awards when they collaborated to gently mock Mormons and send up Broadway itself.
TREY PARKER was asked backstage what he and his team will say if they get to heaven and God takes issue with the way they spoofed spiritual matters. “Look at the box office,” he replied.
The show, which netted honours for BEST MUSICAL, BEST BOOK, BEST DIRECTION (MUSICAL), BEST SCORE, BEST FEATURED ACTRESS and four technical awards, came in with a leading 14 nominations and was the heavy favourite for the top musical prize.
MARK RYLANCE won BEST ACTOR in a play for his powerful role of JOHNNY “ROOSTER” BYRON in JEZ BUTTERWORTH’S JERUSALEM. Just as he did three years ago when he won for BOEING BOEING, he quoted a poem by LOUIS JENKINS, an obscure poet from Minnesota.
“Unlike flying or astral projection, walking through walls is a totally earth related craft, but a lot more interesting than pot making or driftwood lamps,” he said to the bemused crowd. When asked later why he had recited the poem, he remarked, “I don’t know. I was getting a little bored.”
NORBERT LEO BUTZ won for BEST ACTOR in a musical. He plays a frumpy FBI agent hot on the heels of a con artist in CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. It is his second TONY. His previous win was in 2005 for DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS.
SUTTON FOSTER won BEST ACTRESS in a musical and gave a tearful speech. As well as her award, the COLE PORTER musical ANYTHING GOES also won BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL and earned KATHLEEN MARSHALL a TONY for BEST CHOREOGRAPHY.
FRANCES McDORMAND was declared BEST ACTRESS (PLAY) for portraying a South Boston blue collar woman who reconnects with a high school boyfriend in the DAVID LINDSAY ABAIRE production of GOOD PEOPLE.
“I love my job. I love my job…I believe that young actors will grow up one day to play this role…Thank you very much. This means more to me than you may know.”
The top directing prize for a play went to MARIANNE ELLIOTT and TOM MORRIS for the weepy British import WAR HORSE.
NIKKI M. JAMES, who won for BEST FEATURED ACTRESS (MUSICAL) in THE BOOK OF MORMON, dedicated the award to her dad, who died while she was in high school and to her nephew OZZIE, who was born with kidney problems.
LARRY KRAMER’S THE NORMAL HEART won the BEST REVIVAL prize and two actors from the AIDS drama — ELLEN BARKIN and JOHN BENJAMIN HICKEY — also collected trophies. ELLEN, making her Broadway debut, was declared BEST FEATURED ACTRESS (PLAY), while JOHN BENJAMIN HICKEY won BEST FEATURED ACTOR.
“It’s the proudest moment of my career. Being involved in something this important is I think a once in a career opportunity. I’m so proud to be shouting out this message that needs to be heard, 30 years later…Being in political theatre, being allowed to rage against the machine every night — I think it just feels great,” ELLEN stated.
LARRY KRAMER’S historic play about the beginning of an epidemic that has killed millions won the TONY 26 years after it was first mounted at THE PUBLIC THEATER.
“Learn from it and carry on the fight,” LARRY KRAMER said. “Our day will come.”
JOHN LARROQUETTE, in his Broadway debut, won BEST FEATURED ACTOR (MUSICAL) for HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. He thanked his costar DANIEL RADCLIFFE, who was not nominated, saying that without the HARRY POTTER star he’d be “home, sitting in my underwear, watching this on television.”
Away from the television cameras, THE BOOK OF MORMON won for ORCHESTRATION, SOUND DESIGN, SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL, SCORE and BOOK OF A MUSICAL. WAR HORSE won for BEST SOUND DESIGN (PLAY) and BEST SCENIC DESIGN (PLAY).
The COSTUME DESIGN (MUSICAL) award went to PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT for the flamboyant fantasies created by TIM CHAPPEL and LIZZY GARDINER. DESMOND HEELEY won for the play THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST.
LIST OF WINNERS (IN SELECT CATEGORIES)
BEST PLAY: WAR HORSE
BEST MUSICAL: THE BOOK OF MORMON
BEST BOOK (MUSICAL): TREY PARKER, MATT STONE & ROBERT LOPEZ – THE BOOK OF MORMON
BEST REVIVAL (PLAY): THE NORMAL HEART
BEST REVIVAL (MUSICAL): – ANYTHING GOES
BEST ACTRESS (PLAY): FRANCES McDORMAND – GOOD PEOPLE
BEST ACTOR (PLAY): MARK RYLANCE – JERUSALEM
BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL): SUTTON FOSTER – ANYTHING GOES
BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL): NORBERT LEO BUTZ – CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
FEATURED ACTRESS (PLAY): ELLEN BARKIN – THE NORMAL HEART
FEATURED ACTOR (PLAY): JOHN BENJAMIN HICKEY – THE NORMAL HEART
FEATURED ACTRESS (MUSICAL): NIKKI M. JAMES – THE BOOK OF MORMON
FEATURED ACTOR (MUSICAL): JOHN LARROQUETTE – HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING
DIRECTION (PLAY): MARIANNE ELLIOTT & TOM MORRIS – WAR HORSE
DIRECTION (MUSICAL): CASEY NICHOLAW & TREY PARKER – THE BOOK OF MORMON
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: TREY PARKER, MATT STONE & ROBERT LOPEZ – THE BOOK OF MORMON
CHOREOGRAPHY: KATHLEEN MARSHALL – ANYTHING GOES
COSTUME DESIGN (PLAY): DESMOND HEELEY – THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
COSTUME DESIGN (MUSICAL): TIM CHAPPEL & LIZZY GARDINER – PRISCIALLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT
SPECIAL TONY AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE: ATHOL FUGARD, PHILIP J. SMITH
REGIONAL THEATRE TONY AWARD: LOOKINGGLASS THEATRE COMPANY (CHICAGO)
ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD: EVE ENSLER
TONY HONOURS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE: WILLIAM BERLONI, THE DRAMA BOOK SHOP, SHARON JENSEN & ALLIANCE FOR INCLUSION IN THE ARTS