Broadway musical “Moulin Rouge!” has swept the board at the delayed Tony awards with 10 trophies during the award’s ceremony at the Winter Garden Theatre in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
After its reopening on September 24 after about 18-months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 Oscar-winning musical became the first Australian-produced show to win a Tony for best musical. The musical beat “Jagged Little Pill” and “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” to the award.
Moulin Rouge!’s Aaron Tveit picked up the award for best actor in a musical. The musical, which was nominated in 14 categories, also bagged best scenery, costume, lighting, sound, choreography, orchestration, and direction in a musical.
In her speech, producer Carmen Pavlovic said, “It feels a little odd to me to be talking about one show as ‘best musical’. I feel that every show of last season deserves to be thought of as best musical.”
Matthew Lopez’s Broadway transfer of his seven-hour Aids drama “The Inheritance” was named best play. The award made Lopez the first Latino writer to win this award while Stephen Daldry won his third Tony as best director after winning the same award at the Oliviers in 2019. Andrew Burnap also beat out Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Hiddleston to win the best leading actor in a play. Mary-Louise Parker picked up her second Tony as she won best leading actress in a play for “The Sound Inside”.
Amidst the raging debate over racially unequal award ceremonies, the Tonys featured a slightly more diverse set of nominees than usual.
Adrienne Warren won the best leading actress in a musical for “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical”. David Alan Grier clinched his first Tony for best actor in a featured role in a play for “A Soldier’s Tale” that also named won the best revival award. It was an unfortunate night for “Slave Play” as it left the night empty-handed despite bagging 12 nominations.
A report by the Asian American Performers Action Coalition said that in the 2017-8 season, 85.5% of directors, 61% of actors and nearly 80% of show writers were white. A special Tony award was reserved for the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, a group focused on uprooting the systems that perpetuate racism through the power of storytelling. Later, BAC members Amber Iman and Adrienne Warren spoke about the importance of fighting back against “systems of oppression”, and the part art has to play to achieve that end.
Lauren Patten picked up a Tony for best actress in a featured role in a musical for “Jagged Little Pill”. Oscar-winner Diablo Cody also won for best book of a musical for “Jagged Little Pill”.
90-year-old Lois Smith became the oldest performer to win an acting Tony for her role in “The Inheritance”. Danny Burstein won for his featured role in “Moulin Rouge!”, his first win after seven nominations. “A Christmas Carol” and “Moulin Rouge!” won most of the technical awards.
In a year where theatres remained closed due to the pandemic, only 18 plays and musicals were eligible compared with 34 in 2019.
Unlike other recent awards ceremonies, audience members were required to wear masks during the ceremony, in line with theatre protocol in New York. The guests also had to show proof of vaccination, and only two winners at a time were allowed on stage.