Broadway theatre’s leading awards – the annual Tony Awards – were announced yesterday, Sunday 26 September 2021, in New York.
Billed as heralding the return of Broadway after its extended COVID shutdown, the 74th Tony Awards – celebrated 18 shows nominated for awards, a number much reduced compared to previous years. The awards covered the 2019 – 2020 Broadway season, as the 2020 awards were cancelled.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical scooped the most awards, winning 10 gongs including Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical for Aaron Tveit, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical forDanny Burstein. Other Moulin Rouge wins included bestdirection (Alex Timbers), choreography (Sonya Tayeh), costume (Catherine Zuber), lightning (Justin Townsend), sound (Peter Hylenski,), scenery (Derek McLane) andorchestration (Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine and Justin Levine).
The theatre adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s Oscar-winning 2001 stage musical has become the first ever show produced by an Australian company to win a Tony. Moulin Rouge! The Musical is set to open in London’s West End on 12 November at the Piccadilly Theatre.
Moulin Rouge! beat Jagged Little Pill and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical for Best Musical, and was nominated in 14 categories overall.
Best Play went to The Inheritance, the epic, two-play drama about Aids written by Matthew Lopez, and directed by Stephen Daldry, who won his third Tony as best director. The Inheritance also won four awards at the 2019 Olivier Awards.
The play also saw90-year-old Lois Smith win an award for her performance in The Inheritance, a role played by Vanessa Redgrave in London, with Smith becoming the oldest performer to ever win an acting Tony.
Other awards included Mary-Louise Parker winning her second Tony award, this time for Best Leading Actress in a Play for The Sound Inside; Adrienne Warren won Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical; David Alan Grier won Best actor in a Featured Role in a Play for A Soldier’s Tale, which also scooped best revival; andLauren Patten won the Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for Alanis Morissette show Jagged Little Pill.
Co-host Audra Macdonald talked about changes in the Broadway theatre industry to lead to “more awareness, action and accountability”, addressing the lack of equality on Broadway with the majority of directors, actors and show writers still overwhelmingly white.A special Tony was given to the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, who focus on dismantling the systems that perpetuate racism through the power of storytelling. A glimmer of hope was reflected in the fact thatthere are seven plays by Black writers in this year’s Broadway season.
The awards, which were broadcast on Paramount+ and CBS in the US, featured performances from stars including Jennifer Holliday singing And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going from Dreamgirls, and David Byrne performing Burning Down the House from American Utopia.