Tony Award for Best Musical: Tony is awarded to 'A Strange Loop,' a darling of the critics

"A Strange Loop", the best musical, was awarded the Tony Awards' 75th Tony Awards.

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13 June 2022 Monday 12:50
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Tony Award for Best Musical: Tony is awarded to 'A Strange Loop,' a darling of the critics

"A Strange Loop", the best musical, was awarded the Tony Awards' 75th Tony Awards. "The Lehman Trilogy," the award for best play, went to "Company". "Company", the best musical revival, was won by "Take Me Out", which took home the award for best revival.

Five prizes were awarded to "Company", which changed the gender of Stephen Sondheim’s musical classic in order to tell a story that was more female-oriented. The victory came seven months after the death of its creator, Stephen Sondheim.

"The Lehman Trilogy", an epic drama that charts the history of one financial institution that helped to spark the 2008 recession, won five Tony Awards. These included prizes for Sam Mendes' direction as well as Simon Russell Beale's lead performance.

With "A Strange Loop" winning top musical award, Jennifer Hudson became the 17th actor to win an EGOT. She won an Emmy, a Grammy and Oscar and a Tony in competition categories. Hudson was not a performer, but was instead a producer.

This ceremony, with its characteristic razzle-dazzle, marks the end of one of the most turbulent periods in theater history. Broadway was closed for almost two years because of Covid. It reopened slowly at the end last summer. But, it has been a slow process.

In her opening monologue, host Ariana Debose stated that "What a season!" It's been a rollercoaster ride for many -- stops, starts, dramatic twists, and turns.

Omicron decimated the industry at the peak of holiday season. Nearly every production had to cancel performances or have key cast members miss shows because of outbreaks of virus ("Six"), one of the most prestigious musical nominees, had no choice but to rely on an assistant to perform on the Tony Awards broadcast.

Marianne Elliott was honored for her direction of "Company" and acknowledged the existential problems facing Broadway when she accepted her award. Elliott stated, "Our industry has gone through so many things." "It was sometimes difficult to believe that live theatre was in danger." She then dedicated her prize to all "...fighters for the survival and enjoyment of this essential, beautiful, and transportive art form.

Despite all the difficulties, 34 Broadway shows were presented this season. 29 of them received at least one Tony nomination. These shows included lavish musicals and more avant-garde productions.

Deirdre O'Connell won best actress in play for her role as a Florida hospice chapplain held hostage by "Dana H." This was a show where O'Connell mumbled lines to Dana Higginbotham (the real-life kidnapping victim) on stage.

O'Connell stated, "Please let me stand here as a sign to the universe to create the strange art."

Myles Frost was awarded the leading actor in a musical award for his portrayal of pop star Michael Jackson in "MJ." Joaquina Kalukango won the best lead actress in a musical prize for her performance of "Let it Burn," the show's anthem. "Paradise Square," which examines the Civil War conflict between Irish Americans, Black Americans, and other Americans in the past, is a piece Kalukango acknowledged during her speech.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson was named best supporting actor in a production for his role as a baseball fanatic accountant in "Take Me Out." Phylicia Rashad won best supporting actress in a performance for her portrayal of a factory worker in "Skeleton crew" in 2004. This was Rashad's second nomination for the Tony Award.

Patti LuPone was awarded her third Tony for supporting actress in a musical for her role as a hard-drinking lady who dines at "Company." Her co-star Matt Doyle won a best supporting actor statue. His show-stopping performance in "Company" was the highlight of which was his rendition of the tongue-twisting "Getting Married Today."

The awards love could boost ticket sales for "A Strange Loop". It tells the story of a Black gayman writing a musical about another Black gay man. The show was well received by critics. After it was performed Off-Broadway, the show won the Pulitzer Prize in 2020. But, the "The Lehman Trilogy", won't be able capitalize on this victory. In January, the show's limited run was ended. Being in the winner's circle does not always mean success. Despite earning six nominations, "The Music Man", one of the biggest hits of the season, was eliminated.

Broadway, which had been dominated historically by white creators, was under pressure to promote more diverse voices. This was evident in many of the shows that were presented on Broadway, including a record number productions by Black playwrights.

DeBose said, "I feel like the phrase "Great White Way" is becoming more of an acronym than a guide."

Michael R. Jackson, creator of "A Strange Loop", used his acceptance speech to win best book of musical to recognize the importance of this season's representation.

He explained that he felt invisible, unheard, misunderstood and wanted to make a life for himself as a Black gay man.

New York City was the worst affected by the pandemic. It was only fitting that so many of Sunday's honored shows were set in or around the five boroughs. "Company" is a deeply personal tale of a Manhattanite who struggles to find love and a relationship. "Take Me Out," however, focuses on the diverse members of the city’s gay community. The "The Lehman Trilogy," which Ben Powers, co-writer, described as "a hymn to New York" in his acceptance speech, commemorates those who gave the Big Apple its distinctive thrum over the decades. The "Strange Loop" is a glimpse at an artist who struggles to make it through. It also serves as a reminder of those dreamers whose dreams and hopes have led the city past an era plague into a bright future.

Angela Lansbury was awarded the Tony for lifetime achievement. She won five statues for her performances in shows like "Sweeney Todd," and "Mame." Bernadette Peters sang "Children Will Listen", one of Sondheim's most beloved songs from "Into the Woods".

Here's the complete list:

Best Play

"Clyde's"

"Hangmen"

WINNER: The Lehman Trilogy

"The Minutes"

"Skeleton Crew"

The Best Musical

"Girl from the North Country"

"MJ"

"Mr. Saturday Night

"Paradise Square"

"Six: The Musical"

WINNER: "A Strange Loop."

Plays that have seen the best revival

"American Buffalo"

"For colored girls who have thought of suicide/when there is the rainbow"

"How I Learned To Drive"

WINNER: Take Me Out

"Trouble in Mind."

The Best Revival of A Musical

"Caroline or Change"

WINNER: "Company"

"The Music Man"

Best Performance by an Actor in Leading Role in Play

WINNER: Simon Russell Beale (The Lehman Trilogy)

Adam Godley, "The Lehman Trilogy".

Adrian Lester, "The Lehman Trilogy".

David Morse, How I Learned to Drive

Sam Rockwell, "American Buffalo".

Ruben Santiago-Hudson, "Lackawanna Blues"

David Threlfall, "Hangmen"

Best Performance by an Actress in Leading Role in Play

Gabby Beans, "The Skin of Our Teeth",

LaChanze, "Trouble in Mind"

Ruth Negga, "Macbeth"

WINNER: Deirdre O'Connell, "Dana H."

Mary-Louise Parker, How I Learned to Drive

Best Performance in a Leading Role in Musical by an Actor

Billy Crystal, "Mr. Saturday Night

WINNER: Myles Frost, "MJ"

Hugh Jackman, "The Music Man",

Rob McClure "Mrs. Doubtfire"

Jaquel Spivey, "A Strange Loop"

Best Performance by an Actress playing a Leading Role in Musical

Sharon D Clarke, "Caroline, or Change?"

Carmen Cusack, Flying Over Sunset

Sutton Foster, "The Music Man."

WINNER: Joaquina Kalukango, "Paradise Square"

Mare Winningham, "Girl From The North Country",

Best Performance by an Actor in an Actor Featured Role in Play

Alfie Allen, "Hangmen"

Chuck Cooper, "Trouble in Mind",

WINNER: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Take Me Out"

Ron Cephas Jones "Clyde"

Michael Oberholtzer, "Take Me Out"

Jesse Williams, Take Me Out

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Roll in a Play

Uzo Aduba, "Clyde's"

Rachel Dratch, "POTUS": Seven women are trying to keep him alive.

Kenita R. Miller: "For colored girls who have thought of suicide/when there is enuf."

WINNER: Phylicia Rashad, "Skeleton Crew"

Julie White, "POTUS": Seven women are trying to keep him alive behind every great dumbass.

Kara Young, "Clyde's"

Best Performance by an Actor in the Featured Role of a Musical

WINNER: Matt Doyle, "Company"

Sidney DuPont, Paradise Square

Jared Grimes, "Funny Girl".

John-Andrew Morrison, "A Strange Loop"

A.J. Shively, "Paradise Square"

Best Performance by an Actress In a Featured Role In a Musical

Jeannette Bayardelle is "Girl From The North Country",

Shoshana Bean, "Mr. Saturday Night

Jayne Houdyshell "The Music Man"

L Morgan Lee, "A Strange Loop"

WINNER: Patti LuPone, "Company"

Jennifer Simard, "Company".

Best Direction for a Play

Lileana Blain-Cruz - "The Skin of Our Teeth."

Camille A. Brown, "for colored girls that have considered suicide/when there is no rainbow"

WINNER: Sam Mendes from "The Lehman Trilogy".

Neil Pepe, "American Buffalo"

Les Waters, "Dana H."

Best Direction in a Musical

Stephen Brackett, "A Strange Loop"

WINNER: Marianne Elliott, "Company"

Conor McPherson is "Girl From The North Country",

Jamie Armitage & Lucy Moss, "Six: The Musical".

Christopher Wheeldon, "MJ".

The Best Scenic Design in a Play

Beowulf Boritt: "POTUS: Or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying To Keep Him Alive"

Nicholas Hussong and Michael Carnahan, "Skeleton Crew".

WINNER: Es Delin, "The Lehman Trilogy".

Anna Fleischle, "Hangmen"

Scott Pask, "American Buffalo".

Adam Rigg, "The Skin of Our Teeth",

The Best Musical Scenic Design

Beowulf Boritt, 59 Productions, Flying Over Sunset

WINNER: Bunny Christie from "Company"

Arnulfo Maldonado, "A Strange Loop"

Derek McLane, Peter Nigrini, "MJ".

Allen Moyer, "Paradise Square"

The Best Book of a Musical

"Girl from the North Country"

Conor McPherson, "MJ"

Lynn Nottage

"Mr. Saturday Night

Lowell Ganz, Billy Crystal, and Babaloo Mandel

"Paradise Square"

Craig Lucas, Christina Anderson, & Larry Kirwan

WINNER: "A Strange Loop."

Michael R. Jackson

Best Original Score (Music/or Lyrics).

"Flying Over Sunset"

Music: Tom Kitt Lyrics: Michael Korie

"Mr. Saturday Night

Music by Jason Robert Brown Lyrics by Amanda Green

"Paradise Square"

Music by Jason Howland

Lyrics: Nathan Tysen & Masi Asare

WINNER: "Six: The Musical".

Music and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss

"A Strange Loop"

Music & Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson

Best Costume Design for a Play

WINNER: Montana Levi Blanco - The Skin of Our Teeth

Sarafina Bush for colored girls who consider suicide/when the Rainbow is Enuf Emilio Sosa Trouble in Mind

Jane Greenwood, Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite

Jennifer Moeller, Clyde's

The Best Musical Costume Design

Fly Davis, Caroline or Change

Toni-Leslie James, Paradise Square

William Ivey Long, Diana: The Musical

Santo Loquasto: The Music Man

WINNER: Gabriella Slade SIX: The Musical

Paul Tazewell (MJ)

The Best Lighting Design for a Play

WINNER: Jon Clark from The Lehman Trilogy

Jane Cox, Macbeth

Yi Zhao, The Skin of Our Teeth

Joshua Carr, Hangmen

Jiyoun Chang for colored girls who are considering suicide/when the rainbow's enuf

The Best Lighting Design for a Musical

Neil Austin, "Company"

Tim Deiling, Six: The Musical

Donald Holder, Paradise Square

WINNER:Natasha Katz, MJ

Bradley King, Flying Over Sunset Jen Schriever, A Strange Loop

Best Sound Design for a Play

Justin Ellington: "For colored girls who have thought of suicide/when there is the rainbow."

WINNER: Mikhail Fiksel, "Dana H."

Palmer Hefferan "The Skin of Our Teeth",

Nick Powell and Dominic Bilkey, The Lehman Trilogy

Mikaal Sulaiman, "Macbeth"

The Best Sound Design in a Musical

Simon Baker, "Girl From The North Country",

Paul Gatehouse, "Six: The Musical"

Ian Dickinson, Autograph, "Company".

Drew Levy, "A Strange Loop."

WINNER: Gareth Owen, "MJ"

Best Choreography

Camille A. Brown, "for colored girls that have considered suicide/when there is no rainbow"

Warren Carlyle, "The Music Man."

Carrie-Anne Ingrouille: "Six: The Musical".

Bill T. Jones, "Paradise Square".

WINNER: Christopher Wheeldon (MJ)

Best Orchestrations

David Cullen, "Company"

Tom Curran, "Six: The Musical",

WINNER: Simon Hale "Girl From The North Country",

Jason Michael Webb, David Holcenberg, "MJ".

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