The musical sounds of Broadway have returned to the streets of New York and fans have been eating it up. After more than a year of silence, shows have re-opened their doors, and despite some changes given the pandemic, it is still the same old Broadway we know and love. To bask in the return of live theater, the annual Tony Awards gave us the biggest celebration of the year.
This year’s Tony Awards were fascinating. The list of eligible shows was quite limited, and in some categories (i.e., Best Actor in a Musical) there was only one nominee. Still the show must go on, and the jukebox musical “Moulin Rouge” dominated the night. The musical took home 10 awards over the course of the night (still not enough to beat “The Producers” record 12 wins).
Aaron Tveit won his first award for his role in “Moulin Rouge”, and as previously mentioned, was the only one nominated. Daniel Burnstein took home Best Actor in a Featured Role, as well as Alex Timbers winning for Best Director. “Moulin Rouge” would go on to also sweep the majority of the technical categories: Best Lighting Design, Costume Design, Sound Design, etc.
However, another major winner of the night, “Jagged Little Pill,” has been under heavy controversy the past couple weeks. The musical drama written by Diablo Cody (“Juno”) and singer Alanis Morissette, came under fire for causing harm to trans and non-binary communities. According to The Wrap.com, actors Nora Schell and Celia Rose Gooding were “intimidated, coerced and forced by multiple higher ups to put off critical and necessary surgery.” These accusations led to an independent investigation by the Actor’s Equity Association. All the same, Lauren Patten won Best Actress in a Featured Role, although the win was met with heavy scrutiny online. One Twitter user said, “If Lauren Patten actually believed what she said, she would drop out of the show and decline the award,” (@gaygetarlton). It should also be noted that “Jagged Little Pill” has yet to re-open, but is currently scheduled to return on Oct. 21.
Other big winners from the night included Adrienne Warren taking home Best Actress for her performance as Tina in “The Tina Turner Musical,” “The Inheritance” took home Best Play and “A Soldier’s Play” won Best Revival of a Play as well as a Best Actor in a Featured Role for David Allen Grier.
The award may have been a celebration for theatre fans, but there wasn’t much to celebrate for the network, as they saw an all-time ratings low of 2.6 million viewers according to Deadline.com. There has been no word yet if this has anything to do with the show being split between Paramount Plus and CBS.
Though this year’s Tony Award’s didn’t have many performances to judge, they still managed to put on a great show honoring the talented actors and actresses that make Broadway what it is.