So, the 2014 Tony Awards happened last night. Broadway’s biggest evening was hosted, again, by Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, proving, yet again, that he’s not just dangerous but also a triple-threat! The show opened with a four-minute musical number featuring a jumping Jackman as he made his way from the red carpet, past the stage and into the bowels of Radio City Musical Hall. Check it out below, then we’ll discuss the rest of the show:
The most surprising part of this opening was the realization that there is a Rocky musical on Broadway that I must somehow fly to NYC to watch. Let’s not digress too quickly though, there are still a lot of whimsical Tony Award moments to recap!
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, a show about a turn of the century commoner who finds out he’s ninth in line to inherit an earldom, and decides to kill the other eight heirs standing in his way, took home the prize for best musical. A well-deserved win, as the show is hilariously dark and well-written.
Hot on the heels of the series finale for How I Met Your Mother, Neil Patrick Harris stormed broadway starring as the title character in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which took the award for best revival of a musical. NPH and his co-star Lena Hall also both took home awards for Best Featured Actor and Actress (respectively) in a Musical. Just prior to receiving his award NPH performed a song from Hedwig during which he gave Sting a lap dance, licked Samuel L. Jackson’s glasses, and kissed his husband David Burtka.
The cast of Disney’s Aladdin performed an impressive medley, including the night’s Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical winner, James Monroe Iglehart (Genie). Not to be outdone, the cast of Les Miserables, nominated for the same award Hedwig ended up winning, performed an awe-inspiring rendition of “One Day More,” that brought the house down.
Nerdist favorite and former meth cook Bryan Cranston won the award for Best Leading Actor in a Play. Cranston starred in All the Way, a play that depicts the enacting and support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by playwright Robert Schenkkan. Cranston has been critically acclaimed for his portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson. This was the first Tony for Cranston, who explained during his acceptance speech that his first experience with Broadway was sneaking into the second act of the musical Hair. “To this day, I still haven’t seen the first act,” he said.
Idina Menzel was introduced (by her correct name) before she performed a song from If/Then, nominated for the same award that A Gentlemen’s Guide… ended up taking home. Menzel absolutely stunned the gathered crowd, as she does, with a powerful and emotional performance. Menzel also celebrated the 10th Anniversary, of Wicked, a show that helped put her on Broadway’s radar, as current cast members Christine Dwyer and Jenni Barber performed “For Good,” a duet from the show that features Elphaba and Glinda singing about their ill-fated friendship.
The highlight of the night, based on pure unexpectedness alone, was when LL Cool J and rapper T.I. presented a hip-hop version of Rock Island, the opening number from the musical The Music Man. To further amplify the evening’s suddenly strange turn, The Roots’ Questlove provided the beat. It’s glorious and horrible and shouldn’t be looked directly at for fear of your eyes melting… much like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Full list of winners:
Best Musical: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Jesse Mueller, Beautiful — The Carole King Musical
Best Play: All the Way
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Best Revival of a Musical: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Revival of a Play: A Raisin in the Sun
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Lena Hall, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Book of a Musical: Robert L. Friedman, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder“
Best Direction of a Musical: Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Best Direction of a Play: Kenny Leon, A Raisin in the Sun
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater: “The Bridges of Madison County”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: James M. Iglehart, Aladdin
Best Choreography: Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Best Costume Design of a Musical: Linda Cho, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Best Costume Design of a Play: Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Best Lighting Design of a Play: Natasha Katz, The Glass Menagerie
Special Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: Jane Greenwood
Regional Theatre Award: Signature Theatre
Isabelle Stevenson Award: Rosie O’Donnell
Honors for Excellence in the Theatre: Joseph P. Benincasa Joan Marcus Charlotte Wilcox