‘The Band’s Visit’ wins Tony for best musical
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the Tony Awards (all times local):
The shimmering, grown-up musical “The Band’s Visit” has nabbed the best new musical Tony Award.
The show is based on a 2007 Israeli film of the same name, songs by David Yazbek and a sardonic story by Itamar Moses.
It centers on members of an Egyptian police orchestra booked to play a concert at the Israeli city of Petah Tikvah but accidentally ending up in the drowsy town of Bet Hatikva. Over the next few hours, the townspeople and the musicians learn about each other and themselves.
A critical favorite off-Broadway last year, “The Band’s Visit” made the leap to Broadway this year starring Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk, who both earned Tony Awards on Sunday.
For the top crown, it beat out musicals adapted from such more established brands as “Frozen,” ”Mean Girls,” ”SpongeBob SquarePants.”
Katrina Lenk has won the Tony Award for best actress in a musical for her work in “The Band’s Visit.”
In the musical, Lenk plays a cafe owner in a small Israeli town who helps a lost Egyptian orchestra. Before rehearsals for the Broadway production, Lenk travelled to Israel and visited Yeruham, the town that inspired the story.
Lenk has previously appeared on stage in “Indecent,” ”Once” and “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” Her additional screen credits include “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “The Get Down.”
Born in Chicago and raised in both Illinois and Iowa, Lenk started taking dance classes at age 3, and she picked up the viola when she saw the Des Moines Symphony perform. She graduated from Northwestern University.
She beat out Lauren Ambrose, Hailey Kilgore, LaChanze, Taylor Louderman and Jessie Mueller.
The fourth time is the charm for Tony Shalhoub. The actor has won his first Tony Award after four nominations.
The actor is perhaps best known for his role as an obsessive-compulsive detective on television’s “Monk.” His Tony for best leading actor in a musical is for “The Band’s Visit.”
In the musical, Shalhoub plays the stiff leader of an Egyptian orchestra which accidentally ends up in the wrong Israeli town. Over the next few hours, the townspeople and the musicians learn about each other and themselves.
Shalhoub’s film credits include “Big Night” and playing a space alien in the “Men in Black” films. His Broadway roles include “Act One” and “Golden Boy.” Other TV shows include “Wings” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Shalhoub beat out Harry Hadden-Paton, Joshua Henry and Ethan Slater.
“Once On This Island” has been named the best musical revival Tony Award winner.
The 1990 musical with a Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s calypso-infused score unfolds as a group of storytellers — caught in the midst of an unrelenting storm — recount the tale of a Caribbean island country girl in love with an aristocrat.
The revival is made to resonate deeply for today’s audiences, who are all too familiar with the devastating impact hurricanes have on a community. Many of the characters play instruments made out of found objects, including trash bins, flexible piping and more.
It stars Lea Salonga, Phillip Boykin and newcomer Hailey Kilgore.
The revival beat out “My Fair Lady” and “Carousel.”
A British revival of “Angels in America,” Tony Kushner’s monumental, two-part drama about AIDS, life and love during the 1980s, has won the Tony Award for best play revival.
The show is an astonishing kaleidoscopic seven hours with an assortment of characters that includes Roy Cohn, Ethel Rosenberg, a young man living with AIDS, his cowardly ex-lover, a Mormon housewife, the world’s oldest living Bolshevik and a high-flying winged creature.
The latest version stars Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield, and it won the best revival Olivier Award. It is directed by Marianne Elliott, a veteran of “War Horse” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”
It beat out “Three Tall Women,” ”The Iceman Cometh,” ”Lobby Hero” and “Travesties.”
Both Lane and Garfield won acting Tony Awards earlier Sunday.
J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” franchise has cast its spell on Broadway, winning the best new play Tony Award.
The win for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” adds to the franchise’s haul of seven bestselling books and eight blockbuster films.
The two-part play, which picks up 19 years from where Rowling’s last novel left off and portrays Potter and his friends as grown-ups, won nine Olivier Awards in London before coming to America and bewitching critics and audiences alike.
It beat out “The Children,” ”Farinelli and The King,” ”Junk” and “Latin History for Morons.”
John Tiffany has won his second directing Tony Award for his work on the two-part play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”
Tiffany previously won a Tony for directing the musical “Once.” He also was nominated for the 2014 revival of “The Glass Menagerie.” Tiffany won the directing Olivier Award for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”
Tiffany was Associate Director of the National Theatre of Scotland from 2005 to 2012. Some of his other credits include “Black Watch” and “The Ambassador.”
He beat out Marianne Elliott, Joe Mantello, Patrick Marber and George C. Wolfe.
David Cromer has won his first Tony Award for directing “The Band’s Visit.”
The musical is based on a 2007 Israeli film of the same name, has songs by David Yazbek and a sardonic story by Itamar Moses. It centers on members of an Egyptian police orchestra booked to play a concert at an Israeli city who accidentally end up in the wrong town.
Cromer directed the short-lived Neil Simon revival of “Brighton Beach Memoirs” in 2009 and the 2011 revival of John Guare’s “The House of Blue Leaves.” He drew acclaim for two productions at the off-Broadway Barrow Street Theatre — “Tribes” and “Our Town,” for which played the Stage Manager in addition to directing.
He grew up outside Chicago in Skokie, Illinois, and won a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2010. He taught acting and directing at Columbia College Chicago for 15 years and has often returned to the works of Tennessee Williams.
He beat out Michael Arden, Casey Nicholaw, Tina Landau and Bartlett Sher.
Glenda Jackson has added to her impressive resume with a Tony Award for best actress in a play.
The 82-year-old British actress won her first Tony for playing a flinty woman facing the end of her life in the new revival of Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women.”
Jackson has two Academy Awards, for 1970’s “Women in Love” and 1973’s “A Touch of Class, and credits in such films as “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” ”Mary, Queen of Scots” and “Hedda.” She won two Emmys for starring in the television miniseries “Elizabeth R.”
She stepped back from acting in the early 1990s to enter politics and is famous for a 2013 speech she gave after the death of Margaret Thatcher, bitterly decrying the late prime minister.
She beat Condola Rashad, Lauren Ridloff and Amy Schumer.
A heroic drama teacher who nurtured many of the young people demanding change following the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has been honored from the Tony Award stage.
Melody Herzfeld, the one-woman drama department at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was cheered by the crowd at Radio City Music Hall.
Herzfeld saved 65 lives by barricading students into a small classroom closet on Valentine’s Day when police say a former student went on a school rampage, killing 17 people.
She then later encouraged many of her pupils to lead the nationwide movement for gun reform, including organizing the March For Our Lives demonstration and the charity single “Shine.”
Members of Herzfeld’s drama department then took the stage to sing “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.”
Nathan Lane has won the Tony Award for best featured actor in a play for his role in “Angels in America.”
Laurie Metcalf won best featured actress in a play earlier Sunday for her role in Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women.” It is Metcalf’s second Tony win — she won best actress last year for “A Doll’s House, Part 2.”
Lane’s win is the second of the evening for an “Angels in America” actor. Andrew Garfield won for best leading actor earlier in the evening.
Andrew Garfield has won the Tony Award for best leading actor in a play for his work in “Angels in America,” Tony Kushner’s monumental drama about life and love during the 1980s.
Garfield plays a young gay man living with AIDS in the sprawling, seven-hour revival opposite Nathan Lane.
He previously was nominated for a featured role in “Death of a Salesman” opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Garfield has been nominated for an Oscar for his work in “Hacksaw Ridge.” His other film work includes “The Social Network” in 2010 and the 2012 superhero film “The Amazing Spider-Man” and its 2014 sequel.
He beat out Tom Hollander, Jamie Parker, Mark Rylance and Denzel Washington.
Tony Award co-hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles have gotten the show started with a self-parodying duet on piano for all the losers out there — including them.
Neither Bareilles nor Groban have won a Grammy or a Tony despite selling millions of albums and appearing on Broadway in hit shows. They turned that into a playful song.
“Let’s not forget that 90 percent of us leave empty-handed tonight. So this is for the people who lose/Most of us have been in your shoes,” they sang in the upbeat opening number. “This one’s for the loser inside of you.”
The co-hosts then noted that such noted shows like “Hair” and “Into the Woods” didn’t win the best musical prize. Nor did “Waitress,” the show Bareilles wrote music for.
At the end of the song, the pair were joined by over a dozen members of the ensemble from each this year’s nominated musicals.
Condola Rashad has a special reason to celebrate on the Tony Award red carpet Sunday. She also just closed her show, “Saint Joan.”
The actress says she has “a lot of emotions today.” She likened it to the last day of school mixed with prom and graduation at the same time. She says: “It’s a celebration.”
The daughter of Phylicia Rashad and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad earned a best actress in a play nomination for playing Joan of Arc in the play by George Bernard Shaw, which ended its run with Sunday’s matinee. Her dad and sisters were her dates to the Tonys.
She says “it’s been a really great opportunity for us to come together.”
Rashad also earned a 2012 Tony nomination for “Stick Fly” and plays a district attorney on the Showtime series “Billions.”
Broadway’s SpongeBob, Ethan Slater, has walked the red carpet with a ribbon supporting the American Civil Liberties Union pinned to one lapel.
He says the organization is “incredibly important to our country” when it comes to guarding civil liberties. He called his show “aligned with the values of the ACLU.”
How exactly? Well, in terms of diversity, for one.
The “SpongeBob SquarePants” musical includes Sandy the squirrel, a scapegoat for Bikini Bottom’s problems who is targeted for banishment.
Slater calls the story line “really relevant to the Muslim ban” in the United States and the way he says that “Muslim-Americans have been treated.”
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has no problem with nerves as he heads into the Tony Awards. His accolade to come once inside is all sewn up as an honorary tribute.
The musical theater legend says the feeling is wonderful: “I don’t have to worry about it.” He says all he has to do is “just go and get it.”
Webber says this season on Broadway is exciting, in particular amid musicals with many fine new writers. He also praised the night’s co-host, Sara Bareilles, for her work in the recently televised rock opera he co-created back in 1970, “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Webber describes Bareilles as an “extraordinary actress,” especially through music.
Andrew Garfield says the social message of “Angels in America” is a huge part of why he agreed to star as Pryor Walter.
The nominee says on the Tony red carpet that he doesn’t want to “tell a story unless it has the potential to change people.”
The British actor says the eight-hour play is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago, when Tony Kushner first staged it and won a Pulitzer Prize for his trouble.
Garfield says theater must be political and mirror the times we’re in. Otherwise, he says, “we’re wasting everyone’s time.”
Josh Groban is promising “a really fun” Tony Awards.
Says the first-time co-host: “I feel really excited about the show we have ready for everybody tonight.” He says it’s been a fun season and he called co-host Sara Bareilles “brilliant.”
He says the chance to collaborate and bounce ideas off her has been “nothing less than a dream come true.”
He adds “We’re just going to go out and be ourselves.” Groban promises the show will be a combination of slick and two musical theater geeks being “total weirdos.”
For her part, Bareilles says she “just wants to stay present.” She added that her job is to make sure everyone else is having a good time, saying “that’s the goal — people pleasing.”
Cynthia Erivo and Brian Tyree Henry say the theater is a perfect place to deal with social issues.
Says Henry, who is nominated for his work in “Lobby Hero”: “It’s happening right in front of your face.” He adds that something about the stage encourages tough issues to be worked on by strangers.
He says the cast and audience of a show go on a ride together and hopefully it creates a platform for discussion.
Erivo, winner of the best actress in a musical award for her work in “The Color Purple” in 2016, agreed: “People can see themselves live.” She says theater gives people a chance to express themselves freely.
John Leguizamo adds there are no “gatekeepers” in theater, which allows many points of view to emerge.
“Frozen” songwriters Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, walked the red carpet at the Tony Awards on Sunday for the first time as equal nominees.
Robert Lopez co-conceived and co-wrote the smash-hit musicals “Avenue Q” and “The Book of Mormon,” both earning him Tony Awards. “Frozen” marks Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s first nomination.
“I’m so proud of her,” her husband said. “She’s been here before as my plus-one.” His advice to her was “enjoy this thing.” It might be scary, but he calls it like a “prom.”
Anderson-Lopez acknowledged she was going to be nervous for the cast of “Frozen” and suspected that she would share their butterflies. Joked her husband: “She’ll be mouthing every word along with them.”
The Tony Awards dress rehearsal — normally with few actual stars in attendance — got a shock of A-listers this year, including Tina Fey, Kelli O’Hara, Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Leguizamo, Tituss Burgess — and Bruce Springsteen.
The four-hour rehearsal at Radio City Music Hall allows producers to go through the show from start to finish before the Sunday telecast. Usually, stand-ins are used for Hollywood presenters, who prefer to hit the snooze button.
But the audience this time cheered loudly when Patti Lupone, Uzo Aduba, Ming-Na Wen, Melissa Benoist, Tatiana Maslany, Christopher Jackson, James Monroe Iglehart and Rachel Brosnahan showed up in the flesh.
The highlight was Springsteen, who walked onstage in a T-shirt and jeans, performed one song on the piano from his sold-out one-man show and departed to a standing ovation.
The Tony Awards kick off on Sunday night with a pair of first-time hosts, no clear juggernaut like “Hamilton” to cheer for, but a likely assist by Bruce Springsteen.
Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles face their biggest audience yet and a careful political balancing act when they co-host the CBS telecast from the massive 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall.
Getting buzz from appearing on the telecast can dictate a show’s future, both on Broadway and on tour. Broadway producers will be thankful this year that the telecast won’t compete with any NBA Finals or Stanley Cup playoff games.