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Talkin’ Tonys


Celebrities snubbed, women factor in, kids everywhere…it was a race full of surprises and shocks.


June 12, 2013



I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers Macbeth Lucky Guy The Nance


Broadway seemed cured of its knee jerk infatuation with Hollywood celebrities as Tom Hanks (Lucky Guy) and Nathan Lane (The Nance), nominated but didn’t win; Alec Baldwin (Orphans), Bette Midler (I’ll Eat You Last) Alan Cumming (Macbeth,) and Scarlett Johansson (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) were snubbed.

Women winners were a factor: Broadway newbie Cyndi Lauper for Kinky Boots score and two directors: Diane Paulus (Pippin) and Pam MacKinnon (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)– a rare time women have won directing Tonys for both a musical and a play in the same year, not since  the 1998 Tonys.

Annie   Newsies   Motown the Musical  Matilda 

And there were kids everywhere: the orphans in Annie, the boys in Newsies, Raymond Luke Jr. (young Michael Jackson) in Motown the Musical, the kids in A Christmas Story, the Musical (especially mini tap dancer Luke Spring) and the cast of Matilda The Musical.



Kinky Boots, Pippin quadrupled sales the next day, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike tripled its usual box office take for a Monday. Matilda saw a major bump.


Motown the Musical


Though low on nominations Motown is sold out at least through October, and Pippin, Kinky Boots with their claim as Tony Winners are planning their national tours while Matilda, who kept U.S. producers on hold, finally going with The Dodgers last minute, may have antagonized some of the Tony voters. Without the “Tony winner”

Credential, its producers are waiting to see how it does on Broadway before considering touring companies.




The Tony’s first casualty is ANN, written and performed by Emmy and Outer Critics Circle Award winner and Tony nominee Holland Taylor, which will play its final Broadway performance on Sunday, June 30, 2013, after 19 previews and 132 regular performances. 


Nominations for the 2013 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards® (asterisks indicate winners)

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Best Play

The Assembled Parties

Lucky Guy

The Testament of Mary

*Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike


This is a theatergoer insider’s play, a clever take-off on ChekHov by the much respected, never awarded Chris Durang with uniformly stellar performances in the cast. However some are surprised that a tribute to the late Nora Ephron for Lucky Guy did not happen. The play was considered more a documentary on New York reporter Mike McAlary’s life as portrayed by Tom Hanks.  It was for me the best evening of theater this season.

Kinky Boots

Best Musical

Bring It On: The Musical

A Christmas Story, The Musical

*Kinky Boots

Matilda The Musical


This was the nail biter between Boots and Matilda.


Kinky Boots is basically an old fashioned traditional musical reminiscent to some of La Cage aux Folles and Hairspray, about sexuality and tolerance but hardly ground breaking. I enjoyed it much more than Matilda. However, the more I see excerpts of Matilda (which I was ready to leave at intermission because the show was too dark,) the more I appreciate its innovations, its staging and oddball story. It is full of surprises, incredible performances, and an unpredictable score. It surprises and astounds you, eventually moves you and stays with you long afterwards.



Best Revival of a Play

Golden Boy


The Trip to Bountiful

*Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?




Best Revival of a Musical


The Mystery of Edwin Drood


Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella


A shoo-in, Pippin had everything but the kitchen sink thrown into it – cirque du soleil-style acrobatics, Andrea Martin, and a stunning Ben Vereen substitute.




Best Book of a Musical

A Christmas Story, The Musical

Joseph Robinette

Kinky Boots

Harvey Fierstein

*Matilda The Musical

Dennis Kelly

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Douglas Carter Beane

Kinky Boots

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

A Christmas Story, The Musical

Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Hands on a Hardbody

Music: Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
Lyrics: Amanda Green

*Kinky Boots

Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper

Matilda The Musical

Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin


Best Direction of a Play
*Pam MacKinnon,
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Nicholas Martin,
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Bartlett Sher,
Golden Boy
George C. Wolfe,
Lucky Guy


Many felt that Golden Boy was the shortchanged in so many categories because it opened in the Fall and people forget how great the production was in this and other categories. The Steppenwolf production of Virginia Woolf surprised all by winning in an arena where Broadway voters are usually loyal to their own, besides people are tired of Virginia…

Kinky Boots

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical
Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical
*Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots
Chet Walker, Pippin

Many expected more from Jerry Mitchell, director/chorographer, as the lackluster number on the Awards show disappointed many. Matilda’s Peter Darling was much more inventive with all those “revoltin” kids.

Kinky Boots

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical
Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Rob McClure, Chaplin
*Billy Porter, Kinky Boots
Stark Sands, Kinky Boots

Porter, a sentimental favorite of the Broadway community, definitely had the meatier role and a greater dramatic arc but Carvel cannot be faulted for the most original characterization possibly creating a new low/high as the most repulsive crossdresser in Broadway history.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Tom Hanks, Lucky Guy
Nathan Lane, The Nance
*Tracy Letts, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tom Sturridge, Orphans

This was the stunner of the evening! Personally, if not Hanks or Lane (who had previously won the Outer Critics Circle and Drama League awards and was considered a shoo-in though many thought/hoped Broadway would honor its visiting celebrity, the adored Tom Hanks), Tom Sturridge gave the most astonishing performance in the short lived Orphans – as we watched in jaw dropping fascination as the actor ricocheted off the set – including the walls - in his memorable role as mentally challenged, emotionally stunted. However – note to all performers – when he accepted his Outer Critics Circle and Theater World awards, he was still in character inspiring doubts that he was not acting and this is indeed his persona.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Carolee Carmello, Scandalous
Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical
*Patina Miller, Pippin
Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella

Brava! Well deserved – she sings dances acts and performs acrobatics.

The Trip to Bountiful

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, The Other Place
Amy Morton, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Holland Taylor, Ann
*Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

This role has been an Oscar and Tony winner for whomever plays it. But Ciciely Tyson captured our hearts.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Charl Brown, Motown The Musical
Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody
Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
*Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical
Terrence Mann, Pippin

Though virtually unknown to American audiences and running against some perennial favorites, Ebert truly out-acted them in a stunningly unique and energetic portrayal as Matilda’s wacky dad.

Lucky Guy

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Danny Burstein, Golden Boy
Richard Kind, The Big Knife
Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy
*Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy

Should have been Richard Kind (he too had already won the other awards) or the guys from Golden Boy. Lucky Guy, which is my favorite play on Broadway, was more an ensemble piece.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots
Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
*Andrea Martin, Pippin
Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Lauren Ward, Matilda The Musical

Andrea has quickly become an icon for women of a certain age for her remarkably athletic performance and spunky sense of humor.

The Assembled Parties

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Carrie Coon, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Judith Ivey, The Heiress
*Judith Light, The Assembled Parties
Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful

Testimony to her outstanding performance, she won the Tony two years in a row.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots
Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Dominique Lemieux, Pippin
*William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella

Cinderella and the witch change clothes from rags into fabulous ball gowns onstage in front of your eyes – that alone is worth the prize.

The Nance

Best Costume Design of a Play
Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac
*Ann Roth, The Nance
Albert Wolsky, The Heiress
Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy


Best Scenic Design of a Musical
*Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical
Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Scott Pask, Pippin
David Rockwell, Kinky Boots

The Nance

Best Scenic Design of a Play
*John Lee Beatty, The Nance
Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties
David Rockwell, Lucky Guy
Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy

Tony Award wins per production:
Kinky Boots — 6
Matilda The Musical — 4
Pippin — 4
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — 3
The Nance — 3
Lucky Guy — 2
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike — 1
Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella — 1
The Trip to Bountiful — 1
The Assembled Parties — 1

The race is over but each week presents a possible new contender for a “theater season” that is no longer seasonal.