For the last four days I’ve been in Ashland, Ore., reviewing shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the San Francisco Chronicle (more on that later), and while the Tonys were on Sunday night, I was at the opening of a new musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. Of course I’ll watch the whole awards show on TiVo when I get home, but I was able to catch glimpses here and there (thanks to the spotty www.tonyawards.com online coverage), and of course I couldn’t wait to find out the winners.
I must say I’m disappointed that Passing Strange only one award (for best book of a musical). I guess I’m feeling territorial because the show had its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Still, it’s better than nothing. Here’s what co-creator and star Stew had to say about his win:
“Music is something that comes easy to me, and I’ve received numerous accolades for my songs – but to be honored for my writing means a whole hell of a lot, especially when it comes from theatre people for whom words really mean something. Those words took shape at Berkeley Rep, a place that makes space for people like me to take risks and try out things that theatre isn’t used to seeing. We loved working there, and we miss that Berkeley scene.”
More on the Tonys later. In the meantime, here’s a complete list of winners:
Play (and playwrights): “August: Osage County” (Tracy Letts).
Musical: “In the Heights.”
Book-Musical: “Passing Strange” (Stew).
Original Score (music and/or lyrics): “In the Heights” (Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda).
Revival-Musical: “South Pacific.”
Actor-Play: Mark Rylance, “Boeing-Boeing.”
Actress-Play: Deanna Dunagan, “August: Osage County.”
Actor-Musical: Paulo Szot, “South Pacific.”
Actress-Musical: Patti LuPone, “Gypsy.”
Featured Actor-Play: Jim Norton, “The Seafarer.”
Featured Actress-Play: Rondi Reed, “August: Osage County.”
Featured Actor-Musical: Boyd Gaines, “Gypsy.”
Featured Actress-Musical: Laura Benanti, “Gypsy.”
Direction-Play: Anna D. Shapiro, “August: Osage County.”
Direction-Musical: Bartlett Sher, “South Pacific.”
Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, “In the Heights.”
Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman, “In the Heights.”
Scenic Design-Play: Todd Rosenthal, “August: Osage County.”
Scenic Design-Musical: Michael Yeargen, “South Pacific.”
Costume Design-Play: Katrina Lindsay, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.”
Costume Design-Musical: Catherine Zuber, “South Pacific.”
Lighting Design-Play: Kevin Adams, “The 39 Steps.”
Lighting Design-Musical: Donald Holder, “South Pacific.”
Sound Design-Play: Mic Pool, “The 39 Steps.”
Sound Design-Musical: Scott Lehrer, “South Pacific.”
Regional Theater Tony Award: Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Special Tony Award: Robert Russell Bennett.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Stephen Sondheim.
It’s a shame that they relegated so many winners to the non-televised portion of the broadcast in order to run what were essentially commercial promos for shows that weren’t nominated and don’t need the free publicity (“Young Frankenstein,” anyone?)
I was never a huge fan of the split broadcast between PBS and CBS, but that was better than completely ignoring major categories, including the regional Tony winner (and I’m not just saying that because Chicago Shakespeare won this year — I think it would be interesting for viewers to get a glimpse of the kind of work available away from Broadway).
Still, as a Letts fan, I was pleased. And the news that the original August cast will be mostly making the transfer to the London production is also exciting.
Here’s hoping Stew decides to tour “Passing Strange” anyway, because I’d love to see it.