Film & Television · Theater

The 2015 Tony Awards: Winners, Losers, and a Surprising Snub

effac37e9d66a9b2187ffb0cf9314034The Tony Awards, named for Antoinette Perry, an actress, director, producer, and head of the American Theatre Wing, were first presented in 1947. Only eleven Tonys were awarded in seven categories, but winners included theater legends Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Agnes de Mille, Arthur Miller, and José Ferrer. The event took place in the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom, and the evening included dinner and dancing. As you’ve probably guessed, the awards were not televised. That didn’t happen until 1967, and it was a wonderful opportunity for viewers all over America to experience a bit of the magic of Broadway.

The Tony Awards aren’t usually as glamorous as the Oscars; there’s typically less cleavage—not to mention less Botox—on the red carpet. But what it lacks in glitz and glitter it makes up for in sincere appreciation of craft. This Sunday night, theater artists will compete in more than two dozen categories, along with special awards for lifetime achievement, philanthropic work, and special or sustained contribution. The show will be co-hosted by Tony winners Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming.

Multitalented Chenoweth hails from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, while the sometimes bizarre but invariably excellent Cumming is originally a Scot. It’s appropriate that the 2015 hosts come from both sides of the pond. One of the tallies you may want to keep as you watch this year’s Tonys is how many medallions go to U.K. shows versus how many stay in the U.S.

For straight drama, the critical favorite is the British import The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It will likely win in both the Best Play category (playwright Simon Stephens) and for Best Direction (Marianne Elliott). It may be upset by Wolf Hall Parts One & Two, based on Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize–winning series, another production brought over from England by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The two other plays honored with nominations are Hand to God and Disgraced.

Dame Helen Mirren will probably win for her acclaimed turn as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience. The actress won an Oscar for portraying the same monarch in The Queen in 2007. But voters may select Broadway newcomer and fellow English actress Carey Mulligan for her role in Skylight. Other nominees include Yankees Elisabeth Moss for a revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles and Geneva Carr for Hand to God, plus another Englishwoman, Ruth Wilson, for Constellations.

Americans do better in the Best Musicals categories, which may include two of the toughest to call. Although I’m not usually a fan of turning classic movies into stage productions, critics and audiences alike have been enchanted with An American in Paris. The Wall Street Journal raved “It’s a masterpiece! An old-fashioned, big-hearted spare-no-expense Broadway romance that instantly catapults Christopher Wheeldon into the ranks of top-tier director-choreographers, like Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse. It’s been years—decades, really—since I last saw a production like this.” The New York Times was a bit more succinct but equally enthusiastic: “Gorgeous, just plain gorgeous!” It’s nominated for twelve awards, but might lose out to the innovative, more contemporary Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir. Fun Home also received twelve Tony nominations and has been hailed as a Broadway musical game-changer. Although it’s less likely to win, I’m looking forward to seeing Something Rotten, a Shakespearean-era ode to musicals, hailed by the AP as “Easily the funniest thing to arrive on Broadway since The Book of Mormon!”

For Best Musical Revival, it looks as if either The King and I or On the Town will beat  On The Twentieth Century. The latter may still pick up some major awards, though, including one for its leading lady (and the evening’s co-host) Kristin Chenoweth. She’s in a tight race, however, with multiple-time nominee (and overdue for the award itself) Kelli O’Hara for The King and I and the legendary Chita Rivera for The Visit.

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  • Roz Warren June 5, 2015 at 12:01 am

    I saw FUN HOME pre-Broadway. It’s terrific and well worth seeing.