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The Tony Awards Love Hollywood (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS)

The Tony Awards Love Hollywood (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS)

The Tony Awards voters love Hollywood, and 2014 was no exception. “Breaking Bad” star and Broadway rookie Bryan Cranston and popular Tony host Neil Patrick Harris took home their first Tonys, for playing a flamboyant president (Lyndon Baines Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s “All the Way,” which won Best Play) and crossdresser (in Best Music Revival “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) respectively. Audience member Samuel B. Jackson, for one, will never forget Harris’s Tony performance of “Sugar Daddy.”

While Harris sat this one out as host, “X-Men” star Hugh Jackman did the singing and dancing (and, strangely, hopping?) honors this year.  Sporting a scruffy beard and a seemingly bottomless pit of energy, Jackman succeeded in propelling the award show forward, even when it seemed to get a little tired in the last hour.

Audra McDonald broke a Tony record for most awards, winning her sixth as Billie Holliday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” Songstress Carole King was on hand to cheer as Jessie Mueller took home Best Actress in a musical (“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”), performing “I Feel the Earth Move” for the house.

As expected, Best Musical went to “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” which had scored the most nominations with ten. Featured actress Lena Hall took home a surprise win for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” And “A Raisin in the Sun” was named the best revival of a play.  Interestingly, although Jason Robert Brown won Best Score for his adaptation of “Bridges of Madison County,” no songs from the show were featured during the telecast and, in fact, neither was Brown’s acceptance speech.  (That seemed to happen with many of the awards, in fact.)

Broadway draw Idina Menzel (“Frozen”) ripped into a dramatic number from “If/Then” which did not take home any prizes.

The two biggest show-stopper moments of the night both came from musicals that were adapted from film.  There was “Rocky,” whose Tony number included very little singing but came complete with a rotating boxing ring, an on-stage, cheering crowd and, oddly, a jumbotron displaying the action that looked very modern-day ESPN.  And of course there was “Aladdin,” which presented the genie’s signature song “Friend Like Me”–for which actor James Monroe Iglehart later in the night won the featured musical actor award–and showed just how challenging adapting an animated film into a Broadway show can be.

Tonys night–with its coast-to-coast broadcast–is always seen by Broadway producers as a chance to entice viewers into pricey theater tickets, and this year showcased plenty of celebrity talent, many of whom had nothing to do with the theater world.  Perhaps the lowest moment came when Jackman invited on rappers LL Cool J and T.I. for a modern-day take on the opening number of Meredith Wilson’s iconic “The Music Man.”  It was cringe-worthy, and while the crowd at Radio City were exhorted to stand up and (of course) make some noise, they mostly ended up looking around uncomfortably at each other.

In another tip of the hat to the film world, this year’s Tonys included a few trailers, if you will, for next season’s shows.  Sting was in attendance to sing the inscrutable title song from his upcoming show “The Last Ship”–not to be confused with the TV series of the same name–and Jennifer Hudson was featured in an odd promo for the Harvey Weinstein-produced “Finding Neverland.”  (Broadway stalwarts were miffed at the choice, because Hudson has no connection to the project, but Weinstein, who’s trying to push his way onto the Broadway stage, likely thought the big-name star would drum up excitement for his new musical.)

All in all, while the show lagged at times, this year’s Tonys were a celebration of a strong season for Broadway, with box office receipts and attendance numbers up from last season.  No, there weren’t many standout moments–aside from Harris’s “Sugar Daddy” and Tony-winner Jessie Mueller’s moving performance of “I Feel the Earth Move” with Carole King, who she plays onstage in this year’s “Beautiful.”  But it was a good reminder of the power of live theater, and an exhortation to keep filling those seats–in New York, in Chicago, in LA, and across the country–to keep the art form alive.

A full list of awards and highlight clips are below.

Best Play

“All the Way”

Best Musical

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

Best Revival of a Play

“A Raisin in the Sun”

Best Revival of a Musical

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

Best Book of a Musical

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

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

“The Bridges of Madison County”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Bryan Cranston, “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 Musical

Neil Patrick Harris, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Jessie Mueller, “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical”

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 Play

Sophie Okonedo, “A Raisin in the Sun”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

James Monroe Iglehart, “Aladdin”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Lena Hall, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Beowulf Boritt, “Act One”

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Christopher Barreca, “Rocky”

Best Costume Design of a Play

Jenny Tiramani, “Twelfth Night”

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Linda Cho, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Natasha Katz, “The Glass Menagerie”

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Kevin Adams, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

Best Sound Design of a Play

Steve Canyon Kennedy, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill”

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Brian Ronan, “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical”

Best Direction of a Play

Kenny Leon, “A Raisin in the Sun”

Best Direction of a Musical

Darko Tresnjak, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

Best Choreography

Warren Carlyle, “After Midnight”

Best Orchestrations

Jason Robert Brown, “The Bridges of Madison County”

Here are highlight Tony clips:

 Hugh Jackson’s hopping opening number is more about showing off his sheer physical stamina than anything else:
 

Alan Cummings’ “Wilkomen” from “Cabaret”:


[HD] Alan Cumming – Cabaret – Tony Awards 2014 by IdolxMuzic 

Neil Patrick Harris’s “Sugar Daddy”:
 

Audra McDonald’s weepy acceptance speech:

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Comments

anonymous

Is it me or has the sound quality during the performances gotten worse in recent years?

rgm

One person's cringe may be another's delight. That unique opening for the Music Man was — if not actually precursor "rap" — intriguing, and done to mimic the rhythm of a moving, chugging, salesmen's train.

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