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Big Winners at the 2014 Tony Awards

by Photo of Natalie Sacks

Sunday night’s Tony Awards showed us all that Broadway has to offer this year.

Big Winners at the 2014 Tony Awards

Last night’s Tony Awards at the Radio City Music Hall were a spectacular affair, showing off the range of exciting productions currently available for you to see on Broadway. Hosted by everyone’s second favorite stage and screen double-threat actor Hugh Jackman (Neil Patrick Harris, nominated for Best Actor in a Musical, was unavailable this year) and featuring performances from star performers as diverse as Jennifer Hudson, Carole King and Sting, this year’s Tonys and the shows it celebrated were not to be missed.

Musical Winners Stole the Show

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, winners of Best Musical and Best Revival, respectively, stole the show with crowd-pleasing performances and repeat wins. Gentleman, whose director Darko Tresnjak also won for Best Director of a Play, performed an over-the-top musical number of a man caught between the affections of two lovers in the farcical style that has thrilled critics. 

Hedwig performers Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Hall, winners of Best Actor in a Musical and Best Featured Actress in a Musical, put on a rock ballad that involved Harris strutting through the audience in a full embodiment of Hedwig, the transgender singer from East Berlin suffering from a botched gender-reassignment surgery. Hall’s starstruck acceptance speech, meanwhile, was one of the most charming highlights of the night.

 

Other notable performances included the rousing ballad “One Day More” by Best Musical Revival nominee Les Misérables and bouncing dance number “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin that perfectly showcased Best Featured Actor in a Musical winner James Monroe Iglehart’s talent and charisma as Genie. The After Midnight number featured some of the best dancing seen all night, including a cameo by a “tap dancing Wolverine,” while Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’s performance was joined by the legendary King herself in a duet with Best Actress in a Musical winner Jessie Mueller.

Bryan Cranston and an American Favorite Sweep the Stage

On the straight play side, Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way and the revival of A Raisin in the Sun were the night’s multiple winners. All the Way took home not only Best Play but also a Best Actor from Bryan Cranston, as TV’s favorite meth dealer reinvented himself as President Lyndon B. Johnson. A Raisin in the Sun won Best Revival of a Play, Best Director of a Play for Kenny Leon and Best Featured Actress in a Play for Sophie Okonedo.

Other winners included Mark Rylance as Best Featured Actor in a Play for his flawless portrayal of Olivia in Twelfth Night. Audra McDonald, meanwhile, won her sixth Tony for Best Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, more awards than any other actor has won to date.

Special Performances

Despite a rather odd opening number by Jackman that consisted of no singing but several minutes of jumping, and the rumored Hugh Jackman/Neil Patrick Harris duet never coming to be, this year’s Tonys had some spectacular special performances. Idina Menzel, of Wicked and “Let It Go” fame, positively smashed it in “Starting Over” from new musical If/Then. The Tonys celebrated the tenth anniversary of Wicked on Broadway with the iconic duet “For Good” performed by the current cast, while Sting performed a preview number from his new musical, The Last Ship Sails, opening on Broadway in September. Perhaps the best surprise, however, came from Hugh Jackman and rappers TI and LL Cool J, who hilariously recreated the opening number of The Music Man in rap form.

All in all, the Tony Awards with possibly the most cross-dressers to date (Hedwig, Casa Valentina, Cabaret and Twelfth Night) was a surprising but certainly an entertaining one. After such a showcase, everyone is bound to have a favorite Broadway show or two, and what better time to go see them than now?

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