Billy Porter slays on the Tony Awards Red Carpet (screen capture)
The theater world celebrated the best of this year’s Broadway season at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards Sunday night, and the festivities were – no surprise – très gay.
At one point in the telecast, presenter Ben Platt told the viewing audience, “For anyone at home who is a latecomer who is just now tuning in, yes, these are the Tony Awards, and you are, in fact, gay.”
The evening began with Pose star Billy Porter once again slaying on the red carpet wearing a red and pink Celestino Couture design in front of a Pride-inspired floral background. The dress was fashioned from the actual show curtain that hung at the Al Hirschfeld Theater where Porter earned his Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in Kinky Boots.
Porter, who presented during ceremony, was also called on by host James Corden to entertain during a commercial break. Choosing from a list of songs to sing, Porter chose – what else? – “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from Gypsy.
Just to give a sense of what’s happening while all of us regular folks are watching commercials, hit the play button below. You’ll be very glad you did.
Back to the awards handed out, perhaps the biggest gay victory was the acclaimed revival of the iconic 1968 play, The Boys in the Band, snatching up the award for Best Revival of a Play.
The limited-run production had an all-star cast that included Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesús (also nominated for his performance in the play), Michael Benjamin Washington, Brian Hutchison, and Tuc Watkins.
The win makes 83-year-old Mort Crowley the oldest playwright to win the award.
Openly bisexual Ali Stroker took home the Tony for Best Featured Acress in a Musical for her scene-stealing take on “Ado Annie” in the new revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! The GLEE Project alum becomes the first person in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award.
In her acceptance speech, she told the audience, “This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena, you are.”
She later joined her cast mates in a performance from the reimagined take on the classic musical which went on to win the award for Best Revival.
The Prom, a musical about a high school senior whose prom is cancelled after she’s told she can’t bring her girlfriend, was nominated in several categories but didn’t win any.
But, the cast did perform during the show with a same-sex lip-lock between female leads Isabelle McCalla and Caitlin Kinnunen.
The Cher Show, based on the life and career of the Oscar winning superstar, saw gay fashion designer Bob Mackie win his first Tony at the age of 80 for his brilliant costume designs.
And Stephanie J. Block, one of the three actresses who play Cher during the production, won the Best Actress in a Musical honor for her work.
Several openly gay artists picked up trophies as well:
Much-beloved Broadway veteran André DeShields (Ain’t Misbehavin’) won his first Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Hadestown.
Choreographer Sergio Trujillo won Best Choreography for Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations.
Legendary playwright Terrence McNally, whose body of work (Love! Valor! Compassion!, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, The Ritz) has explored several aspects of the LGBTQ community, was honored for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.
And while they didn’t win, non-binary playwright Taylor Mac introduced their play Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus wearing wildly creative design.
LGBTQ ally (and two-time Tony Award winner) Judith Light received the Isabelle Stevenson Award for her tireless advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community and the fight against AIDS.
At the end of the evening, Hadestown (a contemporary take on Ancient Greek myth) won Best Musical, and The Ferryman (the story of the family of a former IRA activist living in rural Northern Ireland) took home the trophy for Best Play.
Watch André DeShields lead the cast of Hadestown in their Tony performance, “Wait For Me.”
Here is the full list of winners:
Best Musical: “Hadestown”
Best Play: “The Ferryman”
Best Revival of a Musical: “Oklahoma!”
Best Revival of a Play: “The Boys in the Band”
Best Book of a Musical: “Tootsie,” Robert Horn
Best Original Score: “Hadestown,” music and lyrics: Anaïs Mitchell
Best Direction of a Play: Sam Mendes, “The Ferryman”
Best Direction of a Musical: Rachel Chavkin, “Hadestown”
Best Leading Actor in a Play: Bryan Cranston, “Network”
Best Leading Actress in a Play: Elaine May, “The Waverly Gallery”
Best Leading Actor in a Musical: Santino Fontana, “Tootsie”
Best Leading Actress in a Musical: Stephanie J. Block, “The Cher Show”
Best Featured Actor in a Play: Bertie Carvel, “Ink”
Best Featured Actress in a Play: Celia Keenan-Bolger, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Best Featured Actor in a Musical: André De Shields, “Hadestown”
Best Featured Actress in a Musical: Ali Stroker, “Oklahoma!”
Best Scenic Design of a Play: Rob Howell, “The Ferryman”
Best Scenic Design of a Musical: Rachel Hauck, “Hadestown”
Best Costume Design of a Play: Rob Howell, “The Ferryman”
Best Costume Design of a Musical: Bob Mackie, “The Cher Show”
Best Lighting Design of a Play: Neil Austin, “Ink”
Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Bradley King, “Hadestown”
Best Sound Design of a Play: Fitz Patton, “Choir Boy”
Best Sound Design of a Musical: Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, “Hadestown”
Best Choreography: Sergio Trujillo, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”
Best Orchestrations: Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, “Hadestown”
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater: Rosemary Harris, Terrence McNally, Harold Wheeler
Isabelle Stevenson Award: Judith Light
Regional Theater Tony Award: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley