2019 Tony Awards: ‘The Ferryman’ and ‘Boys in the Band’ Are Best Plays, ‘Hadestown’ and ‘Oklahoma’ Best Musicals

The Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall

By Paul Riegler on 10 June 2019
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The 73rd Tony Awards took place Sunday evening at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with “Hadestown” taking home the prize for best new musical, while “The Ferryman” won best play.

James Corden served as host of the event and kicked off the show with a nine-minute opening number that highlighted the importance of Broadway and live theater in an age of streaming services. Corden counseled the audience to “trade the remote” and experience a different kind of show, the kind “that’s live and can’t be hashtagged.”

“Hadestown,” a new musical based on the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice and Hades and Persephone, took home a total of eight Tonys including one to André de Shields for his role as Hermes, a Greek god who serves as the musical’s narrator, and to Anaïs Mitchel, who won a Tony for her score.

“The Ferryman, “ an Irish drama by the English writer Jez Butterworth, won the Tony for best new play in a Broadway season that was dominated by a wide assortment of dramas and new comedies including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was not nominated for Best Play. Other nominees in the category included “Choir Boy,” “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus,” “Ink,” and “What the Constitution Means to Me.”

Rachel Chavkin won the Tony for best director of a musical for “Hadestown” and Elaine May won her first ever Tony Award for best leading actress for her role in “The Waverly Gallery.”

Meanwhile, “The Boys in the Band” won for Best Revival of a Play, up against “All My Sons,” “Burn This,” “Torch Song,” and “The Waverly Gallery.” In the category of Best Revival of a Musical, in which there were only two nominees, “Oklahoma” was the winner against “Kiss Me, Kate.”

A highlight of the night was when Ali Stoker became the first wheelchair user to win a Tony for best featured actress in a musical for her role as Ado Annie, the young woman who “cain’t say no” in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma.”

“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,” Ms. Stoker said in accepting the award. “You are.”

Left out in the cold was “Be More Chill,” which transferred earlier this year from off-Broadway to the Great White Way. The sci-fi hit that tells the story of a teenager’s attempt to fit in by taking a grey pill called a Squip, which contains a supercomputer that communicates directly with the brain, came to Broadway on the sheer strength of its online fan base – albeit one that is largely adolescent, which resulted in the show’s only nomination going to composer Joe Iconis for Best Original Score.

Meanwhile, “The Lifespan of a Fact,” which starred Daniel Radcliffe in the role of an unrelenting magazine fact checker, didn’t garner any nominations.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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