The 71st Annual Tony Awards, presented by the American Theater Wing, premiered this past Sunday. The award show celebrating the best of the 2016-2017 Broadway season was held at the Radio City Music Hall and featured bad jokes and dazzling performances. The show-stopping performances include the casts of “Bandstand,” “Come From Away,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Falsettos,” “Groundhog Day The Musical,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Miss Saigon,” “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” and “War Paint,” along with additional performances by The Radio City Rockettes and Tony Award winners Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom Jr.
Tony Awards 2017 Winners
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, “Hello, Dolly!”
A self-confessed eternal showgirl, Bette Midler – or The Divine Miss M, as she is reverentially known – is the quintessential entertainer, uniting a love for singing, acting, comedy, and sequins. During her career, she has won four Grammys, an Emmy, and a Tony; been nominated for two Academy Awards; sold more than 14 million albums; and received 25 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum certifications for her albums and singles, including her most recent gold album Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook. Brimming with personality and exuding glamour, Midler recounts her performing heyday to audiences around the nation, from singing at the Continental Baths accompanied by Barry Manilow on the piano to recording one the 20th century’s greatest hits, “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, “Dear Evan Hansen”
At 9 years old, Platt played Winthrop Paroo in The Music Man at the Hollywood Bowl alongside Kristin Chenoweth. At 11, he appeared in a brief national tour with Caroline, or Change, originally by Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner. At 17, he played Jean Valjean in a youth theatre production of Les Misérables. Platt played a supporting role in the film Pitch Perfect as magic-obsessed Benji Applebaum. He was subsequently nominated at a Teen Choice Awards in the category “Choice Movie: Male Scene Stealer,” for his work.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, “Hello, Dolly!”
Gavin Creel is a two-time Tony Award nominee for his performances as “Claude” in Hair and “Jimmy” in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Additional credits include the Broadway production of The Book of Mormon, the 2004 revival of La Cage Aux Folles, the Goodman Theatre/Kennedy Center production of Sondheim and Weidman’s Bounce, A.R.T.’s world premiere of Prometheus Bound, as well as Hair and Mary Poppins in the West End. Creel has recorded three original albums, is a member of the Broadway Inspirational Voices Choir and graduated from The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance. As a co-founder of Broadway Impact and for his work fighting for marriage equality, Creel has been recognized as one of OUT Magazine’s OUT 100, and in 2011, he co-wrote and released the single “Noise,” to raise money and awareness for that fight.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, “Dear Evan Hansen”
Jones has been a part of the new musical Dear Evan Hansen since its original regional premiere at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., July 2015. She reprised the role of Heidi Hansen Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre in the spring of 2016, before transferring to Broadway in November 2016. Jones was one of the original cast members starring in the revival of Pippin when it closed on January 4, 2015. She played Catherine, Pippin’s lover the entire run. Her other Broadway credits include the 2009 revival of Hair, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Meet Me in St. Louis.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, “A Doll’s House, Part 2”
Laurie Metcalf is an American actress. She is known for her television roles as Jackie Harris on the ABC sitcom Roseanne; Carolyn Bigsby on Desperate Housewives; the recurring role of Mary Cooper on The Big Bang Theory; Dr. Jenna James on Getting On, and Marjorie McCarthy in The McCarthys. She voiced the role of Mrs. Davis in the Toy Story film series. Her other film appearances include Making Mr. Right, JFK, Mistress, and as Debbie Salt/Loomis in Scream 2. She has also appeared in commercials for Plan USA, a humanitarian organization which helps children in need around the world. A four-time Tony Award nominee for her work on Broadway, Metcalf won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play in 2017 for her role in A Doll’s House, Part 2.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, “Oslo”
Nearly unrecognizable in his portrayals, Michael Aronov has made a name for himself by pushing the boundaries on stage and screen. Residing in New York, the actor continues to balance his way through theatre and film. For his stage work Michael received “The Elliot Norton Award – Best Actor”, for originating the lead role in Theresa Rebeck’s “Mauritius”. On Broadway he appeared as the lovable troublemaker Siggie, in the Tony-nominated revival of Golden Boy, directed by Bartlett Sher. In 2006 the actor’s theater travels took him to the West Coast under the direction of Estelle Parsons in Salome, starring Al Pacino. Aronov then went on to work with Terrence McNally on the world premiere of Unusual Acts of Devotion.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, “Present Laughter”
Kline began his career on stage in 1972 with The Acting Company. He has gone on to win three Tony Awards for his work on Broadway, winning Best Featured Actor in a Musical for the 1978 original production of On the Twentieth Century, Best Actor in a Musical for the 1981 revival of The Pirates of Penzance, and Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for the 2017 revival of Present Laughter. He has won an Academy Award and three Tony Awards and is a 2003 American Theatre Hall of Fame inductee.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play, “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes”
For six seasons, Cynthia Nixon portrayed tenacious lawyer “Miranda Hobbes” in HBO’s celebrated series, Sex and the City, a role that garnered her Emmy nominations and the 2004 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Having appeared in dozens of plays, television shows, and movies, Cynthia Nixon is recognized within the acting industry as a woman who has the courage and ability to conquer any role. A true inspiration for young people everywhere, she has proven that if you work hard, no goal is unattainable. Nixon is a strong supporter of the New York City public schools and is actively working with the Alliance for Quality Education, a group that fights for funding and quality public education across the state.
Best Book of a Musical, “Dear Evan Hansen”
Raised in Bethesda, Levenson was introduced to theater by his culture-loving parents. After graduating from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Levenson attended Brown University where he concentrated in theater and English, hoping to become an actor. But by his junior year, playwriting took hold. A few years later, the piece he began in college, Seven Minutes in Heaven, received a full production. Soon he was supporting himself in New York on playwriting commissions, supplementing his income working in the office of an SAT prep service.
Best Play, “Oslo”
J.T. Rogers’s plays include Oslo (Lincoln Center Theatre; Broadway); Blood and Gifts (National Theatre, London; Lincoln Center Theater, Drama Desk Award Nominee and Lucille Lortel Award Nominee); The Overwhelming (National Theatre; Roundabout Theatre); White People (Off Broadway with Starry Night Productions); and Madagascar (SPF Festival in NYC; Melbourne Theatre Company). As one of the original playwrights for the Tricycle Theatre of London’s The Great Game: Afghanistan he was nominated for an Olivier Award. His works have been staged throughout the United States and in Germany, Canada, Australia, and Israel, and are published in paperback by Faber and Faber and TCG.
Best Original Score, “Dear Evan Hansen”
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are the Tony Award-Winning songwriting team behind the Broadway musical A Christmas Story, The Musical, Dogfight, James and The Giant Peach, and Edges. TV credits include Smash, Sesame Street and Johnny and the Sprites. Their current projects include Dear Evan Hansen and La La Land. Their honors include a Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theatre (American Academy of Arts and Letters), ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, and the Jonathan Larson Award. Both are graduates of the University of Michigan and members of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.
Best Direction of a Musical, “Come From Away”
Christopher Ashley graduated from Yale University in 1984, where he studied Math and English. In 1997, he completed The Drama League program for directors. He was appointed artistic director of the La Jolla Playhouse, California, in 2007. During his tenure at La Jolla, he has helmed the Playhouse’s productions of Come From Away, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Restoration and Memphis, which won four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical, among others. Prior to joining the Playhouse, he directed the Broadway productions of Xanadu (Drama Desk nomination), All Shook Up, and The Rocky Horror Show (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), as well as the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration productions of Sweeney Todd (Helen Hayes award for Direction) and Merrily We Roll Along.
Best Direction of a Play, “Indecent”
Rebecca Taichman was the director of Familiar, Danai Gurira’s comic drama at Playwrights Horizons about the generational and cultural clashes within a Zimbabwean-American family. Taichman has also helmed Ruhl’s plays at Classic Stage off-Broadway (Orlando) and the Woolly Mammoth in Washington, D.C. (The Clean House and Dead Man’s Cell Phone), and she’s directed multiple works by Theresa Rebeck (The Scene at New York’s Second Stage and the umana Festival, Mauritius at Huntington Theatre in Boston) and David Adjmi (Marie Antoinette at Soho Rep, Evildoers at Yale Rep). Taichman has done a fair share of classics too, most notably four plays at the Shakespeare Theatre in D.C., where she is an affiliated artist: Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline* (the latter two were also produced at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J.).
Best Orchestrations, “Dear Evan Hansen”
Alex Lacamoire is a Cuban-American musician, arranger, conductor, musical director, music copyist, and orchestrator who has worked on many shows both on and off Broadway. Alex Lacamoire was most recently the Music Director, Orchestrator, and Conductor for the Broadway Production of Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre—continuing in the roles he held during the show’s Off-Broadway production at The Public Theater—as well as the Co-Arranger (along with Lin-Manuel Miranda) of the show’s score. Lacamoire won his second Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre for Best Orchestrations in 2016 for the Broadway production of Hamilton.In 2012, Lacamoire and Tom Kitt were the Co-Orchestrators of Bring It On: the Musical — another collaboration with Lin-Manuel Miranda—for which Lacamoire also served as Music Supervisor and Arranger.
Best Choreography, “Bandstand”
He has been nominated for the Tony Award for Best Choreography five times, and has won three times: for Bandstand, Hamilton and In the Heights. Blankenbuehler’s other Broadway choreography work includes 9 to 5, Bring it On: The Musical, and the 2016 Cats revival. As a performer, he has appeared on Broadway in many musicals, from Guys and Dolls to Fosse. Blankenbuehler has choreographed for Bette Midler and directed, choreographed and co-conceived the production Nights On Broadway at Caesars Palace. As of 2016, Blankenbuehler is choreographing the revival of the movie Dirty Dancing starring Abigail Breslin and Shane Harper.
Best Scenic Design of a Musical, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”
Mimi Lien is a designer of sets/environments for theater, dance, and opera. Arriving at set design from a background in architecture, her work often focuses on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer. She hails from New Haven, CT and is based in Brooklyn, NY. She was recently named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow, and is the first set designer ever to achieve this distinction. Selected work includes Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812, John, Appropriate, Preludes, The Oldest Boy, An Octoroon, Black Mountain Songs.
Best Scenic Design of a Play, “The Play That Goes Wrong”
Nigel Hook is a UK based set and costume designer. He has designed for The Play that Goes Wrong in the West End, on Broadway, and in multiple productions around the world. His work has also been seen in THARK at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, at the Wemland Opera in Sweden, in Dial M For Murder at the Vienna English Theatre, at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, Hitchhikers Guide to Fazakerley at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool, and more. Hook received his Post Graduate Diploma in Technical Theatre from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Best Costume Design of a Musical, “Hello, Dolly!”
Loquasto has worked on some 61 Broadway productions, either as scenic or costume designer, frequently both, starting with Sticks and Bones in 1972 and with his most recent production, Waiting for Godot in 2009. He has received 18 Tony Award nominations for his work as either costumer or scenic designer, and won three times, and he also has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design three times and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design once. In 2004, Loquasto was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Best Costume Design of a Play, “Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes”
Greenwood attended Liverpool Art School and the Central School of Arts and Crafts, and then started working at the Oxford Playhouse, in charge of the costume department. She started working in the Ray Diffen costume shop in New York City in 1962. In New York, she met and married scenic designer and producer Ben Edwards. She teaches at the Yale Drama School. Greenwood received the Theater Development Fund Irene Sharaff Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1998. Greenwood has been awarded the 2014 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.
Best Lighting Design of a Musical, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”
Bradley King is a lighting designer based in New York City. New York projects include work for The Actors Company Theater, Atlantic Theatre Company, Ars Nova, Cherry Lane, Classic Stage Company, Clubbed Thumb, HERE Arts Center, LAByrinth Theatre Company, Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York City Opera, New York Theater Workshop, New York University, Playwrights Horizons, PPAS, Roundabout Theater Company, and many others. He is a three-time Drama Desk nominee, three-time Henry Hewes Award nominee, a Lortel Nominee, and IRNE and Eliot Norton Award winner.
Best Lighting Design of a Play, “Indecent”
Christopher Akerlind is an American lighting designer for theatre, opera, and dance. He won the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design for Light in the Piazza and an Obie Award for sustained excellence for his work Off-Broadway. He attended Boston University and the Yale School of Drama, training with Jennifer Tipton. He was Head of Lighting Design and Director of the Design & Production Programs at the CalArts School of Theater.
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