73rd Annual Tony Awards: Tony Award Winners Recap(2019)

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but I’m somewhat of a major theatre geek.

 

 

…yeah.

Being that I am obsessed with everything Broadway, one of my most favorite holidays to celebrate is the Annual Tony Awards. Well, this and the day the nominations and categories are announced.

This tradition is one I closely follow every year, watching every move of the Tony team and their huge audience consisting of Broadway mega fans on social media. After nominations are announced, I begin my routine of weighing contestants by following Instagram and Twitter pages that discuss their predictions to make the best predictions of winners as I can. It has zero benefits in sight, because I’m always wrong, if not for a slim number of correct guesses.

What I do get out of it, though, is an increase in my knowledge of the actors and actresses, and all of the genius productions they are in. This year’s nominees all contained such an abundance of talent that by the time I had researched the full list, I didn’t even bother making any solid predictions other than the win for Stephanie J. Block- long overdue and so well deserved.

Even so, the excitement of the awards being such a toss up was a new type of excitement, so full of wonder that I decided it needed its own post. So, as with yesterday’s post, here is a series of me fangirling over actors and productions I’ll probably never get the privilege of seeing live. Prepare for another long list of beautiful people and their gorgeous creations, and why they deserved every bit of the awards they received, all from the perspective of yours truly.

img_5866

Best Sound Design (Musical)
“Ain’t Too Proud”
“Beetlejuice”
X – “Hadestown”
“King Kong”
“Oklahoma!”

I have gushed about the work of the winners, Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz so frequently, it has now become an inside joke between my theatre and non-theatre friends alike. I will do so over and over again, especially in this post, because this gorgeous piece of art took home a total of EIGHT AWARDS this Tony evening.

But let’s talk about why this award is so well deserved. The sound of Hadestown has always been, down to its core, a beautiful song of what the internet has deemed as neo-folk and folk-opera styling. This is particularly well suited for the modern styling of the production, a style I favor for its bluegrass tones in both sound and complete stage.

Another amazing thing of this nomination and win is the groundbreaking movement of history being made in its action. Jessica Paz, one of the two recipients of this award, was the first woman in the history of the Tony’s to be nominated in the category, and to win the award.

This award meant the advancement and win for the women in her field, as well as a gigantic achievement for the production as a whole. So well deserved in its excellency, Hadestown’s tragic storyline is amplified and heavily carried by the sound design of the show and for that, well deserving of the award.

img_5873

Best Scenic Design (Musical)
“Ain’t Too Proud”
“Beetlejuice”
X – “Hadestown”
“King Kong”
“Oklahoma!”

Taking the cake yet again is the biggest obsession of my musical-theatre-geek career yet. Carrying the show along with the melodic narration of the show is the brilliance of the stage design, one showcased extremely well during the performance given by the band and cast during the Tony Awards.

The set is explained best by the creative team in their extensive Instagram interviews, in which Tony Award winner Rachel Hauck explains the feel of the set best. The theatre is meant to have the same circular storytelling feel as that of old Greek amphitheaters, accomplished in the constant themes of circles throughout the production.

Another piece of brilliance is the inclusion of the orchestra on stage, something that ignores the creation of a fourth wall from the very beginning. This ensures that the audience is almost literally pulled in to watch, intrigued at every step and excited and anxious at every single moment of tension.

Another step of genius is the split of the stage, a three-foot move that transforms the stage for the entirety of the second act. Coming back to the constant pattern of circles, it keeps in theme of the retelling of an old story, the restabilizing of those morals and lessons, a true completion of the show each day before they prepare to do just as they promise and sing the old song all over again.

The set design truly solidifies the core feeling of the musical, the feel of folklore and the styles of the ancient world. Any other move would have been unfathomable, and for that, the award to Rachel Hauck was more than well deserved, it was impossible to deny.

img_5872

Best Lighting Design (Musical)
“Ain’t Too Proud”
“Beetlejuice”
“The Cher Show”
X – “Hadestown”
“King Kong”

Hadestown does it again in this category, truly taking the cake for one of the best main reasons of all possible choices: the song “Wait For Me.”

Those swinging lights, a movement of genius, and the backlights that jolt when the stage split occurs are all that it takes for any audience member to shove the award in the hands of the winner, Bradley King.

Obviously, the lighting was a labor of love, a moment of true brilliance in which all departments met and agreed well on its creation. In analyzing the story it tells during it’s the more notable moment in “Wait For Me,” the reason for the musical’s win is clear enough for the audience to see all the way from the back of the house.

To begin with, the swinging of the lamps showcase the darkness of the true depths of exhausting labor in the underworld, truly showing the weak and dim light of hope in the back of all the worker’s minds at that time of such dark and low strength and joy.

Not stopping there, the lighting design quite literally shines bright yet again in Orpheus’s final level of descendence into Hade’s industrial empire when the backlights shine bright enough to notice the stage split into oil drums, proudly displaying the natural destruction created by his greedy motivations.

This creation was nothing to go unnoticed, and it was sure recognized by the committee with this honorable award.

img_5871

Best Costume Design (Musical)
“Ain’t Too Proud”
“Beetlejuice”
X – “The Cher Show”
“Hadestown”
“Tootsie”

I don’t know if I talked about this enough in yesterday’s post, but the costume design in this show is so loud and wonderfully dramatic that even a glance from Stephanie J Block as Cher could kill.

Bob Mackie’s short and sweet speech captured the fast-moving excitement of costumes themselves. The costumes’ levels of extravagancy increase as the stage’s of Cher’s glamorous career moves ahead. Her growth in confidence and dignified ego is displayed in the confidence of her wardrobe, and for that the story on stage fulfills its reality well.

Mackie’s brilliant incorporation of wild creativity, a talent shared by both him and the goddess Cher, confirms his right to the award. His is a brilliance only hoped to be match in upcoming Broadway productions.

 

Best Orchestrations
“Ain’t Too Proud”
X – “Hadestown”
“Kiss Me, Kate”
“Oklahoma!”
“Tootsie”

Another whole cake for Hadestown, please. Soon they’ll be the Marie Antoinette of Broadway (hopefully minus the whole beheading and crumble of an empire thing).

As I said earlier, folklore and Bluegrass tones are the heart and soul of Hadestown, a perfect fit for the southern and modern retelling of such an ancient and traditional Greek tale.

Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose are the winners to thank for this masterpiece melody of a show, true brilliance stemming from their forming of the orchestrations produced every night at the Walter Kerr. This pair truly pulled out the heart of the music and kept it well preserved, reviving it for every performance to continue its beat with the band.

img_5835-1

Best Original Score
“Be More Chill”
“Beetlejuice”
X – “Hadestown”
“The Prom”
“To Kill a Mockingbird”
“Tootsie”

Anaïs Mitchell is a mind far too beautiful for the world. Her long dedication to an idea she knew not the main goal of is so incredibly strong that it brought it all the way to Broadway.

In all stages of its production, from the concept album to the Broadway Cast Recording, Anaïs Mitchell has been the guiding hand (working with Rachel Chavkin since the New York Theatre Workshop Production) of the show’s many changes and developments.

Being the creator of the concept of this gorgeous show, her lyrics and music carry the story beautifully, bringing laughter and tears to audiences every matinee and evening show.

The production would be lost without her beautiful mind, her touch turning all places of the stage solid gold. Certainly most deserving, even more beautifully graceful with it.

img_5847

Best Book of a Musical
“Ain’t Too Proud”
“Beetlejuice”
“Hadestown”
“The Prom”
X – “Tootsie”

I can’t say much on the book for this show because I haven’t seen the movie or the musical itself, but if it’s brilliance is anywhere near the powerful songs, beautiful stage design, and epic costumes from the rest of the show, the award is surely well deserved.

If the book contains as many comedic jabs, dramatic lines, and killer power as the rest of the production does, then Robert Horn is more than well deserving of this award.

img_5867

Best Choreography
Camille A. Brown, “Choir Boy”
Warren Carlyle, “Kiss Me, Kate”
Denis Jones, “Tootsie”
David Neumann, “Hadestown”
X – Sergio Trujillo, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Where to start with the absolute genius behind this Choreography. Sergio Trujillo truly outdid himself with these majestic turns and curves, the smooth moves that perfectly matched the energy and sound of the Temptations.

I’ve always been a huge fan of flowing choreography that clicks so increibly well with the sounds and vibes of the music that it feels like the songs were created for the moves.

This feeling is so rare that an ounce of it should be celebrated, and a Tony awarded to someone as gifted ad Sergio Trujillo is one grand step closer to creating a celebration big enough.

img_5843

Best Director (Musical)
X – Rachel Chavkin, “Hadestown”
Scott Ellis, “Tootsie”
Daniel Fish, “Oklahoma!”
Des McAnuff, “Ain’t Too Proud”
Casey Nicholaw, “The Prom”

The beautiful and beautifully talented Rachel Chavkin took home another Tony for the Hadestown family, this one is for her work on the show.

Her visionary status was one of the main efforts that carried the show to Broadway, her endless devotion (similar to Anaïs Mitchell’s) to such an amazing show is what brings the show to such a magnificent level of production.

Not only was the work that got her the award exquisite, but the speech she gave afterward amazed me twice over.  In her acceptance speech, she challenged the norms of her field, encouraging her fellow brilliant women to strive after their dreams and goals of stage production.

In this way, she also shamed the lack of diversity in Broadway, and within that community, all fields and professions that make the art what it is. Rachel Chavkin is truly the best idol to uphold and one of the brightest minds to ever grace the creation of a musical.

Her strong skills of creativity and her brilliant vision for this gift of a musical are things that earned her this achievement and will continue to place her in such a high place of love and appreciation.

img_5834-1

Best Featured Actress (Musical)
Lilli Cooper, “Tootsie”
Amber Gray, “Hadestown”
Sarah Stiles, “Tootsie”
X – Ali Stroker, “Oklahoma!”
Mary Testa, “Oklahoma!”

Ali Stroker is a gift that keeps on giving. Her talent, her beauty, and her brilliance and compassion on and off the Broadway stage transfer beautifully, every move in her career a strong inspiration.

Her acceptance speech, a symbol of representation for other aspiring performers with disabilities, was one of empowerment.

Ali Stroker has always been one to watch, holding a never-ending string of celebrated roles, this one showcasing the overwhelming powerhouse aspect of her voice.

img_5844

Best Featured Actor (Musical)
X – Andre De Shields, “Hadestown”
Andy Grotelueschen, “Tootsie”
Patrick Page, “Hadestown”
Jeremy Pope, “Ain’t Too Proud”
Ephraim Sykes, “Ain’t Too Proud”

Andre De Shields is the only man in the world that is so wise and incredibly gifted with words that if someone told me he was the worldly manifestation of God, I would one hundred percent believe them.

This man is fully decorated, the full definition of a Broadway Veteran with so many shows and awards under his belt, it was inevitable for him to receive more.

This man is truly a talent, and the power he brings on stage at Hadestown with his narration and created a melody with the band is yet another part of the masterpiece nature of the song, one truly enhanced by his performance.

img_5836

Best Actress (Musical)
X – Stephanie J. Block, “The Cher Show”
Caitlin Kinnunen, “The Prom”
Beth Leavel, “The Prom”
Eva Noblezada, “Hadestown”
Kelli O’Hara, “Kiss Me, Kate”

This award was well deserved at the very beginning of Stephanie J. Block’s career. Finally, her talent and dedication have been celebrated in the most spectacular of ways, her beauty and charmingly comedic personality shining through every bit of her speech.

Her work in the Cher show, from what I’ve been allowed to see on you youtube and at the Tony’s, is divine and I couldn’t be more proud of her work in this production.

The perfection of the voice, the channeling of Cher’s goddess persona and confident and hilarious stride is something worthy of more than the award she won, sure to be further appreciated as she continues the work of her assured life-long career.

Santino Fontana
Santino Fontana accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical for “Tootsie” at the 73rd annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 9, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Best Actor (Musical)
Brooks Ashmanskas, “The Prom”
Derrick Baskin, “Ain’t Too Proud”
Alex Brightman, “Beetlejuice”
Damon Daunno, “Oklahoma!”
X – Santino Fontana, “Tootsie”

This man made me feel two different things: hope and pride. 

Santino Fontana’s speech alone was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever heard. As a theatre kid in a small-ish town with some of the most trying creative support, it gave me incredible hope and confidence in the potential molding and success of my abilities.

His mention of his high school reminded me of my past and current ones, how supportive and proud they were in the creation of each show they allowed me to be in.

Not only was his speech encouraging, but so was his performance with the rest of the cast of Tootsie. His quick changes and managed feminine charm were a brighter view of an actor’s abilities to create on stage, an assurance of his match with the award.

img_5870

Best Musical Revival
“Kiss Me, Kate”
X – “Oklahoma!” 

Like I said in the last post, musicals with the western stylings of early Broadway have never been a main point of interest or focus, but the work put into this production was one deserving of this award.

The concept of inclusive audience and the modernization of the story with the original book and music are all amazing concepts, and the talents on stage seem promising as overflowing.

Just the short preview of two songs on stage during the Tony Awards made me excited for the production as a whole, and if I feel that just a small snippet of a few songs is deserving of the Tony for Best Musical Revival, I can’t begin to imagine how I’d feel for the whole production.

img_5842

Best Musical
“Ain’t Too Proud”
“Beetlejuice”
X-“Hadestown”
“The Prom”
“Tootsie”

This show is one that has swallowed my heart from the very first song that I blasted through my headphones. The awe I feel each time I blare the songs through the car speakers and sing along with Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada, or the Fates is unbelievable.

This show is beyond magical and mythical but is so incredibly real and soulful. The creative genius behind the production, creation, and performance of this musical is astounding and the feelings it strikes through its fanbase is strong.

We feel joy, we feel sorrow, we feel love. We willingly feel it, again and again, so long as the show will have us, because we put our trust directly into the hands of the creators each time we watch a song performed, each time we turn the speakers up, and each time we raise a glass to all minds that worked to create such a masterpiece.

The message of the show is universal, the confirmation that no one is alone and the abundance of love that can be found in all the right places.

The tale encourages the optimism of Orpheus, the strength of Eurydice, the passion of Persephone, the love of Hades, the wisdom of Hermes, and the power of the Fates. It encourages us mere mortals to feel and feel again until feeling brings us to the destined and brings forth what is meant to be.

 

BONUS:

FAVORITE TONY MOMENTS

  • Humans and Puppets
  • Everyone coming for Bryan Cranston
  • Jez Butterworth talking about his beloved and showering her with praise rather than explaining the plot of his play
  • Beetlejuice performance
  • Hadestown performance
  • Ain’t too Proud performance
  • James in the Bathroom
  • James Corden’s Dad on the phone
  • RACHEL CHAVKIN
  • Anaïs Mitchell
  • Audra McDonald’s Beef
  • Ben Platt’s failed beef
  • darren_criss@hotmail.com
  • “Well that’s my bad”
  • “We need to make Broadway less white, less cis, and less male”
  • CYNTHIA ERIVO
  • Hades Ain’t Too Proud to Wear Sequins While Taking Beetlejuice to the Prom
  • HADESTOWN

That’s all for this year’s Tonys folks! Thank you so much for sharing the excitement of the Tony Awards with me this year. I hope that next years’ is just as filled with bits of love and joy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi guys! Thanks so much for reading my blog post!

I hope you enjoyed! Thank you so much for letting me ramble on about my geeky Broadway dreams and fangirling over my favorites, and thank you twice more for reading through all of it! If you have no idea what any of this means, I am so sorry. But you can go watch the Tony’s, It’s probably on youtube already with some weird title!

As usual, like and comment if you please, I’d love to learn about you and your thoughts on my writing or my blog so far! If you have any thoughts on this post or have any suggestions for what you’d like to see from me in the future, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you all!

Thank you all so much, and write you all on Friday with a post about a day at Universal Studios Hollywood!

Until then!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Want more updates on the blog of info about me? Follow my social media below!

Instagram (blog):

@writerscupofteablog

Instagram (personal):

@writerscupoftea

Twitter:

@writerscupoftea

Facebook:

Kate Santos

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s