The Latest: Stephanie J. Block wins Tony for ‘Cher Show’
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the Tony Awards (all times local):
Stephanie J. Block has won her first Tony Award for playing a legend — Cher.
Block, who has had roles on “Homeland” and “Orange Is the New Black,” is one of three actresses to play the title character in the musical “The Cher Show.”
Block has played everything on Broadway, from Liza Minnelli in “The Boy from Oz” to a 16th-century Irish chieftain in “The Pirate Queen” to a cross-dressing man in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” Her credits include “Falsettos,” ”Anything Goes” and “9 to 5.”
Block, who met her husband, fellow stage actor and “Madam Secretary” star Sebastian Arcelus, while both were starring in “Wicked” on tour.
She beat out Caitlin Kinnunen, Beth Leavel, Eva Noblezada, and Kelli O’Hara.
Santino Fontana has won his first Tony Award as the cross-dressing lead in “Tootsie.”
Fontana, perhaps best known for his singing role as Hans in “Frozen,” won in an adaptation of the 1982 Dustin Hoffman film about a struggling actor who impersonated a woman in order to improve his chances of getting a job.
Fontana, who was born in California but raised in Richland, Washington, is a 2004 graduate of the University of Minnesota-Guthrie Theater actor training program. He played “Hamlet” at 23 at the Guthrie.
On Broadway, he got small parts in “Sunday in the Park with George,” then a larger role in “Billy Elliot.” He thought he was on his way after snagging a part in the 2009 revival of “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” but it closed after just nine performances.
His other credits include “The Importance of Being Earnest,” ”Cinderella,” ”Act One” and “Hello, Dolly!”
He beat out Brooks Ashmanskas, Derrick Baskin, Damon Daunno and Alex Brightman.
Playwright Jez Butterworth’s “The Ferryman” has been crowned best play at the Tony Awards.
The play is a vigorous family epic set in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the Troubles. It requires a 21-person cast, plus a baby and animals. It won the Olivier Award for best new play last year in London.
It’s Butterworth’s third time on Broadway, having made his debut in 2011 with “Jerusalem” and then in 2014 with “The River” starring Hugh Jackman.
The playwright has eclectic film credits ranging from the Tom Cruise action sci-fi “Edge of Tomorrow” to the James Brown biodrama “Get on Up,” from the Whitey Bulger true-crime saga “Black Mass” to the 007 thriller “Spectre.”
“The Ferryman” beat out “Choir Boy,” ”Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus,” ”Ink” and “What the Constitution Means to Me.”
Bryan Cranston has a second Tony Award to go along with his six Emmys.
The former star of “Breaking Bad” and “Malcolm in the Middle” won the Tony for best leading man in a play award for his work as Howard Beale in a stage adaptation of “Network.”
Beale, the newsman in the midst of a nervous breakdown, famously screams “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” The role won him an Olivier Award in London.
Upon taking the stage, Cranston jokingly shouted: “Finally a straight old white man gets a break!” He also dedicated his award to “all the real journalists around the world” saying they are “in the line of fire” and are not “the enemy of the people” as President Donald Trump frequently proclaims.
Cranston, whose portrayal of Walter White on AMC’s “Breaking Bad” cemented his stardom, won a Tony for his Broadway debut as President Lyndon Baines Johnson in “All The Way.” He also earned an Oscar nomination for “Trumbo.”
A dark retelling of “Oklahoma!” has beaten the lush and playful revival of the rival Golden Age musical “Kiss Me, Kate” to the Tony Award for best musical revival.
Director Daniel Fish’s revisionist treatment of “Oklahoma!” has a decidedly naturalistic production style and actors showing their characters’ dark side, with some scenes played in complete darkness.
Instead of using a traditional Broadway orchestra, a modest seven-piece string orchestra plays Richard Rodgers’ songs, including “People Will Say We’re in Love,” ”I Cain’t Say No” and “Surrey with the Fringe on Top.”
“Kiss Me, Kate” and “Oklahoma!” were the only category nominees.
Oscar-winning director and producer Sam Mendes has won his first directing Tony Award for guiding “The Ferryman.”
The play is a vigorous family epic set in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the Troubles. It requires a 21-person cast, plus a baby and animals.
Mendes’ previous Broadway work included “Cabaret,” ”The Vertical Hour, “Gypsy,” ”The Blue Room” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” He founded the powerhouse Donmar Warehouse and won an Oscar for directing “American Beauty.”
Mendes is the director of the 007 sagas “Skyfall” and “Spectre,” ”Road to Perdition,” ”Jarhead” and “Away We Go.”
Mendes did not attend Sunday’s ceremony.
You know who deserved — and has received — a shout out at the Tony Awards for an off-stage feat? Laura Donnelly, that’s who.
Donnelly portrayed Caitlin in her husband Jez Butterworth’s “The Ferryman,” a period drama set in Northern Ireland. Butterworth took the stage at the Tonys to discuss the best play nominee and went off the teleprompter to shout out his wife for giving birth to their two children in two years while working on the ensemble drama.
The playwright requested claps from the audience: “Can we all just give her one of these? Come on!”
His play was inspired by the real-life experiences of Donnelly’s family during “The Troubles” conflict in Northern Ireland.
Mart Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band,” a pioneering work in the LGBTQ canon, has won the Tony Award for best play revival.
The play revolves around a group of gay men who gather together for a birthday party in the spring in New York City and helped to spark a revolution by presenting gay men and their lives onstage without judgment.
“The Boys in the Band” opened off-Broadway on April 14, 1968 (before the Stonewall Riots). It ran for more than a 1,000 performances. The revival starred Robin De Jesús, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells.
It beat out “All My Sons,” ”The Waverly Gallery,” ”Burn This” and “Torch Song.” Ryan Murphy has announced he will adapt “The Boys in the Band” into a movie for Netflix.
Ali Stroker has made history as the first person in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award.
Stroker, paralyzed from the chest down due to a car crash when she was 2, is one of the stars of the new edgy revival of “Oklahoma!” She won the fest featured actress in a musical award for playing Ado Annie.
After graduating from New York University, Stroker was in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey as well as “The Glee Project” and “Glee” on TV.
She dedicated her win to every child who has a disability and has been waiting to see themselves represented in theater.
She made her Broadway debut in a revival of “Spring Awakening” in 2015, becoming the first Broadway actor who uses a wheelchair.
The 31-year-old has said she believes it’s high time the disabled are represented on stages and sound stages authentically, noting that one in five Americans lives with a disability.
Rachel Chavkin has won the Tony Award for best director of a musical — the only woman to helm a new Broadway musical this season.
Chavkin won for directing “Hadestown,” singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell’s folk-opera that intertwines the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice, and Hades and Persephone.
Chavkin was previously nominated as director of “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.” She becomes only the tenth woman to win as director of either a play or a musical on Broadway.
She said in her acceptance speech that the industry needed to do more to have more female directors on Broadway. She said it is not a “pipeline issue” but “It is a failure of imagination.”
Of the 37 shows currently on Broadway, only three musicals are directed by women. Other than Chavkin’s show, there’s also Diane Paulus’ “Waitress” and Julie Taymor’s “The Lion King.”
The legendary Elaine May has won her first Tony Award playing the Alzheimer’s-afflicted grandmother in Kenneth Lonergan’s comic drama “The Waverly Gallery.”
The 87-year-old May first made audiences roar with laughter in her 1960 Broadway debut, “An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May.”
As the screenwriter who adapted “Heaven Can Wait,” ”The Birdcage” and “Primary Colors,” and the script doctor who saved “Reds” and “Tootsie,” May won a 2016 career achievement award from the Writers Guild of America.
She was also an actress in such films as “A New Leaf,” ”Enter Laughing,” ”California Suite” and “Small Time Crooks.” In 2013, President Barack Obama presented her with a National Medal of Arts.
She beat out Annette Bening, Laura Donnelly, Janet McTeer, Laurie Metcalf and Heidi Schreck.
The first Tony Award of the night has gone to Celia Keenan-Bolger, a first-time winner.
Keenan-Bolger won the award for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play for playing the girl Scout in a stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
She previously was nominated for “The Glass Menagerie,” ”Peter and the Starcatcher” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Her brother is Broadway star Andrew Keenan-Bolger.
Lee’s book was a crucial part of Celia Keenan-Bolger’s upbringing with politically active parents in Detroit. She originally was asked to read for the role of Scout, assuming an age-appropriate actor would eventually assume the role.
But the modifications she made to her voice, posture and demeanor convinced the creators to give her the role.
Tony Award host James Corden has kicked off the telecast with a massive, nine-minute opening musical number that served as a full-throated endorsement of the live experience.
He started seated alone on a couch in front of a TV, overwhelmed by his binge options, before taking flight with dozens of glitzy dancers from this season’s shows, all filling the Radio City stage with a remarkable volume.
Corden sang: “Live! We do it live. And every single moment’s unrepeatable.”
But the song ended with an acknowledgement from the CBS talk show host that appointment TV — “Game of Thrones,” ”Fleabag,” ”Black Mirror,” ”The Walking Dead,” among the options — is irresistible, especially in terms of pay.
Pride Month was on full display at the Tony Awards, with a red carpet background of the rainbow flag done in flowers.
It was a busy parade of fashion and celebrity before the telecast. The evening’s host, James Corden, summed it up best when he told The Associated Press the Broadway community “historically has excluded no one. Race, gender, sexuality. They’ve opened their arms to everybody. Always have.”
Pride Month this year is marked by the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that helped spark the LGBTQ rights movement.
“It’s important for us to keep moving forward,” Aasif Mandvi says.
The crowded red carpet is under way at the Tony Awards and Billy Porter slayed once again.
Porter wore a bright red look crafted out of the velvet curtain used during his Broadway run as Lola in “Kinky Boots.” The bedazzled Elizabethan-inspired outfit came with pants and pink tulle on the sides of a skirt. It’s the latest in a series of looks in what Porter describes as an ongoing conversation about what masculinity looks like.
He says: “Representation matters, visibility matters.”
Porter walked in a black fitted tuxedo jacket with a full, matching gown at the Oscars. For the Met Gala, he was a golden sun god, carried on a litter by six shirtless men. He wore a 24-karat gold head piece and unfurled huge wings.
Porter earned a Tony for his star turn in more than 1,000 performances of “Kinky Boots.” He is a presenter at this year’s awards ceremony.
This item has been corrected to reflect the proper name of the Met Gala.
The Tony Awards dress rehearsal — normally with few actual stars in attendance — got a shock of A-listers this year, including Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, LaTanya Richardson, Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, Samira Wiley, Danai Gurira, Christopher Jackson, Lucy Liu and Marisa Tomei.
Shirley Jones, 85, was on hand to practice introducing the musical “Oklahoma!” — the same show she starred in on film back in 1955. Catherine O’Hara was doing the same for “Beetlejuice,” the 1988 film she starred in.
Some of the Broadway stars who practiced included Ben Platt, Andrew Rannells, Billy Porter, Darren Criss, Kristin Chenoweth, Laura Benanti and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
Music stars David Byrne of the Talking Heads and Vanessa Carlton also got up early to attend.
The big question at this year’s Tony Awards is whether hell can triumph.
The arty and original “Hadestown,” which takes place in the underworld of Greek mythology, has a leading 14 Tony nominations going into Sunday night’s CBS telecast.
That’s followed by the jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud,” built around songs by The Temptations, which received a dozen nominations. The other best musical nominees are the stage adaptations of the hit movies “Tootsie” and “Beetlejuice,” and the giddy, heartwarming “The Prom.”
James Corden, host of “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and a Tony winner in his own right, will be the host of the 73rd annual Tony Awards, which start at 8 p.m. Sunday at Radio City Musical Hall in New York.