Sunday, June 7, 2009

Awards Watch: Tony Awards 2009

Proving my prediction of 15 months ago correct, Billy Elliot, The Musical swept the 63rd Annual Tony Awards earlier this evening, winning 10 trophies total.

In addition to Best Musical, Best Director (Stephen Daldry) and Best Featured Actor ("Dad" Gregory Jbara), the inspirational tuner made Tony history when its three young leading men — triple threats David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish —triumphed in the Lead Actor category, the first time an acting honor has been shared by more than one person. Ironically, the man whose idea it was to adapt the Billy Elliot movie to the stage in the first place —Sir Elton John —went home empty-handed; in an upset win, he lost in the Best Score race to Next to Normal (this year's pick for the show I'd least like to see).

Other notable winners of the night included Angela Lansbury (now tied with Julie Harris as the most Tony'ed actor of all time) for Blithe Spirit, Oscar winners Geoffrey Rush (Exit the King) and Marcia Gay Harden (Best Play winner God of Carnage) in the leading play performance categories, Karen "Un Hombre Así" Olivo for West Side Story, the Shrek costumes, and Liza's at the Palace…! for Special Theatrical Event.


Highlights of the ceremony were host Neil Patrick Harris' cheeky "11 o'clock number", Lifetime Achievement honoree Jerry Herman's moving acceptance speech, and the show-stopping performance of the title song from the year's Best Musical Revival winner Hair, complete with cutie Gavin Creel serenading Anne Hathaway and sexy Will Swenson straddling fellow nominee Christopher Sieber in the audience.

Low points included the overall muddled direction, sound problems and a dreadful rendition of "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" from Guys and Dolls, the show most likely to close within the week.

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