The Observer‘s John Heilpern was right. The Tony Awards last night at Radio City Music Hall was the night for the great Ms. Patti LuPone and the diva’s devoted followers known as LuPonistas. It had been almost three decades since Ms. LuPone won her first Tony Award for Evita. She was nominated in 1988 for Anything Goes and in 2006 for Sweeney Todd, but now she finally got the top nod again for her role as Mama Rose in Gypsy. "I was afraid to write a speech because I’ve written a couple before and they never made it out of my purse," she said in her acceptance speech.
And everyone should’ve won the Tony pool if you took his advice on voting for the "heavily favored" South Pacific in all categories. The Broadway revival took home seven Tonys, including best Revival-Musical, best actor in a musical for Paul Szot and best directing, which will surely make 90-year-old Gypsy director Arthur Laurents. According to Mr. Heilpern, "Mr. Laurents … has complained with others that nonprofit theater productions like Lincoln Center’s lavish South Pacific are at an unfair advantage and should in any case be barred from competing in the commercial arena at the Tonys." Mr. Laurents might have a point, but that’s the Tonys for ya.
Of course, August: Osage County deservedly won best play. In the showdown between art-rock autobiography Passing Strange and Latin-infused In the Heights, hip-hop (so hot right now) rose to the top. The director was a hometown favorite with 13 nominations and picked up four awards. Stew’s journey of self-discovery only got one out of seven nominations.
All in all, there weren’t too many surprises at this year’s Tony awards. Liza Minnelli showed up to present an award but, whatever. A short highlight was John Waters introducing a production number of Cry-Baby. "I’m not here to talk about ‘August: Osage County,’ although I do have a warm spot for dysfunctional pill poppers," he said, referring to Tracy Letts’ Tony winning play about a bickering family. In introducing what he called a "rockabilly prison number," Mr. Waters added, "One wonders if there are actual prisoners who are watching the Tony show tonight. Talk about a new minority. Well, if so, I imagine they’re a little upset, and so are we."
Here’s the complete list of winners, courtesy of the Associated Press.
Complete list of winners for the 62nd annual Tony Awards:
Play (and playwrights): "August: Osage County" (Tracy Letts).
Musical: "In the Heights."
Book-Musical: "Passing Strange" (Stew).
Original Score (music and/or lyrics): "In the Heights" (Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda).
Revival-Musical: "South Pacific."
Actor-Play: Mark Rylance, "Boeing-Boeing."
Actress-Play: Deanna Dunagan, "August: Osage County."
Actor-Musical: Paulo Szot, "South Pacific."
Actress-Musical: Patti LuPone, "Gypsy."
Featured Actor-Play: Jim Norton, "The Seafarer."
Featured Actress-Play: Rondi Reed, "August: Osage County."
Featured Actor-Musical: Boyd Gaines, "Gypsy."
Featured Actress-Musical: Laura Benanti, "Gypsy."
Direction-Play: Anna D. Shapiro, "August: Osage County."
Direction-Musical: Bartlett Sher, "South Pacific."
Choreography: Andy Blankenbuehler, "In the Heights."
Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman, "In the Heights."
Scenic Design-Play: Todd Rosenthal, "August: Osage County."
Scenic Design-Musical: Michael Yeargen, "South Pacific."
Costume Design-Play: Katrina Lindsay, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses."
Costume Design-Musical: Catherine Zuber, "South Pacific."
Lighting Design-Play: Kevin Adams, "The 39 Steps."
Lighting Design-Musical: Donald Holder, "South Pacific."
Sound Design-Play: Mic Pool, "The 39 Steps."
Sound Design-Musical: Scott Lehrer, "South Pacific."
Regional Theater Tony Award: Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Special Tony Award: Robert Russell Bennett.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Stephen Sondheim.