The Broadway musical phenomenon Spring Awakening and the epic play trilogy The Coast of Utopia took the top prizes at the Tony Awards on Sunday night, as expected. Also unsurprising: Frank Langella taking the Best Actor in Play award for his masterful performance in Frost/Nixon, Christine Ebersole winning the Best Actress in a Musical award for playing two different characters in Grey Gardens, and John Gallagher Jr. grabbing Featured Actor in a Musical for his tortured teen in Spring Awakening. Company got Best Musical Revival and the marvelous Journey’s End (which sadly had its last Broadway performance just hours before the Tonys began) took Play Revival.
The only true “upset” came when dark horse David Hyde Pierce’s name was announced for Best Actor in a Musical rather than the favored Raul Esparza. Pierce’s warm-hearted acceptance speech was a highlight of the evening, as was Langella’s classy one. Manic Julie White, winner of Best Actress in a Play for her agent-from-hell in The Little Dog Laughed, was the comic highlight at the podium, followed closely by Mary Louise Wilson (Grey Gardens). The musical performances sandwiched in between the award presentations were less than thrilling this year, with the exceptions of the Chorus Line opener (performed on the street outside Radio City Music Hall) and the energetic Spring Awakening medley (which amply proved that Duncan Sheik deserved his Best Score award).