The Winners Are In For The 68th Annual Tony Awards!

Hugh Jackman Hosts, Many Tune In

On Sunday, June 8, 2014, the Tony Awards were held at Radio City Music Hall.  As anticipated, they were a gigantic success, and Hugh Jackman received enormous praise for his hosting prowess.  Much discussion was had about Jackman’s very bouncy opening number, which was as aerobic as it was silly, but still it was a very fun way to start the show.  This is the fourth time that Jackman has hosted the event, while another frequent host Neil Patrick Harris took home the award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his role as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  Though that category was pretty much considered to be a shoe-in, many other winners took the audience and theatre fans worldwide by surprise.  The ceremony was also full of spectacular performances by nominated shows.  7.02 million viewers tuned in to watch the live telecast on CBS, which was a dip from last year’s ratings of 7.24 million viewers.  Unlike other awards shows, there was no official online live stream of the event, but still many people have been watching online clips since the event’s original airing.

a gentleman's guide to love and murder a new musical comedyTied for the Most Wins: A Gentleman’s Guide and Hedwig and the Angry Inch

As many predicted, the Tony Award for Best Musical went home with A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, a sleeper hit that beat strong odds to win this coveted award.  This show also earned the award for Best Direction of a Musical for Darko Tresnjak, the artistic director of Hartford Stage where the show first premiered.  He is the first Connecticut artistic director ever to win a Tony Award, and the first Broadway transfer for that theatre since 2003’s Enchanted AprilA Gentleman’s Guide also took home the awards for Best Book of a Mhedwig and the angry inch neil patrick harris titleusical (Robert L. Freedman) and Best Costume Design of a Musical (Linda Cho), which tied it for the most wins: four.  The other show to win four awards was Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which took home the award for Best Revival of a Musical, as well as Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Neil Patrick Harris.  Furthermore, Hedwig earned the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for Lena Hall, who played a female to male drag character Yitzhak, as well as Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Kevin Adams).

A Raisin in the Sun, Twelfth Night, Lady Day, All the Way, and all the rest

The most awards for a straight play went to A Raisin in the Sun, which earned three: Best Revival of a Play, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Sophie Okonedo), and Best Direction of a Play (Kenny Leon).  This is Leon’s first Tony win; he was also nominated for 2010’s Fences, which like Raisin starred Denzel Washington.  In his acceptance speech, Leon made it clear that he believes Washington was snubbed in not receiving a nomination for his role.  Another winning play was Twelfth Night, which took home two awards: Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (Mark Rylance as Olivia), and Best Costume Design of a Play (Jenny Tiramani).  This is Mark Rylance’s third Tony win, and the first time his acceptance speech did not consist of a poem by Louis Jenkins.  In addition, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill took home two awards: Best Performance by anTwelfth Night Shakespeare play poster Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (Audra McDonald), and Best Sound Design of a Play (Steve Canyon Kennedy).  At the age of only 43, this is Audra McDonald’s record-setting sixth Tony win, and she is also now the only person to have earned a Tony Award in all four acting categories.  Finally, Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way took home the award for Best Play, and Bryan Cranston earned the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for portraying Lyndon B. Johnson in that play.

Beautiful Broadway ShowThe award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical went to Jessie Mueller for portraying Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which also took home the award for Best Sound Design of a Musical (Brian Ronan).  The Bridges of Madison County was the only nominated musical not to perform at the event, and yet it earned two awards for Jason Robert Brown: Best Original Score (he wrote the music and lyrics), and also Best Orchestrations.  Rocky won the award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Christopher Barreca), and After Midnight won the award for Best Choreography (Warren Carlyle).  Act One took home the award for Best Scenic Design of a Play (Beowulf Boritt), and Aladdin earned the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (James Monroe Iglehart).  The Glass Menagerie took home the award for Best Lighting Design of a Play (Natasha Katz), which is the first time this play has ever earned a Tony Award of the course of its seven productions across history.

The shows that were nominated but failed to win any awards were Bullets over Broadway, Cabaret, Casa Valentina, The Cripple of Inishmaan, If/Then, Les Misérables, Machinal, Mothers and Sons, A Night with Janis Joplin, Of Mice and Men, Outside Mullingar, Richard III, The Velocity of Autumn, and Violet.  Still, this was a year in which no show earned more than four awards, with the winners being fairly well dispersed.  In any case, the winners will surely see a box office boost from their Tony Awards, most notably A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which will most certainly attract many more theatregoers now that it has taken home the honor of Best Musical.

2014 Tony Award Winners:

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER - 4 Tony Awards
Best Musical
Best Book of a Musical (Robert L. Freedman)
Best Direction of a Musical (Darko Tresnjak)
Best Costume Design of a Musical (Linda Cho)

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH - 4 Tony Awards
Best Revival of a Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Neil Patrick Harris)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Lena Hall)
Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Kevin Adams)

A RAISIN IN THE SUN - 3 Tony Awards
Best Revival of a Play
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Sophie Okonedo)
Best Direction of a Play (Kenny Leon)

ALL THE WAY - 2 Tony Awards
Best Play (Author: Robert Schenkkan)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Bryan Cranston)

BEAUTIFUL-THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL - 2 Tony Awards
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Jessie Mueller)
Best Sound Design of a Musical (Brian Ronan)

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY - 2 Tony Awards
Best Original Score Written for the Theatre (Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown)
Best Orchestrations (Jason Robert Brown)

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL - 2 Tony Awards
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (Audra McDonald)
Best Sound Design of a Play (Steve Canyon Kennedy)

TWELFTH NIGHT – 2 Tony Awards
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (Mark Rylance)
Best Costume Design of a Play (Jenny Tiramani)

ACT ONE – 1 Tony Award
Best Scenic Design of a Play (Beowulf Boritt)

AFTER MIDNIGHT – 1 Tony Award
Best Choreography (Warren Carlyle)

ALADDIN - 1 Tony Award
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (James Monroe Iglehart)

THE GLASS MENAGERIE - 1 Tony Award
Best Lighting of a Play (Natasha Katz)

ROCKY – 1 Tony Award
Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Christopher Barreca)

Drama League Winners Announced

drama leagueThe 80th Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony took place today, May 16, 2014.  The luncheon was held in the Broadway Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.  Though the Drama League Awards are not considered to be as high an honor as the Tony Awards, it is definitely an immense distinction to earn a Drama League Award, and they are often thought to point to the direction that the Tony Awards may be leaning.  Led by executive director Gabriel Shanks, the Drama League Awards are the oldest theatrical honors in America, having been given since 1922, and formally awarded since 1935.  The Tony Awards, on the other hand, were founded in 1947.  They are distinguished from all other major awards because they are chosen by audience members, specifically the thousands of individuals who make up the Drama League membership from all around the country.

And now for the winners!  The award for Distinguished Production of a Musical was given to A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which is also nominated for the equivalent Tony category, and which has been nominated for the greatest number of Tony Awards: 10.  This adds momentum to the Tony campaign for this new musical, whose competitors for thea gentleman's guide to love and murder a new musical comedy Tony category of Best Musical are Aladdin, After Midnight, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.  The award for Distinguished Production of a Play was given to All the Way by Robert Schenkkan.  Starring Bryan Cranston as Lyndon Johnson, the play is a historical drama recounting the era of civil rights struggles in the 1960s.  The Distinguished Revival of a Musical was chosen to be Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and the Distinguished Revival of Play was determined to be The Glass Menagerie.  The Drama League only gives one Distinguished Performance Award, which was awarded to Neil Patrick Harris for his performance in the title role of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Furthermore, Barbara Cook was given an award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre.  At the age of 86, Cook was last seen on Broadway in 2010 for Sondheim on Sondheim, and she is well known for her roles in such shows as Plain and Fancy, Candide, and The Music Man.  In addition, the award for Unique Contribution to the Theatre was given to John Gore of Key Brand Entertainment and Broadway Across America.  Gore founded Key Brand Entertainment in 2004, and acquired Broadway Across America in 2008, as well as the e-commerce theatre website Broadway.com.  As a theatre producer, Gore’s Broadway credits include Bullets over Broadway, Betrayal, Jerusalem, Passing Strange, One Man Two Guv’nors, The Mountaintop, and many more.  Finally, the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing was given to John Tiffany, who directed The Glass Menagerie this season.  Of Scottish origin, Tiffany has only three Broadway credits, the first of which was Once, winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Musical and a long-running hit.  He also directed Alan Cumming’s one man show Macbeth last year.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Opens on Broadway

Hedwig and the Angry Inch first hit the Off-Broadway stage in 1998, and it has taken 16 years for this gender-bending rock musical to find the Great White Way.  In this time, its book-writer and original star John Cameron Mitchell, though forever ageless in the mind of his fans, has sadly aged beyond the prime energy levels required to sustain this magnificently vibrant performance, which requires the lead to carry the entire show on his shoulders.  Fortunately, however, Neil Patrick Harris has stepped up to the post at the Belasco Theatre, and according to the unanimous response from critics, he does so to stupendous success.  Directed by Michael Mayer and choreographed by Spencer Liff, Hedwig and the Angry Inch has music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, along with the book by John Cameron Mitchell.

With its style rooted in thedwig and the angry inch neil patrick harris titlehe androgynous glam rock of the 1970s, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the story of a struggling East German rock star named Hansel during the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Hedwig is homosexual turned accidental transsexual, so to speak, as his tragic story originates with his desire to marry another man, and in so doing escape the communist East for the capitalist West.  However, his sex change operation gets botched, and instead of a makeshift vagina, Hansel a.k.a. Hedwig ends up with a one-inch mound of flesh.  After Hedwig moves to Kansas with her new husband, he leaves her for a man and she forms a rock band called Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  The story, divulged by means of a spectacular rock concert, continues as Hedwig tells of her encounter with a lonely Christian teenager, who becomes a famous rock star named Tommy Gnosis and leaves her in the wake of his success.

For purposes of Tony consideration, this musical is considered a revival, although this is its first time on Broadway.  (The same thing happened with this season’s production of Violet.)  This is because many productions have been done of the show since its Off-Broadway premiere.  Still, it has earned a remarkable eight Tony Award nominations, including those for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actor in a Musical.  (Coincidentally, Harris has hosted the Tony Awards four times.)  In addition, a well-known film version was released in 2001, immortalizing John Cameron Mitchell as the anti-hero he created.  Though that film may not have been a financial success, having grossed just over half of its $6 million budget, it is widely regarded as a beautiful and unique masterpiece of the screen.  With this history, many doubted if Neil Patrick Harris could hold a candle to his fellow three named predecessor.  Fortunately, with the opening of the Broadway production on April 22, 2014, the results are in, and Harris is a winner.neil patrick harris in performance as hedwig in hedwig and the angry inch

Neil Patrick Harris has appeared on Broadway three times prior to this: as Hal in Proof in 2002, as the Emcee in Cabaret in 2003, and as Lee Harvey Oswald in the 2004 production of Assassins.  However, he is best known for his television roles, specifically for starring in How I Met Your Mother as well as Doogie Howser, M.D.  If the magnificent reviews and the eager cult following were not enough to make this a sell-out hit, then Harris’ star power will convince the less daring theatregoers to give this risqué piece a try.  Fortunately, the box office is holding up to its potential.  Bringing in over $700,000 per week, Hedwig has maintained sell-out capacity as well as an average ticket price of well over $100.  This may be no The Book of Mormon, but this small-scale edgy rock show seems to have found its audience.  Hedwig and the Angry Inch is presently scheduled to have an open-ended run.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 3/30/2014

This weeks notable movements on Broadway are:

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
This past week saw the start of previews for the highly anticipated Broadway production of John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  This glam rock musical, which tells the story of an East German transsexual who underwent a botched sex-change operation, has stirred hearts and minds since its original Off-Broadway production in 1998.  Its audience of fans has expanded through the 2001 movie version and further productions worldwide, yet this is the first time the show has come to Broadway.  Starring Neil Patrick Harris, who has proven his charm to the Broadway community through hosting the Tony Awards on several occasions, this production is sure to be an audience favorite – and the numbers show it.  With only one performance in this first week, the show grossed $144,194, which amounted to an audience capacity of 101.40%, reaching 120.35% of its gross potential.  Collecting an average paid admission of $141.92, Hedwig was the top ticket price, with only The Book of Mormon charging a higher average admission.  In starting off with a bang, this bodes well for a profitable run.

OTHER NEW SHOWS
In the same week, two other shows began previews, but to a much less profitable start.  Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, which stars Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday, only grossed $337,951 over its 7 performances, representing an audience capacity of 83.91%.  The show must have discounted significantly, as average paid admission was only $84.36.  Even less profitably, the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Violet ran for four performances at the American Airlines Theatre, grossing only $169,792 with an average paid admission of $60.53.  Still, they filled up 96.46% of their audience capacity, with the lower gross deriving from discounted and subscription tickets.

NEW MUSICAL SUCCESSES
A musical that saw a steep increase in ticket grosses this past week was the new revival of Les Misérables, which grossed $1,223,317, up $191,448 from last week.  In addition, the new Disney production of Aladdin took in $1,104,798, which was an increase of $167,699 from the previous week.  Both of these are new productions that are proving to be strong contenders for long healthy runs.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending March 23, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $472,344 5,879 81.02% $80.34
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $1,045,534 8,368 100.00% $124.94
ACT ONE $318,292 5,491 63.32% $57.97
AFTER MIDNIGHT $702,074 7,378 89.02% $95.16
ALADDIN $1,104,798 13,783 100.17% $80.16
ALL THE WAY $949,056 9,283 81.60% $102.24
BEAUTIFUL $749,305 6,610 80.53% $113.36
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $886,469 11,806 90.54% $75.09
CABARET $494,440 5,069 95.68% $97.54
CHICAGO $595,765 7,559 87.49% $78.82
CINDERELLA $1,012,922 11,953 85.33% $84.74
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $144,194 1,016 101.40% $141.92
IF/THEN $1,002,321 9,897 97.03% $101.28
JERSEY BOYS $737,384 7,700 78.38% $95.76
KINKY BOOTS $1,489,070 10,995 96.52% $135.43
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $337,951 4,006 83.91% $84.36
LES MISÉRABLES $1,223,317 10,736 95.24% $113.95
MAMMA MIA! $673,967 8,032 86.11% $83.91
MATILDA $1,212,014 11,524 100.59% $105.17
MOTHERS AND SONS $228,669 4,518 70.42% $50.61
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,171,326 11,075 91.86% $105.76
NEWSIES $798,338 9,333 98.45% $85.54
NO MAN’S LAND/WAITING FOR GODOT $782,396 8,286 96.53% $94.42
OF MICE AND MEN $868,728 8,390 97.74% $103.54
ONCE $595,070 6,320 74.60% $94.16
PIPPIN $774,699 7,384 93.23% $104.92
ROCK OF AGES $376,294 4,496 96.40% $83.70
ROCKY $828,848 9,178 75.68% $90.31
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,638,380 8,752 102.63% $187.20
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $352,896 4,920 60.35% $71.73
THE LION KING $1,885,162 13,603 100.02% $138.58
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,057,502 12,439 96.88% $85.02
THE REALISTIC JONESES $462,236 5,595 80.20% $82.62
VIOLET $169,792 2,805 96.46% $60.53
WICKED $1,946,536 15,423 99.99% $126.21
Totals: $29,088,086 289,602 89.29% $97.63

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2013 nytix.com

Drama League To Honor Broadway Actor Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick HarrisThe Drama League will honor Emmy Award winning performer Neil Patrick Harris at the 30th Annual Musical Celebration of Broadway, a black tie event being held at the Pierre Hotel on February 3, 2014. Harris joins a distinguished group of former honorees, including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Kristin Chenoweth, Liza Minnelli, Angela Lansbury, Patti Lupone, Audra McDonald, Rosie O’Donnell, and others.

“We are overjoyed to add Neil Patrick Harris to the legendary roster of artists who have been honored at the Musical Celebration of Broadway during the last thirty years,” stated Gabriel Shanks, executive director of the Drama League.

Selections from Neil Patrick Harris’s career on Broadway, film, and TV will be featured during the celebration’s entertainment, which will be directed by Michael Mayer and Johanna McKeon. Several stars from both Broadway and Hollywood will perform.

Neil Patrick Harris has been seen on Broadway in the revivals of the musicals Cabaret and Assassins, and in the play Proof. His next appearance on Broadway will be in the upcoming production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, set to open in April 2014.

Neil Patrick Harris To Star in Hedwig on Broadway

Neil Patrick HarrisHot off a highly-praised stint hosting the Tony Awards ceremony, Neil Patrick Harris announces that he will be back performing on Broadway soon. Harris will star in the cult favorite Hedwig and the Angry Inch in Spring 2014 at a Broadway theater yet to be named.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch previously enjoyed a lengthy Off-Broadway run and was even made into an acclaimed independent film, but this will be the John Cameron Mitchell / Stephen Trask musical’s first foray onto Broadway. The darkly comic show is about a fictional rock band fronted by a transgender singer.

“I am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified to be stepping into Hedwig’s heels,” stated Neil Patrick Harris about his upcoming Broadway gig. “It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime role and I can’t wait to begin the journey.”

Harris is not new to Broadway, having starred in the play Proof and the revivals of musicals Assassins and Cabaret. He is best known for his role on the TV sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

Once Takes Top Honors at the 2012 Tony Awards

Many Broadway shows were honored at the 2012 Tony Awards this past Sunday evening, but it was the musical Once, based on the Irish indie film of the same name, that received the most recognition, nabbing eight Tonys (including Best Musical and Best Leading Actor for Steve Kazee).

Little-show-that-could Peter and the Starcatcher won the second largest number of Tony Awards, taking a total of five Tonys, including Best Featured Actor in a Play for Christian Borle (now well-known to TV audiences for his role as a Broadway songwriter in the NBC series Smash).

Beloved Broadway actress Audra McDonald received her fifth Tony Award, this time for her acclaimed performance in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, which took the Best Musical Revival award.

The Best Play award went to the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Clybourne Park, while the Best Revival of a Play award went to the sell-out production of Arthur Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman (co-starring Andrew Garfield, star of the new Spider-man movie).

Newsies, the Disney film flop that has now become a popular Broadway show, won Best Score (for lyricist Jack Feldman and composer Alan Menken), as well as Best Choreography for Christopher Gattelli’s energetic dance moves.

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, this year’s Tony Awards ceremony not only featured the presentation of the awards to this season’s winners, but also several musical performances (including a special performance by the cruise ship cast of Hairspray on the high seas) and special awards like one given to Hugh Jackman in recognition of the money he raised for charity while performing his solo show.