That's A Wrap on Tony Season — Here's Your 2019 Tony Awards Recap

by Michael Mahany | 6/10/2019 6:51 AM

Tony winner, Ali Stroker. Photo credit: CBS.

Well, the 73rd Annual Tony Awards are officially in the books! Don't' fret though, Dance Network has got your recap of the highlight performances, the standout speeches, and of course, all the winners. Check it out.

The Telecast

Let’s be real… the biggest Tony telecast draw for fans at home are the live performances. So, let's get to it.

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This year’s opening number kicked things off in the only way Broadway knows how — with a show-stopping production number. With a multi-faceted scenic design, numerous costume changes, and a team of splendidly talented performers — (many of whom, by the way, were part of the 34 eligible new or revival productions that opened on the Great White Way this season!) — Tony host James Corden took full advantage of his comedy and musical theatre chops to start the show off with a bang.

The 73rd Annual Tony Awards opening number. Video courtesy: CBS.

The live performances by ‘Hadestown’, ‘Beetlejuice’, ‘Ain’t Too Proud’, ‘Tootsie’, ‘The Prom’, ‘Kiss Me, Kate’, ‘The Cher Show’, ‘Choir Boy’, and ‘Oklahoma’ all wowed television audiences across the country, too.

More: "It's Showtime" for 'Beetlejuice' on Broadway's Brooke Engen

Stand-outs included Tony winner, Ali Stroker’s “I Can’t Say No” from ‘Oklahoma’, Tony winner Andre De Shields along with his cast in the ‘Hadestown’ performance, and the fun-loving, high-energy presentation by the Casey Nicholaw directed and choreographed cast of, ‘The Prom’.

The American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League’s choice to include an especially moving performance by the ensemble of the Camille A. Brown choreographed play, ‘Choir Boy’, also added a nice touch to the evening.

The cast of ‘Choir Boy’ performed “Rockin’ Jerusalem”. Video courtesy: CBS.

More: From Broadway to The Joyce: Camille A. Brown is Leading the Way

Cynthia Erivo’s soaring version of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” from Broadway’s ‘The Lion King’ fittingly provided the music to an emotional and poignant “In Memoriam” section of the ceremony.

The Tony Awards is the annual opportunity for the theatre and dance communities to come together and celebrate, and this year certainly called for one. According to the New York Times, Broadway “attendance is at record levels — 14,768,254 seats filled during the season that just ended — and so is the total box office, which was just over $1.8 billion.” That’s HUGE news and even bigger numbers!

James Corden

As we previously mentioned, James Corden — a former Tony winner himself — proved, yet again, to be an excellent host.

Corden, the host of CBS’s ‘The Late Late Show’ showed off his Broadway roots as a skilled emcee. Corden kept the show flowing and added nice comedic segments that included an attempt to rile up the closely knit Broadway community to be more cut-throat and contemptuous like its Hollywood sibling, and a hilarious ‘Be More Chill’ parody musical number about former Tony Awards hosts hiding in the Radio City Music Hall bathroom.

Corden, who won a 2012 Tony for his performance in ‘One Man Two Guvnors’, also hosted the ceremony in 2016.

The Winners

The big winners of the night were ‘Hadestown’, ‘The Ferryman’, and ‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma’ which won Best Musical, Best Play, and Best Revival of a Musical, respectively.

Ali Stroker made history as the first actress in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award. Stroker, who plays Ado Annie is the revival of ‘Oklahoma’ gave a powerful acceptance speech.

“This award,” Stroker said, “is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, a limitation, a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena. You are.”

Ali Stroker’s acceptance speech. Video courtesy: CBS.

More: The “Neu-mann” In Town Just Might Win The Tony

Andre De Shields, the revered and venerable Broadway legend, walked away with his first Tony Award for his work in ‘Hadestown’. In his acceptance speech, De Shields, who’s been seen in Broadway shows like ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’, ‘Play On’, and ‘The Full Monty’, first paid tribute to his hometown of Baltimore before proffering some tips to his lengthy Broadway tenure.

“I would like to share with you just three of the cardinal rules of my sustainability and my longevity,” the seventy-three-year-old actor said to cheers from the audience. “One, surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming. Two, slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be. And, three, the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing.”

Andre De Sheilds acceptance speech. Video courtesy: CBS.

And speaking of emotionally moving acceptance speeches…

Best Choreography 

Going into the ceremony, the award for Best Choreography was anybody’s game. Even with all the buzz surrounding both ‘Hadestown’ choreographer David Neumann and Broadway veteran, Warren Carlyle, the dance-maker behind the revival of ‘Kiss Me Kate’, it was ultimately iconic Broadway choreographer, Sergio Trujillo, the choreographer behind ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ who walked away with the hardware.

“I arrived in New York City over thirty years ago, as an illegal immigrant,” Trujillo said in his Tony acceptance speech. “And, I stand here as proof for all those Dreamers, and I want you to hear this, that I stand here as proof, that the American Dream is still alive — you just have to keep on fighting because change will come.”

Sergio Trujillo. Video courtesy: CBS.

More: The 2019 Tony Nominees for Best Choreography

Neumann, who won the Chita Rivera Award earlier this season was considered an outside favorite, while Carlyle, who many expected to win, won both the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle Awards. Since both the Drama Desk and OCC Awards are often considered key predictors as to who will win the Tony, many were surprised to see a Trujillo victory this season.

The win this year with ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ marked Trujillo’s first Tony win. He was previously nominated in 2016 for ‘On Your Feet’.

The full list of winners and nominees:

*Winners are noted in bold.

Best Musical
Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations
The Prom

Best Play
Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney
The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth
Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus by Taylor Mac
Ink by James Graham
What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck

Best Revival of a Musical
Kiss Me, Kate
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Revival of a Play
Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
The Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley
Burn This
Torch Song by Harvey Fierstein
The Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonergan

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud
Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
Damon Daunno, Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show
Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
Beth Leavel, The Prom
Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
Bryan Cranston, Network
Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
Adam Driver, Burn This
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Annette Bening, Arthur Miller's All My Sons
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Book of a Musical
Ain’t Too Proud, Dominique Morisseau
Beetlejuice, Scott Brown and Anthony King
Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom, Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin
Tootsie, Robert Horn

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Be More Chill, Joe Iconis
Beetlejuice, Eddie Perfect
Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell
The Prom, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin
To Kill a Mockingbird, Adam Guettel
Tootsie, David Yazbek

Best Direction of a Musical
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown
Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Oklahoma!
Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud
Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, Ink
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman
Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
Ivo van Hove, Network
George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Andre De Shields, Hadestown
Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud
Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
Ali Stroker, Oklahoma!
Mary Testa, Oklahoma!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Bertie Carvel, Ink
Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller's All My Sons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird
Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ruth Wilson, King Lear

Best Choreography
Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy
Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate
Denis Jones, Tootsie
David Neumann, Hadestown
Sergio Trujillo, Ain't Too Proud

Best Orchestrations
Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown
Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate
Daniel Kluger, Oklahoma!
Simon Hale, Tootsie
Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud
Peter England, King Kong
Rachel Hauck, Hadestown
Laura Jellinek, Oklahoma!
David Korins, Beetlejuice

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird
Bunny Christie, Ink
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Jan Versweyveld, Network

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Michael Krass, Hadestown
William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice
William Ivey Long, Tootsie
Bob Mackie, The Cher Show
Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud

Best Costume Design of a Play
Rob Howell, The Ferryman
Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Clint Ramos, Torch Song
Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice
Peter Hylenski, King Kong
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud
Drew Levy, Oklahoma!
Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown

Best Sound Design of a Play
Adam Cork, Ink
Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird
Fitz Patton, Choir Boy
Nick Powell, The Ferryman
Eric Sleichim, Network

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Kevin Adams, The Cher Show
Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud
Bradley King, Hadestown
Peter Mumford, King Kong
Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Neil Austin, Ink
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Peter Mumford, The Ferryman
Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird
Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

For more 2019 Tony Award videos, visit CBS’s YouTube page here. You can also watch the entire ceremony via CBS All Access.

Michael Mahany serves as Dance Network’s New York City correspondent. He is also a professional actor, singer, dancer, writer, and host. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook.

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