Broadway Live! Playbill.com's 2013 Tony Awards Press Room Blog
By Adam Hetrick
Playbill.com editor in chief Adam Hetrick live-blogged from the Tony Awards press room June 9. Read his first-hand account of winners' reactions and breaking news from the press room during the 67th annual ceremony.
12:15 AM. Thank you all for joining us tonight! That's the end of another Broadway season. We're heading out in search of some champagne! Like Cyndi Lauper and the Kinky Boots company say, "Everbody Say Yeah!"
12:11 AM. Cyndi Lauper, a Queens native, told the press, "You go around the world looking for acceptance and you find it in your own back yard. Maybe it's like Dorothy, I clicked my ruby boots three times and said, 'There's no place like home.' Diversity and acceptance has always made this city thrive, and that's what Kinky Boots is about. That's something worth rolling your sleeves up for."
12:02 AM. The night is far from over for Broadway folks – there are still parties to attend and Cyndi Lauper is on her way the press room.
11:52 PM. The ever gracious veteran actress Cicely Tyson has entered the press room. She told the press that there isn't "anything more rewarding than the creation of a character that speaks to others." When asked about her response to nine African Americans receiving Tony Award nominations this year, Tyson beamed with surprise. "That means there's hope for us still," she said. "I would think that things are moving in a direction that encompasses all without regard to sex, skin and color, and that's as it should be."
11:40 PM. Patina Miller, who was also Tony-nominated for her performance in Sister Act, missed about a week of Pippin performances due to illness when Tony voters were in attendance. "Of course [I was worried]," she said. "You wait to get a nomination, and then you get sick the week after... It's the most daunting thing. I love nothing more than being in my show. It worried me. My fiance had to talk me down. I went to the theatre to try [and go on], but I was just so sick. I had to get over it because the show was the most important thing."
11:33 PM. Pippin producers Barry and Fran Weissler told the press room that they are bringing David Farr's 2011 U.K. work In the Heart of Robin Hood to the American Repertory Theater, where Pippin premiered prior to Broadway. "It's the classic tale of Robin Hood done in an extremely sophisticated and contemporary manner," he said. Also on the Weissler's plate is a musical version of the 2007 Adrienne Shelly film "Waitress." Pippin Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus will direct. The musical will have a score by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel and a score by "Love Song" singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles.
11:21 PM. Pippin director Diane Paulus has entered the press room. She first saw the musical as a young child. "I saw it when I was 8 years old – living in New York going to Broadway shows. You're a young person working in the theatre and you think, 'Will I ever have a chance?' I'm so grateful."
11:13 PM. If you're keeping score, Kinky Boots was the biggest winner tonight, taking home six Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Choreography and Best Musical. Matilda (including Best Book and Best Featured Actor) and Pippin (including Best Direction and Best Revival) followed with four awards each.
11:02 PM. Tony voters opted to give the top honor to a homegrown, American musical (inspired by a U.K. film). Kinky Boots takes the Tony Award for Best Musical over Matilda the Musical - the two were considered the leading contenders this season.
10:58 PM. Only one more big honor to go: The Tony Award for Best Musical. Remember to stay with the blog, we'll have interviews with the winners after the Tony Awards broadcast is over!
10:53 PM. The Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical goes to Pippin, which originated at the American Repertory Theater last season. This is the third Broadway revival that Tony winner Diane Paulus (an A.R.T. artistic director) has guided to a win on Tony night. Previous productions were Hair and The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.
10:49 PM. Best Actor Tony winner Tracy Letts has entered the press room. When asked about Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'s closing despite critical raves, he described Broadway as a bottom-line business and added, "Bette [Midler] wanted the Booth, that's what I was told." He also asked if New York Times reporter Patrick Healy, and Time Out New York Critics David Cote and Adam Feldman were in the room, "If you see those guys, tell them I'm looking for them." The writers predicted he would not win the honor.
10:45 PM. Pippin Tony Award winner Andrea Martin has entered the press room. She confessed that she originally turned down the role of Berthe in Pippin. "The role was originally played as a kind of stereotypical grandmother. I wanted to play the grandmother the way I feel. So I thought why can't the grandmother look like me?" She also noted that her time for an acceptance speech felt short, adding with a laugh, "Didn't Cicely Tyson get more than 75 seconds?"
10:38 PM. Pippin star Patina Miller, who took the role of the Leading Player (originated by Ben Vereen in 1972) and reinvented it for 2013 audiences, has won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. Diane Paulus has now guided two actresses to Tony Awards for their performances in musicals (Audra McDonald took the honor last year for Porgy and Bess). Read our recent interview with Miller here.
10:37 PM. Now that's a moving and classy speech. Cicely Tyson gets a standing ovation for turning the "Wrap It Up" cue into acceptance speech gold.
10:33 PM. The Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play went to veteran actress Cicely Tyson for playing Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful.
10:21 PM. Another big reaction in the press room. Tony voters passed by Hollywood star Tom Hanks (a predicted front-runner for Lucky Guy) for stage veteran Tracy Letts. After winning the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for penning August: Osage County, Letts returned to Broadway this season in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to take the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play. Letts recently spoke with Playbill about his take on the role. Read the interview here.
10:17 PM. The press room just erupted in cheers. Kinky Boots star Billy Porter earns his first Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical.
10:11 PM. We are about to get a look at Phantom of the Opera – now in its 25th year on Broadway. It was the first Broadway show my parents ever took me to, and I wrote about revisiting it with my dad on the occasion of its big anniversary this past January. Check it out here.
10:09 PM. If you're keeping track at home. Kinky Boots and Matilda are neck-and-neck in the race to Best Musical - both productions have won four Tony Awards so far. The Nance has won three Tony Awards, while Lucky Guy, Pippin and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? have two Tony Awards each. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and Cinderella have one Tony Award each.
10:07 PM. The Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Play goes to Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer for Nora Ephron's Lucky Guy.
10:04 PM. The Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play goes to Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? This is the third Broadway revival of the play, which first premiered in 1963 and won the Tony Award for Best Play.
9:59 PM. Viewers across America are getting a look at Diane Paulus' breathtaking and Tony Award-winning concept for Pippin.
9:52 PM. Hugh Vanstone wins for Best Lighting Design of a musical for Matilda. If you're counting, Matilda has won four Tony Awards this evening.
9:50 PM. Matilda scenic designer Rob Howell told the press room that the letters in the toy blocks within the set and the proscenium spell some 37-38 words, all of which come from the story that Matilda tells during the show.
9:43 PM. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike playwright Christopher Durang earns his first Tony Award for Best Play.
9:38 PM. Playwright-activist Larry Kramer, the 2013 recipient of the Isabelle Stevenson Award, gets a standing ovation during commercial break. He said that filming on the screen adaptation of his landmark AIDS drama The Normal Heart began in New York City today.
9:34 PM. Kinky Boots choreographer Jerry Mitchell said it was a challenge to cast male dancers capable of dancing in the high-heeled boots. He also had to make sure scenic designer David Rockwell designed a deck (the stage floor) which had no automation or tracks in it so that the dancers' heels wouldn't get caught.
9:29 PM. Twenty years after she won her first Tony Award (1993 for My Favorite Year), Andrea Martin, who defies gravity during her upside-down Pippin show-stopper "No Time at All," has won her second Tony Award for playing Berthe.
9:26 PM. This medley featuring Laura Benanti, Megan Hilty, Andrew Rannells and NPH was created by Tony Award-nominated composer-lyricist Michael John LaChiusa, whose new musical Giant premiered Off-Broadway at the Public Theater earlier this season.
9:21 PM. John Lee Beatty has won the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play for The Nance. His impressive revolving set takes us from the automat, to the on-stage and off-stage areas of a vaudeville theatre, and to the Hells Kitchen apartment of the title character.
9:19 PM. Rob Howell has won the Tony Award for his toy-block inspired set of Matilda The Musical, which bursts off the stage of the Shubert Theatre.
9:18 PM. Judith Light told the press room that her win for The Assembled Parties, "is one of real appreciation. I was away from this community for a really long time. I was terrified to come back to the theatre."
9:16 PM. "Glee" star Jane Lynch makes her Broadway debut this season and her Tony Awards debut playing Miss Hannigan in Annie.
9:11 PM. Grammy Award winner Cyndi Lauper has won her first Tony Award for writing the score to Kinky Boots.
9:09 PM. Benj Pasek is up for a Tony Award for co-authoring the score to A Christmas Story with Justin Paul. It's also Benj's birthday today. You can send him a twitter birthday message here! (@benjpasek)
9:08 PM. Tony Award-winning Matilda book writer Dennis Kelly said his upcoming projects include a film with Jude Law, which he hopes to work on this summer. He also has two plays coming up at the Royal Court and the National in the U.K.
9:06 PM. Kinky Boots director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell has just won his second Tony Award for Best Choreography. He is also nominated for Best Direction this evening.
9:00 PM. Matilda Tony Award winner Gabriel Ebert was asked about the bandage on his right hand. "I had an accident backstage Tuesday night, and I sprained and partially tore a ligament in my hand." He also discussed a destructive scene where he takes one of Matilda's books, saying, "Ripping up Matilda's book has been quite painful!"
8:57 PM. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? director Pam MacKinnon has won her first Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play.
8:54 PM. Director Diane Paulus has won her first Tony Award for the acclaimed Broadway revival of Pippin (Best Direction of a Musical). She was previously nominated for the revivals of Hair and The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, both of which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical in their respective years.
8:49 PM. Nance Tony-winning sound designer Leon Rothenberg, spoke about the choice to not amplify the actors' voices. "It became apparent, working on the show, that using mics was the wrong decision," he said of the play set in New York City's dwindling burlesque era in the 1930's.
8:47 PM. U.K. playwright Dennis Kelly has earned the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Matilda. The production, which includes some added plot touches not in Roald Dahl's original book, is the first musical he's written.
8:41 PM. At-home viewers are witnessing the elaborate, quick-change costume designs that just won William Ivey Long the Tony Award for Cinderella.
8:39 PM. Gabriel Ebert has won his first Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for Matilda the Musical.
8:33 PM. The Nance, which was not nominated in the Best Play category, takes home its second Tony Award for design this evening. Leon Rothenberg has earned the Tony Award for Best Sound Design of a Play.
8:27 PM. Keep an eye out. Actress Ariana DeBose is doing double duty tonight. This is her first Tony Awards and she's performing in numbers from the now-closed Bring It On and the current hit Motown. You can read about it here.
8:24 PM. Judith Light takes her second Tony Award (two years in a row) for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for Richard Greenberg's The Assembled Parties.
8:22 PM. Kinky Boots orchestrator Stephen Oremus has arrived in the press room. He said songwriter Cyndi Lauper was always focused on the music. "How it hits you and how it affects us, even in the most simple way. She was always talking about how the rhythm needs to propel the song for the story." He added that he's working with Book of Mormon and Avenue Q Tony Award winner Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez on the Disney animated musical "Frozen."
8:18 PM. John Shivers has just won the Tony Award for Best Sound Design of a Musical for Kinky Boots.
8:10 PM. The Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play goes to Courtney B. Vance for Lucky Guy, the new Broadway drama by late writer Nora Ephron.Vance recently spoke with Playbill about creating the role and rehearsing the play. Read it here.
8:07 PM. Still catching your breath after that opening? Check out Part Two of our red carpet arrivals here.
8:06 PM. That rap moment was some signature Lin-Manuel Miranda action.
8:04 PM. Here's a look at the red carpet arrivals. Check out Part One here.
8:01 PM. Here we go. The 67 annual Tony Awards telecast begins. This original opening number is written by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who collaborated (along with Tony nominee Amanda Green) on Bring it On: The Musical.
7:52 PM. Veteran costume designer Ann Roth just earned her first Tony Award for designing the costumes for the new Douglas Carter Beane play The Nance. She began her Broadway career in 1957 as an assistant to late costume designer Irene Sharaff on the Robert E. Sherwood play Small War on Murray Hill.
7:49 PM. William Ivey Long has won his sixth Tony Award this evening (Best Costume Design of a Musical) for designing the costumes for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Cinderella.
7:46 PM. Kinky Boots orchestrator Stephen Oremus has won the first Tony Award of the night. This is his second Tony Award. Oremus won the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for The Book of Mormon in 2011.
7:30 PM. Are you thirsty? We've got some fantastic Tony Awards party ideas and cocktail recipes here too. Check out The Testament of Bloody Mary, You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Sex is in The Heel and the Stepsister's Lamint-Julep.
7:34 PM. Just so you're all caught up: Playbill is also posting to Facebook and Twitter (@Playbill) throughout the night. Playbill.com staff members, including staff writer Michael Gioia (@PlaybillMichael) and photo editor Matt Blank (@PlaybillMattB), are tweeting from the press room. In addition, Playbill Magazine editor Blake Ross (@PlaybillBlake) is tweeing and instagramming from inside Radio City Music Hall and from the official Tony Awards after party. You can follow me on Twitter @PlaybillAdamH.)
7:31 PM. Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose hit musical The Phantom of the Opera is being celebrated for its 25th year on Broadway, will not be in attendance at the Tonys this evening. The composer tweeted: "I am really sorry that I cannot be in New York for the Tony Awards. I have been in great pain since last October and had to go into hospital for further investigations this week, as a result of which I am unable to undertake the longhaul flight to America. I am devastated not to be able to see the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway celebrated at the Tonys, and would like to thank everyone who has helped to give the show such an extraordinarily long life."
7:26 PM. The creative Tony Awards are about to be presented. Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jane Krakowski are the hosts for the non-televised segment and they have just taken the stage. They are currently briefing the audience at Radio City on the protocol for accepting an award (time limit for the speech, don't touch the mic!, and don't gather in front of the teleprompter, "Because we just got the script yesterday and have no intention of memorizing it.").
7:24 PM. A bit of background on the season. For the season just ended, Broadway shows yielded $1.14 billion in grosses, and total attendance reached 11.6 million. During the 2012-13 season, 46 new shows, including two return engagements, opened on The Great White Way, including 15 musicals (nine new, four revivals, two returns), 26 plays (14 new, 12 revivals) and five special productions. This season had the most new plays in 30 years.
7:18 PM. Tony Award-nominated "Glee" star Matthew Morrison, who recently performed at 54 Below, told NY1 on the red carpet that he hopes to return to Broadway. "I hope so," he said. "This is where my heart is and I can't wait to get back on stage."
7:10 PM. Tony Award-nominated A Christmas Story songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul told NY1 during the Tony Awards red carpet that they are working on several new projects. One is an original musical to be directed by Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal) and a new stage musical for Disney.
7:07 PM. To give readers at home a picture of the press room and how the evening works: The press room is actually located nearly a block away from Radio City Music Hall. After winning the Tony, the winners are escorted off stage and hustled down the street – thankfully it's a beautiful night in New York City – to where the press is waiting to interview them on their big honor.
7:02 PM. Happy Tony Awards night everyone. Thanks for joining us! Members of the press are beginning to arrive in the press room as we await the first winner of the evening. We expect that the first Tony Award (which will be presented prior to the live telecast) will take place around 7:30 PM.
The 2013 Tony Awards will be broadcast on CBS beginning at 8 PM ET. Emmy winner Neil Patrick Harris again hosts.
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