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Hosts Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming perform onstage at the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
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Cast and creative of "Fun Home" accept the award for Best Musical onstage at the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
Cast and creative of “Fun Home” accept the award for Best Musical onstage at the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

As of last night, the 2015 Tony Awards has come and gone, celebrating Broadway’s most profitable season in history. In other words, theater ain’t dead, folks – not by a long shot. And this season was a virtual travelogue of shows set in Paris (“Gigi” and “An American in Paris”), Thailand (well, back when it was Siam – “The King and I”), and the New York, New York of “On the Town” because, you know, it’s a helluva town, as the Tony Awards showed all too well.

England was most represented with seven shows set in the country – “Something Rotten!,” “The Audience,” “Wolf Hall,” “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” “Finding Neverland,” “Skylight,” and “The Elephant Man.”

This year, we didn’t have the huge opening production number written especially for the show as in past years. Kristin and Alan did a short little number at the top of the show that paid tribute to some of the people who weren’t nominated, including producer Harvey Weinstein for “Finding Neveland,” a show that was mercilously and unjustly overlooked. But Kristin and Alan also pointed out that Harvey is laughing all the way to the bank because the show is doing quite well at filling the seats regardless of the Tony’s or the critics.

So, why no big opening number this year? The writers of the Broadway show, “Something Rotten!,” created a number that could have easily been written just for the Tony’s. They subbed in as the first big performance of the evening. Take a look.

Alan Cumming dresses as Anna in "The King and I" at the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
Alan Cumming dresses as Anna in “The King and I” at the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

How did Kristin and Alan do as hosts? I thought they did a fine job, but I still miss Neil Patrick Harris. No one has ever hosted the Tony Awards better, and even when he appeared briefly to present an award last night, he proved that he has better comic timing than just about anyone. Perhaps his experience at the Oscars has soured him forever on hosting award shows. We’ll see.

My favorite moment of Kristin’s and Alan’s came after the performance by the cast of “The King and I.” Alan dressed as Anna, and Kristin came out from under his skirt dressed as a miniature King of Siam.

The actual cast of “The King and I” gave one of the evening’s best performances. I thought it was smart that they did snippets from the show rather than one full number. It gave most cast members a moment in the spotlight, including the wonderful Ruthie Ann Miles, who won the Best Featured Actress in a Musical award for her performance in the show.

The Best Leading Actress in a Musical award was the hardest one to call of the evening because the category included Broadway darling Kristin Chenoweth, Broadway stalwart Chita Rivera, the Susan Lucci of the Tony Awards Kelli O’Hara, and Beth Malone of Best Musical favorite “Fun Home.” It could have gone to any of them, and I actually thought Chita Rivera had it in the bag, as it could be her last chance. But happily, Kelli O’Hara is no longer the Susan Lucci of the Tony’s. Much deserved after six nominations, and she got a standing ovation for her ample talent as she accepted her award in an emotional speech.

Don’t even get me started on the fifth nominee in the Best Leading Actress category, Leanne Cope. While she’s a lovely dancer, this is an acting award, and I think it’s a travesty that she was nominated instead of Laura Michelle Kelly of “Finding Neverland,” who sings and acts her butt off in every performance. There, I said it.

But let’s talk about acting royalty. Bradley Cooper presented the first award of the evening to Helen Mirren for her performance as Queen Elizabeth in “The Audience.” When her fellow cast member, Richard McCabe, won the next award for Best Featured Actor in a Play, it was the first upset of the evening, as everyone seemed to think Micah Stock of “It’s Only a Play” would walk away with it. Personally, I was pulling for Alessandro Nivola for his performance in “The Elephant Man.”

I felt similarly about the Best Featured Actress in a Play category. I love me some Annaleigh Ashford. She was hilarious in “You Can’t Take It With You,” but Patricia Clarkson’s performance in “The Elephant Man” was a master class in acting.

Alex Sharp won the Best Leading Actor in a Play award for his Broadway debut as an autistic boy in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” I thought his speech was one of the most inspiring of the evening.

All of the Best Musical nominees performed during the award show, of course, along with some shows that were not nominated. I have mixed feelings about this. While I enjoy seeing these shows perform, it begins to feel more like a commercial than a celebration of the nominees. I loved “Finding Neverland,” which I’ve seen twice, but I was disappointed that they chose “Stronger” as their number to perform on the Tony’s.

I think the show would have done better to do snippets from the show like “The King and I” and show the kids in the cast, which are its heart and soul. While “Stronger” is a fine number in context, it appeared trite on its own despite excellent vocal performances by Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer, and the rest of the cast.

One of the highlights of the evening was Josh Groban’s In Memoriam performance of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with 175 Broadway show cast members. The only complaint is that the projections with the names and images of the deceased were hard to see.

Despite 11 nominations, “An American in Paris” only garnered four wins. I did not like this show, which I felt relied too heavily on dance (even though I’m a former dance teacher). I felt strongly that the relationship between the leads was not sufficiently established, and I hated the second act opener, which was a throwaway dance piece using an obscure Gershwin song. I felt the show would have done better to include another of the many romantic Gershwin songs to help us believe that the two central lovers had actually met each other. But that’s just me.

I also thought the costumes of “Gigi” were exquisite and that its sets evoked Paris more than those in “An American in Paris.” Again, I seem to be in the minority on this since the designers did not receive nominations. And yes, I’ll shamelessly brag that I’ve been to Paris several times. Maybe a Belle Epoque staircase just says Paris to me more than moving platforms and projections of the Eiffel Tower.

Live online before the Tony Awards show aired on CBS, there was a red carpet pre-show hosted by Broadway actors Laura Osnes and Sierra Boggess, along with Darren Criss of both Broadway and television’s “Glee.” My favorite moment of this pre-show was their interview with six-year-old Iain Armitage, who has become a celebrity himself for his YouTube reviews of shows. He has even become more famous, I think, than his actor father, Euan Morton, most well-known for playing Boy George in “Taboo” on Broadway. Watch some of Iain’s red carpet interview.

Tommy Tune, who won a lifetime achievement award, was given a throwaway tribute that seemed more like lip service than what the man truly deserves. But, thankfully, the most exciting and historic moments of the 2015 Tony’s were the female winners in the writing and directing categories. Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, who won for book and score of the musical “Fun Home,” were the first all female writing team in history to win. The only woman nominated as Best Director of a Play (for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”) beat out the men in her category. Women also won awards for scenic design, lighting design, and costume design.

“Fun Home” walked away with the Best Leading Actor in a Musical award for Michael Cerveris and the big award of the evening, Best Musical. I’ve never been a huge Larry David fan, but his mock rant with Jason Alexander before presenting the Best Musical award was a hoot. Meanwhile, Michael Cerveris also gave a particularly inspiring acceptance speech.

I’m glad the hip hop musical, “Hamilton,” which is opening on Broadway this summer after a blockbuster run Off-Broadway, was not eligible for the Tony’s this year. If it had been, “Fun Home” wouldn’t have had a chance. Both shows are game-changers for the art form. “Hamilton” will no doubt sweep the awards next year, as it has already done in awards this year that included Off-Broadway shows.

“Fun Home” took home five awards in total, as did “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” “The King and I” won four, and poor “Something Rotten!” only won one award despite nine nominations when Christian Borle won his second Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, beating out his costar, Brad Oscar, in the same category.

In celebration of the Best Musical winner, watch the amazing young actress, Sydney Lucas, who was nominated for her performance in “Fun Home.” The two big winners of the night celebrate characters who are not in the proverbial “mainstream” – a lesbian and a boy with autism. The times, they are a-changin’, and it’s a welcome change indeed.

Here is a list of all winners and nominees (winners are in bold), and check out my photo gallery of the nominees at their annual reception at the end of April.

BEST MUSICAL

Fun Home

An American in Paris

Something Rotten!

The Visit

BEST PLAY

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Disgraced

Hand to God

Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL

The King and I

On the Town

On the Twentieth Century

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY

Skylight

The Elephant Man

This Is Our Youth

You Can’t Take It With You

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Michael Cerveris, Fun Home

Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris

Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!

Ken Watanabe, The King and I

Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY

Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Steven Boyer, Hand to God

Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man

Ben Miles, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two

Bill Nighy, Skylight

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Kelli O’Hara, The King and I

Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century

Leanne Cope, An American in Paris

Beth Malone, Fun Home

Chita Rivera, The Visit

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Helen Mirren, The Audience

Geneva Carr, Hand to God

Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles

Carey Mulligan, Skylight

Ruth Wilson, Constellations

FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Christian Borle, Something Rotten!

Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!

Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century

Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris

Max von Essen, An American in Paris

FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I

Victoria Clarke, Gigi

Judy Kuhn, Fun Home

Sydney Lucas, Fun Home

Emily Skeggs, Fun Home

FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

Richard McCabe, The Audience

Matthew Beard, Skylight

Todd Freeman, Airline Highway

Alessandro Nivola, The Elephant Man

Nathaniel Parker, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two

Micah Stock, It’s Only a Play

FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It With You

Patricia Clarkson, The Elephant Man

Lydia Leonard, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two

Sarah Stiles, Hand to God

Julie White, Airline Highway

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Sam Gold, Fun Home

Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!

John Rando, On the Town

Bartlett Sher, The King and I

Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Stephen Daldry, Skylight

Scott Ellis, You Can’t Take It with You

Jeremy Herrin, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two

Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Hand to God

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL

Lisa Kron, Fun Home

Craig Lucas, An American in Paris

Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, Something Rotten!

Terence McNally, The Visit

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, Fun Home

Sting, The Last Ship

Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!

John Kander and Fred Ebb, The Visit

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY

Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Bob Crowley, Skylight

Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two

David Rockwell, You Can’t Take It with You

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris

David Rockwell, On the Twentieth Century

Michael Yeargan, The King and I

David Zinn, Fun Home

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY

Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two

Bob Crowley, The Audience

Jane Greenwood, You Can’t Take It with You

David Zinn, Airline Highway

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Catherine Zuber, The King and I

Gregg Barnes, Something Rotten!

Bob Crowley, An American in Paris

William Ivey Long, On the Twentieth Century

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY

Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Paule Constable and David Plater, Wolf Hall: Parts One & Two

Natasha Katz, Skylight

Japhy Weideman, Airline Highway

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL

Natasha Katz, An American in Paris

Donald Holder, The King and I

Ben Stanton, Fun Home

Japhy Weideman, The Visit

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS

Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, An American in Paris

John Clancy, Fun Home

Larry Hochman, Something Rotten!

Rob Mathes, The Last Ship

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE THEATRE

Tommy Tune

SPECIAL TONY AWARD

John Cameron Mitchell

REGIONAL THEATRE AWARD

Cleveland Play House, Cleveland, Ohio

ISABELLE STEVENSON AWARD

Stephen Schwartz

TONY HONORS FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE THEATRE

Arnold Abramson

Adrian Bryan-Brown

Gene O’Donovan

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