NEW YORK, Sept 27 — Musical Moulin Rouge! was the big early winner at Broadway’s Tony Awards yesterday in a delayed ceremony that doubled as a celebration for the return of live theatre in New York after an unprecedented 18-month long closure due to the pandemic.
“Tonight feels like a homecoming,” said host Audra McDonald. “The lights are on, we are here, we are back.”
The annual awards show was never held in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic that shut down live performances for 18 months. Most reopened only a few weeks ago.
After six nominations in his career, veteran Danny Burstein won his first Tony for his supporting role in Moulin Rouge! The Musical. The show, based on the 2001 movie of the same name, won nine early awards, including for lead actor Aaron Tveit, direction, costumes and design.
A Christmas Carol, a stage adaptation with music of the Charles Dickens novel, won five awards, while newcomer Adrienne Warren won best actress in a musical for playing rock singer Tina Turner in Tina — The Tina Turner Musical.
“I want to thank Tina Turner for trusting me to bring her story home,” Warren said.
Special awards were given to Talking Heads musician David Byrne for the stage production of his concert American Utopia; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s improvised show Freestyle Love Supreme; and the anti-racism non-profit Broadway Advocacy Coalition that fights to make theatre more diverse.
The top awards — for best play, best musical and best revival of a play — will be presented later on Sunday during a two-hour special designed to promote Broadway and get people back into buying tickets. Audiences must be fully vaccinated and wear masks.
John Legend, Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Kristin Chenoweth, Ben Platt, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Idina Menzel are among the stars due to take part.
Many of the big shows, including Hamilton, The Lion King, and Wicked had emotional reopenings earlier this month marked by tears and joy both on and off stage.
None of the Tony-nominated plays, including Slave Play about race and class, and The Inheritance, about the modern gay experience, are currently playing on Broadway or plan to return. “The Inheritance” picked up three early awards including directing and for lead actor Andrew Burnap. — Reuters