Part I of Theater Pizzazz coverage of the Tonys! . . .

By Sandi Durell . . .

The 74th Annual Tony Awards were live at the Winter Garden on September 26 and streamed via Paramount+ and CBS with Broadway concert performances. Hosted from 7-9 pm by Audra McDonald, the second half from 9 to 11 pm, hosted by Leslie Odom, Jr. featured every Broadway star imaginable. Check out @TheaterPizzazz at Instagram for all the on the moment. Postings and Photos thanks to Cooper Lawrence and JK Clarke.

After a Hairspray “You Can’t Stop the Beat” opening featuring Matthew Morrison and Marissa Jaret Winokur, Audra McDonald (dressed in a white gown) took the stage enhancing mask wearing and emphasizing more inclusion for all. “Broadway is back and will be better.”

Awards began with Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play – David Alan Grier (A Soldier’s Play) followed by Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical – (Danny Burstein – Moulin Rouge! ) Danny has received 7 Tony nominations and this is his first win! And well deserved.

In the interim a special Press Zoom was set up where winners stopped by for interviews. David Alan Grier was asked what it means today for him to be a theater artist . . .”it means the theater has a path forward. I lost faith, I gained faith. . .” Danny Burstein had this to say when asked “What is it like to bring the feeling of engulfing an audience from the time they enter the theater?” Danny: “. . . it’s a perfect escape and all about love.” Lois Smith in the press room – “How has Broadway changed since you made your debut in the 50s? “ Lois Smith: “Cost of tickets . . . audiences came and went more easily but now there’s an expectation that it must be terrific (maybe because of the ticket prices).”

Justin Townsend was over the top  as the youngest member of the creative team working with top talents like Catherine Zuber and Derek McLane at Moulin Rouge! And Catherine Zuber was just where she liked to be . . . in her wheelhouse designing period costumes. Andrew Burnap hoped that the top Broadway ticket would not be more than $100 to make shows accessible to all. Aaron Tveit (who had Covid early on) is thrilled to feel the audience and be back and a part of live theater . . . we need to get back to feeling at home where I belong . . . I’m so lucky.”

  • Opening with Matthew Morrison - Marissa Winokur

Best Costume Design in a Musical – Catherine Zuber (Moulin Rouge!)

Best Lighting Design of a Musical  – Justin Townsend (Moulin Rouge!)

Best Lighting Design of a Play – Hugh Vanstone (A Christmas Carol)

Best Scenic Design of a Musical – Derek McLane (Moulin Rouge!)

Best Sound Design of a Musical – Peter Hylenski (Moulin Rouge!)

Best Sound Design of a Play – Simon Baker (A Christmas Carol)

Best Book of a Musical – Diablo Cody (Jagged Little Pill)

Best Direction of a Musical – Alex Timbers (Moulin Rouge!)

Best Direction of a Play – Stephen Daldry (The Inheritance)

Best Orchestrations of a Musical – Moulin Rouge team! Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine, Justin Levine

Best Choreography in a Musical – Sonia  Tayeh (Moulin Rouge!)

Best Original Score for Theatre – Christopher Nighingale (A Christmas Carol)

Best Scenic Design of a Play – Rob Howell (A Christmas Carol)

Best Costume Design of a Play – Rob Howell (A Christmas Carol)

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play – (Lois Smith – The Inheritance)

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical –(Lauren Patten – Moulin Rouge!)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Play – Andrew Burnap (The Inheritance)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical – Aaron Tveit (Moulin Rouge!)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Play – Mary Louise Parker (The Sound Inside)

Best Performance by Actress Leading Role in a Musical – Adrienne Warren (Ain’t Too Proud)

Best Musical – Moulin Rouge! the Musical with 10 Tonys

Best Play – The Inheritance

Best Revival of a Play – A Soldier’s Play

Special Isabelle Stevenson Award to Julie Halston

Jennifer Holiday singing “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls blew the top off the Winter Garden. Comment on twitter “OK, everyone can go home now.”

A Performance by Jennifer Nettles, Ali Stroker; and David Byrne and American Utopia had the audience up dancing in the aisles.

 The collective consensus was unanimous  . . . everyone’s happiness being back in theater doing what they love – performing for all of us!

Onward to Part 2 on CBS hosted by Leslie Odom, Jr. The shows, the stars, the production numbers! Stay tuned