Ladies Night at the Tony Awards

Lighter fare dominates winners' circle. Hollywood stars largely losers. Photo: Judith Light. Credit: Evan Agostin/Invision/AP

NEW YORK, June 10, 2013 — Last night’s Tony Awards extravaganza in the Big Apple turned out to be Ladies’ Night as well. Woman copped both directing prizes, for a musical (Diane Paulus for the high-energy “Pippin” revival) and for a play (Pam MacKinnon for the searing revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”). And Cyndi Lauper won best original score for “Kinky Boots,” an enormously popular show, judging at least from audience reaction last night.

“Girl, you’re gonna have fun tonight!” trumpeted event presenter Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the “Modern Family” actor — referring, of course, to Lauper’s iconic “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Looks like this colorful one-time pop artist is continuing to take her own advice.

In winning the award for best musical, “Kinky” scored something of an upset over the decidedly darker “Matilda the Musical.” (Maybe we’ve had enough darkness already this year.) Underscoring the sunny nature of this year’s ceremony, a comedy — Christopher Durang’s dysfunctional-family satire “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” — won for best play over the more typical dramatic fare.

Big losers this year were movie stars whose stage appearances seemed to evoke a collective yawn in spite of the welcome publicity they brought along with them. In a season where a number of Hollywood personalities were snubbed for Tony nominations — Scarlett Johansson, Bette Midler and Jessica Chastain among them — even best-actor nominee Tom Hanks (“Lucky Guy”) lost out to Tracy Letts, previously a Tony-winning playwright, for his wrenching performance in “Virginia Woolf.”

It was a big night for African-American actors, with wins for best actor and actress in a musical, best actress in a play and featured actor in a play.

The ebullient Billy Porter won best actor in a musical for playing a drag queen with a heart of gold and a taste for, well, kinky boots, in “Kinky Boots.” He graciously saluted his co-star and co-nominee, Stark Sands. ”You are my rock, my sword, my shield,” he said, adding: “I share this award with you. I’m gonna keep it at my house — but I share it with you.”

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Patina Miller won best actress in a musical for “Pippin,” in a role — the Leading Player — that also won Ben Vereen a Tony in 1973. Like Vereen, Miller sings and dances expertly in the role, but unlike Vereen, she also soars on a trapeze and sings while hula-hooping.

Cicely Tyson, 88, had perhaps the evening’s most emotional win — and not one but two standing ovations — for best actress in a play, in “The Trip to Bountiful.” She told the audience that at her age, she had “this burning desire to do just one more — one more great role. I didn’t want to be greedy. I just wanted one more.”

    —AP contributed to this report

Photo Above: Actress Judith Light accepts the award for Best Performance by an actress in a featured role in a play for her role in “The Assembled Parties,” at the 67th Annual Tony Awards, on Sunday, June 9, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

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Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business.

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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  



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