Live Blog: The 65th Annual Tony Awards

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“The Book of Mormon” ended the night with nine Tony Awards. “The Scottsboro Boys” set a new record, losing all 12 of its bids. Two other Kander & Ebb tuners were previously tied for that dubious achievement with 11 losses and 0 wins — “Chicago” (1976) and “Steel Pier” (1997).

Best Musical
“The Book of Mormon” – 1/100
“The Scottsboro Boys” – 40/1
“Sister Act” – 66/1
“Catch Me if You Can” – 100/1

Chris Rock, who was spurned for his Broadway debut in “Motherf***er,” gave out the final award of the evening. Had he only been that funny in his play, he might have been nominated.

Butz also takes home his second Tony, having won this same category back in 2005 for “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

Best Actor in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, “Catch Me if You Can” – 15/8
Tony Sheldon, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” – 2/1
Josh Gad, “The Book of Mormon” – 3/1
Andrew Rannells, “The Book of Mormon” – 7/1
Joshua Henry, “The Scottsboro Boys” – 80/1

Rylance, who appeared in two plays on Broadway this season, gave another one of his oddball acceptance speeches, rivalling the one he delivered when he won this same award in 2008 for “Boeing-Boeing.”

Best Actor in a Play
Mark Rylance, “Jerusalem” – 5/8
Joe Mantello, “The Normal Heart” – 8/5
Al Pacino, “The Merchant of Venice” – 11/2
Bobby Cannavale, “The Motherf***er With the Hat” – 20/1
Brian Bedford, “The Importance of Being Earnest” – 50/1

Last year’s Best Musical Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones (“A Little Night Music” presented the two leading men prizes.

The last of the technical awards was made during the last commercial break.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Ken Billington, “The Scottsboro Boys”
Howell Binkley, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”
Peter Kaczorowski, “Anything Goes”
Brian MacDevitt, “The Book of Mormon

Paul Shaffer introduced a performance of his disco hit “It’s Raining Men” led by original Weather Girl Martha Wash and the cast of “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.”

Foster now has a bookend to the Tony she took home in 2002 in this same category for “Thorouhgly Modern Millie.” She and rival nominee Donna Murphy (“The People in the Picture”) now each have two Tonys to show for their five nominations.

Best Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, “Anything Goes” – 4/9
Patina Miller, “Sister Act” – 10/3
Beth Leavel, “Baby It’s You!” – 40/1
Donna Murphy, “The People in the Picture” – 80/1

The 1996 Oscar champ contended for this same award back in 1988 for playing Stella opposite rival nominee Blythe Danner in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” They both lost to Joan Allen (“Burn This”). 

Best Actress in a Play
Frances McDormand, “Good People” – 2/5
Nina Arianda, “Born Yesterday” – 3/1
Lily Rabe, “The Merchant of Venice” – 9/1
Vanessa Redgrave, “Driving Miss Daisy” – 66/1
Hannah Yelland, “Brief Encounter” – 100/1

While Radcliffe was snubbed again, the good sport once again showed up to present.

“War Horse” has won all five of its Tony bids. The Tonys producers snuck the announcement of one of the last technical awards in during one of the last commerical breaks.

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Paule Constable, “War Horse”
David Lander, “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”
Kenneth Posner, “The Merchant of Venice”
Mimi Jordan Sherin, “Jerusalem”

Tony and Emmy champ Tyne Daly presents the “In Memoriam” segment, saluting those theater folk who have passed away in the past year.

Best Revival of a Musical
“Anything Goes” – 1/100
“How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” – 20/1

Kelsey Grammer, who appeared in last year’s Tony-winning revival of “La Cage aux Folles,” presented that same prize tonight.

Harris reunited with the cast of the recent New York Philharmonics concert version of the 1971 Best Musical “Company” for a well-received performance.

Tony champs James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave, who appeared together this season in the revival of “Driving Miss Daisy,” are greeted with a standing ovation. They deliver a stirring speech about the magic of theater. Unfortunately the montage of moments from the past season does not equal their eloquence.

Joel Grey, who won both a Tony and Oscar for “Cabaret,” was a nominee tonight for co-directing Best Play Revival champ “The Normal Heart.” He also appears nightly in the raucous remounting of “Anything Goes” which is favored to win Best Musical Revival. Sutton Foster led the cast in a spirited rendition of the peppy Cole Porter title tune.

“War Horse” becomes the first play since “Sleuth” in 1971 to win Best Play without any acting nominations. The epic production has also won Best Direction of a Play and two of its three technical races — Scenic Design and Sound Design. (Lighting Design has yet to be announced.)

Best Play
“War Horse” – 1/100
“Good People” – 20/1
 “Jerusalem” – 40/1
“The Mother … with the Hat” – 80/1

Samuel L. Jackson, who will play Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Broadway this fall in the Olivier-winning play “The Mountaintop,” announced the winner of Best Play.

Winners of many of the creative awards remain a mystery as the Tonys announce them during commercial breaks.

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Todd Rosenthal, “The Motherf**ker with the Hat”
Rae Smith, “War Horse”
Ultz, “Jerusalem”
Mark Wendland, “The Merchant of Venice”

Last year’s Best Musical “Memphis” rocked the house with a rousing version of “Steal Your Rock ‘N’ Roll.”

Best Revival of a Play
“The Normal Heart” – 2/3
“The Merchant of Venice” – 7/3
“The Importance of Being Earnest” – 11/2
 “Arcadia” – 20/1

Patrick Wilson, who will star in the new CBS medical drama “A Gifted Man,” presented the Best Play Revival award.

Yep, the Tonys are surely on CBS — that is “CSI” star Marg Helgenberger introducing excerpts from Best Play nominees “The Motherf***er WIth the Hat” and “War Horse.”

Whoopi Goldberg, who is one of the producers,  introduces the number from “Sister Act.” Patina Miller, who plays her movie role of Doloris Van Cartier, is up for Best Musical Actress against Sutton Foster (“Anything Goes”). Foster won her only Tony for her Broadway debut in 2002 in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” which also won Best Musical. Goldberg, as one of the producers of that show, got the Tony she needed to complete her EGOT.

Robin Williams, who sang “Blame Canada” on those Oscars, presented the Best Book of a Musical award. Parker has picked up three Tonys tonight.

Best Book of a Musical
“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” Alex Timbers
“The Book of Mormon,” Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
“The Scottsboro Boys,” David Thompson
“Sister Act,” Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkellner and Douglas Carter Beane

U2 bandmates Bono and The Edge introduced a number from their much-maligned “Spiderman” musical “Turn Off the Dark” which finally opens next Tuesday after months (and months) of previews and delays. Stars Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano performed “If the World Should End.” One was left wondering whether that turgid tune would ever finish.

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jess Goldstein, “The Merchant of Venice”
Desmond Heeley, “The Importance of Being Earnest”
Mark Thompson, “La Bête”
Catherine Zuber, “Born Yesterday”

Brooke Shields presented the Featured Musical Actor award to the five-time Emmy champ for his Broadway debut. Larroquette, an old pro at acceptance speeeches, made special mention of the snubbed Radcliffe.

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
John Larroquette, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” – 2/3
Rory O’Malley, “The Book of Mormon” – 3/2
Adam Godley, “Anything Goes” – 12/1
Colman Domingo, “The Scottsboro Boys” – 70/1
Forrest McClendon, “The Scottsboro Boys” – 80/1

Hugh Jackman, who won an Emmy for hosting the 2004 Tonys (and a Tony that same year for “The Boy From Oz”), and Harris engaged in a musical riff about who was the better emcee. The wry lyrics referenced the joys and woes of presiding over these awardscasts.

The pair of 1994 Oscar champs now have Tonys as well for their over-the-top drag outfits.

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Tim Chappel & Lizzy Gardiner, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”
Martin Pakledinaz, “Anything Goes”
Ann Roth, “The Book of Mormon”
Catherine Zuber, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”

Perennial Emmy also-ran Stephen Colbert (“The Colbert Report) introduced the number from the third Best Musical nominee “The Book of Mormon.” Best Actor contender Andrew Rannells belted out “I Believe.”

In the first surprise of the night, the ingenue from “Book of Mormon” bested three Tony champs — Benanti, Clark and LuPone — and Emmy winner Blanchard. The effusive James charmed the audience with her breathless acceptance speech and then broke their heart by dedicating the award to her beloved father.

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Laura Benanti, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” – 2/3
Nikki M. James, “The Book of Mormon” – 7/3
Tammy Blanchard, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” – 10/1
Victoria Clark, “Sister Act” – 12/1
 Patti LuPone, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” – 66/1

Three-time Tony nominee Harry Connick, Jr. (who has three Grammys and an Emmy) presented the first musical acting award.

Five-time Tony champ Angela Lansbury, who has also hosted these awards a record five times, and theater exec Ted Chapin spoke about the work of the American Theater Wing, which co-presents the Tonys with the Broadway League.

Oscar nominee Don Cheadle (“Hotel Rwanda”) presented the excerpt from the second Best Muscial nominee “The Scottsboro Boys.” While the show shuttered after a short run last fall, it is soon to hit the road. Despite 12 nominations, it is not expected to win any Tonys.

The helmers of the Best Play frontrunner edged out the team behind the Best Play Revival frontrunner. Elliott credited the all-American cast of this very British production.

Best Direction of a Play
Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, “War Horse”
Joel Grey & George C. Wolfe, “The Normal Heart”
Anna D. Shapiro, “The Motherf**ker with the Hat”
Daniel Sullivan, “The Merchant of Venice”

Nicholaw won his first Tony after four previous bids for choreography and direction. Parker has already picked up one Tony tonight and could win another for the score of this all-but-certain Best Musical winner.

Best Direction of a Musical
Rob Ashford, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”
Kathleen Marshall, “Anything Goes”
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, “The Book of Mormon”
Susan Stroman, “The Scottsboro Boys”

Tony and Emmy champ David Hyde-Pierce displayed his deft comic timing as he presented Best Director of a Musical.

Unlike some of the Hollywood types who snubbed the press last year — yes, we mean you Catherine Zeta-Jones and Scarlett Johannson, Ellen Barkin did the full press run. Barkin, who made her Broadway debut in this role, said she only had 12 days of rehearsal which meant she had no time to be afraid. She credited George C. Wolfe for his direction and the words of Larry Kramer for her inspiration.

Best Sound Design of a Play
Acme Sound Partners & Cricket S. Myers, “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”
Simon Baker, “Brief Encounter”
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, “Jerusalem”
Christopher Shutt, “War Horse”

“War Horse” picked up its first Tony with this win for Sound Design.

In the excerpt from Best Musical nominee “Catch Me If You Can,” first Aaron Tveit sang a snippet of “Live in Living Color” before Best Musical Actor nominee Norbert Leo Butz belted out “Don’t Break the Rules.” (Tom O’Neil: Can u BELIEVE they let Norbert steal the “Catch Me If You Can”musical #??? jeeeez – that poor kid who plays the lead)

Like Barkin, Hickey credited the efforts of his leading man Mantello as well as his co-stars on “The Big C,” which he is filming daily while appearing on Broadway nightly.

Best Featured Actor in a Play
John Benjamin Hickey, “The Normal Heart” – 2/11
Arian Moayed, “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” – 17/2
Yul Vázquez, “The Mother … with the Hat” – 11/1
Mackenzie Crook, “Jerusalem” – 25/1
 Billy Crudup, “Arcadia” – 66/1

Last year’s Best Play Actress Viola Davis (“Fences”) presented the Featured Play Actor award.

John Leguziamo referenced one of his Tony losses in a category that no longer exists — Unique Theatrical Experience. He is currently on Broadway in a one-man show “Ghetto Klown” that had to contend in the play races this year, albeit to no avail.

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, “The Scottsboro Boys”
Steve Canyon Kennedy, “Catch Me If You Can”
Brian Ronan, “Anything Goes”
Brian Ronan, “The Book of Mormon”

Other creative awards are being presented during the commerical breaks and being announced in the press room. Giving such short shrift to these talented folks this year is in marked contrast to previous years when they received their awards during a pre-telecast ceremony that was show on the web or cable outlet.

While Daniel Radcliffe was snubbed for this season’s revival of “How to Succeed,” the two previous actors who played the role — Robert Morse in the original 1961 production and Matthew Broderick in the 1995 revival — both won Best Musical Actor. They introduced him and the company performing the rousing finale “Brotherhood of Men.”

Barkin delivered a passionate speech referencing the passion of playwright Larry Kramer and co-helmer George Wolfe as well as Best Actor nominee Joe Mantello who carries the production.

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Ellen Barkin, “The Normal Heart” – 2/3
Edie Falco, “The House of Blue Leaves” – 3/2
Elizabeth Rodriguez, “The Mother … with the Hat” – 18/1
Judith Light, “Lombardi” – 20/1
Joanna Lumley, “La Bête” – 100/1

The 2010 Oscars co-host Alec Baldwin presented the first of the acting awards to one of the five first-time Tony nominees in the Featured Play Actress.

Neil Patrick Harris delivered a socko opening number with sassy lyrics along the lines of “Broadway is not just for gays anymore.”

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics)
“The Book of Mormon,” Music & Lyrics: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
“The Scottsboro Boys, ” Music & Lyrics: John Kander and Fred Ebb
“Sister Act,” Music: Alan Menken, Lyrics: Glenn Slater
“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek

The sweep for “Book of Mormon” is underway as the trio of tyros defeated Kander & Ebb. Fred Ebb passed away in 2007 and this was the last show for the theater legends who won three of their 10 Tony bids in this race. The “South Park” boys chose to dress in tuxes rather than the sort of red carpet wear they sported when Oscar nominees in 1999 for “Blame Canada” from the movie version of their TV hit. Back then, they came as knock-offs of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez.

Best Choreography
Rob Ashford, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”
Kathleen Marshall, “Anything Goes”
Casey Nicholaw, “The Book of Mormon”
Susan Stroman, “The Scottsboro Boys”

Kathleen Marshall won her third Tony for choreography for “Anything Goes.” She is also nominated for directing this production which is expected to win Best Revival. Her previous wins were for “Wonderful Town” (2004) and “The Pajama Game” (2006).

Best Orchestrations
Doug Besterman, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”
Larry Hochman, “The Scottsboro Boys”
Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus, “The Book of Mormon
Marc Shaiman & Larry Blank, “Catch Me If You Can”

The first award was given out in one of the newest categories — Best Orchestrations.

Tom O’Neil: Here’s a glimpse of the controversial arrivals area outside the Tonys. At left, the red carpet for the celebrity march to the Beacon Theater more than a block away – it’s that brown building at the very far right. There was a possibilty that the stage hands union was going to protest this shift outside their jurisdiction but the two sides reached an agreement.

South African playwright Athol Fugard is to receive an honorary award. He contended for Best Play four times over the years. He lost his first two bids to British scribe Peter Shaffer — first in 1975 when “Equuus” edged out “Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and the Island”  and again in 1981 when “A Lesson from Aloes” was defeated by “Amadeus.” In 1982, David Edgar‘s adaptation of “The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickelby” beat out  “Master Harold … and the Boys” (1982) while “I’m Not Rappaport” by Herb Gardner prevailed over “Blood Knot” in 1986. Fugard was also nominated for directing “Sizwe Banzi”– he lost to “Equus” helmer John Dexter and “Master Harold” — the “Nicholas Nickelby” co-directors Trevor Nunn and John Caird prevailed.

A honorary award will also be presented to Phillip Smith, chairman of the Shubert theater chain, which owns 17 of the Broadway houses as well as theaters across the country. Smith represents the Broadway League on the administration committe of the Tony Awards. And for her charitable work, playwright Eve Ensler, whose “The Vagina Monologues” begat a philanthropic foundation, will receive the Isabelle Stevenson Award, named for the late American Theater Wing president.

The Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre, established in 1990 to salute those not eligible in competitive categories, will go to animal trainer Bill Berloni, Sharon Jensen of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts and the Drama Book Shop.

The Creative Arts Tony Awards will be handed out beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET and streamed live to a crowd watching in Times Square. In a timesaving measure, some of these races will be announced during the commercial breaks on the CBS show. Presiding over the presentation of these awards to choreographers, designers, directors, librettists and songwriters will be a pair of Tony acting champs. Katie Finneran has won the featured prize for both a play (“Noises Off,” 2002) and a musical (“Promises, Promises,” 2010) while Laurie Benanti claimed the featured musical award in 2008 for “Gypsy” and is the frontrunner to do the same again tonight for “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

The CBS show hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, who shared in the Emmy win for the 2009 kudocast, kicks off at 8:00 p.m. ET. The dozen Tonys for the top tuners, plays and performers will be handed out during this three-hour telecast. During the ceremony, we will be providing both analysis and commentary on the winners and losers. Afterwards, we will recap all the races, explain the outcomes, and provide insight into the results.

Our 14 expert pundits, who cover Broadway all season long, have weighed in with their predictions in all 26 of the competitive categories and those rankings have generated these odds.

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