As predicted, “Hamilton” dominated Sunday’s Tony Awards, winning 11 prizes including Best Musical. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creative force behind this Broadway juggernaut in which he plays founding father Alexander Hamilton, claimed both Book and Score awards. However, he lost the Best Actor race to his co-star Leslie Odom, whose character Aaron Burr kills his ever night. Other winners from “Hamilton” were featured performers Daveed Diggs and Renee Elise Goldsberry, Director (Thomas Kail), Choreography, Orchestrations, Costume Design and Lighting Design.
While “Hamilton” had reaped a record 16 nominations, it fell just short of the record of 12 wins by “The Producers” set in 2001. The two races it lost were Scenic Design, which was won by David Rockwell who prevailed for “She Loves Me” after five losses, and Best Actress (Musical). That prize went to Broadway newcomer Cynthia Erivo for “The Color Purple” and the pared-down staging of this 2005 tuner also won Best Musical Revival. Her win, coupled with those of the “Hamilton” cast marked the first time that all four musical acting awards had gone to black performers.
“The Humans,” a daring new domestic drama by Stephen Karam, won Best Play as well as both featured acting awards (Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell). Karam had to recuse himself from the Tony Awards nominating committee when his play transferred to Broadway. Both Birney and Houdyshell are forty-year theater veterans who have only recently had their turn in the spotlight. It also picked up the Scenic Design prize for David Zinn, who had lost his previous three Tony races.
The lead acting awards on the play side went to three-time Tony champ Frank Langella (“The Father”) and two-time Oscar winner Jessica Lange (“Long Day’s Journey Into Night”). Lange becomes the 22nd triple crown acting winner, having already claimed two Oscars and three Emmys.
Belgian import Ivo Van Hove took Best Director for his production of “A View From the Bridge,” which won Best Play Revival. This transfer from Britain’s Young Vic was the fourth remounting of Arthur Miller‘s 1955 domestic drama on the rialto.
Tony Award-winning lyricist Sheldon Harnick and multiple Tony-nominated director Marshall W. Mason were bestowed lifetime achievement awards. And Brian Stokes Mitchell, who headlines the Best Musical nominee “Shuffle Along” was given the Isabelle Stevenson award for his service to the theatrical community.