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2018 Tony Awards: Sweeps & Surprises On Broadway’s Biggest Night

2018 Tony Awards
By Mena Buscetto

Last night’s 72nd Tony Awards celebration was nothing short of spectacular, entertaining, and (of course) surprising. Hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban were dynamite hosts, showcasing their own amazing voices, incorporating clever humor, and representing theatre with incredible class.

I watched the CBS broadcast at Bond 45 in New York City, where an official viewing party was held, complete with Broadway trivia and raffle prizes, with all proceeds going to Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids. I truly will never watch the Tony Awards any other way, and I encourage anyone who has not attended a viewing party to do so! It was so much fun to experience the anticipation and excitement of an awards show with so many other theatre fans.

Perhaps the most important part of the evening was not the awards, speeches, or musical performances, but the appearance of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s drama club singing Seasons of Love from Rent.

In a room full of wealth, accomplishment, and glamour, it was undoubtedly realized by all what theatre is all about at the core: coming together and creating an expressive piece of art to connect with and convey important messages to the world. There was certainly not a dry eye in any room where the Tony’s were on the television.

Now, on to the awards portion of the evening.

Big Winners

The Band’s Visit quite literally swept the night, winning ten Tony awards, including Best Musical and Best Leading Actor and Actress in a Musical, among many others.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child won the Tony for Best Play and was additionally recognized for its achievement in tech and design, taking home the majority of the awards in the Play category, including Costume Design, Scenic Design, Lighting Design and Sound Design along with Best Director being awarded to John Tiffany.

Big Surprises

Though they both led in nominations, Mean Girls and Spongebob Squarepants did not win as big as many hoped. Mean Girls did not receive a Tony (and there were audible gasps and “boos” when Tina Fey’s Mean Girls masterpiece was beat out by Itmar Moses of The Band’s Visit for Best Book of a Musical). The Band’s Visit also beat out Spongebob Squarepants with Tony Shalhoub from The Band’s Visit taking home the award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical over Ethan Slater from Spongebob Squarepants.

Laurie Metcalf’s Tony win in the Best Featured Actress in a Play category  for her work in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women was met with some surprise, as many predicted Angels in America’s Denise Gough to take home the award. However, Laurie Metcalf is immensely talented and was definitely deserving of an award yesterday evening.

The crowd went wild when Once on This Island won for Best Revival of a Musical. Based on comments from the crowd, many people, including myself, had predicted My Fair Lady would take home the Tony. However, this was a great surprise as Once on This Island is certainly worthy of the award in terms of tech and scenic design as well as the talent of its cast. It was my favorite show I saw this season so I was really excited. Once on This Island did not disappoint with their performance either, bringing a sand pit, a goat, rain, and audience members for their performance.

As I watched, I couldn’t help but marvel at the technical and design challenges that that two minute performance must have entailed, let alone the full show that goes up every night. Many of the technical awards are not broadcast, but are shown in short bits during or at the end of commercial breaks. This, I believe is truly disappointing.

While the actors and actresses are deservedly recognized, I would love to see the broadcast extended so we can see these other important awards received. Without these incredible, innovative designers, Broadway as we know it would not exist. My wallet will certainly be suffering today as I plan on scouring TodayTix to go see all of these shows.

Regardless of the outcome, the 72nd Annual Tony Awards celebration did not disappoint. I am already looking forward to next season and cannot wait to experience more incredible theatre!

To check out my live comments during the show, visit @theatreartlife on Twitter!

The 72nd Annual Tony Awards were held on June 10, 2018, to recognize achievement in Broadway productions during the 2017–18 season. The ceremony was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and was broadcast live by CBS.

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