Darren Criss and Julianne Hough kicked off a four-hour Tony Awards celebration at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday night, handing out the majority of the exclusive design awards on online TV channel Paramount+.
Criss opened the TV show with the original song, “Set the Stage,” as he and Hough enthusiastically jumped up the ladders, over the lockers, and on the theater’s sliding chairs to celebrate the artists who had died. keep the theater alive.
The first award of the night – for best song – went to “Six: The Musical”, with music and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. Marlow was the first prodigious lyricist to win a Tony Award.
Criss and Hough had an hour to hand out a total of eight technical awards for things like best lighting and sound design, along with best score, orchestra and choreography. They will then hand over hosting duties to Ariana DeBose for three hours of primetime television on CBS and Paramount+ from the same stage, live from coast to coast for the first time.
This installment – with 34 new productions – represents the full return of theaters almost two years after the pandemic shutdown. At the last Tonys nine months ago, the winners were drawn from only 18 qualifying plays and musicals, and many of the competitive categories were exhausted.
DeBose, a Tony-nominated theater veteran and recently won an Oscar for “West Side Story,” says Broadway is about to throw a party.
“I feel as if once there was a time, now is the time,” she said. “I think it’s a win if it’s simply getting to this point, making art and having a show.”
The TV show will feature performances from this year’s Tony Award-nominated musicals, including “A Strange Loop,” “Company,” “Girl from the North Country,” “MJ,” “Mr. Saturday Night,” “Music Man,” “Paradise Square,” and “Six.” The original members of the 2007 Tony Award-winning musical “Spring Awakening” will also regroup and perform.
“A Strange Loop,” a theatrical fusion about a playwright writing a musical, enters the show with 11 top Tony nominations. Right behind with 10 nominations each is “MJ,” the King of Pop’s biographical musical with his biggest hits, and “Paradise Square,” a musical about Irish immigrants. and black Americans jostling for survival in New York City around the time of the Civil War.
Best Actress in a Musical is Sharon D Clarke from the “Caroline, or Change” revival and Joaquina Kalukango of “Paradise Square”. Best Actor in a Musical could go to Jaquel Spivey in “A Strange Loop” versus Myles Frost as the King of Pop in “MJ the Musical.”
“The Lehman Trilogy,” Stefano Massini’s 150-year-old play about what led to the collapse of financial giants Lehman Brothers, is the top new drama contender, while David Morse in the revival. Born of “How I Learned to Drive” by Paula Vogel is a leading contender as best actor in a play. His co-star, Mary-Louise Parker, could become the first actor to receive consecutive Tonys for best actress in a play.