Mike Tyson’s Great White Way
Speaking of poking fun, there were a number of jokes dedicated to Mike Tyson, who was the star of a one-man show last year on Broadway. Sure, he’s regularly pulled out for laughs these days (we can probably thank The Hangover franchise for that), but perhaps using the convicted rapist as a hilarious pop culture icon is not the direction Broadway should be heading? Neil Patrick Harris’ joke about Tyson giving the girls from Matilda face tattoos was particularly uncomfy.
Photo credit: David Gordon
A largely diverse group of winners
While this year’s awards were fairly movie-star free, the awards did highlight a good deal of actors of color as well as female directors. Both Diane Paulus and Pam MacKinnon picked up directing awards for their work on Pippin and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, respectively. (MacKinnon was considered an upset, although I called it on Friday.) Four African-American actors picked up acting awards: Courtney B. Vance for his featured role in Lucky Guy, Patina Miller for her leading role in Pippin, Billy Porter for his leading role in Kinky Boots, and Cicely Tyson for her leading role in The Trip to Bountiful. It’s also worth noting the major performance from Motown: The Musical, which was not nominated for Best Musical but is the biggest box office hit on Broadway. Meanwhile, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company proved it was no longer an outsider to Broadway as the company’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? also picked up Best Revival of a Play and Best Actor.
Matilda loses big to Kinky Boots
The biggest surprise is the disappointing number of awards to critical darling Matilda The Musical. I was quite surprised that the show didn’t pick up Best Musical or Best Leading Actor in a Musical (although I’m quite thrilled to see Kinky Boots and Billy Porter be honored), but it might be easily explained: Kinky Boots is the fun, feel-good show, while Matilda is dark and more challenging. (See also: the historically shallow Pippin won Best Revival.) Bertie Carvel’s much-lauded performance was perhaps too much of a featured role, which may have led some Tony voters to choose Porter over him. The show didn’t go home with nothing, however: it picked up awards for Best Featured Actor, Best Book of a Musical, Best Scenic Design, and Best Lighting Design.
Audra McDonald’s mic drop
After the Tony winner sang a riff of “Empire State of Mind” with Neil Patrick Harris during the show’s closing number, Audra McDonald shocked everyone by dropping the mic right on stage while Harris genteely placed his down. Broadway goes hard, yo.