NEW YORK (Reuters) – “Hadestown,” a folk opera about a young couple’s dark trek to the underworld, topped Broadway’s Tony awards on Sunday winning eight honors, including the top prize best musical.
Based on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, Anais Mitchell’s musical also won Tonys for best director, score, supporting actor Andre De Shields, orchestration, and sound, scenic and lighting design.
Director Rachel Chavkin noted she was the only woman currently directing a Broadway musical and called for the theater world to step up. “It is a failure of imagination,” she told the audience.
“The Ferryman,” British playwright Jez Butterworth’s wrenching examination of a family during the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, won best play and best director for Sam Mendes.
Bryan Cranston won his second Tony as the unhinged television anchor man in “Network,” a stage adaptation of the 1976 movie.
Cranston dedicated his Tony award to real journalists. In a veiled reference to repeated attacks on the press by U.S. President Donald Trump, Cranston said the media “is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”
Elaine May, 87, was named best actress in a play for her moving performance as a mentally declining woman in “The Waverly Gallery.” May, a director, writer and actress is also known for her comic partnership dating to the 1950s with late film director Mike Nichols.
The best actor in a musical Tony went to Santino Fontana for “Tootsie,” the hit show based on the 1982 movie, while Stephanie J. Block took home the lead actress award playing music legend Cher in “The Cher Show.”
Block thanked “the goddess Cher, and her legacy.”
“The Boys in the Band,” a comic drama about a group of gay men at a birthday party first produced in the late 1960s, won best play revival.
The supporting musical actress Tony went to Ali Stroker for a reinvented staging of the classic musical, “Oklahoma!,” which won best revival of a musical.
Stroker, as the “girl who can’t say no” Ado Annie, became the first actor performing in a wheelchair to win a Tony.
Supporting actress in a play went to Celia Keenan-Bolger, 41, as the child Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” while English actor Bertie Carvel won his first Tony as media mogul Rupert Murdoch making his foray into newspaper publishing in “Ink.”
Veteran stage actress Rosemary Harris and playwright Terrence McNally were presented with special Tony awards for lifetime achievement in theater.
Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Michael Perry