Evan Hansen,' Bette Midler, 'Oslo' win big at Broadway's
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[June 12, 2017]
By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Dear
Evan Hansen," the teen-angst driven musical about a high
school outsider, won the top prize at Sunday's Tony
Awards, Broadway highest honors, while J.T. Rogers'
Mideast peace accord drama "Oslo" was named best play.
The surprise hit musical won a total of six Tonys, including
best musical actor for 23 year-old newcomer Ben Platt in the
title role, featured actress Rachel Bay Jones, as well as best
book, score and orchestrations.
As widely predicted, Bette Midler won her first competitive Tony
as best actress in a musical for "Hello, Dolly!".
Living up to her bawdy reputation, Midler delivered a speech
laced with mild profanity to the star-laden audience at Radio
City Music Hall, chastising the orchestra as its music welled
when she spoke at length.
"Hello, Dolly!" won four Tonys, including best musical revival.
"It's a very tough schedule," Midler, 71, said backstage, noting
she is "a woman of a certain age." But she said the experience
had been "life-affirming and life-changing," telling reporters
between tears, "It's more than I deserve."
On stage she praised the old-school musical as a balm for "these
terrible, terrible times."
Actors Cynthia Nixon, Kevin Kline and Laurie Metcalf all won
Tonys for performances in plays.
Kline won the lead actor Tony for his turn as an egocentric
actor in Noel Coward's "Present Laughter."
"I want to thank everybody," Kline said, adding "we don't do
this alone." Like many other winners, he made a pitch for the
National Endowment for the Arts, which is facing funding cuts
under the Trump administration, saying without it "half the
people in this room wouldn't be here."
Former "Roseanne" star Metcalf won her first Tony after several
nominations, taking best actress in a play for "A Doll's House,
Part 2," a lively, fast-paced sequel to the Henrik Ibsen
Nixon was named best featured actress in a play for a revival of
Lillian Hellman's "The Little Foxes," about a greedy southern
family's underhanded business practices.
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The actress lauded Hellman for her "eerily prescient play."
Noting one of its lines about people who "eat the Earth" and others
who "watch them do it," Nixon praised "the people who in 2017 are
refusing to just stand around and watch them do it."
Michael Aronov was a surprise winner in the featured actor category
for his kinetic performance as an Israeli negotiator in "Oslo," a
behind-the-scenes look at the 1993 Middle East peace accords.
"Oslo" playwright Rogers, making his Broadway debut, thanked "The
ladies and gentlemen who believed in democracy, who believed in
peace, who believed in seeing their enemies as humans. I give this
up to you."
Gavin Creel won best featured actor in a musical for "Hello, Dolly!"
and "August Wilson's Jitney" won best revival of a play.
First-time Tonys host Kevin Spacey kicked off the show with a medley
of songs referencing his self-doubt about successfully hosting the
annual awards show compared to past hosts Neil Patrick Harris, James
Corden and Hugh Jackman.
Broadway enjoyed a record-breaking season thanks to last year's Tony
winner, pop culture juggernaut "Hamilton," and musicals like "Hello,
Dolly!" and "Come From Away," which won a Tony for director
"Indecent" director Rebecca Taichman won for play directing, and
veteran actor James Earl Jones was presented with a lifetime
(Editing by Jill Serjeant and Simon Cameron-Moore)
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