'Hairspray,' Joel, Simmons Win Tonys
A musical with a gay sensibility and a play about a gay baseball player dominated the 57th annual Tony Awards, presented yesterday (June 8) at Radio City Music Hall in New York. "Hairspray," the smashA musical with a gay sensibility and a play about a gay baseball player dominated the 57th annual Tony Awards, presented yesterday (June 8) at Radio City Music Hall in New York. "Hairspray," the smash hit derived from the cult John Waters film, was spritzed with a sheen of victory by winning eight Tonys including best musical. "Take Me Out," Richard Greenberg's baseball comedy-drama won three awards, including best play.
Two music figures not usually associated with Broadway -- piano man Billy Joel and Def Jam label co-founder Russell Simmons -- also won Tonys. Joel and Stuart Malina won an award for their orchestrations for "Movin' Out," a musical based on songs from across Joel's career. The show also earned Twyla Tharp an award for her choreography.
"Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam" was named as best special theatrical event. The show featured nine poets presenting pieces "inspired by today's world," backed by a DJ. The show's limited run closed in early May.
Other significant wins included two for "Nine" (revival of a musical and featured musical actress, Jane Krakowski). Baz Luhrmann's highly-touted production of "La Boheme" garnered a pair of prizes in the design categories (Nigel Levings' lighting and the set design by Catherine Martin, Luhrmann's wife). The rotating ensemble cast of the Puccini opera received a special Tony.
"Hairspray" also netted awards for actor and actress in a musical (Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur), featured actor in a musical (Dick Latessa), book (Mark O'Donnell, Thomas Meehan), score (Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman) and costume design (William Ivey Long).
This was the fourth Tony for Fierstein, who stars in drag as Edna Turnblad, a drab-housewife-turned-fabulous-diva. He is the first male Tony recipient to win for playing a member of the opposite sex (Mary Martin won for playing a boy in "Peter Pan" in 1955). Fierstein's previous wins were for writing and starring in "Torch Song Trilogy" and for the book of "La Cage Aux Folles."
For a complete list of Tony Awards winners, click here.
-- David Sheward, The Hollywood Reporter
David Sheward is managing editor of Back Stage.