Diversity, persistence and tending nonprofits win at Tonys

AP News
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Posted: Jun 13, 2016 12:42 PM
Diversity, persistence and tending nonprofits win at Tonys

NEW YORK (AP) — Five things to note following the Tony Awards on Sunday night:

DIVERSITY WINS

Every winning performer in the musical categories was a person of color — Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Daveed Diggs. Lin-Manuel Miranda, of course, took home some big honors, as well as orchestrator Alex Lacamoire and costume designers Paul Tazewell and Clint Ramos. "The Tonys are the Oscars but with diversity," joked host James Corden.

PERSISTENCE GETS REWARDED

Jayne Houdyshell, a mainstay of the New York stage, at 62 won her first Tony for "The Humans." (She joked: "I've never been one to rush into things.") Her 61-year-old stage husband, Reed Birney, won his first Tony, too. (An actor for almost 42 years, he admitted that 35 of them were "pretty bad.") Designer David Rockwell won his first Tony for "She Loves Me" — his 20th Broadway set design.

START SMALL

Just like last year, two of the night's biggest winners — "Hamilton" and "The Humans" — began on small stages in nonprofit theaters. "Hamilton" was nurtured at the Public Theater, while the Roundabout Theatre Company reared "The Humans." Last year was the same story: The National Theatre in Britain put "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" in its smallest theater, while "Fun Home" started life in the Public's black-box space, which seats up to 160.

JAMES CORDEN RULES

The host of "The Late Late Show" was a perfect choice to host at a suddenly tricky show. He was able to speak from the heart at the top of the show and pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting, and yet also perform a head-spinning medley of tunes from famous Broadway musicals. He made fun of himself and Donald Trump and yet never felt mean. Our host was an endearing fan-boy — and it was just what the theater community needed.

WAS THAT IVANHOE WINNING?

No, it was Ivo van Hove. Get to know the name. The Dutch visionary director, known for stripping down a work to its essence and using minimal props, won best director of a play, and his interpretation of "A View From the Bridge" won best play revival. For almost two decades, van Hove has been reinventing modern theater by peeling it down to its core, ignoring conventions and making it emotionally charged.

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Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits