Moulin Rouge! The Musical sweeps Tony Awards

·5 min read

A new stage adaptation of Moulin Rouge! was the big winner at Sunday's Tony Awards, taking home 10 prizes in total.

The ceremony, which celebrates the US theatre industry, took place more than a year late due to the Covid pandemic.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical won best musical, best actor and best actor in a featured role, as well as a host of technical prizes.

The show is an adaptation of the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name about the famed Paris nightclub.

The stage musical is due to open in London's West End for the first time in December.

Here's a round-up of what happened at Sunday's Tony Awards ceremony in New York:

The red carpet

Stars of the stage and screen were out in force on the red carpet at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York.

Beanie Feldstein at the Tony Awards
Lady Bird star Beanie Feldstein has recently been cast as Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl
Ben Platt at the Tony Awards
Ben Platt posed for photos on the same weekend his new film Dear Evan Hansen debuted in US cinemas
Cyndi Lauper at the Tony Awards
Singer Cyndi Lauper, who wrote the music and lyrics for Kinky Boots, spoke to press ahead of the ceremony
Audra McDonald at the Tony Awards
Audra McDonald was one of the hosts of the live-streamed ceremony
Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel at the Tony Awards
Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, who previously appeared together in Wicked, reunited on the red carpet and later performed at the ceremony
Andrew Garfield at the Tony Awards
Andrew Garfield is currently promoting the film adaptation of the stage Tick Tick... Boom!, which he stars in
Andrew Lloyd Webber at the Tony Awards
Andrew Lloyd Webber had by far the best face mask, which referenced his show Phantom of the Opera

The winners

The Tony for best play went to The Inheritance, a reimagining of the EM Forster novel Howards End set in modern-day New York. The play won a total of four awards, including best director for Stephen Daldry.

That equalled the number of trophies it took home at the Olivier Awards in London in 2019.

A Soldier's Play, a look at racism in the US military, won the Tony for best revival of a play - and also scored an acting trophy for David Alan Grier, one of several first-time winners of the night.

Kenny Leon accepting the award for best revival of a play for A Soldier's Play
Kenny Leon accepted the award for best revival of a play for A Soldier's Play

Moulin Rouge! star Aaron Tveit was the only nominee for best actor in a musical - a first in Tony Awards history. He was one of the only performers eligible for the 2021 award due to the dearth of productions amid the pandemic.

Only four musicals in total were eligible for prizes at this year's Tonys. Two of the three others picked up nominations, but both had female leads (Tina: The Musical and Jagged Little Pill).

However, Tveit still needed to earn 60% of votes before he was officially declared the winner.

Becoming emotional as he accepted his award, he said: "We are so privileged to get to do this, to be on Broadway."

Among the other first-time winners was 90-year-old Lois Smith, who won for best actress in a featured role in a play for The Inheritance. She is the oldest performer ever to win a Tony for acting.

The Old Vic's production of A Christmas Carol took home five prizes.

The ceremony

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Wayne Brady at the Tony Awards
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and actor Wayne Brady, both of whom previously played the show's lead role, appeared together at the ceremony

This year's Tony Awards were split into two separate two-hour events.

Most of the awards were handed out in a ceremony which was streamed online before the main televised event - which took the shape of a concert celebrating the return of live theatre in New York.

"Everyone here is vaxxed and tested, and everyone is wearing a mask - every Broadway theatre is going to look like this for a while and that's OK," said host Leslie Odom Jr at the start of the concert gala at the Winter Garden Theatre.

"Broadway is back, and it must and it will be better," actress Audra McDonald, a six-time winner and a nominee again this year, said as she hosted the earlier ceremony.

The cast of Moulin Rouge! served up a colourful medley of hits from the show, as did the cast of Jagged Little Pill, a musical inspired by Alanis Morissette's seminal 1995 album of the same name.

In her acceptance speech for best musical performance by an actress in a featured role, the production's star Lauren Patten addressed the recent controversy over her character Jo, whose non-binary identity was dropped from the show when it transferred to Broadway.

"I want to thank my trans and non-binary friends and colleagues who have engaged with me in difficult conversations that have joined me in dialogue about my character, Jo," Patten said. "I believe that the future for the change we need to see on Broadway comes from these kinds of conversations that are full of honesty and empathy and respect for our shared humanity."

Adrienne Warren at the Tony Awards
Adrienne Warren, who performed at the ceremony, won best actress in a musical for her portrayal of Tina Turner

Adrienne Warren, who won the Tony for best actress in a musical for her portrayal of Tina Turner in Tina: The Musical, gave a rousing performance with her castmates.

The concert also featured classic duets from popular musicals Rent, Wicked, Ragtime and Hamilton, featuring a stream of Broadway A-listers, many of whom were returning to the roles that made them famous.

All the musical performances took place in the productions' own theatres, which meant all could take advantage of their usual full sets and costumes.

The ceremony went down very well with viewers and critics, many of whom said other pandemic-era awards events could learn from its format.

"The approach worked remarkably well," said Deadline's Greg Evans. "The no-nonsense presentation of award announcements and acceptance speeches was followed by a lively special that impressively showcased contemporary Broadway musicals on their home turfs and classic reunions that felt fresh and welcome."

The number of shows eligible to compete for the 2019-2020 season was significantly lower than usual after the pandemic forced Broadway to shut down.

Several shows have recently reopened, with more to come in the next few months.

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