Champagne corks were popping across London yesterday, when British transfers to Broadway collected five prestigious Tony Awards between them.
Boeing Boeing won Best Revival of a Play, with leading man Mark Rylance winning Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play. Jim Norton (The Seafarer) won the award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play, and The 39 Steps won two awards for its creatives, Best Lighting Design of a Play (Kevin Adams) and Best Sound Design of a Play (Mic Pool).
The triumph of Boeing Boeing and Rylance may be an even sweeter success for the flying farce, as both the ply and the actor were nominated at this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards, only to lose out to Saint Joan (Best Revival) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Best Actor in a Play).
Boeing Boeing’s success in the revival category came at the expense of another British transfer, Macbeth, which, though it received six nominations, went home empty handed. Rylance also triumphed over British opposition, beating the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award Best Actor Rufus Sewell (Rock ‘N’ Roll), Patrick Stewart (Macbeth) and Ben Daniels, who is appearing in an American production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
In winning the award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play, Norton replicated his 2007 Laurence Olivier Award win, and beat his own The Seafarer colleague Conleth Hill.
The Lincoln Centre’s revival of South Pacific was the night’s big winner, collecting seven of the 11 awards for which it had been nominated, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Paulo Szot), Best Direction of a Musical (Bartlett Sher) and a clean sweep of the musical design awards. The three acting awards the production did not win (Actress in a Musical, Featured Actor/Actress in a Musical) all went to the revival of Gypsy (Patti LuPone, Boyd Gaines, Laura Benanti).
New musical In The Heights collected four wins, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. The strong musical showing from these three production meant that Sunday In The Park With George, though it was nominated for nine awards, did not collect one of the coveted statuettes.
The drama side of the Tonys saw August: Osage County steal the show with five wins including Best Play, Best Direction of a Play (Anne D Shapiro) and Best Performance by a Leading and Featured Actress in a Play (Deanna Dunagan / Rondi Reed). It was a night of disappointment, though, for Rock ‘N’ Roll which failed to turn any of its four nominations into victories.