Published: Mon, June 12, 2017
Arts&Culture | By Spencer Underwood

Tony Awards on Sunday Take Place Under 'Hamilton' Shadow

New York, Jun 12 "Dear Evan Hansen", a daringly unflinching exploration of loss, lies and loneliness in a high school community, won the 2017 Tony Award for the best musical.

Ben, who is just 23, won the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his work in Dear Evan Hansen.

Nothing was contested about the triumph of producer Scott Rudin's category-killing production of "Hello, Dolly!". And the victory of Oslo's Michael Aronov over The Price's Danny DeVito (who had won Drama Desk and Outer Critics' Circle awards for his impressive Broadway debut) for best featured actor in a play was a genuine surprise. Forecasts also said Oslo would hold off a late surge by A Doll's House, Part 2 in the best play race, and it did; and that Jitney and Dolly!

"Dear Evan Hansen", the teen-angst driven musical with no stars which is set in motion by a suicide, won two early Tonys for best score and best book.

Kevin Kline picked up his third Tony Award for his portrayal of a preening actor in a revival of Noel Coward's "Present Laughter".

The show, about a teenager who fabricates a former friendship with a classmate who killed himself, also saw Pitch Perfect star Ben Platt named best actor in a musical. It earned Christopher Ashley the Tony for best direction of a musical. "Hello", he said, bouncing on his heels. Mr. Platt stated: "To all young people watching at home, don't waste any time trying to be like anybody but yourself, because the things that make you odd are the things that make you powerful". Rachel Bay Jones won her first Tony for her work in the musical, capping a long career onstage with plenty of zigs and zags.

Dear Evan Hansen was the evening's big victor.

This year's broadcast had the challenge of rendering accessible a suite of atypically serious and (in some minds) esoteric nominees.

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Best Musical: "Dear Evan Hansen".

The lengthy (and insider-y) opening number of the CBS broadcast - an opener of some import, given the imminent danger of viewers changing channels - focused on the insecurities of Spacey, who was not the first choice for the assignment. Dressed as Glenn Close, who stars in that revival, Spacey sang, "I'm coming out." and then added, "Of makeup".

Although seemingly error-free (aside from a Midler beep), the broadcast hardly will be remembered as the most entertaining in Tonys history.

Award presenter Stephen Colbert got political too, taking on Donald Trump by likening his presidency to a revival of a 1980s off-Broadway show with "huge production values".

Sunday's ceremony took place shortly after news that Delta Air Lines and Bank of America had withdrawn financial support for a NY production of Julius Caesar.

Among plays, four American playwrights making their Broadway debuts are vying for best play.

Best actor victor Kevin Kline summed up the mood by saluting the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), which faces funding cuts under the Trump regime.

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