Music Updates

Tony Awards 2021: Facts & Feats

Here are noteworthy facts and feats associated with this year’s Tony Awards.

Moulin Rouge! the Musical is just the sixth show in Tony history to win 10 or more awards in one night. The Producers (2001) is the all-time champ with 12 wins, followed by Hamilton (2016) with 11 and Hello, Dolly! (1964), Billy Elliot: The Musical (2009), The Band’s  Visit (2018) and Moulin Rouge! the Musical with 10 wins each.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical did even better at the Tonys than Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film Moulin Rouge! did at the Oscars. (It helps that musicals and dramas have separate categories at the Tonys, whereas they must compete with each other at the Oscars.) The film received eight nominations, including best picture and best actress for Nicole Kidman, but won in just two categories – best art direction and best costume design.

Aaron Tveit and Danny Burstein won best leading and featured actor in a musical, respectively, for their roles in Moulin Rouge! The Musical. This was Tveit’s first Tony nomination; Burstein’s seventh. It’s his first win. Both performers received Grammy nominations as principal soloists on the cast album. Tveit starred in Grease Live!, which won five Emmys in 2016, including outstanding special class program.

Jagged Little Pill, which received a near-record 15 Tony nominations – one more than Moulin Rouge! the Musical – won just two awards. Pill earned a dubious distinction: It received more nominations than any other production in Tony history that failed to win the marquee award — best musical or best play. The musical is based on Alanis Morissette’s album of the same name, which logged 12 weeks atop the Billboard 200 in 1995-96 and won Grammys for album of the year and best rock album.

Lauren Patten, who leads the company in singing Morissette’s incendiary “You Oughta Know” in Jagged Little Pill, won best featured actress in a musical. Patten won a Grammy in March for best musical theater album as a principal soloist on the album.

Diablo Cody won best book of a musical for Pill. Cody won an Oscar for best original screenplay for the 2007 film Juno.

Adrienne Warren won best performance by a leading actress in musical for her portrayal of Tina Turner in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. This is the third time in the past 10 years that someone has won a Tony in this category for portraying a music legend. Stephanie J. Block won in 2019 for portraying Cher in The Cher Show. Jessie Mueller won in 2014 for portraying Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Angela Bassett received an Oscar nod for playing Turner in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do with It.

David Byrne’s American Utopia won a special Tony award. The property has been feted at three EGOT-level shows this year. It received six Primetime Emmy nominations, including outstanding variety special (pre-recorded). It also received a Grammy nod for best musical theater album. Byrne won an Oscar and a Grammy for co-composing the score of the 1987 film The Last Emperor.

For the first time in Tony history, all three nominees for best musical – Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Jagged Little Pill and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical – were jukebox musicals. As a result, none was eligible for best original score (music and/or lyrics) written for the theatre. That award went instead to Christopher Nightingale, for A Christmas Carol. A Christmas Carol won five awards – second most for the night. Remarkably, it won in all five categories in which it was nominated.

At the other extreme, Slave Play went home-empty handed despite receiving 12 nominations. That set a new record as the play with the most nods without a single win. The old record was held by Indiscretions (1995), which won no awards despite nine nominations. Slave Play is tied with two musicals — The Scottsboro Boys in 2011 and Mean Girls in 2018 – as the production (play or musical) with the most nods without a single win.

The Inheritance won four awards, including best play and leading actor in a play for Andrew Burnap.

A Soldier’s Play won two awards – best revival of a play and featured actor in a play for David Alan Grier. The play was not nominated when it originally ran off Broadway in 1981.

Mary-Louise Parker won her first Tony – leading actress in a play for The Sound Inside. Parker won an Emmy 17 years ago for Angels in America.

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