Home Theater Tony Awards Bring Out Movie Stars, Reward the Much Deserved

This year’s Tony Awards seemed to be as much about showcasing the future of Broadway as rewarding the people who long deserved some kudos. I’m thinking of Judith Light, who went from a soap opera to a sitcom to theater and finally won a Tony last night for her brilliant performance in “Other Desert Cities.” Then there was Audra MacDonald, who escaped the terrible TV series “Private Practice,” returned to Broadway and won last night as Best Actress in a Musical for “Porgy and Bess.” Some people were denied the obvious: how Philip Seymour Hoffman lost Best Actor is beyond me, even though James Corden in “One Man Two Guvnors” was very talented. And Mike Nichols, winning Best Director for “Death of a Salesman” actually seemed flummoxed for the first time in his life.

But the night was all about “Once.” I told you last fall when it was off Broadway that “Once” was the Tony winner this year. Steve Kazee is a star; it was no surprise that he won, but it was with a sad story about his mother passing away recently. Outside the Beacon Theater–which was like a furnace all night, overheated and so muggy the audience lost weight–Glen Hansard, who co-wrote the original “Once” songs, was agog about even attending the Tony Awards. Later the whole “Once” crowd piled over to Robert’s restaurant in Columbus Circle for hours more revelry. The cast of “Newsies” took over the Hard Rock Cafe and partied as if they’d won everything. Why not?

But the big party was at the Plaza Hotel, where a lot of movie people who’d somehow been drafted for the night–Paul Rudd, James Marsden, the “South Park”-“Book of Mormon” guys, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Nick Jonas and so on — stuck around. It’s where I ran into Best Actress in a Play, Nina Arianda, of “Venus in Fur,” who was on her way home. “No Venus party?” I asked. She shook her head. “We didn’t get one. There’s just two of us”–meaning her and Hugh Dancy. Arianda is so hot now, after “Midnight in Paris” and “Born Yesterday” and now this–and she has nothing lined up next. The agents are working on it.

Meantime, it’s 2am and the annual O&M party, thrown by Ric Miramontez, is full steam ahead at the Hotel Carlyle…

More to come…keep refreshing…

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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