Bette Midler didn’t perform on the Tony Awards but they gave her Best Actress in a Musical for “Hello. Dolly!” tonight. Ben Platt won best actor for “Dear Evan Hansen.” Midler did give a funny speech which made up for her absence. She is likely still talking now. For a woman who would not perform on the Tonys, when she finally got the chance, she talked and talked and talked.
All night, though, mention of Midler and “Hello, Dolly!” received tepid responses, not the standing ovations one would have expected. The mood in the room at Radio City was fairly unimpressed. Every other musical nominee performed on that stage. Only Midler, who’s never done a Broadway show before as a headliner and probably never will again, declined.
Instead, she let David Hyde Pierce do a one-man number from the show, and a bad number at that. It’s a song that was cut from the original show and only added back to give Hyde Pierce (who everyone loves) a solo number in the show. When he was finished, Midler came out to present Best Actress and barely acknowledged him. Backstage must be a laugh riot at “Hello, Dolly!”
Producer Scott Rudin got his Tony for Best Revival of a Musical with Dolly. But all the spending he did on ads failed to produce a Best Play award for “A Doll’s House, Part 2.” Instead, “Oslo” won. Rudin did get Best Actress in a Play for Laurie Metcalf.
“Dear Evan Hansen” won Best Musical. Its star Ben Platt, won Best Actor, and Rachel Bay Jones won Best Featured Actress. Best Featured Actress in a Play went to Cynthia Nixon for “The Little Foxes.”
The Tony show was a mixed bag. There were a lot of plugs for the Radio City Rockettes, for no reason other than to placate the owners of the theater. There were a few plugs for CBS’s Stephen Colbert. Kevin Spacey’s celebrity imitations wore thin fast. He doesn’t seem to realize Johnny Carson has been dead a long time, and that most of the audience who remembers him is old. Ditto his obsession with Bobby Darin, which is now probably embarrassing Darin in heaven among friends. Spacey’s Bill Clinton imitation went over like a lead balloon, as did his references to Hillary Clinton’s email. Stale, stale, stale.
Dear Evan Hansen
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Best Revival of a Musical
Oslo by J.T. Rogers
Best Revival of a Play
August Wilson’s Jitney
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Best Direction of a Play
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent
Best Performance by an Actress in Featured Role a Musical
Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
Best Book of a Musical
Dear Evan Hansen, Steven Levenson
Dear Evan Hansen, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Michael Aronov, Oslo
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Christopher Akerlind, Indecent
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes