“Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be on Broadway,” she said. “And here I am.”
She thanked the late playwright Miller, and her costar Liev Schreiber, “for teaching me never to anticipate anything, and through that finding magic in the unexpected.”
“Memphis,” a crowd-pleasing, roughly $12 million show about a white disc jockey in the 1950s and a black female R&B singer he champions, won three awards early in the show. It took Tonys for original score (Joe DiPietro and Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan), book (DiPietro) and orchestration (Bryan and Daryl Waters).
“American Idiot,” the rock opera by the band Green Day, won for lighting and set design and “Fela!” won for sound design.
Green Day Performs
The show at Radio City Music Hall opened with “Blue Suede Shoes,” performed by the cast of “Million Dollar Quartet,” a best-musical nominee, accompanied on piano by Tony host Sean Hayes. That led to musical selections from a half-dozen nominated musicals and two songs from Green Day itself, replete with explosions.
Katie Finneran won for featured actress in a musical for “Promises, Promises.”
The Tonys exclude off-Broadway, home to some of the city’s best drama. On Broadway, 39 shows opened last season, from May 2009 to May 2010. They collectively grossed $1 billion, about the same as the year earlier. The average ticket sold for $85.78, up from $67 five years ago, thanks to “premium seats” that retail for as much as $350.
CBS television is broadcasting three hours of the four-hour show. The first hour on cable channel NY1 dispensed with the “creative arts” categories: book, original score, orchestrations and costumes, sound, lighting and scenic design.
The Tonys are a product of the trade association Broadway League and nonprofit American Theatre Wing. They’re selected by 769 voters. In July 2009, the Tony Awards Management Committee dropped about 100 journalists and critics from voting, citing the “possible conflicts of interest” of critics voting for shows they champion. After an outcry from journalists, who said they were more independent than producers who have financial interests in shows, the Tonys restored about two dozen critics as voters, beginning next season.