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Tony winners: ‘Hadestown’ racks up 8 awards including best musical — and women make history

The Tony Awards sank deep into the underworld Sunday as “Hadestown” took home a leading eight statues and made Broadway history as the first production written and directed by women to win best musical.

“The Ferryman” picked up four awards including best play, but it was Anaïs Mitchell’s folk-operatic re-imagining of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth that led the night. Mitchell took home the Tony for score, while Rachel Chavkin, the lone woman in her category, won for direction of a musical.

11:15 AM, Jun. 10, 2019 An earlier version of this article said Sam Mendes is directing the next James Bond film. He is not.

“It’s about keeping faith when you are made to feel alone, and that is how the power structures try to maintain control — by trying to make you feel like you’re walking in the darkness, even when your partner is right behind you,” she said, holding back tears. Chavkin called for more inclusion among Broadway’s ranks of stage directors and critics, adding: “There are so many women who are ready to go, there are so many artists of color who are ready to go. … It is a failure of imagination by a field whose job it is to imagine how the world could be.”

73rd Annual Tony Awards - Media Room

Rachel Chavkin, winner for director of a musical, in the Tonys press room after her "Hadestown" win.

(Jemal Countess / Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro)


RACHEL CHAVKIN: Director calls out Broadway for a lack of hiring imagination »

Ali Stroker made history as the first performer in a wheelchair to win a Tony, taking home honors for featured actress in the re-imagining of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” The production also took the prize for musical revival.

“This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a limitation or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena,” Stroker said after a standing ovation.

Despite speculation that Tonys producers would build a ramp from the Radio City Music Hall audience area to the stage for Stroker, the actress was positioned offstage when her category was announced. She rolled out to give her acceptance speech, then headed to the media room, where she said she hoped theater owners and producers would make their backstages more accessible for performers with disabilities.


73rd Annual Tony Awards - Show

Ali Stroker performs a song from Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" during the Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

(Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro)

73rd Annual Tony Awards - Show

André De Shields was the sentimental favorite in the category of featured actor in a musical.

(Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro)

SENTIMENTAL FAVORITE: 5 facts on the epic career of André De Shields »

Broadway veteran and sentimental favorite André De Shields, 73, won his first Tony for his featured performance in “Hadestown.” Channeling his wise and godly character Hermes, the actor shared three pieces of advice in his acceptance speech: “One, surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming. Two, slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be. And three, the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing.”

“Network” star Bryan Cranston beat Jeff Daniels and Adam Driver, among others, to win lead actor in a play.

“Finally, a straight old white man gets a break!” joked Cranston in his acceptance speech.

He dedicated his win “to all the real journalists around the world, both in the print media and also broadcast media, who are actually in the line of fire in pursuit of the truth. The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”


The cast and producers of “Hadestown” accept the award for best musical at the 2019 Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Stephanie J. Block accepts the award for her lead performance in the musical “The Cher Show.”

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Santino Fontana accepts the award for his lead performance in the musical for “Tootsie.”

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Cynthia Erivo performs during the “In Memoriam” section at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


Brian Stokes Mitchell speaks during the 2019 Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Playwright Jez Butterworth and the cast and producers of “The Ferryman” accept the award for best play.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images)


Bryan Cranston accepts the Tony for his lead performance in the play “Network.”

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


“What the Constitution Means to Me” writer-performer Heidi Schreck talks about her play at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


The cast of “Kiss Me, Kate” performs during the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


“Kiss Me, Kate” star Kelli OHara introduces an excerpt from the show during the 2019 Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


The cast of “Kiss Me, Kate” performs “Too Darn Hot” during the 2019 Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Anaïs Mitchell accepts the Tony Award for original score for “Hadestown” from David Byrne during the 2019 Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


BeBe Winans introduces a performance by the cast of “Choir Boy” at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


The cast of “Choir Boy” performs during the 2019 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Tarell Alvin McCraney, author of the play “Choir Boy,” at the 2019 Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Author Mart Crowley and the cast and producers of “The Boys in the Band” accept the award for best revival of a play at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


Marisa Tomei and Michael Shannon present the award for best revival of a play.

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


Isabelle McCalla, center left, and Caitlin Kinnunen seal “The Prom” with a kiss during an excerpt from the musical at 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


Ali Stroker accepts the award for her featured role in “Oklahoma!”

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


Rosemary Harris accepts a lifetime achievement Tony Award during the 2019 ceremony.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Alex Brightman and the cast of “Beetlejuice” perform during the 2019 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Catherine O’Hara introduces a performance by the Broadway company of “Beetlejuice” at the 2019 Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


James Corden, left, and Ben Platt sing a duet during the 2019 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


André De Shields accepts the Tony for his featured performance in “Hadestown.”

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Presenters Sienna Miller and Darren Criss at the 2019 Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


“The Ferryman” playwright Jez Butterworth speaks during the 2019 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Ali Stroker performs “I Cain’t Say No” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” during the 2019 Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Judith Lights accepts the Isabelle Stevenson Award at the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


Santino Fontana, center, and the cast of “Tootsie” perform during the 2019 Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Spouses Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson Jackson are Tony presenters.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Bertie Carvel accepts the Tony for his featured role in the play “Ink.”

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Celia Keenan-Bolger accepts the award for her featured role in the play “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


The cast of “Ain’t Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations” performs during the 2019 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Tina Fey and Jake Gyllenhaal announce the featured actor in a play award.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


James Corden opens the 2019 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Host James Corden, left, sidles up to the cast of “Oklahoma!” while opening the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


The Tony for regional theater is presented to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, Calif.

  (Theo Wargo / Getty Images )


Celia Keenan-Bolger, featured actress nominee for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” arrives for the Tony Awards. She took home the prize.

  (Jenny Anderson / Getty Images)


Ben Platt, musical lead actor winner in 2017 for “Dear Evan Hansen,” arrives at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Lead actress nominee Annette Bening and husband Warren Beatty arrive at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Tony Awards host James Corden and his wife, Julia Carey, arrive for the ceremony at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)


“Pose” actor and Broadway stalwart Billy Porter arrives at the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Kristin Chenoweth attends the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Bryan Bedder / Getty Images)


Actress Jane Krakowski at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Tony Awards)


Jake Gyllenhaal arrives at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Actress Ashley Park attends the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Bryan Bedder / Getty Images )


Tina Fey, whose “Mean Girls” is playing on Broadway, attends the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Tony Awards)


Josh Groban attends the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images)


Actress Marisa Tomei arrives at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Husbands Todd Spiewak, left, and Jim Parsons arrive at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Actress Judith Light works the red carpet at the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Tony Awards)


Playwright Terrence McNally, left, and his producer husband, Tom Kirdahy (“Hadestown”) arrive at the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)


Bee Shaffer Carrozzini and her mother, Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, attend the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Tony Awards)


Actress Lucy Liu arrives at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Spouses Robin Dearden and Bryan Cranston arrive at the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Actress Samira Wiley arrives at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Darren Criss and his wife, Mia Swier, arrive at the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Actress Cynthia Erivo walks the red carpet at the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


“Beetlejuice” actress Sophia Anne Caruso arrives at the Tony Awards.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Shirley Jones, left, and son Shaun Cassidy arrive at the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


Producer Jordan Roth attends the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Tony Awards)


Camille A. Brown, the first black woman choreographer nominated for a Tony Award in over 20 years (for “Choir Boy”), attends the 73rd Tony Awards.

  (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Tony Awards)


American Theatre Wing President and Chief Executive Heather Hitchens arrives at the 73rd Tony Awards. The Theatre Wing awards the Tonys.

  (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Tony Awards)


Madeline Michel, recipient of the excellence in theater education award, arrives at the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision/AP)


The Radio City stage before the start of the 73rd Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

  (Charles Sykes / Invision/AP)


The Tonys red carpet before arrivals.

  (Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)


GET READY TO CRY: Fan reaction to Ali Strocker’s historic Tonys win »

In the best play race, Jez Butterworth’s Ireland-set epic “The Ferryman” beat out Heidi Schreck’s dark-horse “What the Constitution Means to Me,” which ended the night empty-handed.

“The Ferryman” also picked up the award for direction. Sam Mendes, who is directing a film, shared his acceptance remarks via email: “It’s a little bit bonkers trying to make theater on Broadway — to be dealing with something so fragile in such a rough-and-tumble environment,” he said. “But when it works, it’s like nowhere else in the world.”

The star-studded staging of “The Boys in the Band,” which producer Ryan Murphy is adapting for Netflix, won the award for play revival.

“I remember being a very, very young guy — 6 or 7, seeing ‘Boys in the Band’ on television — and it was the only thing that I had, the only group of gay men I had ever seen,” he told reporters backstage. “I’m just excited about the evolution of that idea and bringing it to a new audience.”

Elaine May scored a victory for lead actress for her performance in “The Waverly Garden,” beating a packed field that included Annette Bening, Janet McTeer and Laurie Metcalf. “Ink” actor Bertie Carvel and “To Kill a Mockingbird” actress Celia Keenan-Bolger won for their featured performances in plays.

James Corden

Host James Corden had the Tonys audience laughing.

(Charles Sykes / Invision / AP)

SAME-SEX KISS: Why ‘The Prom’ wanted that moment on the Tonys telecast »


James Corden, hosting the Tonys for a second time, sprinkled in crowd-pleasing pokes at annoying audience members’ phones ringing during shows, how expensive Broadway tickets have become and how low the industry’s paychecks and the CBS telecast’s ratings tend to be.

Performances are the center of any Tonys telecast, which doubles as a three-hour commercial for current Broadway offerings. Highlights this year included a hit parade by the cast of the jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud,” who showcased a bit of the Temptations catalog and Sergio Trujillo’s Tony-winning choreography; a spirited performance of “Believe” by lead actress winner Stephanie J. Block of “The Cher Show,” spotlighting Bob Mackie’s Tony-winning costumes; and a “Tootsie” musical performance by lead actor winner Santino Fontana that featured lines from Robert Horn’s Tony-winning book and Fontana’s skilled quick-change into the sparkling red gown made famous in the 1982 Dustin Hoffman movie.

The cast of “The Prom” drove home the show’s themes of acceptance and inclusion with a same-sex kiss.

“When you love someone, you kiss them — it’s not a big deal,” actress Caitlin Kinnunen told The Times before the performance. “Yes, there’s always backlash from the people who think it’s wrong and unacceptable, but there’s also always 10 times the amount of people who say, ‘Thank you, we feel seen and represented; this should be the norm.’ It’s been amazing the amount of love and support we get.”

THE CRITIC’S TAKE: Tony Awards: Broadway celebrates unabashed idealism »

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