Bryan Cranston, ‘Hadestown,’ ‘The Ferryman’ win big as James Corden charms at history-making 2019 Tony Awards

By Zach Harper

Hadestown was named Best Musical and The Ferryman took home the award for Best Play at the 2019 Tony Awards on Sunday (June 9) night during a ceremony that featured a historic first: Ali Stroker became the first actor in a wheelchair to win.

The ceremony was hosted by James Corden, who kicked it off with a musical monologue that opened with him sitting on a couch, singing about being bored, before he was joined by dancers that popped up out of it. It was “interrupted” when Bryan Cranston got out of his seat, saying he had to go to the bathroom. The rest of the number honoured all the nominated plays and musicals with the type of cheeky jokes James has become known for.

This was the second time James has hosted the Tonys. He first did so in 2016. Photo: © Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Tony Awards Productions

Ali, whose acting resume also includes roles on Glee and in the 2015 revival of Spring Awakening, won her tony for playing Ado Annie in the revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! . During her acceptance speech, took a moment to celebrate her achievement and what it meant for people with disabilities.

“This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena,” she said. “You are.”

Ali also made history in 2015, when she became the first star who uses a wheelchair to appear on Broadway in Spring Awakening. Photo: © Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Hadestown won eight awards on Sunday evening, including one for director Rachel Chavkin’s work. She took home the trophy for Best Director of a Musical. She was the only woman nominated in the category and used her acceptance speech to call for more diversity on Broadway.

“I wish I wasn’t the only woman directing a musical on Broadway this season,” she said. “There are so many women who are ready to go. There are so many artists of colour who are ready to go. And we need to see that racial diversity and gender diversity reflected in our critical establishment, too.”

Bryan also won a Tony in 2014 for his portrayal of late US President Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way. Photo: © Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Bryan, who is an Oscar away from an EGOT, picked up the second Tony Award of his career, winning a trophy for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for his role in Network. The play is an adaptation of the 1976 film of the same name, and Bryan played news anchor Howard Beale, who becomes a TV ratings sensation when he begins ranting on air.

“Finally, a straight, old, white man gets a break!” Bryan joked, before launching into a speech that praised the role of journalism and reporters everywhere.

“Howard Beale is a fictitious TV newsman, who found his way into the line of fire because of his pursuit of the truth,” he said. “And I would like to dedicate this to all the real journalists around the world both in the press, in print media, and in broadcast media, who actually are in the line of fire with their pursuit of the truth.”

Three-time Tony Award winner and Transparent star Judith Light was given the Isabelle Stevenson Award in recognition of her philanthropy and contribution to LGBTQ+ causes and social issues. Judith has been an HIV/AIDS activist for decades, and also supports organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“It has long been my privilege to support the HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ+ communities,” she said while accepting the award. “So, to be honoured in this way tonight is extremely humbling.”

Here are some of the biggest winners from last night. You can see the full list of winners over at the Tony Awards website.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play:
Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
Bryan Cranston, Network

Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird
Adam Driver, Burn This
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play:
Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman
Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery

Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical:
Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom
Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice
Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Santino Fontana, Tootsie

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical:
Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show

Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom
Beth Leavel, The Prom
Eva Noblezada, Hadestown
Kelli O’Hara , Kiss Me, Kate

Best Revival of a Play:
Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

The Boys in the Band

Burn This
Torch Song
The Waverly Gallery

Best Revival of a Musical:
Kiss Me, Kate

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Play:
Choir Boy

The Ferryman

Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ink
What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Musical:
Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Beetlejuice

Hadestown

The Prom
Tootsie

Best Direction in a Play:
Rupert Goold, Ink
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman

Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird
Ivo van Hove, Network
George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Direction in a Musical:
Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown

Scott Ellis, Tootsie
Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play:
Bertie Carvel, Ink

Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band
Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird
Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This
Benjamin Walker, All My Sons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play:
Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman
Celia Keenan-Bolger
, To Kill a Mockingbird
Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
Ruth Wilson, King Lear

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical:
Lilli Cooper, Tootsie
Amber Gray, Hadestown
Sarah Stiles, Tootsie
Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Performance By an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical:
Andre De Shields, Hadestown
Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie
Patrick Page, Hadestown
Jeremy Pope, Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Ephraim Sykes, Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations

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