The favorite going into Sunday’s 59th annual Tony Awards, Monty Python’s Spamalot won only three of the 14 prizes for which it was nominated, but one of them was Broadway’s holy grail: Best Musical. It also won Best Director of a Musical for Mike Nichols, marking the stage and screen legend’s ninth Tony win, and an acting prize for newcomer Sara Ramirez, who plays the wacky Lady of the Lake in the Arthurian spoof.
Still, underdog musical The Light in the Piazza won six prizes, including Best Score for composer Adam Guettel, following in the footsteps of his famous grandfather, Richard Rodgers (who partnered with Oscar Hammerstein to write the songs for such seminal musicals as Oklahoma and The Sound of Music). Among straight plays, Pulitzer Prize winner Doubt, by Oscar-winning screenwriter John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck), was the undoubted leader, with four trophies, including a Best Play award for Shanley and two acting awards.
Despite a season marked by Broadway roles for well-known TV and movie stars (nominees included Alan Alda, James Earl Jones, Christina Applegate, John Lithgow, and Laura Linney), most of the acting prizes went to performers best known for their stage work. Besides Billy Crystal, who won the Special Theatrical Event prize for his autobiographical one-man show 700 Sundays, the winners most recognizable to moviegoers were Doubt star Cherry Jones (frequently a leading lady on Broadway but best known in movies for supporting roles like her police officer in Signs) and Liev Schreiber (of the Scream trilogy) for Glengarry Glen Ross, which also won Best Revival of a Play.
The Tonys were presented at Radio City Music Hall in a ceremony broadcast live on CBS and hosted by Tony winner Hugh Jackman for the third straight year. A partial list of winners is below.
Monty Python’s Spamalot
Best Revival of a Play
Glengarry Glen Ross
Best Revival of a Musical
La Cage aux Folles
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Bill Irwin, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Cherry Jones, Doubt
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Norbert Leo Butz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Victoria Clark, The Light in the Piazza
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Liev Schreiber, Glengarry Glen Ross
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Adriane Lenox, Doubt
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Dan Fogler, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Sara Ramirez, Monty Python’s Spamalot