Broadway's annual awards show puts on the glitz, thanks to Will Smith, Green Day, and the stars of ''Glee''

By Tanner Stransky
Updated June 18, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • Movie

The ratings for this year’s Tony Awards may have dropped 6 percent from last year, to 7 million viewers, but the celebrity wattage in NYC’s Radio City Music Hall on June 13 was anything but dim. The show capped a Broadway season dominated by Hollywood stars like Denzel Washington, Scarlett Johansson, and Catherine Zeta-Jones — and those are just the newly minted Tony winners. Oscar nominee Viola Davis, a stage vet who won as lead actress in the drama revival Fences opposite Washington, simply doubled her Tony collection. ”I’ve known of Viola’s brilliance for a long time,” Washington says of Davis, with whom he worked in his 2002 film Antwone Fisher. ”The first time I directed, I had enough good sense to hire her to be in it.”

There were also plenty of A-listers who never made it to the winner’s circle, including Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong (there to support the musical version of American Idiot), as well as Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay-Z (seated with wife Beyoncé), producers of the Afrobeat musical Fela! Even celebs who had been snubbed for a Tony nomination turned up for Broadway’s big night. Kristin Chenoweth supported (and smooched!) her Promises, Promises costar Sean Hayes, who hosted the ceremony to great acclaim, while The Addams Family stars Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane presented the awards for lead actress and actor in a musical, the categories for which they were overlooked. (For the occasion, Lane recycled a Bob Hope quip to describe the Tonys: ”Or, as we call it at my house, Passover.”)

Even without a theatrical production to plug, stage pros like Cate Blanchett, Chris Noth, Katie Holmes, and Lucy Liu made appearances. So did Glee leads Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele, with the latter performing an intense version of ”Don’t Rain on My Parade” that basically served as her audition for the lead in the just-announced 2012 revival of Funny Girl. Thanks to Michele’s hit Fox series, theater buffs increasingly find themselves in pop culture’s mainstream. The surest sign of the shift? New York Jets quarterback and self-proclaimed musical-theater enthusiast Mark Sanchez introduced a number from Memphis, a star-free musical with a score by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan (and lyrics co-written by Joe DiPietro) that took home Best Musical and three other awards. But the night’s biggest winner was Red, a bio-play starring Alfred Molina as modernist painter Mark Rothko that won six trophies. ”This is the first awards show I’ve ever been to,” says Red costar Eddie Redmayne, who won a featured-actor Tony and has appeared in films like The Good Shepherd. ”It’s beyond extraordinary.” (Additional reporting by Daniella Grossman)

Heavenly Host
Sean Hayes delighted the Tony audience with his deft hosting abilities. He pointedly kissed his Promises, Promises costar Kristin Chenoweth (take that, Newsweek!) and donned costumes for Broadway-bound musicals like Annie and Spider-Man.


Best Play

Best Musical

Best Play Revival

Best Musical Revival
La Cage aux Folles

Lead Actor, play
Denzel Washington, Fences

Lead Actress, play
Viola Davis, Fences

Lead Actor, musical
Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles

Lead Actress, musical
Catherine Zeta-Jones, A Little Night Music

Featured Actor, play
Eddie Redmayne, Red

Featured Actress, play
Scarlett Johansson, A View From the Bridge

Featured Actor, musical
Levi Kreis, Million Dollar Quartet

Featured actress, musical
Katie Finneran, Promises, Promises


  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 138 minutes
  • Denzel Washington