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Fame and celebrity

Tony Awards: Dear Evan Hansen, Bette Midler, Oslo win top prizes at Broadway’s big night

‘Dear Evan Hansen’ is a touching, heartfelt musical about young outsiders

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 June, 2017, 1:14pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 June, 2017, 1:14pm

Dear Evan Hansen, the teen-angst driven musical about a high school outsider, won the top prize at Sunday’s Tony Awards, Broadway highest honours, while J.T. Rogers’ Mideast peace accord drama Oslo was named best play.

The surprise hit musical won a total of six Tonys, including best musical actor for 23 year-old newcomer Ben Platt, featured actress Rachel Bay Jones, as well as best book, score and orchestrations.

As widely predicted, Bette Midler won her first competitive Tony as best actress in a musical for Hello, Dolly!.

Living up to her bawdy reputation, Midler delivered a profanity-laced speech to the star-laden audience at Radio City Music Hall, chastising the orchestra as its music welled when she spoke at length.

Hello Dolly! won four Tonys, including best musical revival.

“It’s a very tough schedule,” Midler, 71, said backstage, noting she is “a woman of a certain age.”

But she said the experience had been “life-affirming and life-changing,” telling reporters between tears, “It’s more than I deserve.”

Actors Cynthia Nixon, Kevin Kline and Laurie Metcalf all won Tonys for performances in plays.

Kline won the lead actor Tony for his turn as an egocentric actor in Noel Cowards’ Present Laughter.

“I want to thank everybody,” Kline said, adding “we don’t do this alone.”

Former Roseanne star Metcalf won her first Tony after several nominations, taking best actress in a play for A Doll’s House, Part 2, a lively, fast-paced sequel to the Henrik Ibsen classic.

Nixon was named best featured actress in a play for a revival of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, about a greedy southern family’s underhanded business practices.

The actress lauded Hellman for her “eerily prescient play.”

Noting one of its lines about people who “eat the Earth” and others who “watch them do it,” Nixon praised present-day activists as “the people who in 2017 are refusing to just stand around and watch them do it.”

Tony Awards 2017: red carpet sparkles; Kevin Spacey kicks off with gentle humour

Michael Aronov was a surprise winner in the featured actor category for his kinetic performance as an Israeli negotiator in Oslo, a behind-the-scenes look at the 1993 Middle East peace accords.

Oslo playwright Rogers, making his Broadway debut, thanked “The ladies and gentlemen who believed in democracy, who believed in peace, who believed in seeing their enemies as humans, I give this up to you.”

Gavin Creel won best featured actor in a musical for Hello, Dolly! and August Wilson’s Jitney won best revival of a play.

First-time Tonys host Kevin Spacey kicked off the show with a medley of songs referencing his self-doubt about successfully hosting the annual awards show compared to past hosts Neil Patrick Harris, James Corden or Hugh Jackman.

Broadway enjoyed a record-breaking season this year thanks to last year’s Tony winner and pop culture juggernaut Hamilton, and musicals like Sunset Boulevard, starring Glenn Close, and Hello, Dolly!.

Winners in key categories for Broadway’s Tony Awards

Best musical:

Dear Evan Hansen

Best play:

Oslo by J. T. Rogers

Best revival of a musical:

Hello, Dolly!

Best revival of a play:

August Wilson’s Jitney

Best performance by a leading actress in a musical:

Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!

Best performance by a leading actor in a musical:

Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Best performance by a leading actress in a play:

Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2

Best performance by a leading actor in a play:

Kevin Kline, Present Laughter

Best performance by a featured actor in a play:

Michael Aronov, Oslo

Best performance by a featured actress in a play:

Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes

Best performance by a featured actor in a musical

Gavin Creel, Hello Dolly!

Best performance by a featured actress in a musical

Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen

Best book of a musical:

Dear Evan Hansen

Best original score:

Dear Evan Hansen

Best choreography:

Bandstand

Lifetime achievement:

James Earl Jones