Sunday, June 24, 2018
Stage

'Kinky Boots' wins big

NEW YORK — The feel-good musical Kinky Boots, with songs by pop star and Broadway newcomer Cyndi Lauper, won a leading six 2013 Tony Awards on Sunday, including best musical, best score and best leading man.

Christopher Durang's comical Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won the best play Tony. Matilda the Musical and Pippin won four awards each and two other shows — Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Nance — shared three awards each.

Lauper, who wrote the hit Girls Just Want to Have Fun, was part of an impressive group of women who took top honors. Diane Paulus and Pam MacKinnon both won for directing — a rare time women have won directing Tonys for both a musical and a play in the same year.

Kinky Boots also won for choreography and two technical awards, and Billy Porter won for leading man in a musical.

Porter beat Kinky Boots co-star Stark Sands and told him from the stage: "You are my rock, my sword, my shield. Your grace gives me presence. I share this award with you. I'm gonna keep it at my house! But I share it with you."

Durang was a Tony nominee for A History of the American Film, and his Miss Witherspoon was a Pulitzer Prize nominee in 2006.

Paulus won her first Tony for directing the crackling, high-energy revival of the musical Pippin, which also earned the best revival honor and helped Patina Miller earn best leading actress.

MacKinnon won for directing the play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a year after earning her first nomination for helming Clybourne Park. Her revival of Edward Albee's story of marital strife won the best play revival and earned Tracy Letts his first acting Tony, an upset beating of Tom Hanks.

"The greatest job on Earth. We are the ones who say it to their faces, and we have a unique responsibility," Letts said.

Andrea Martin, 66, who won as featured actress in a musical, plays Pippin's grandmother and sings the music hall favorite No Time at All, stuns audiences nightly by doing jaw-dropping stunts that would make someone a fraction of her age blanch.

The Tonys were broadcast live by CBS from Radio City Music Hall. Neil Patrick Harris was back for his fourth turn as emcee.

The big opening number started with Harris simply holding a guitar in a pub like Once but quickly morphed into a flashy razzle-dazzle number that showcased performers from almost a dozen musicals — and even ex-boxer Mike Tyson dancing.

Harris sang "It's bigger! Tonight it's bigger," jumped through a hoop, vanished from a box and promised a "truly legendary show" before glitter guns went off.

Comments
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

SENDUP: MUSICAL OF MUSICALSFive composers, a talented cast, choreography by Cheryl Lee and music directed by Michael Raabe — that’s Freefall Theatre’s recipe for a laugh-filled, season-ending summer musical, appropriately titled The Musical of Musica...
Published: 06/20/18
Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

TAMPA — The virtues of Dancing at Lughnasa, with which Jobsite Theater closes its season, are many. This drama by the celebrated Brian Friel opened in 1990 to much acclaim. It captures a family’s joys and sadnesses, and the quickness with which one s...
Published: 06/19/18
Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — In his vision for this weekend, Connor Coyle is standing in the ring at the Coliseum, and the referee is raising his gloved fist.He’s got a National Boxing Association middleweight championship belt around his waist, the first of sev...
Published: 06/15/18
Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

Irish boxer brings his dream to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — In his vision for this weekend, Connor Coyle is standing in the ring at the Coliseum, and the referee is raising his gloved fist.He’s got a National Boxing Association middleweight championship belt around his waist, the first of sev...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/16/18
Why this ballet dancer is skipping college in favor of her own St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory

Why this ballet dancer is skipping college in favor of her own St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory

GULFPORT — Brianna Melton is as serious a ballet student as they come.By her junior year at St. Petersburg High’s International Baccalaureate program, she had already spent four summers training with ballet companies across the country and had narrow...
Published: 06/14/18
What’s on stage: The Illusionists, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa,’ G. David Howard

What’s on stage: The Illusionists, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa,’ G. David Howard

OPENING: DANCING AT LUGHNASAIrish playwright Brian Friel, who died in 2015 at 86, won’t be traveling anymore. But I’ll bet he packed a tidy suitcase. Dancing at Lughnasa, Jobsite Theater’s season closer, manages to address a lot of issues: race, reli...
Published: 06/13/18
Ruth Eckerd Hall tees up comedy, romance and Kristin Chenoweth for 2018-19 Broadway season

Ruth Eckerd Hall tees up comedy, romance and Kristin Chenoweth for 2018-19 Broadway season

Ruth Eckerd Hall rolls out a new lineup of musicals for its 2018-19 season, a mix of comedy, favorite musicals and romance."For the last 35 years, Broadway has always been a staple at Ruth Eckerd Hall," chief executive officer Zev Buffman said in a p...
Published: 06/12/18
A tense night at the Tony Awards ends in euphoria for Largo doctor Jeffrey Grove

A tense night at the Tony Awards ends in euphoria for Largo doctor Jeffrey Grove

Dr. Jeffrey Grove sat three-quarters of the way back from the stage at Radio City Music Hall, waiting for his moment. The Largo physician made the trip with family to New York for Sunday’s Tony Awards, where he hoped to see his investment in O...
Published: 06/11/18
Neal Boyd, ‘America’s Got Talent’ winner, dies at 42

Neal Boyd, ‘America’s Got Talent’ winner, dies at 42

SIKESTON, Mo. — Neal Boyd, an opera singer who won America’s Got Talent and dabbled in Missouri politics, has died. Scott County Coroner Scott Amick says Boyd died around 6 p.m. Sunday at his mother’s house in Sikeston. He was 42. Amick says Boyd had...
Published: 06/11/18
Parkland drama teens bring down the house with stirring performance at Tony Awards

Parkland drama teens bring down the house with stirring performance at Tony Awards

Members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s drama team stole the show at the 72nd Annual Tony Awards Sunday night.The performance brought the crowd— many of whom were wiping tears from their eyes— to its collective feet at the Radio City Music ...
Published: 06/11/18