‘Inheritance,’ ‘Moulin Rouge!’ Earn Top Honors at 74th Tony Awards

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Photo Source: "The Inheritance": Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

Honoring the best of the 2019–20 Broadway season, the 74th Tony Awards took place at long last Sept. 26, about a year and a half after their originally scheduled ceremony date. After the COVID-19 pandemic’s abrupt interruption of that season, the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League announced nominees last October, timing the later ceremony-meets-celebration with the ongoing reopening of New York City theaters.

Audra McDonald (a nominee for “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune”) served as host of the awards-giving portion of the proceedings, for the first time in Tonys history via streaming, on Paramount+. A primetime special, called “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” then aired on CBS, hosted by Leslie Odom Jr. and including concert performances from nominated musicals. Despite the pandemic rendering several 2020 Broadway productions ineligible for Antoinette Perry Award consideration (only four musicals, four play revivals, and 10 plays qualified), a still-strong crop of contenders finally claimed deserved recognition, including Matthew Lopez’s “The Inheritance” and the new musical “Moulin Rouge!”

In the musical acting categories, rising star Adrienne Warren was recognized for playing the titular role in “Tina - The Tina Turner Musical,” while “Moulin Rouge!” lead Aaron Tveit—who, in a strange twist and first of Tonys history, was the sole leading musical actor nominee—did indeed claim the prize. The featured performer winners were Lauren Patten of Alanis Morissette musical “Jagged Little Pill” and another “Moulin Rouge!” star, seven-time Tony nominee and first-time winner Danny Burstein. 

“We are so privileged to get to do this, to be on Broadway, to have a life in the theater, to distract, to tell the stories that represent the many and not the few, by the many and not the few, for the many and not the few,” said Tveit in one of the evening’s many emotional speeches. “What we do changes people’s lives. It changes people’s minds. It changes people’s hearts. We can change the world with this. Let’s not forget that.”

In addition to winning best new play, “The Inheritance” earned the directing award for Stephen Daldry and two acting prizes: Andrew Burnap and Lois Smith, the latter becoming the oldest Tony-winning performer at age 90. Rounding out the play acting categories were Mary-Louise Parker of Adam Rapp’s “The Sound Inside” and David Alan Grier of Charles Fuller’s “A Soldier’s Play,” the Broadway reincarnation of which won best play revival.

Lopez accepted the new play honor, noting that he is the first Latinx writer to win in the category’s history. Shouting out Miguel Piñero, the first Puerto Rican playwright to have a play on Broadway, he said, “We are a vibrant community, reflecting a vast array of cultures, experiences, and, yes, skin tones. We have so many stories to tell. They are inside of us aching to come out.”

Despite making history as the most Tony-nominated non-musical ever with 12, Jeremy O. Harris’ “Slave Play” came away empty-handed. Winning five awards out of its five nominations was “A Christmas Carol,” dominating the play design categories. But the night’s clear results leader was “Moulin Rouge!” which in addition to the best musical prize totaled 10, earning recognition for Alex Timbers’ direction, Sonya Tayeh’s choreography, Derek McLane’s scenic design, Catherine Zuber’s costume design, Justin Townsend’s lighting design, Peter Hylenski’s sound design, and Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine, and Justin Levine’s orchestrations.

For a full list of nominees, winners, and more on the Tony Awards, visit their official site.

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