"Spring Awakening," a pounding post-rock musical of teenage sexual anxiety, and Tom Stoppard's "The Coast of Utopia," a sprawling tale of 19th century Russian intellectuals, dominated the 2007 Tony Awards Sunday.
NEW YORK — “Spring Awakening,” a pounding post-rock musical of teenage sexual anxiety, and Tom Stoppard’s “The Coast of Utopia,” a sprawling tale of 19th century Russian intellectuals, dominated the 2007 Tony Awards Sunday.
As the evening progressed “Spring Awakening” had captured seven awards, with best musical still to come and “The Coast of Utopia” also had seven, including best play, a Tony record. The previous record was six, held by “Death of A Salesman” and “History Boys.”
The musical picked up the best score award for Duncan Sheik and lyricist Steven Sater, who also received the prize for book of a musical. “Musical theater rocks,” said Sheik, who also won for orchestrations.
“Steven and I definitely set out to make a new kind of musical,” Sheik said. “We were trying to forge our own path. I think we got lucky timing-wise — what’s happening politically. People were ready to deal with something that had teeth.”
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Its director, Michael Mayer, also won as did John Gallagher Jr., who portrays a manic student in the show. He received the featured-actor musical prize. “Heaven must feel like this,” enthused the 22-year-old Gallagher. Later backstage, he said, “I can’t feel anything right now, not even my arms. It’s an honor and a thrill that never in a million years would I dream for myself.”
Bill T. Jones danced down the aisle as he accepted his award for choreography for the musical. “I am a happy man,” said Jones.
Stoppard’s epic was equally successful in picking up awards. Jack O’Brien, its director, won as did two of the featured players in its large cast — Billy Crudup and Jennifer Ehle. “I know what Everest feels like,” O’Brien said.
“Utopia” also swept the play technical awards, winning prizes for sets, costumes and lighting. The musical technical nods were split three ways: sets, “Mary Poppins”; costumes, “Grey Gardens” and lighting, “Spring Awakening.”
Frank Langella, winning his third Tony, took the actor-play prize, for his sympathetic portrait of Richard M. Nixon in “Frost/Nixon.” “I am very proud to work among you splendid people,” a gracious Langella said.
In something of an upset, an ebullient Julie White received the actress-play award for her portrayal of a conniving agent in Douglas Carter Beane’s satiric “The Little Dog Laughed.” Said a disbelieving White, “You Tony voters — what a bunch of wacky, crazy kids.”
Equally overjoyed was Mary Louise Wilson, who copped the featured actress-musical prize for her role as the delightfully eccentric Big Edie in “Grey Gardens.” She came on stage and said, “Everyone has been so articulate.” Then she let out howl of delight as the audience cheered.
Within hours of its final curtain Sunday, “Journey’s End,” R.C. Sherriff’s anti-war drama won the revival play award as producer Bill Haber came on stage with the entire cast to accept the war. Despite enthusiastic reviews, the production struggled at the box office and closed after a disappointing four-month run.
The musical revival prize went to “Company.”
Competing against “Spring Awakening” for the top musical prize are “Grey Gardens,” the story of a combative mother and daughter; “Curtains,” a jaunty musical whodunit; and “Mary Poppins,” a lavish look at a certain English nanny made famous in the Disney movie.
Business was robust on Broadway during the 2006-2007 season as both grosses ($939 million) and attendance rose, with the number of theatergoers topping the 12-million mark for the second year in a row. Thirty-five productions opened during the year, including 12 new musicals and 11 new plays, according to the League of American Theatres and Producers.
The 2007 Tonys, broadcast by CBS, include 25 competitive categories and were voted on by 785 members of the theatrical community. The awards were founded in 1947 by the American Theatre Wing which now produces the show with the League of American Theatres and Producers.