The Donmar Warehouse production of John Logan’s Red collected more trophies than any other production at yesterday’s Tony Awards, Broadway’s equivalent of London’s Laurence Olivier Awards, with a haul of six including Best Play.
In a strong year for British transfers to America, the Menier Chocolate Factory productions of La Cage Aux Folles and A Little Night Music collected another four awards between them.
Red, which ran at the Donmar Warehouse last Christmas before transferring to Broadway in March, tells the tale of 20th century artist Mark Rothko as he struggles to accept the fame he has found and his place in the changing art world.
Eddie Redmayne, who plays Rothko’s assistant, won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play, adding to the Laurence Olivier Award for Actor in a Supporting Role he won earlier this year for his London performance in Red.
In addition to three wins for design – Scenic Design for Christopher Oram, Lighting Design for Neil Austin and Sound Design for Adam Cork – the production won Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Michael Grandage his first Tony Award for direction.
Speaking about the production’s bumper night, Grandage said: “One of the great joys for the Donmar is to take our work to America from time to time and to share it with such a vibrant theatre community – in the past year alone, we have transferred Red, Hamlet and Creditors to New York and Parade to Los Angeles. The fact that the Broadway community have now honoured us in such a remarkable way with Tony recognition is a joy for us all.”
La Cage Aux Folles, which was revived by the Menier Chocolate Factory in November 2007 before transferring to the West End and finally to Broadway, recreated its London awards success, collecting Tonys for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for Douglas Hodge, awards it had previously won at the 2009 Laurence Olivier Awards. At the Tonys it also added the accolade of Best Director of a Musical, which was won by Terry Johnson.
Another Menier transfer, the Trevor Nunn-directed revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, saw Catherine Zeta-Jones, who replaced London star Hannah Waddingham for the production’s Broadway run, win the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.
Another Brit leaving the Tonys with an award in his pocket was playwright Alan Ayckbourn, who was honoured with the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre.
The haul of 10 award wins from 28 nominations for British productions is an impressive showing for West End transfers, with only the Donmar’s production of Hamlet and the Royal Court, Chichester Festival Theatre and Headlong production of Enron unable to convert any nominations into a win.
Away from British productions, the Tony Award for Best Musical went to Memphis, which features music and lyrics by Bon Jovi keyboard player David Bryan. The production also collected wins for Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations.
August Wilson’s Fences won Best Revival of a Play, with stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis winning the awards for Leading Actor and Actress in a Play. Scarlett Johansson, better known for her Hollywood performances than her stage work, collected the Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her role in A View From The Bridge.
Musical Fela!, which comes to the National Theatre in November, won three awards for Best Choreography (Bill T Jones), Best Costume Design of a Musical (Marina Draghici) and Best Sound Design of a Musical (Robert Kaplowitz).
A full list of Tony Award winners can be found at the Tony Awards website.