Musical 'Dear Evan Hansen' wins big at the Tony's

Posted June 12, 2017

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.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who recently won Oscars for the song "City of Stars" from the movie "La La Land", added to a remarkable year by earning Tonys for best score for writing the songs for "Dear Evan Hansen".

The show came into the night as the second-leading Tony nominee but ended up on top, with a revival of "Hello, Dolly!" starring Bette Midler next with four Tonys.

The ceremony, at Radio City Music Hall here, was hosted by Kevin Spacey, who generally stayed away from politics, instead choosing to make fun of his own status as a late-in- the-game and unexpected choice as host. Appearing as his "House of Cards" character Frank Underwood, he wisecracked that he'd better leave, "before Bette Midler thanks anyone else".

Unlike a year ago, when "Hamilton" dominated the show and won 11 Tonys, the wealth was spread out this time. And best director of a musical went to Christopher Ashley of "Come From Away", the crowd-pleasing show about the people of Gander, Newfoundland, who sheltered thousands of stranded airline passengers on September 11.

The show came in behind "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812" with 12 nominations, but that musical which dramatizes a 70-page slice of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" seemed to stall after winning two technical awards earlier, for best set and lighting.

It was clearly Evan Hansen's night. Gavin Creel won his first Tony for featured actor in a musical in "Hello, Dolly!".

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

Kevin Spacey, from left, Michael Kelly and Robin Wright appear as their characters from "House of Cards" as they present Lin-Manuel Miranda with the envelope for best musical at the 71st annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in NY.

Kline made a point of thanking the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, two organizations whose federal funding is threatened under President Donald Trump's administration.

Cynthia Nixon won her second Tony, this time for her acting in Lillian Hellman's "The Little Foxes".

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". Another big name, Danny DeVito, favored for his entertaining work in Arthur Miller's "The Price", lost out to Michael Aronov, for "Oslo". "Oslo" took home best play honors, while August Wilson's "Jitney" took home best revival of a.

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