The 74th Tony Awards took place in New York City, last week, honoring the best achievements of the 2019-2020 Broadway season. The ceremony was originally scheduled for June 7, 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut Broadway down for a year and a half.
Just 18 productions were eligible for the 2020 Tony Awards due to the shorter season, which is roughly half the number that would be contending in a normal year.
The show employed a unique format, beginning with an award ceremony hosted by singer and actress Audra McDonald which aired/streaming on Paramount+ which was followed by a live concert event “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” hosted by Leslie Odom Jr., that aired on CBS and Paramount+.
The final three awards, Best Play, Best Revival of a Play, and Best Musical, were presented during the primetime special.
Almost 40 years after earning his first Tony Awards nomination for portraying Jackie Robinson in the musical “The First,” David Alan Grier finally took home his first trophy for his turn, on Broadway, in Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “A Soldier’s Play.”
“Moulin Rouge! The Musical” was the big winner at the 74th Tony Awards, with ten wins from its 14 nominations. “Jagged Little Pill” earned two Tonys, including one for Diablo Cody for best book of a musical.
In the play categories, “A Christmas Carol” earned five wins (mostly in craft categories) while Matthew Lopez’s “The Inheritance” won for best play, actors, Lois Smith, and Andrew Burnap as well as for director Stephen Daldry.
On the “Broadway’s Back” special, performances from “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical,” “Jagged Little Pill” and “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” were among the productions that graced the stage.
Adrienne Warren won her first Tony Award for her knock-out performance, as Tina, in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” and has thanked the musical legend over and over again.
Her journey as Tina began at London’s West End theater. In 2019,
the musical bowed on Broadway (this year’s Tony Awards honored the shows of the 2019-2020 Broadway season after a postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) Adrienne won over fellow nominees Karen Olivo from “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” and Jagged Little Pill’s Elizabeth Stanley.
In her moving acceptance speech, Adrienne thanked her family members and, naturally, music legend Tina Turner herself “for trusting me to bring her story home.” She also showed love to fellow crew and cast members:
“Each one of you are a star within your own right. Thank you for holding me in light and in prayer, and I wish you were in this room. And I really look forward to the day that the bodies and souls and spirits of those that are involved in these shows that we are celebrating can be invited and join the celebration with us.”
The veteran screen and stage actor David Alan Grier, fought back tears, during his acceptance speech. He won his first Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play Sunday night for his turn as Tech Sergeant Vernon C. Waters in “A Soldier’s Play.”
Afterward, Grier tweeted a picture of himself holding the award, writing, “I can’t believe this sh*t! I f**ing won a Tony!”
Charles Fuller‘s drama won a Pulitzer Prize in 1982 before being adapted into an award-winning 1984 film, “A Soldier’s Story” — in which Grier played a smaller role, as Corporal Cobb, alongside a cast that included Howard E. Rollins Jr., Adolph Ceasar, and Denzel Washington.
The impacting murder of Grier’s character, Sergeant Waters, kicks off an investigation that dives deep into race and tension creating drama-filled, edge-of-your-seat suspense. “A Soldier’s Play” also stars Blair Underwood, who was also nominated for a Tony.
In his emotional acceptance speech, Grier thanked Douglas Turner-Ward, the acclaimed playwright, actor, director, and theatrical producer, who came to see the show before its Broadway run and before his passing earlier this year.
“This man’s passion, his commitment, every word he uttered,” Grier said of Turner-Ward, “was teaching and science of theater.”
He also showed gratitude to the Roundabout Theater, which was the play’s home, as well as its dynamic director, Kenny Leon. “I don’t know if I was the first call or the last call (for casting in the role), but I’m just glad you called baby!” he exclaimed.
The gifted, Yale-trained Grier also shouted to fellow thespian, Audra McDonald, a six-time Tony Award winner and one of the show’s hosts, exclaiming, “I finally got one.”
Grier is a deeply respected actor and comedian who may be best known for his time on the legendary early-’90s sketch comedy show, “In Living Color,” and has been featured in dozens of films and more than 50 television shows.
Click here for the complete list of winners