The Tony awards are back, and the sensational awards ceremony offered several moments that would send any queer Broadway fan into a tizzy.
Host Audra MsDonald said the awards ceremony felt “like a homecoming” after an unprecedented downtime as a result of COVID-19 which also led to a cancellation of the 2020 awards ceremony.
“The lights are on, we are here, we are back,” McDonald said.
This meant that only a handful of shows and actors were eligible for the Tony awards, which took place at the grand Winter Garden Theatre on Sunday (26 September). Only four musicals, 10 plays and four revivals of plays were up for awards this year.
Regardless, the night was filled with gorgeous red carpet looks, thoughtful winner’s speech and tear-jerking performances with surprising reunions.
Without further ado, here are the top six queerest moments from the 2021 Tony awards.
Moulin Rouge! hits a high note after sweeping the awards show
The jukebox adaptation of the beloved 2001 Oscar-winning film cleaned up at the Tony awards, earning 10 trophies in total – including Best Musical. The film itself was a wonderful celebration of LGBT+ camp, and the musical adaptation is no exception featuring a range of iconic hits from Elton John, Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga and more.
Moulin Rouge! was nominated in 14 categories and also picked up Tony awards for Best Actor (Aaron Tveit, who was the only nominee in the category) as well as Best Scenery, Costume, Lighting, Sound, Choreography, Orchestration and Direction in a musical.
Producer Carmen Pavlovic acknowledged that it was “odd” to be “talking about one show as best musical” because of the pandemic.
“I feel that every show of the last season deserves to be thought of as best musical,” Pavlovic said, Sky News reported.
Gay AIDS epic The Inheritance named best new play
Matthew Lopez’s epic seven-hour The Inheritance, which looks at gay life in Manhattan after the AIDS epidemic, took home the Tony for Best New Play. Lopez is the first Latin American writer to win in the category and urged for more plays to be produced from his community.
In the press room, Lopez shared that he felt “incredibly disconnected from the gay community” when he first started writing the play.
“I felt divorced from my own history,” Lopez said, the Hollywood Reporter reported. “And it was my attempt to understand it, to make contact with it and to make peace in some ways with the parts of it that I had a less than ideal relationship with.”
The Inheritance saw more wins at the Tonys on Sunday. Andrew Burnap took home the awards for Best Actor in a Play, Stephen Daltry as Best Director and Lois Smith as Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a play.
Smith, who is 90, is the oldest performer to win a Tony for acting, according to the New York Times.
Jagged Little Pill’s Lauren Patten thanked her trans and non-binary colleagues amid ongoing controversy about her role
Patton took home the Tony for Best Actress in a Featured Role in a musical for her performance in the Alanis Morissette show, which has recently been at the centre of controversy. Patten’s character was originally non-binary in the Boston iteration of Jagged Little Pill but was changed to female for Broadway.
In her acceptance speech, Patten acknowledged the outcry over the shifting depictions of her character and thanked her trans and non-binary Jagged Little Pill colleagues who had “joined me in a dialogue about my character Jo”.
She added that it was a “strange time for awards” because “we are in the middle of a reckoning in our industry”.
“And first and foremost I want to thank my trans and non-binary friends and colleagues who have engaged with me in difficult conversations, that have joined me in dialogue about my character Jo,” Patten said.
She continued: “I believe that the future for the change we need to see on Broadway comes from these kinds of conversations that are full of honesty and empathy and respect for our shared humanity.
“And I am so excited to see the action that comes from them, and to see where that leads our future as theatre artists in this country.”
Broadway co-stars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth reunite for emotional Wicked performance
Fans around the world were freaking out over the Chenoweth and Menzel reunion at the Tonys. The former Wicked co-stars performed the tear-jerking song “For Good” at the duets section at the end of the night.
— CBS (@CBS) September 27, 2021
Menzel and Chenoweth originated the roles of Glinda and Elphaba in the Broadway musical back in 2003. Almost two decades later, Wicked is still going strong, and the two performers looked completely in their element when they stood side-by-side on stage.
Chenoweth appeared on stage in a hot pink gown very reminiscent of Glinda while Menzel rocked a plain, long-sleeved black dress and matching heels.
During the emotional performance, longtime pals stared at each other lovingly, held hands and smiled at each other before sharing a warm hug at the end.
Original Rent stars Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp also reunited on stage
The two stars of Rent reunited for a performance of the hit song “What You Own” at the Tony awards. Rapp belted out the song as the crowd watched on in awe, and the two were met with thunderous applause at the end of the performance.
— CBS (@CBS) September 27, 2021
For those who didn’t know, Pascal and Rapp starred together as Roger and Mark in Rent when it first debuted on Broadway 25 years ago.
They also starred in the London run of the queer music in 1998 and reprised their roles in the 2005 film adaption. Pascal and Rapp returned to Rent for a 2007 run on Broadway and again for a national tour of Rent in 2009.
And let’s not forget the radiant red carpet looks
Really, what kind of awards ceremony would it be without some gorgeous red carpet looks? Pink was the unofficial colour of the 2021 awards ceremony, and stars donned every shade of the electrifying colour.
The absolute stunner of the evening was Pose star Jeremy Pope. Pope made a splash during Sunday night’s show in a gorgeous fuchsia suit and accompanying turtle neck from Louis Vuitton. Honestly, just a jaw-dropping look from start to finish.
Though she wasn’t wearing pink, Cyndi Lauper strutted down the red carpet in a dominating all-black ensemble. The singer rocked purple hair and thigh-high leather platforms on the red carpet.