2021 Tony Awards: ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ is the top winner

September 26, 2021

by Carla Hay

Tony Awards logo

With 10 prizes, including Best Musical, “Moulin Rouge!” was the top winner at the 74th annual Tony Awards, which took place at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City on September 26, 2021. “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which is based on the 2001 original musical movie, had 14 Tony nominations. The ceremony, which handed out most of the award categories, was streamed on Paramount+ and was hosted by Audra McDonald.

The biggest Tony Award categories were presented in a companion show titled “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!,” which was hosted by Leslie Odom Jr. and had more emphasis live performances than on giving awards. CBS had the U.S. telecast of “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!,” which Paramount+ had also available for streaming. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 74th annual Tony Awards ceremony was postponed from its original date of June 7, 2020. The Tony Awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League.

“The Inheritance,” which had 11 nominations, won four Tony Awards: Best Play; Best Direction of a Play (for Stephen Daldry); Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (for Andrew Burnap); and Best Performances by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (for Lois Smith).

“Jagged Little Pill” was the top contender going into the ceremony, with 15 nods. In the end, “Jagged Little Pill” won two Tony Awards: Best Book of a Musical for Diablo Cody) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (for Lauren Patten). The musical features songs from Alanis Morissette’s Grammy-winning 1995 multiplatinum album “Jagged Little Pill.”

“A Christmas Carol” won all five Tony Awards for which it was nominated: Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre; Best Scenic Design of a Play; Best Costume Design of a Play; Best Sound Design of a Play; and Best Lighting Design of a Play.

“A Soldier’s Play” won two of its seven nominations: Best Revival of a Play and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (for David Alan Grier). “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” had 12 nominations and won one: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (for Adrienne Warren). Meanwhile, Mary-Louise Parker of “The Sound Inside” won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, which was the only Tony Award won of the show’s six nominations.

On March 12, 2020, all Broadway shows were shut down due to the pandemic. The re-opening for Broadway shows was tentatively set for May 2021, but was eventually changed to September 2021. The traditional eligibility period for the 2021 Tony Awards (June 2020 to May 2021) has now been completely wiped out, since there were no Broadway shows playing during this eligibility period. However, the next Tony Awards is expected to take place sometime in 2022.

Because of the COVID-19 shutdown of Broadway shows, many of the Tony Awards categories for the 74th ceremony had less nominees than usual. Some categories (including Best Musical and Best Revival of a Play) that normally had five nominations each have three or less nominations for the category this year. In the category for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, there was only one nominee: Aaron Tveit of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” which made him the default winner.

Prizes in non-competitive categories are also handed out at each Tony Awards ceremony. Choreographer/dancer/theater director Garciela Daniele received the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. The Broadway Advocacy Coalition, “David Byrne’s American Utopia” and Freestyle Love Supreme were the recipients of the Special Tony Award. The Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award went to actress Julie Halston, for her work in battling pulmonary fibrosis. The recipients of the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre were director Fred Gallo, producer Irene Gandy, stage manager Beverly Jenkins, and New Federal Theatre and its founder Woodie King Jr.

Presenters at the 74th annual Tony Awards and “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” included Annaleigh Ashford, Jon Batiste, Stephanie J. Block, Wayne Brady, Tituss Burgess, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, André De Shields, Robbie Fairchild, Beanie Feldstein, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jordan Fisher, Santino Fontana, Andrew Garfield, Jared Grimes, Josh Groban, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Holliday, Christopher Jackson, Nikki M. James, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ron Cephas Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Norm Lewis, John Lithgow, Lindsay Mendez, Tony Awards host McDonald, Idina Menzel, Ruthie Ann Miles, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jennifer Nettles, Lynn Nottage, Bebe Neuwirth, Odom, Kelli O’Hara, Adam Pascal, Bernadette Peters, Ben Platt, Jeremy Pope, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Andrew Rannells, Anthony Rapp, Chita Rivera, Anika Noni Rose, Daphne Rubin-Vega Lea Salonga, Ali Stroker, Black Thought, Courtney B. Vance, Daniel J. Watts, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and BD Wong.

Performers included David Byrne and the cast of “American Utopia”; John Legend and the cast of “Ain’t Too Proud”; Odom and Groban, who prefaced the performance with talking about how they are both alumni of Carnegie Mellon University’s arts program; and a reunion of the cast members of “Hairspray,” including Marissa Jaret Winokur, Matthew Morrison, Kerry Butler, Chester Gregory and Darlene Love. The ceremony ended with a performance by Freestyle Love Supreme, featuring Miranda, James Monroe Iglehart, Christopher Jackson, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Wayne Brady, Anthony Veneziale, Chris Sullivan, Kiala Mullady, Aneesa Folds, Bill Sherman, Arthur Lewis, Tarik Davis, Andrew Bancroft, Ashley P. Flanagan and Ian Weinberger.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominations for the 2021 Tony Awards:

*=winner

Best Play

Grand Horizons

Author: Bess Wohl
Producers: Second Stage Theater, Carole Rothman, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Mandy Greenfield

The Inheritance*

Author: Matthew López
Producers: Tom Kirdahy, Sonia Friedman Productions, Hunter Arnold, Elizabeth Dewberry & Ali Ahmet Kocabiyik, 1001 Nights Productions, Robert Greenblatt, Mark Lee, Peter May, Scott Rudin, Richard Winkler, Bruce Cohen, Mara Isaacs, Greg Berlanti & Robbie Rogers, Brad Blume, Burnt Umber Productions, Shane Ewen, Greenleaf Productions, Marguerite Hoffman, Oliver Roth, Joseph Baker/Drew Hodges, Stephanie P. McClelland, Broadway Strategic Return Fund, Caiola Productions, Mary J. Davis, Kayla Greenspan, Fakston Productions, FBK Productions, Sally Cade Holmes, Benjamin Lowy, MWM Live, Lee & Alec Seymour, Lorenzo Thione, Sing Out, Louise! Productions, AB Company/Julie Boardman, Adam Zell & Co/ZKM Media, Jamie deRoy/Catherine Adler, DeSantis-Baugh Productions/Adam Hyndman, Gary DiMauro/Meredith Lynsey Schade, John Goldwyn/Silva Theatrical Group, Deborah Green/Christina Mattsson, Cliff Hopkins/George Scarles, Invisible Wall Productions/Lauren Stein, Sharon Karmazin/Broadway Factor NYC, Brian Spector/Madeleine Foster Bersin, Undivided Productions/Hysell Dohr Group, Ushkowitzlatimer Productions/Tyler Mount, The Young Vic

Sea Wall/A Life

Author: Simon Stephens & Nick Payne
Producers: Nine Stories, Ambassador Theatre Group, Seaview Productions, Benjamin Lowy Productions, LFG Theatrical, Audible, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions, Jacob Langfelder, Brian Moreland, Roth-Manella Productions, Salman Vienn Al-Rashid Friends, SLSM Theatricals, Teresa Tsai, Dunetz Restieri Productions, Morwin Schmookler, Jane & Mark Wilf, The Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, Patrick Willingham, Mandy Hackett

Slave Play

Author: Jeremy O. Harris
Producers: Seaview Productions, Troy Carter, Level Forward, Nine Stories, Sing Out, Louise! Productions, Shooting Star Productions, Roth-Manella Productions, Carlin Katler Productions, Cohen Hopkins Productions, Thomas Laub, Blair Russell, WEB Productions, Salman Al-Rashid, Jeremy O. Harris, Mark Shacket, New York Theatre Workshop

The Sound Inside

Author: Adam Rapp
Producers: Jeffrey Richards, Lincoln Center Theater, Rebecca Gold, Evamere Entertainment, Eric Falkenstein, Salman Vienn Al-Rashid, Spencer Ross, FilmNation Entertainment/Faliro House, Iris Smith, Jane Bergère, Caiola Productions, Mark S. Golub and David S. Golub, Ken Greiner, Gemini Theatrical Investors, Scott H. Mauro, Jayne Baron Sherman, CZEKAJ Productions, Wendy Morgan-Hunter, Kristin Foster, Brian Moreland, Sonia Mudbhatkal, Jacob Soroken Porter, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Mandy Greenfield


Best Musical

Jagged Little Pill

Producers: Vivek J. Tiwary, Arvind Ethan David, Eva Price, Caiola Productions, Level Forward & Abigail Disney, Geffen Playhouse-Tenenbaum-Feinberg, James L. Nederlander, Dean Borell Moravis Silver, Stephen G. Johnson, Concord Theatricals, Bard Theatricals, M. Kilburg Reedy, 42nd.club, Betsy Dollinger, Sundowners, The Araca Group, Jana Bezdek, Len Blavatnik, BSL Enterprises, Burnt Umber Productions, Darren DeVerna & Jeremiah Harris, Daryl Roth, Susan Edelstein, FG Productions, Sue Gilad & Larry Rogowsky, Harmonia, John Gore Theatrical Group, Melissa M. Jones & Barbara H. Freitag, Stephanie Kramer, Lamplighter Projects, Christina Isaly Liceaga, David Mirvish, Spencer B. Ross, Bellanca Smigel Rutter, Iris Smith, Jason Taylor & Sydney Suiter, Rachel Weinstein, W.I.T. Productions/Gabriel Creative Partners, Independent Presenters Network, Universal Music Publishing Group, Jujamcyn Theaters, Tamar Climan, American Repertory Theater

Moulin Rouge! The Musical*

Producers: Carmen Pavlovic, Gerry Ryan, Global Creatures, Bill Damaschke, Aaron Lustbader, Hunter Arnold, Darren Bagert, Erica Lynn Schwartz/Matt Picheny/Stephanie Rosenberg, Adam Blanshay Productions/Nicolas & Charles Talar, Iris Smith, Aleri Entertainment, CJ ENM, Sophie Qi/Harmonia Holdings, Baz & Co./Len Blavatnik, AF Creative Media/International Theatre Fund, Endeavor Content, Tom & Pam Faludy, Gilad-Rogowsky/Instone Productions, John Gore Organization, MEHR-BB Entertainment GmbH, Spencer Ross, Nederlander Presentations/IPN, Eric Falkenstein/Suzanne Grant, Jennifer Fischer, Peter May/Sandy Robertson, Triptyk Studios, Carl Daikeler/Sandi Moran, DeSantis-Baugh Productions, Red Mountain Theatre Company/42nd.club, Candy Spelling/Tulchin Bartner, Roy Furman, Jujamcyn Theaters

Tina — The Tina Turner Musical

Producers: Stage Entertainment, James L. Nederlander, Tali Pelman, Feste Investments B.V., David Mirvish, Nattering Way, TEG Dainty, Katori Hall, Mark Rubinstein LTD, Warner Chappell, Peter May, Eva Price, No Guarantees, Caiola Productions, Jamie deRoy, Wendy Federman, Roy Furman, Independent Presenters Network, John Gore Organization, Marc Levine, Carl Moellenberg, Al Nocciolino, Catherine Adler, Tom Perakos, Iris Smith, Candy Spelling, Anita Waxman, Daryl Roth, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Tina Turner


Best Revival of a Play

Betrayal

Producers: Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Benjamin Lowy Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions, AnnaPurna Theatre, Hunter Arnold, Burnt Umber Productions, Rashad V. Chambers, Eilene Davidson Productions, KFF Productions, Dominick LaRuffa, Jr., Stephanie P. McClelland, Richard Winkler/Alan Shorr, The Jamie Lloyd Company

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune

Author: Terrence McNally
Producers: Hunter Arnold, Debbie Bisno, Tom Kirdahy, Elizabeth Dewberry & Ali Ahmet Kocabiyik, Broadway Strategic Return Fund, Caiola Productions, FedermanGold Productions, Invisible Wall Productions, John Gore Organization, Mike Karns, Kilimanjaro Theatricals, Peter May, Tyler Mount, Seriff Productions, Silva Theatrical Group, Cliff Bleszinski/GetterLazarDaly, Jamie deRoy/Gary DiMauro, Suzi Dietz & Lenny Beer/Sally Cade Holmes, Barbara H. Freitag/Ken Davenport, Barry & Kimberly Gowdy/Mabee Family Office, Kayla Greenspan/Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf, John Joseph/Broadway Factor, Tilted Windmills/John Paterakis, The Shubert Organization

A Soldier’s Play*

Author: Charles Fuller
Producers: Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Julia C. Levy, Sydney Beers, Steve Dow


Best Book of a Musical

Jagged Little Pill*

Diablo Cody

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

John Logan

Tina — The Tina Turner Musical

Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins


Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

A Christmas Carol*

Music: Christopher Nightingale

The Inheritance

Music: Paul Englishby

The Rose Tattoo

Music: Fitz Patton and Jason Michael Webb

Slave Play

Music: Lindsay Jones

The Sound Inside

Music: Daniel Kluger


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Ian Barford, Linda Vista
Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance*
Jake Gyllenhaal, Sea Wall/A Life
Tom Hiddleston, Betrayal
Tom Sturridge, Sea Wall/A Life
Blair Underwood, A Soldier’s Play


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Joaquina Kalukango, Slave Play
Laura Linney, My Name is Lucy Barton
Audra McDonald, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside*


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Karen Olivo, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Elizabeth Stanley, Jagged Little Pill
Adrienne Warren, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical*


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Ato Blankson-Wood, Slave Play
James Cusati-Moyer, Slave Play
David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play*
John Benjamin Hickey, The Inheritance
Paul Hilton, The Inheritance


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Jane Alexander, Grand Horizons
Chalia La Tour, Slave Play
Annie McNamara, Slave Play
Lois Smith, The Inheritance*
Cora Vander Broek, Linda Vista


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*
Derek Klena, Jagged Little Pill
Sean Allan Krill, Jagged Little Pill
Sahr Ngaujah, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Daniel J. Watts, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Kathryn Gallagher, Jagged Little Pill
Celia Rose Gooding, Jagged Little Pill
Robyn Hurder, Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill*
Myra Lucretia Taylor, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical


Best Scenic Design of a Play

Bob Crowley, The Inheritance
Soutra Gilmour, Betrayal
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol*
Derek McLane, A Soldier’s Play
Clint Ramos, Slave Play


Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Riccardo Hernández and Lucy Mackinnon, Jagged Little Pill
Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*
Mark Thompson and Jeff Sugg, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical


Best Costume Design of a Play

Dede Ayite, Slave Play
Dede Ayite, A Soldier’s Play
Bob Crowley, The Inheritance
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol*
Clint Ramos, The Rose Tattoo


Best Costume Design of a Musical

Emily Rebholz, Jagged Little Pill
Mark Thompson, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical
Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*


Best Lighting Design of a Play

Jiyoun Chang, Slave Play
Jon Clark, The Inheritance
Heather Gilbert, The Sound Inside
Allen Lee Hughes, A Soldier’s Play
Hugh Vanstone, A Christmas Carol*


Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Bruno Poet, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical
Justin Townsend, Jagged Little Pill
Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*

Best Sound Design of a Play

Paul Arditti & Christopher Reid, The Inheritance
Simon Baker, A Christmas Carol*
Lindsay Jones, Slave Play
Daniel Kluger, Sea Wall/A Life
Daniel Kluger, The Sound Inside

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Jonathan Deans, Jagged Little Pill
Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*
Nevin Steinberg, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical


Best Direction of a Play

David Cromer, The Sound Inside
Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance*
Kenny Leon, A Soldier’s Play
Jamie Lloyd, Betrayal
Robert O’Hara, Slave Play


Best Direction of a Musical

Phyllida Lloyd, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical
Diane Paulus, Jagged Little Pill
Alex Timbers, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*


Best Choreography

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jagged Little Pill
Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*
Anthony Van Laast, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical


Best Orchestrations

Tom Kitt, Jagged Little Pill
Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine and Justin Levine, Moulin Rouge! The Musical*
Ethan Popp, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical

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