Tony Awards 2022: A great night for Jennifer Hudson and anyone called Michael Jackson
It was a great night at the Tonys for Jennifer Hudson and anyone named Michael Jackson.
JHud. became an EGOT last night, earning a Tony for producing “Strange Loop.” Her Emmys, Grammys and Oscars are otherwise for performances.
It wasn’t such a good night for “The Music Man,” Broadway’s biggest hit. The show did not win any Tony Awards.
It was a great night for Broadway veterans Patti Lupone and Phylicia Rashad, who won respective featured actress awards for a musical – “Company” – and a play – “Skeleton Crew.”
For newcomers who played Michael Jackson or wrote a very edgy musical and were called Michael Jackson, everything was fine. Newcomer Myles Frost beat out Hugh Jackman and Billy Crystal for Best Actor in a Musical in “MJ.” Then a musical called “A Strange Loop,” which won only one other award, Best Book of a Musical, won Best Musical. Michael R. Jackson wrote it.
“Six” won the highest score, which means that the best musical didn’t have the best music. Go figure. Best Musical also didn’t have best lighting or choreography – those went to “MJ the Musical”. Fake Michael Jackson.
But the whole story of “Strange Loop” is strange. And now that it’s won Best Musical, it’ll be curious to see how it fares when it’s time for a national tour, side tour and school licensing. There may be some sort of G-rated version that can be offered.
But the overall Tonys 2022 show was a success. Ariana deBose turned out to be an excellent host, Glenn Weiss directed another winner. The performances were top notch, especially Bernadette Peters singing Sondheim. Billy Porter gave a moving rendition of “On the Street Where You Live” during In Memoriam. And Billy Crystal kind of stole the show when he did a segment of “Mr. Saturday night.”
Of course, the real curveball was the performance of “Paradise Alley” star Joaquina Kalukango. Many in Radio City had never heard of her. But she quit the show, raised five thousand, then won the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical. “Paradise Alley” is about to close, but she’ll single-handedly keep it open for a bit. Wow.
Later in the day on the after party at the Plaza Hotel. There were smaller parties for individual shows, but the Plaza was the scene of a ton of celebrities who arrived hungry and were greeted with lots of delicious food. Among those I spoke to were Uzo Aduba, Zach Braff, Tony Goldwyn, Carmen Cusack and her soap star husband Paul Telfer, the inimitable Adrienne Warren and David Furnish.
A great end to a difficult season!