Tony Award winners: Ladies make history and Chicago shows win

Among the 2013 Tony Award winners were some history makers, largely women. Cyndi Lauper, Pam MacKinnon, Diane Paulus, and Patina Miller each broke barriers for women in theatre. Meanwhile Kinky Boots and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? both of which originated in Chicago won top awards for best musical and best revival of a play, respectively.

Cyndi Lauper became the first solo woman to win the Tony Award for best original score for the music and lyrics for Kinky Boots. I was rooting for her the whole time.

Diane Paulus won best direction of musical for Pippin, and Pam MacKinnon won best direction of a play for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Although women have won each award in the past this is the first time women have won both of the Tony Awards for directing in the same year. (UPDATE: In my late night fact checking I missed that in 1998 women took home both directing awards. Oh, well. It's still only the second time. Still awesome.)

Perhaps the most interesting female breakthrough was Patina Miller's win for featured actress in a musical for her performance as The Leading Player in Pippin. Ben Vereen won a Tony Award in 1973 for performing the same role making it the only role that both a man and a woman have won Tony Awards for playing.

Kinky Boots won a total of 6 Tony Awards. The show originated here in Chicago. (Billy Porter who won best leading actor in a musical is from my other home town of Pittsburgh.)

Tony Award Winner: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow

The Steppenwolf Theatre produced Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? only won three Tony Awards, but they were big ones: best revival of a play, best direction, and leading actor in a play. The latter award was won by Tracy Letts. I told you he was a bad ass. He made history too as the first Pulitzer Prize winning playwright to win a Tony Award for acting.

Congratulations to all the Tony Award winners, all the nominees and everyone with a passion for theatre. The Tony Awards always encourage people to go see a Broadway play, but for those who can't get to Broadway I suggest you go see a play anywhere you can!

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Tags: Theatre, Tony Awards

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