An effusive Gavin Creel didn't thank his agents, managers, parents or significant other for his win when he accepted the Tony for featured actor in a musical for his role as Cornelius Hackl in "Hello, Dolly!"
He thanked his education and the musical theater department at the University of Michigan.
"My education as a young person there changed my life forever," Creel said, before adding, "If you’re out there and you have money, and I know some people in this room have a lot of it, start a scholarship fund."
Kevin Spacey’s opening production number in which he performed bits from the four best-musical nominees may have left those who haven’t seen the shows scratching their heads. But Times reporter Steven Zeitchik, who is reporting from the ceremony audience, says, "These jokes are way inside but they are slaying in the room."
No event at Radio City Music Hall would be complete without the Rockettes gracing the red carpet, and they made their presence felt early at the 2017 Tony Awards alongside nominees taking in the splendor of theater's big night.
Jerry Zaks, director of the hit Broadway revival of “Hello, Dolly!,” has known success before. His Tony Award nomination for “Dolly” is his eighth, and he’s already taken home four Tonys for such shows as the 1990 production of “Six Degrees of Separation” and the 1992 revival of “Guys and Dolls.”
But nothing prepared him for directing Bette Midler and the “Dolly” juggernaut, which has won critical praise, earned 10 Tony nominations and broke the box-office record for first-day ticket sales. The top ticket price of $748 is second only to “Hamilton” and its $849 premium seats.
Few Broadway shows boast the pedigree of 1964’s “ Hello, Dolly!” starring Carol Channing as lovable 1890s New York matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi, with music and lyrics by the legendary Jerry Herman, book by Michael Stewart and direction by Gower Champion. That show took home 10 Tony Awards including best musical and was on Broadway for seven years.
Here is a quick recap of the 2017 Tony Award nominations: “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” leads the pack with 12 nods, including for best musical.
The Bette Midler revival of “Hello, Dolly!” follows with 10 nominations and the emotionally complicated coming-of-age musical "Dear Evan Hansen" earned nine. Rounding out the top nominees are “A Doll's House, Part 2” with eight and “Come From Away,” “Groundhog Day” and “Oslo,” each with seven.
You know it’s an interesting year for the Tony Awards when a critic is still arguing with himself in June over what should win best musical and best play.
I’m divided between “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Natasha, Pierre and & the Great Comet of 1812,” the two leading contenders in a musical category that also includes “Groundhog Day” and “Come From Away.” As for best play, I’m down to flipping a coin between “A Doll’s House, Part 2” and “Oslo,” though just admitting that brings a twinge of regret for “Sweat” and “Indecent,” the other worthy plays in contention.
My indecision shouldn’t be mistaken for halfheartedness. I admire these works, but they succeed and stumble on their own terms. Singling out a winner seems indefensibly capricious, like deciding a pet beauty contest that includes dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and goldfish.