12 things you didn’t know about the 2011 Tony Awards


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The 2011 Tony Awards have come and gone. And while everyone continues to marvel at Neil Patrick Harris’ closing rap wrap-up, written by Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (‘In the Heights’), and his song-and-dance duet with past-host Hugh Jackman, we take this opportunity to share with you some factoids you may not have known.

Wrong number: “Book of Mormon” producer Scott Rudin suggested an opening of the Mormon boys singing the ‘Hello’ song and ringing the bells of the dressing rooms of the personalities in the telecast, summoning them to the stage and ending with Neil Patrick Harris. Harris apparently wanted the specialty number he in fact opened with, “Broadway: It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore.”


The talent behind the song: Speaking of the opening number, according to Wikipedia, the song was penned by David Javerbaum, a comedy writer and former executive producer of “The Daily Show.”

Attention to details: Backstage in the media room, Trey Parker admitted that “Book of Mormon,” which he, “South Park” co-creator Matt Stone and Robert Lopez wrote, contains an inaccuracy that is often noticed and pointed out to them: The use of the phrase “Praise Christ.” “It’s that one ... ‘praise Christ’ that keeps biting us in the ass.... we should have taken that ‘praise Christ’ out.”

A sad fact of winning: Mark Rylance, winner of the lead actor trophy for “Jerusalem,” gets sad when he wins awards. “I don’t know why, I just do.” He must have been pretty sad this season. Rylance won honors from the New York Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League.

Inspirational words: Rylance’s rambling absurdist acceptance speech came courtesy of a Louis Jenkins poem. No, that wasn’t his daughter: As they watched the red carpet arrivals, several people were wondering who was Al Pacino’s date for the evening. Answer: 32-year-old Lucila Sola, an actress originally from Argentina.

Who needs a limo?: Frances McDormand and her husband, Joel Coen, live just two blocks from the Tony Awards’ 2011 home, the Beacon Theatre on New York’s Upper West Side.

Triumph over tragedy: In one of the more moving speeches of the evening, best actor in a musical winner Norbert Leo Butz mentionedThis was not an easy one, it was not easy for me.” As the music played, the “Catch Me If You Can” star dedicated the award to his father and his sister, Teresa, who was brutally murdered in Seattle during the show’s out-of-town tryout there. “I love you, Teresa, we remember you every night.”


Hollywood, meet New York: Candy Spelling, mother of Tori and widow of Aaron, was one of the producers of the revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” On the red carpet, the Hollywood staple noted that she was excited to be in New York. “We in Hollywood are very jaded because we see all the stars all the time. But Broadway is another culture.”

Can’t escape Weinergate: Brooke Shields’ flubbed lines during the opening number were referencing the Anthony Weiner scandal, one of the surprisingly few mentions of the sexting New York representative. “Spider-Man,” on the other hand, was a comedy punching bag, even by its own musical team of Bono and the Edge.

The cost of theater: After winning the Tony for featured actor in a musical, John Larroquette recalled an earlier stint when he was arrested en route to an L.A. theater in the 1970s. “I did not yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, which in the ‘70s was verboten.” His wife had to take up a collection with the audience to get him bailed out.

Moving forward: “War Horse” co-director Marianne Elliott said that her next project is a musical with Tori Amos, ‘The Light Princess,’ which is expected to open next year.


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-- Lisa Fung

Top photo: Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris at the 2011 Tony Awards. Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images. Bottom photo: Al Pacino and Lucila Sola. Credit: Associated Press