Book of Mormon, War Horse Big Winners at Tony Awards

The 2011 Tony Awards winners were technically vast and diverse. However, virtually everyone who watched the Tonys knew that the big winners would be reading from The Book Of Mormon. The biggest question was how many awards the musical smash would win by the end, and whether it would approach the great champions in Tony history.

In the end, The Book of Mormon didn’t quite reach the heights of The Producers’ record-setting 12 awards. However, it still cleaned up with nine victories, as South Park masterminds Trey Parker and Matt Stone completed their conquest of Broadway and co-creator Robert Lopez added to the Tonys he got from Avenue Q.

The show’s victories were for Best Musical; Book of a Musical; Original Score; Actress in a Featured Role; Direction; Orchestrations; and Scenic, Lighting and Sound Design. With that kind of truckload, it would be hard for any other winners to claim the spotlight, yet they tried anyway.

While The Book of Mormon dominated the musical categories, the play competition had an even more overwhelming champion. War Horse won in each of its five categories, including Best Play and Direction; not even Mormon finished with a perfect record.

But War Horse is just getting started this year, since it has already been turned into a movie by none other than Steven Spielberg himself, according to BBC News. The film version will be out in late 2011, so perhaps the story will be recognized as both a Tony and Oscar champion in the same 12-month span. It certainly won’t hurt the movie version to have the “Based on the Tony Award-winning play” tagline now.

Meanwhile, the night’s third biggest champion was the revival of The Normal Heart, which prevailed for Best Revival of a Play and won featured acting awards for Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Hickey. Yet star Joe Mantello was defeated for Lead Actor by Jerusalem‘sMark Rylance.

Other than Barkin, John Larroquette and Frances McDormand, the acting prizes were mostly won by Broadway veterans, not movie stars. The musical leading role honors went to Norbert Leo Butz for Catch Me If You Can and Sutton Foster for Anything Goes,while Nikki M. James was the only Mormon actor to win for Featured Actress in a Musical.

Nevertheless, this year’s Tonys, and the past year on Broadway, will be defined by the runaway success of Book of Mormon — if not by the runaway train wreck that was Spider-Man. Parker and Stone had a much bigger theater debut than Bono and the Edge, and actually inspired less ridicule.

As the evening’s big winners, Parker and Stone took many chances to thank South Park fans for their support. Yet they made those same fans worry about its future in last week’s midseason finale. But they can spend the summer swimming in Tonys before they decide what to do with their first hit show.


Theater Mania- “The 2011 Tony Award Winners”

BBC News- “How War Horse took on the world”