Some of Hollywood's biggest names won big on Broadway, collecting Tony Awards on Sunday night, including Bryan Cranston and Neil Patrick Harris.
In his Broadway debut, Cranston won a Tony for best performance by an actor in a leading role for his portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in "All The Way." Speaking to reporters backstage, Cranston called stage acting the purest form of acting, and referenced his previous work on "Breaking Bad" when he joked, "It's as strong as blue crystal meth."
Harris was honored with a Tony for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical for his work in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." During a musical performance Sunday night as his character Hedwig, Harris gave Sting a lap dance and licked Samuel L. Jackson's glasses. Backstage, Harris said one benefit of having hosted the show in the past is he gets inside "intel on who's sitting where." Harris said Sting and Jackson "weren't alerted that things were going to be happening to them -- naughty, dirty things."
Sunday night was a historic night, as well.
Audra McDonald won a record sixth Tony when she received the trophy for best performance by a lead actress in a play for her portrayal of the late singer Billie Holliday in "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill." Angela Lansbury and the late Julie Harris each won five competitive Tonys.
Idina Menzel was nominated for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical for "If/Then," but she lost out to Jessie Mueller, the star of "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical." Menzel performed during the telecast, singing the ballad, "Always Starting Over." Before she took the stage, actor Jonathan Groff, who provides the voice of Kristoff in "Frozen," introduced Menzel as "wickedly talented," a reference to when John Travolta flubbed her name at the Academy Awards earlier this year.
Hugh Jackman was back as host and kicked off the show by hopping like a kangaroo into Radio City Music Hall and passing staged reenactments of nominated musicals. He joked that the Tony Awards is "the only place where you see Rocky in a boxing ring, Bryan Cranston in the Oval Office and Wolverine in tap shoes."
Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight joined one-time "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino and the cast of "After Midnight" for performances of the musical's hit numbers, “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” and, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing).”
Sting performed "The Last Ship," the title song of his upcoming musical, slated to premiere on Broadway in the fall.
There were also performances of musical numbers from "Aladdin," "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and "Rocky," featuring the show's Apollo Creed and Rocky trading blows in a ring being spun around.
Jackman teamed up with LL Cool J and T.I. to deliver a rap version of a tune from "The Music Man."
In a presentation not broadcast, Rosie O'Donnell received the Isabelle Stevenson Award, an honorary Tony recognizing her work in fostering arts education in children and her support of Broadway at large.
- Neil Patrick Harris
- Bryan Cranston
- Julie Harris