‘Harry Potter…’, ‘The Band’s Visit’ win big at Tony Awards

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New York, June 11 (IANS) “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two” roped in Best Play while “The Band’s Visit” was recognised as the Best Musical at the 72nd Tony Awards that mixed Broadway razzle-dazzle with politically-charged calls to arms.

“Angels in America”, a sprawling two-part drama about the AIDS crisis, was named the year’s Best Play Revival. The honour, one of three statues it picked up on Sunday, came roughly 25 years after the original production of “Angels in America” swept the 1993 Tony Awards, reports variety.com.

Ostensibly a celebration of theatre, the annual event was an opportunity for Broadway to talk up the virtues of inclusion and diversity, while also drawing attention to gay rights, gun control, and the challenges facing immigrants.

While introducing a performance by Bruce Springsteen, for instance, presenter Robert De Niro said “f**k Trump” twice sending CBS censors scrambling to bleep his off-colour remarks.

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De Niro’s fiery words were the most likely to elicit a Twitter response from US President Donald Trump.

Most winners and presenters avoided mentioning Trump or Trump-ism by name, while making it clear that their sympathies were with the resistance.

Many wore pins for movements such as Time’s Up or ribbons highlighting left-leaning organisations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Tony Kushner, the playwright behind “Angels in America”, was one of the broadcast’s more explicit agitators, urging people to get out and vote in the mid-term elections in November.

Kushner told viewers they have “21 weeks to save our democracy and heal our planet.”

Andrew Garfield, the Best Leading Actor in a play, won for his work as Prior Walter, the AIDS-stricken prophet at the centre of “Angels in America”. He referenced a recent Supreme Court order upholding the right of a Colorado baker to refuse to bake a cake for the marriage of a same sex couple.

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“Let’s bake a cake for everyone,” Garfield said.

The “Amazing Spiderman” fame actor honoured the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, saying: “It is a spirit that says no to oppression. It is a spirit that says no to bigotry, no to shame, no to exclusion. It is a spirit that says we are all made perfectly and we all belong.”

Best Actress in a play winner Glenda Jackson, recognised for work in “Three Tall Women”, praised the multi-cultural nature of the theatre business.

“The Band’s Visit”, the story of a group of Egyptian musicians who find themselves bonding with the residents of a small Israeli town, is a plea to tolerance and brotherhood at a moment when tensions are rising in the Middle East.

Nathan Lane of “Angels in America” nabbed a Best Featured Actor statue for his performance as Roy Cohn, a venal power-broker who was a mentor to President Trump.

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Lindsay Mendez, picked up the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress for her work in “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel”.

Stachel’s director David Cromer was also honoured for his work on the play, and used his time to send a message to people suffering from depression.

“The Band’s Visit” concerns people who have lost hope, he said, beseeching those who are suffering to “call out”. His speech came days after celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade committed suicide.

“Three Tall Women’s” Laurie Metcalf won her second Tony Award in as many years for best featured actress in a play.

Co-hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban kicked off the ceremony here at the Radio City Music Hall with a piano duet in which they poked fun at the fact that neither of them have won Tony or Grammy Awards.

–IANS

dc/in

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