Tony Awards 2019: Showbiz and Politics

The 2019 Tony Awards show combined showbiz razzle dazzle, featuring performances from several nominated musicals, with strong political statements calling for greater representation of women and artists of color.

There were many important firsts, including a win by Ali Stroker, becoming the first actor in a wheelchair to earn a Tony for her work in Oklahoma!

Elaine May

Elaine May, the 87-year old legendary actress and playwright, won her first Tony Award for her work as a grandmother suffering from dementia in “The Waverly Gallery.”






The play marked her first Broadway show in 52 years, and in a wry acceptance speech May thanked co-star Lucas Hedges for his monologue recounting her character’s death.

“He described my death so touchingly that watching from the wings, I thought I’m going to win this Tony,” May joked.

Bryan Cranston: Network

Bryan Cranston picked up his second Tony Award for leading performance as mad newsman Howard Beale in “Network.” He previously won the same award for 2014’s “All the Way,” a drama about Lyndon Johnson.
“Finally a straight old white man gets a break!,” Cranston joked.






He then turned serious with a message aimed at President Donald Trump’s anti-press harangues. “The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people.”

Santino Fontana, Tootsie

Santino Fontana earned a best actor in a musical prize for playing an actor who pretends to be a woman in order to get a plum role in “Tootsie,” while Stephanie J. Block won best actress in a musical for her diva turn in “The Cher Show.”

Celia Keenan-Bolger picked up best featured actress in a play for her performance as Scout in the blockbuster hit “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Bertie Carvel earning a best featured actor in a play award for his portrayal of media baron Rupert Murdoch in “Ink.”


André De Shields, a theater legend whose resume includes the original Broadway production of “The Wiz,” scored a best featured actor in a musical prize for playing the Greek god Hermes in “Hadestown.”






Ali Stroker: Wheel-chaired winning actress, Oklahoma!

Stroker, the first performer to use a wheelchair for mobility known to have appeared on a Broadway stage, won best featured actress in a musical for her work as the boy crazy Ado Annie in “Oklahoma!”