Originally staged by the U.K.'s National Theatre, War Horse won the Tony Award for Best Play last night in New York City. Set during World War I, War Horse uses both human actors and life-size horse puppets to tell the story of a boy and his horse as the latter is sent to the trenches. (See further below the full list of 2011 Tony Award winners.)
War Horse was adapted by Nick Stafford from Michael Morpurgo's novel, which has also been made into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. War Horse – the movie – opens on December 28. Richard Curtis and Lee Hall penned the film adaptation featuring Emily Watson, Tom Hiddleston, David Thewlis, Toby Kebbell, Eddie Marsan, and others.
War Horse won four other Tonys, including Best Direction of a Play for Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris. The evening's big winner, however, was Robert Lopez, Trey Parker and Matt Stone's The Book of Mormon, which took home a total of nine Tonys, including Best Musical.
Larry Kramer's AIDS drama The Normal Heart was the Best Revival of a Play; the fluffy musical Anything Goes the Best Revival of a Musical.
Barbra Streisand and John Schlesinger both wanted to bring The Normal Heart to the screen, but without success. In fact, The Normal Heart has yet to get the movie treatment. Anything Goes has been (officially) filmed twice: with Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman in 1936; and with Crosby again and Mitzi Gaynor in 1956.
Among the film personalities who won Tonys last night were Oscar winner Frances McDormand, voted Best Actress for her performance in Good People; Angels and Insects' Mark Rylance, the Best Actor winner for Jerusalem; and late '80s-early '90s leading lady Ellen Barkin, who won as Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for The Normal Heart.
Broadcast by CBS and hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the Tony Awards ceremony was watched by 6.9 million viewers according to preliminary results, with a 9 percent gain from last year in the 18-49 demographic group.
And make sure to check out Michael Billington's The Guardian piece that begins with the following line: “Where would Broadway be without the British taxpayer?"
Photo: Kevin Kane / WireImage for Tony Awards
Mark Rylance, Jerusalem
Best Play: War Horse
Best Musical: The Book of Mormon
Best Book of a Musical: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon
Best Revival of a Play: The Normal Heart
Best Revival of a Musical: Anything Goes
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Mark Rylance, Jerusalem
Best Performance by an Actress in Leading Role in a Play: Frances McDormand, Good People
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Norbert Leo Butz Catch Me If You Can
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Sutton Foster, Anything Goes
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: John Benjamin Hickey, The Normal Heart
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Ellen Barkin, The Normal Heart
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: John Larroquette, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Nikki M. James, The Book of Mormon
Best Direction of a Play: Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, War Horse
Best Direction of a Musical: Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon
Best Choreography: Kathleen Marshall, Anything Goes
Best Orchestrations: Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus, The Book of Mormon
Best Scenic Design of a Play: Rae Smith, War Horse
Best Scenic Design of a Musical: Scott Pask, The Book of Mormon
Best Costume Design of a Play: Desmond Heeley, The Importance of Being Earnest
Best Lighting Design of a Play: Paule Constable, War Horse
Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Brian MacDevitt, The Book of Mormon
Best Sound Design of a Play: Christopher Shutt, War Horse
Best Sound Design of a Musical: Brian Ronan, The Book of Mormon
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre: Athol Fugard, Philip J. Smith.
Regional Theatre Tony Award: Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago)
Isabelle Stevenson Award: Eve Ensler.
Special Tony Award: Handspring Puppet Company.
Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre: William Berloni, The Drama Book Shop, Sharon Jensen and Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts
Photo: Via oregonlive.com.