Moulin Rouge made a clean sweep at the 2021 Tony Awards with 10 trophies, becoming the first Australian-produced show to win a Tony for best musical. It picked up the award for best actor in a musical, best scenery, costume, lighting, sound, choreography, orchestration and direction in a musical.
The adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 Oscar-winning musical, Moulin Rouge was nominated in 14 categories. Carmen Pavlovic, the producer, said it feels a little odd to be talking about one show as “best musical”. “I feel that every show of last season deserves to be thought of as best musical.”
The 74th annual awards honored Broadway musicals and plays that opened during the 2019/2020 season. Theatres were forced to shut in March 2020 across the world, but have slowly started to welcome sold-out audiences once again. Audra McDonald and Leslie Odom Jr. were hosts to Broadway’s biggest night, September 26, with a special two-part celebration. “I hope that we can remind people of the power of live performance, which is a challenging thing to do on television, but it’s what we are tasked to do, and it’s our best hope in this moment,” Odom Jr. said. “We have music and dance and great writers, and a slew of talent and we want first and foremost to entertain folks. But beyond that, the show needs to come out of the truth or where we are. We need to honor this moment that we are in, and deal with it honestly.”
Matthew Lopez’s Broadway transfer of his emotional seven-hour Aids drama The Inheritance was named best play, making him the first Latino writer to win this award, and Stephen Daldry won his third Tony as best director after winning the same award at the Oliviers in 2019. Andrew Burnap also beat Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Hiddleston to win the best leading actor in a play. Meanwhile, Mary-Louise Parker won best leading actress in a play for The Sound Inside, her second Tony award. Adrienne Warren was named best leading actress in a musical for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, and David Alan Grier won his first Tony for best actor in a featured role in a play for A Soldier’s Tale, which was also named best revival. Slave Play, which entered the night with 12 nominations, left the night empty-handed.
It should be noted that the Tonys, which have historically rewarded predominantly white actors and white creative, reflecting an industry that has been overwhelmingly lacking in diversity, featured a slightly more diverse set of nominees than usual.