Steppenwolf's Virginia Woolf takes three Tony Awards
Steppenwolf Theatre Company's revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? took three of the five categories in which it was nominated for Broadway's Tony Awards tonight. It was widely expected that Steppenwolf's production, which premiered in Chicago in December 2010, would win the Tony for best revival of a play.
Less certain was the award for best direction of a play, which went to Woolf's Pam McKinnon. Even more of a dark horse was the award for best actor in a play, which went to Steppenwolf ensemble member Tracy Letts for his revisionary work as George in Woolf. Hollywood star and two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks, who made his Broadway debut this season in Nora Ephron's final work, Lucky Guy, was favored to win, with strong competition from Nathan Lane, who got strong reviews for his performance in The Nance. Letts won a Tony as playwright in 2009 for August: Osage County, for which he'll also be credited as screenwriter when the film adaptation opens this fall.
Steppenwolf's Woolf cast members Amy Morton and Carrie Coon were also nominated for acting awards; the fourth cast member, Madison Dirks, was not, though Letts, in his acceptance speech tonight, referred to Dirks as "criminally undersung." Morton had been previously nominated in 2009 for her leading role in Letts's Osage County, losing to her castmate Deanna Dunagan.
Both Coon and Dirks made their Broadway debuts in this revival of Woolf; Coon lost the Tony tonight to Judith Light, who took her second consecutive Tony as best featured actress in a play for The Assembled Parties, but Coon revealed in an interview last week that she and Letts have recently become engaged.
Another big winner at tonight's Tony Awards was the musical Kinky Boots, which had an early tryout in Chicago last fall. That show, which reportedly went through many revisions between its Chicago iteration and opening on Broadway in April, took home Tonys for best orchestrator Stephen Oremus, best actor Billy Porter, best composer Cyndi Lauper and best musical, winning over the reported favorite and British import Matilda the Musical.