Hugh Jackman hopping at the TonyJune 18, 2014
There was no surprise about Hugh Jackman hosting the 68th Tony Awards. He had done this job before. He also started his career on stage in Melbourne, appearing in local productions of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Sunset Boulevard", followed by his big break in Royal National Theatre's production of "Oklahoma!". But Jackman hopping like a kangaroo at the Tony was something else.
"One of the things I love about Hugh is how physical he is. He loves to dance," said choreographer Warren Carlyle.
Reaction to Jackman's bopping was divided, but one needed to look back to the Golden Age of musicals, as the "Les Miserables" star paid homage to Bobby Van's number in "Small Time Girl" (1953). (Busby Berkeley choreographed several of the dance numbers in László Kardos's film.) There were more surprises, when Jackman staged a one-man musical of the classic, "The Music Man". Rappers LL Cool J and TI came in later.
"This is theatre blasphemy but I can’t stop laughing. Mostly because rap with an Australian accent is funny," said one viewer.
Moments later, the X-Men star gave a shout-out to Neil Patrick Harris, last year's host and this year's Best Actor in a Musical winner.
"He is a legendary four-time Tony host, but Angela Lansbury has hosted five times. So Neil is right behind her. And I was right behind him, which is still illegal in 13 states," he joked.
Harris, known for his big musical numbers as a Tony host, didn't disappoint when he performed a song from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.
Audra McDonald made history by winning the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her portrayal of blues legend Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill." It was her sixth Tony, which also made her the first actor to win in four different acting categories.
"I want to thank my mom and my dad up in heaven for disobeying the doctor's orders and not medicating their hyperactive girl and finding out what she was into instead and pushing her into the theater," McDonald said in her acceptance speech.
She paid tribute to women who paved the way for her success. "I'm standing on Lena Horne, I'm standing on Maya Angelou, Diahann Carroll, Ruby Dee and, most of all, Billie Holiday. You deserved so much more than you were given when you were on this planet. This is for you, Billie."
"A Raisin' in the Sun", which first ran on Broadway in 1960, won for Best Revival of a Play, Best Direction for Kenny Leon, and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Sophie Okonedo. But Leon felt lead star Denzel Washington should have gotten a nomination.
"Denzel, Denzel, Denzel. He's truly a theater inspiration," said Leon in his acceptance speech.
"A Raisin' in the Sun" was the first Broadway play written by an African-American woman, Lorraine Hansberry.
But the night would be most remembered for Jackman's bopping.
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