The Tony Awards felt a little different this year than they have recently. It was a year without a Hamilton or a Dear Evan Hansen; there was no one original, out-of-nowhere show that came into the Tony Awards as a pop phenomenon. In fact, all four of the four nominated musicals were adaptations of existing properties: SpongeBob SquarePants, Disney's Frozen and the non-musical films Mean Girls and The Band's Visit.
In fact, it was a relatively quiet but contemplative ceremony on the whole. Hosts Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban were just what this kind of evening needs: They are theater people (well, they are now, having starred respectively in Waitress and The Great Comet). They were amiable and game, opening with a funny and chill little pop song about losing at the Tonys (which they both have done). It wasn't a big blowout welcome like the ones Neil Patrick Harris used to do, but there's genuinely no point in trying to compete with that. These two are singers, and they leaned into their voices. And they did end with a display of ensemble members from every nominated musical. And if you don't love the ensembles, you can't possibly love the Tonys.
As for the awards themselves, some things that seemed highly likely panned out, including generous attention for the current revival of Tony Kushner's Angels in America. Andrew Garfield won for his lead performance, talking in general terms about the LGBTQ community and the human spirit before saying, "Let's just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked," which now qualifies as a political stance. Nathan Lane won for his featured performance, breaking up as he addressed his husband in the audience and placing the play in the context of a recent effort to take his life in a different direction. Angels also won best revival of a play, beating out versions of Lobby Hero and The Iceman Cometh, among others.
One of those others, Three Tall Women, may not have won for the play itself, but both its lead actress and its featured actress did win. Laurie Metcalf, doubtless having more fun collecting a Tony than she would be having talking about the cancellation of Roseanne, won in the featured category. And Glenda Jackson, who's only recently returned from a long break from acting during which she served in the British Parliament (yes, you may insert your exclamation points here if this is new information) won in the lead category.
Best play was won by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — another piece of intellectual property stretched to make something new — and it grabbed best direction of a play as well. (Director John Tiffany said it was his boyfriend's birthday and asked everyone to sing "Happy Birthday," which they did. This was either the most darling or the most mortifying thing you have ever seen, and you should disclose to each other which one you think it is before you marry anyone.)