Band's Visit and Harry Potter reign at Tony Awards

The cast and creative team of The Band's Visit pose in the 72nd Annual Tony Awards Media Room at 3 West Club in New York City, on June 10, 2018.
The cast and creative team of The Band's Visit pose in the 72nd Annual Tony Awards Media Room at 3 West Club in New York City, on June 10, 2018.PHOTO: AFP
Producers Colin Callender, Sonia Friedman, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, winners of the award Best Play for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, Parts One And Two.
Producers Colin Callender, Sonia Friedman, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, winners of the award Best Play for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, Parts One And Two.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (WP) - A musical about chance meetings in the Israeli desert and a set of plays about magical happenings in a wizarding universe claimed top honours at the 72nd Tony Awards (June 11 morning, Singapore time).

The Band's Visit, a seductively atmospheric 90-minute work, and Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, a 51/2-hour stage addition to J.K. Rowling's successful fantasy franchise, collected the statuettes for best musical and best play, respectively.

Most of the results in the three-hour ceremony in New York's Radio City Music Hall were never much in doubt.

Winning in a category that included three musicals derived from better-known pop-cultural sources - Frozen, Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants - The Band's Visit scooped up 10 awards, including those for actor and actress in a musical (Tony Shalhoub and Kartina Lenk).

Harry Potter got no acting recognition, earning six trophies for direction, set, sound, costumes and lighting.

British actress Glenda Jackson, returning to Broadway for the first time in 30 years, was named best actress in a play, for infusing a dying dowager with the energy of roaring rapids in Edward Albee's Three Tall Women.

Best revival of a play went to an epic, London-born restaging of Tony Kushner's two-part Angels In America, which also earned awards for lead actor Andrew Garfield and supporting actor Nathan Lane.

Hosting duties were shared by a duo representing an attempt to broaden Broadway's fan base: singer Josh Groban, a big audience draw during the previous season when he appeared in the musical Natasha, Pierre And The Great Comet Of 1812, and singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, whose musical Waitress is a Broadway crowd-pleaser.

But the event's most coveted newcomer to Broadway - from the standpoint, certainly, of a potential TV ratings spike - was Bruce Springsteen, whose Springsteen On Broadway solo show has been a box-office bonanza all season long at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

While he declined to participate in any competitive Tony categories, he was still awarded a special Tony and performed live in Radio City.

The event was also made memorable when students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where 17 students and school employees were murdered earlier this year in a shooting spree, performed a fine rendition of Seasons Of Love from Rent.