In a surprisingly dominant showing, the Broadway musical ONCE took eight Tony Awards at the American Theatre Wing’s annual ceremony, held on June 10. John Tiffany, director of ONCE, received the Tony for Best Director of a Musical; he was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study during the 2010-2011 academic year. During his fellowship year, he workshopped ONCE at the American Repertory Theater (ART), preparing the show that won the 2012 Tony for Best Musical, and, among musicals, also won for book, leading actor’s performance, orchestrations, scenic design, lighting design, and sound design. While at Radcliffe, Tiffany, who is associate director of the National Theatre of Scotland, delivered the Julia S. Phelps Annual Lecture in Art and the Humanities, titled “Can We Keep Up? Theatre’s Incredible Ability to Evolve.” His presentation touched on topics also explored in the Harvard Magazine 2012 feature, “The Future of Theater.”
Another musical with roots at the ART, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, won two Tonys—for Best Revival of a Musical and for the best performance by a musical actress—its female lead, Audra McDonald. The ART’s artistic director, Diane Paulus, professor of the practice of theatre, directed Porgy, which stirred controversy when it played at the ART in 2011 before opening on Broadway in January 2012. Paulus received a Tony nomination for best direction of a musical.
Two Harvard-educated actors also received nominations for 2012 Tonys. Stockard Channing ’65 was nominated for best leading actress in a play for her work in Other Desert Cities. John Lithgow ’67, Art.D. ’05, was nominated for best leading actor in a play for his star turn in The Columnist. Lithgow’s 2005 Commencement address at Harvard explained some of his creative philosophy.