The Gayest Tony Awards Ever, Except for the Hosts

I went to two after parties for last night’s Tony awards, the official one at the Plaza Hotel and the O&M one at the Carlyle. I asked Angels in America author Tony Kushner if it had been the gayest Tonys ever. “Yes,” he said. “There was 1994, when it was the 25th anniversary of Stonewall and of Judy Garland’s funeral.” “So that was the gayest?” I asked. “No,” he replied. “Nothing was that gay back then. Even Robert De Niro was gay [tonight]. I love Robert De Niro.” I asked the same question of Charlie Carver, who plays the cowboy in The Boys in the Band, and he told me, “I think there’s always room for more—a full rainbow. Those anemones in SpongeBob—that was the gayest moment for me.”

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Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles
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Robert de Niro

And I also asked Nathan Lane (winner of Best Featured actor for Angels in America) and he answered, “Not by a long shot.” Well, I guess the hosts—Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles—came off like nice people, if not exactly part of a flaming LGBT parade. “I thought they were charming,” said Nathan. “They didn’t try too hard. They were relaxed and being themselves. De Niro stole the show by coming out and saying ‘Fuck Trump’.” “And I bet Trump has already tweeted that he’s overrated,” I offered. “That’s it!” replied Nathan.

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Nathan Lane
Anyway, here are my reasons for saying it was the gayest Tonys ever, a story I’m sticking with:

*Angels in America won Best Revival of a Play and two acting awards.

*Andrew Garfield won Best Actor for Angels, and said his role—Prior Walter, a gay man with AIDS—represents the spirit of the LGBT community, one which says no to bigotry and oppression. He also said, “We are all sacred and we all belong. So let’s just bake a cake for everyone who wants a cake to be baked.”

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Andrew Garfield
*Nathan Lane welled up while thanking his husband, Devlin Elliott.
*Tituss Burgess presented an all-female acting category and said he considered all the nominees “competition.”
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Tituss Burgess
*Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s Tony winning director John Tiffany had everyone sing “Happy Birthday” to his boyfriend, sitting there and looking like he wanted to die.
*Tony Kushner gave a shoutout to Judy Garland’s birthday, admitting he’d be a bad homosexual if he didn’t. Fortunately, he didn’t make us all sing along.
*The musical numbers on the telecast could barely have been gayer. SpongeBob SquarePants had dancing male showgirls; My Fair Lady had Norbert Leo Butz kissing drag queens; Once on This Island featured out Isaac Powell and Alex Newell, the latter as a female deity; Carousel spotlighted an all-male dancing troupe being very familiar with each other; Mean Girls had the gay guy and the maybe lesbian; and Summer trotted out three Donna Summers.
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Cast of Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical performs
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Cast of Mean Girls performs
*Members of the out gay cast of The Boys in the Band were featured onstage and in the audience.
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Andrew Rannells, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto, and Jim Parsons
*As part of a tribute to teacher Melody Herzfeld, her students sang “Seasons of Love” from Rent.
*There were commercials for Mary Poppins Returns and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

By the way, the most surreal moment of the night, gay or straight, was Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber DJing at the Carlyle party to a crowd of people who refused to dance, they were spellbound by the sight of this legend manning the booth, as they stood there capturing it with their phones. Genius. Now I’m off to have that cake.

Michael Musto is the long running, award-winning entertainment journalist and TV commentator.