Audra McDonald/Photo Credit: BroadwayWorld.com/Walter McBride
Posted by | Ray Cornelius
Broadway’s highest honor, The American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards, were held last night at Radio City Music Hall and proved to be a BIG night for African-American performers.
Multi-talented actress and singer, Audra McDonald, made Tony history by picking up her sixth award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. She is currently starring as Billie Holliday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill and is the first woman to achieve that mark. She has appeared in such classic shows as A Raisin the Sun, Ragtime and Porgy & Bess and is slated to star in Night Mother opposite Oprah Winfrey in 2015.
Atlanta-based director, Kenny Leon picked up his first Tony for Best Direction of A Play for A Raisin in the Sun. This is Leon’s second time around with this show and was completely overjoyed by the honor. He is currently directing the Tupac Shakur-inspired musical, Holler If Ya Hear Me starring Saul Williams, Tonya Pinkins and Saycon Sengbloh. Raisin also picked up two other wins including Sophie Okonedo for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play and Best Revival of a Play.
James Monroe Igleheart picked up a Tony for his portrayal of the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin. The 40-year-old actor, whose appeared in Memphis and Bat Boy the Musical, did a “church shout” at the end of this acceptance speech.
Other evening highlights included Fantasia’s After Midnight show opener with R&B Divas Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight, LL Cool J and T.I.’s rap performance with Tony host, Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Hudson singing “Neverland” from the upcoming Broadway show Finding Neverland.
Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Brady and RuPaul served as presenters.
Check out a few photos from the evening below:
After Midnight’s Gladys Knight, Fantasia, and Patti Labelle/ Photo Credit: Facebook/ESSENCE
Tony-nominee Anika Noni Rose & Performer Jennifer Hudson/Photo Credit: ESSENCE.com
Kenny Leon/Photo Credit: BroadwayWorld.com/Walter McBride
Sophie Okenedo/Photo Credit: BroadwayWorld.com/Walter McBride
James Monroe Igleheart/Photo Credit: BroadwayWorld.com/Walter McBride
Click here to see the complete list of winners.