At the 2013 Tony Awards, Patina Miller and Cyndi Lauper were among the night’s big winners—but do these ladies know that their victories also made Tony history? Before the ceremony, we hypothesized some of the ways the Tonys could set records this year, and sure enough, our analysis came true with wins for Miller, Lauper, Tracy Letts and more.
The biggest groundbreaker of the night was Kinky Boots composer Cyndi Lauper, whose win for Best Score was the first victory for a female composer without any writing partner. Women have been part of a Best Score writing team in years past—lyricists Betty Comden and Lynn Ahrens have both won, as did The Drowsy Chaperone composer Lisa Lambert—but Lauper’s victory is a singular achievement for female composers everywhere! You’re next, Dolly Parton!
Patina Miller’s win for Best Actress in a Musical for her fierce interpretation of the Leading Player in Pippin marks the first time that a musical character has earned a Tony for both a man and a woman. Ben Vereen originated the role in 1972 and won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical. If Stephen Schwartz's Wicked ever closes and reopens, we fully expect to see a guy tackle Elphaba.
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Tracy Letts isn’t the first Tony-winning playwright to earn an acting trophy—four-time winner Harvey Fierstein snagged Tonys in both categories in 1982 for Torch Song Trilogy. However, Letts is the first Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama (for August: Osage County) to win a Best Actor Tony (for his performance as George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). And he is almost certainly the first winner to get engaged to a fellow nominee, co-star Carrie Coon!
Despite not earning a nomination for Best Play, The Nance earned Tony wins for sound, costume and scenic design. It’s the first time those three awards have gone to a show that was not also up for the night's biggest prize.
For the second time in Tony history, four African-American actors emerged as winners in the eight acting categories. It happened in 1982, but three of those winners (Ben Harney, Jennifer Holliday and Cleavant Derricks) were from one show, Dreamgirls, joined by Zakes Mokae of Master Harold... and the Boys. This year, Patina Miller, Cicely Tyson, Billy Porter and Courtney B. Vance took the honors for four different productions!
The 2013 Tony winners' circle included plenty of powerful ladies. The Best Director prizes went to Pippin’s Diane Paulus and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? helmer Pam MacKinnon, a feat matched only in 1998, when Julie Taymor won for The Lion King and Garry Hynes for The Beauty Queen of Leenane. In addition, the acceptance speeches for both Best Play and Best Musical were given by women: lead producer Emily Mann spoke on behalf of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, followed by lead producer Daryl Roth for Kinky Boots.