Jessica Chastain wore a nude, sequined Marios Schwab dress on the red carpet at the Tony Awards that said, “Don’t confuse me with the plain, lonely character I will play in ‘The Heiress’ this fall on Broadway.”
The Tony Awards are the Oscars of the Great White Way, and the hottest stars on Broadway made their red carpet entrance Sunday at the Beacon Theater. Along with the nominees, there were some surprises, including appearances by Sheryl Crow and Josh Groban.
Early in the evening Judy Kaye from “Nice Work if You Can Get it” showed off the glittery diamonds on her earls and wrist. “I’m all dolled up. I’ve got the borrowed gemstones. This could buy a car,” she told us showing us the earrings. As for the chunky diamond bracelet, “This could buy a house,” she said.
Laura Bell Bundy, a sexy blonde in a low-cut cobalt gown, played Elle Woods in the Broadway version of “Legally Blonde” but now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she now pursues a country music career. “I’m here tonight mostly in support of ‘Peter and the Starcatcher,’” she said, and “I’m excited for ‘Once.’” Tony nominee David Alan Grier walked behind Ms. Bundy and took a long look at Ms. Bundy and silently mouthed, “Wow!”
“Newsies” composer Allan Menken had a moment with his lyricist Jack Feldman. They were about to get photographed, and Mr. Menken’s face was shiny, so Mr. Menken took a brush with powder and applied it to Mr. Feldman’s face.
Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks wore a close-fitting Gaultier gown. “I like dressing up,” she said, “and I already owned it, so it didn’t cost anything and it still fit. This is girl stuff,” she laughed. “It fit. It’s cute. It shows a lot of skin.”
The playwright was nominated for her reworking of “The Gershwin’s’ Porgy and Bess.” Referring to purists who complained about the changes to the musical, Ms. Parks said, “We always knew that we were doing the right thing because we had the mandate from the Gershwin estate every step of the way, and here we are on the red carpet.” As for what she’s doing next, “I can turn back to my own work, so there’s a new play. There’s a novel. Songs I’m writing,” she said, “and I have an eight month-old son and today he did not spit up on my Gaultier dress.”
“Clybourne Park” director Pam MacKinnon said she was “grateful that the humidity just broke,” and “I get to pass Sheryl Crow, that’s exciting. My Mom is my date, so that’s really great.” She comes back to Broadway in the fall with another play with people behaving badly, a revival of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” which will open, she told us, on the 50th anniversary of the original Broadway opening.”
Then we got our Jesuses mixed up on the red carpet. The actor in front of us told us he recently stepped into the part of Jesus on Broadway. But the Jesus we’ve seen on the television ads for “Jesus Christ Superstar” is blond and bland. Mr. Corbin is a handsome, light- skinned African-American actor. Turns out he’s the other Jesus, the one in the revival of “Godspell” at Circle in the Square. “It’s such a fun show,” he told us. “How many times will I get a chance in my life to say I’m Jesus?” Not that many we guessed.
David Alan Grier, along with Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald and Phillip Boykin were all nominated for Tony Awards for “The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.” On the red carpet Mr. Grier said it was a relief to work in a play where so many cast members were Tony nominees. “The last time I was nominated was for ‘Race.’ I was the only nomination in the entire cast. Trust me, I had to tiptoe around the theater,” he said. “I hid in my dressing room.”