NEW YORK — Hadestown, the brooding musical about the underworld, has reason to smile broadly: It’s the best new musical Tony Award winner and nabbed eight trophies Sunday, including a rare win for a woman director of a musical.

“If Hadestown stands for anything, it’s that change is possible, and in dark times, hope can come again,” Isaacs said during her speech.

Other Tony nominees with local ties did not fare as well -- Gideon Glick (actor in a feature role in a play, To Kill a Mockingbird), Daniel Kluger (orchestrations, Oklahoma!) and Laura Jellinek (scenic design, Oklahoma!) did not win

Playwright Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman was crowned best play. Bryan Cranston, Elaine May, Santino Fontana and Stephanie J. Block all won leading actor and actress awards.

The crowd at Radio City Music Hall erupted when Ali Stroker made history as the first actor in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award. Stroker, paralyzed from the chest down due to a car crash when she was 2, won for featured actresses in a musical for her work in a dark revival of Oklahoma!

“This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, who has a limitation or a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena,” she said. “You are.”

Rachel Chavkin, the only woman to helm a new Broadway musical this season, won the Tony for best director of a musical for Hadestown. She told the crowd she was sorry to be such a rarity on Broadway.

"There are so many women who are ready to go. There are so many people of color who are ready to go." A lack of strides in embracing diversity on Broadway, she said, "is not a pipeline issue" but a lack of imagination.

Cranston seemed to tap into the vibe when he won the Tony for best leading man in a play award for his work as newscaster Howard Beale in a stage adaptation of Network.

"Finally, a straight old white man gets a break!" he joked. The star, who wore a blue pin on his suit to support reproductive rights, also dedicated his award to journalists who are in the line of fire. "The media is not the enemy of the people," he said. "Demagoguery is the enemy of the people."

The cheers for women also got a boost when Butterworth, who earlier asked the crowd to give his partner, actress Laura Donnelly, a round of applause for giving birth to their two children in two years while working on the ensemble drama, handed the best play trophy to Donnelly. A Donnelly family story inspired him to write the play.

Fontana won his first Tony Award as the cross-dressing lead in Tootsie. Fontana, perhaps best known for his singing role as Hans in Frozen, won in an adaptation of the 1982 Dustin Hoffman film about a struggling actor who impersonated a woman in order to improve his chances of getting a job.

Another first-time winner was Block, who earned her Tony Award for playing a legend — Cher. Block, who has had roles on Homeland and Orange Is the New Black, is one of three actresses to play the title character in the musical The Cher Show. She thanked “the goddess Cher for her life and legacy.”

Other winners included the legendary May, who took home her first ever Tony for best leading actress, playing the Alzheimer’s-afflicted grandmother in Kenneth Lonergan’s comic drama The Waverly Gallery.

Andre DeShields captured featured actor in a musical for Hadestown, his first Tony at the age of 73. In his speech, he gave "three cardinal rules of my sustainability and longevity.

"One, surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming. Two, slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be, and three, the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing."

Corden, in his second stint as Tony host, was at his fanboy best, whether anxiously hiding in a bathroom with previous hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareillies or trying to provoke a Nicki Minaj-Cardi B-style beef between usually overly polite and supportive Broadway figures (Laura Linney and Audra McDonald finally obliged). He also asked celebrities to sing karaoke during the commercials.

He kicked off the show with a massive, nine-minute opening number that served as a full-throated endorsement of the live experience, with Corden beginning it seated alone on a couch in front of a TV, overwhelmed by his binge options, before taking flight with dozens of glitzy dancers from this season's shows, all filling the Radio City stage with an unprecedented volume.

"Live!/We do it live/And every single moment's unrepeatable," he sang. "Live!/We do it live/It can't be hashtagged and it isn't tweetable." But the song ended with an acknowledgement that appointment TV — Corden mentioned a long list that included "Game of Thrones," ''Fleabag," ''Black Mirror" and "The Walking Dead," among the options — is irresistible. He apologized to TV and blamed McDonald for making him criticize the small screen.

The first acting award went to Celia Keenan-Bolger, who won for best featured actress in a play for her role as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. She noted that her parents read her the book when she was a child in Detroit and had burning crosses put on their lawn because they helped African Americans.

Bertie Carvel won best featured actor in a play for Ink. He said he wished he could be with his mother, hospitalized in London: “I love you, mum.”

Oscar-winning director and producer Sam Mendes won his first directing Tony Award for guiding The Ferryman.

The Ferryman’s Rob Howell took home two Tonys — for best play set designs and costumes. Robert Horn won for best book of a musical for Tootsie.

Early Hadestown wins were for scenic design, sound design, lighting design and orchestrations. It would also go on to earn singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell a Tony for best score.

Legendary designer Bob Mackie won the Tony for best costume designs for a musical for The Cher Show, getting laughs for saying “This is very encouraging for an 80-year-old.”

The dark retelling of Oklahoma! beat the lush and playful revival of the rival Golden Age musical Kiss Me, Kate to the Tony Award for best musical revival. The Boys in the Band was crowned best play revival.

Sergio Trujillo won the best choreography prize for Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations, saying in his speech that he arrived in New York decades ago without legal permission. “I’m here to tell you the American dream is alive,” he said.

The awards cap a season that showed Broadway was in good shape. The shows this season reported a record $1.8 billion in sales, up 7.8 percent from last season. Attendance was 14.8 million — up 7.1 percent — and has risen steadily for decades.

Tony winners

Best musical


Best play

"The Ferryman" by Jez Butterworth

Best revival of a musical

"Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!"

Best revival of a play

"The Boys in the Band" by Mart Crowley

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical

Santino Fontana, "Tootsie"

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical

Stephanie J. Block, "The Cher Show"

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play

Bryan Cranston, "Network"

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play

Elaine May, "The Waverly Gallery"

Best book of a musical

"Tootsie," Robert Horn

Best original score (music and/or lyrics) written for the theater

"Hadestown," Anaïs Mitchell

Best direction of a musical

Rachel Chavkin, "Hadestown"

Best direction of a play

Sam Mendes, "The Ferryman"

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical

Andre De Shields, "Hadestown"

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical

Ali Stroker, "Oklahoma!"

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a play

Bertie Carvel, "Ink"

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play

Celia Keenan-Bolger, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Best choreography

Sergio Trujillo, "Ain't Too Proud"

Best orchestrations

Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, "Hadestown"

Best scenic design of a musical

Rachel Hauck, "Hadestown"

Best scenic design of a play

Rob Howell, "The Ferryman"

Best costume design of a musical

Bob Mackie, "The Cher Show"

Best costume design of a play

Rob Howell, "The Ferryman"

Best sound design of a musical

Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, "Hadestown"

Best sound design of a play

Fitz Patton, "Choir Boy"

Best lighting design of a musical

Bradley King, "Hadestown"

Best lighting design of a play

Neil Austin, "Ink"

Recipients of awards and honors in noncompetitive categories:

Special Tony Awards for lifetime achievement in the theater

Rosemary Harris

Terrence McNally

Harold Wheeler

Special Tony Awards

Marin Mazzie

Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company

Jason Michael Webb

Regional Theater Tony Award

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, California

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Judith Light

Tony honors for excellence in the theater

Broadway Inspirational Voices - Michael McElroy, founder

Peter Entin

FDNY Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9

Joseph Blakely Forbes


Associated Press writers Leanne Italie and Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.


Mark Kennedy is at